There’s a lesson in this review: don’t judge a product by looks alone. Use it in the situation that it’s designed for and it may surprise you…
– Click the link above to watch a short video review of the KOO eyewear –
I’ll try to be quick about this because I’ve been going a bit long with some stories of late and I know what needs to be said, and it’s not complicated. They are sunglasses after all and usually the pictures tell the story. But there is a twist of sorts in this review.
See, the photos? KOO. It’s a fun name to say and you’ve probably seen these before. They are here, there and everywhere in 2020 and now that I’ve tried them, I’m starting to understand why they’re so popular. But, I confess, there was hesitation at first.
You see, I’ve followed pro cycling a long time. I’ve seen sunglass styles come and go, dating back to the original days of the Oakley Factory Pilot himself, Phil Anderson (yep and his cohort in the product innovation stakes, Andy Hampsten and Greg LeMond… and a few others).
And I’ve come to realise that trends come and they go but the pictures remain. Right?
You know how it goes too. You’ve seen those shades of yesteryear and, ironically, if you wait long enough, they do come back into vogue. Somehow.
There’s a long list of brands that have done the BIG look. It started with Oakley, when the brand pioneered sports sunglasses. These days, it’s called ‘Performance Eyewear’ – at least that’s what KOO has gone for.
Not sure what Scott calls their creations, but I do know that it’s hard to find out who is behind that face shield and under that helmet… that guy or girl in the Mitchelton-Scott colour…? Who could it be now?
I think that’s what generated a hint of disdain for the large sunnies. Ooops, I mean: eyewear.
They put them on, and now, in 2020, there’s also the face mask on the podium and you’re left with little other than the shape of the body to identify the riders.
What would happen if they tried to go into a bank while on a training ride? Surely they’d be denied entry.
Uh-oh, here I go again. Too many words for a product review. So, I’ll get to the point.I wasn’t a fan of this aesthetic. I’ve been there before, done the outrageous sunglasses thing and enjoyed the trend of the times. Yes, I was in the cycling media game in the halcyon days of Briko and it won’t be long before those bug-eye things that Marco and Mario made famous will return. (It’s inevitable, right? Or has it already happened?)
So, when these sunglasses – eyewear – arrived in the office I thought, ‘Here we go again… I’ll take some photos and tell the kids (and the company) what they want to hear.’
I pocketed a pair and set off in the dark of an early morning ride. Then, when the sun came up, I pulled them out from the back of the jersey and banged them on my face. Oh lord…! Suddenly the cynic in me was being scolded. What!? How could you not like these?!
They are fabulous to look through.
They sit securely on your face.
They tuck neatly into the straps of your helmet.
They don’t jostle around when you’re on the trails.
They may make me look a little silly, but I love them.
And, I’ve decided, I don’t care how I look if what I’m looking through suits the situation I often find myself in: on the bike wanting some protection from the sun, the wind, the rain, and the bugs, and the other things that can get in your eyes when you’re cycling.
I’ve had these a couple of weeks now and you can’t wipe the smile off my face when I’m riding with them.
Oh yeah, and they slot neatly into the various helmets that I ride with, and match the KASK Protone particularly well. (KOO/KASK… same company, right? I think so.)
They aren’t exactly cheap, but they are fantastic.
Now, a few details…
There are a range of colour options. The nose piece seems click into one of two positions. The arms fold in with a distinct ‘click’. The bits that go over your ears have a little rubbery feel to them. They can fog up a little, but only if you’re not moving and you’re sweating like a bastard. But, really, they seem about as ‘aquaphobic’ (is that the word?) as any ‘performance eyewear’ I’ve used before.
I’m not sure if they come in a prescription option, but you can find out more if I’ve convinced you to try them. Here’s the link. If you have already given them a go, chances are you are nodding as you read. They’re good.
That’s it from me this morning. I’m going for a ride.
– By Rob Arnold
*Price listed is in Australian dollars, correct at time of publishing.