- Nike Haul.E eyewear
Sportswear manufacturer Nike has been doing bike gear for a long time now. It’s been best known, perhaps unsurprisingly, for clothing and shoes but is now branching out into eyewear and watches, or Vision and Timing in Nike-speak. Both lines will be coming into this country through Trek UK, which currently handles the Nike Cycling stuff.
The Haul.E we’re looking at here is towards the top of the eyewear range. The ‘E’ signifies that the lenses feature an “Engineered Tint”. Nike has come up with three condition-specific tints, one of which is designed for playing golf and can therefore be safely ignored here. Our Haul.E came with the Max Speed tint, which is intended for endurance sports. It’s said to soften glare and reduce eye fatigue. Alternatively you can choose the Hi Viz tint, which increases contrast for flat or low-light conditions. You’ll get a black frame if you choose the Hi Viz lens, and a grey (or “Iron” one if you go for Max Speed. Both options also come with conventional grey lenses for brighter conditions, and there’s another ten varieties from clear (91% visible light transmission) through to “Grey with Blue Flash” (14% VLT). The lenses are easy to pop in and out once you’ve got the knack, and the spares live in a little microfibre pouch to avoid scratching.
Nike’s very proud of its Max Optics lens technology. Apparently tests on sports sunglasses carried out by the American Optometric Association gave Nike’s lenses the lowest visual distortion of any brand tested, although we don’t know by how much. You certainly won’t be distracted by any odd aberrations, though. Nike also claims a 51% wider field of view than competing brands, although inevitably you can see bits of the frame around the edges.
The glasses are light and comfy in use. The shape was a good fit on us – if you want something a little rounder with less prominent corners on the lower edge, the Nike Roll may fit the bill. We particularly like the vented nosepiece, which claims to improve airflow and reduce fogging – we don’t know if the nosepiece was responsible, but we certainly didn’t experience much in the way of fogging.
There’s a lot of competition in eyewear. Nike appears to have put a fair bit of thought into its offering, even though it could probably have just stuck swooshes on pretty much anything and sold bucketloads. The Haul.E is fairly pricy, putting it up against things like Specialized’s excellent photochromatic glasses and of course the likes of Oakley (whose M-Frame is still our all-time favourite riding eyewear, despite making you look like some sort of insect), but it’s certainly got the performance to at least match the competition. And having gone for a fairly conservative style, Nike’s managed to stand apart from rivals that sometimes seem determined to just out-weird each other…
Positives: Max Speed tint works great 90% of the time, interchangeable lenses for the other 10%, solidly made, light, comfortable, understated appearance, Nike branding (if you go for that sort of thing)
Negatives: Costly, interchangeable lenses not quite as clever as photochromatics, perhaps a little too understated for some, Nike branding (if you don’t go for that sort of thing)
Verdict: There never used to be much choice in high-end eyewear, but now there’s plenty. And when it comes to things like glasses, choice is good – everyone has a differently-shaped head, different aesthetic sensibilities and different attitudes to various brands. These’ll go down a storm with Nikophiles, but there’s real performance behind the branding.