It’s funny, when I got my Oakley GasCan sunglasses for Christmas about 6 years ago, I never imagined I would end up with a big box of lenses for the same pair of frames. The stock lenses had lasted only about a year, and so these GasCans sat in a drawer, until I started reviewing replacement lenses.
So, what started out as a random choice of frames to try review lenses for, turned out to be what I think is a good platform for testing lenses. I wear my GasCans every day the sun is out, so it’s easier to tell the difference between lenses and compare things like quality and performance.
These are the brow polarized Mr. Shield replacement lenses for my trusty Oakley GasCan sunglasses. The polarization and UV protection are important but pretty common. What sticks out to me about these lenses are the hydrophobic protection, and the taper correction, which I’ve never heard of.
Official Specs (From Walleva)
My review lenses came in a nice little box, with a lens cleaner pen. These were packaged much fancier than the last batch of Walleva lenses I reviewed.
I live in the northwest where it’s not always sunny, so I had these lenses sitting around for a couple weeks before we had a really sunny day, and I thought “oh yeah, maybe I should install those lenses.”
So I installed the lenses and started wearing them every day. They are nice and dark, and I like that. In fact, they seem darker in person than they look on Walleva’s web site. They are so dark brown that they almost look black, and I like that too.
Out of the box they reminded me of the dark Revant HC3 lenses, which at the time was their top of the line. In fact, they seem a little clearer than all my Revants and even my stock, Italian-made Ray-Bans. The Ray-Bans have ridiculous clarity but a green tinge to the lenses, which kind of turned me off out of the box.
It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that their taper-correction isn’t just marketing hype–that it actually works. And you would have to be legally blind not to see that the Chinese are making huge strides in mass-produced optics.
I was a teenager growing up on the beach in southern California during the 1980s, and the cheap Chinese sunglasses at the time could actually damage your eyes by dilating them and increasing the damage the UV light did to your eyes. If you worked out in the sun like I did, you probably wore USA made sunglasses if you didn’t want permanent eye damage.
Overall then, I’d say my first impressions were very favorable: They’re nice and dark and super duper clear.
These seem to be well made lenses, with no glitches in the coating or aberrations that I could detect with my eyeballs. I do not like logos on the outside of my lenses, but all the high end ones have it. At least I have to strain my eyes almost to the point of pain to see the logo in the top-left part of my vision.
Not doing any formal scientific testing, the best guess I can make about quality comes from comparing these lenses to all the other lenses I have, and putting the sunglasses on my face and going out into the world.
Fit & Finish
Overall, perfect. I don’t like giving perfect scores in any category to anything I review, but I just can’t find anything wrong with these lenses.
A couple pair of my higher end Revant lenses are really close to this pair in clarity, but this pair leads the pack in fit and finish. The stock USA-made lenses my GasCans came with were awful, but at least they fit perfectly. So, thank you, Walleva, for showing it can be done even though your factory pumps out lenses for hundreds of different frames.
I’ve looked and looked and even after wearing them every day for a month and dropping them on the ground at least once a day, they look perfect. I don’t like etched logos, but the etching at least looks crisp on the left lens.
Another thing I look for is aberrations with the lens coating thickness, color or clarity, and my eyeballs can’t detect any issues. It’s easier to see problems with mirrored lenses versus these matted ones, but I did scrutinize them pretty well.
Lens Cleaner Pen
I did not try the pen, as I normally just clean my lenses with whatever is lying around: A towel, tissue, my shirt, whatever. But it looks interesting, though, and at some point I might try it.
Even as a computer engineer in the business for two decades, I prefer to focus on the nuts and bolts like usability rather than the specs, much of which are just marketing hype. I’ve always prided myself on making technology accessible to people and trying to look at it from a user’s perspective.
Because of this philosophy, and because I’m a clumsy, oafish brute, I think I’m uniquely qualified to review sunglasses. When I’m away from home, my shades are always with me, either in my pocket or clipped to my shirt or on top of my head.
In my pocket, my sunglasses always rub up against stuff that sensitive optics should never touch like keys, flashlights, tools and such. When they are hooked to my shirt or on my head, they constantly fall off, sometimes landing on asphalt or concrete.
So, I’m in an abusive relationship with everything I EDC, sunglasses included.
Day to day these are awesome lenses for driving and just hanging out at barbecues and such. As the clarity of replacement lenses get better, it’s almost like looking through a VR simulator because part of your brain is telling you that reality is not supposed to look this crisp. It takes a while to get used to lenses like these.
Another unexpected consequence of polarized lenses getting better and better: it’s almost impossible to see the text on a phone or tablet in sunlight. It used to just be a problem with high end lenses looking at low end LCD screens, but now the high end lenses make it impossible to quickly glance at a text while you’re driving. But you probably shouldn’t be doing that anyway.
Being really busy with life and taking longer than I intended for a review is actually good from a testing standpoint. Someone sends me a text wanting to meet for lunch, I grab my sunglasses and go.
Today when I sat down to put my thoughts into words from a month of wearing these, it dawned on me that they had fallen off my head and bounced behind my computer, the phone had rang, and I had forgotten them on the floor. So, I just now picked them up.
As always, time will be the best judge of the quality of these lenses, but so far so good. The purple ones from my last review have held up well, and these Mr. Shield seem to be a step up in quality. My little sister likes these better than the purple ones, for what it’s worth. I do believe they are a good value at their purchase price, even if they are a little pricey.