I didn’t plan on buying a new pair of running sunglasses. Running sunglasses are not cheap and it’s tough to justify spending around $100 on a second pair that I wouldn’t even wear that much. I’d rather have another pair of nice non-running sunglasses! But I caved partly because I needed a pair ASAP to replace my broken Oakleys and partly because of a great sale on amazon. And I’m happy I did!
As I started to get more into races, Mike encouraged me to consider buying a pair of Oakleys. Since he bought his Oakleys in 2008/2009, he has had no problems with them. When I bought mine in 2011, I think Oakley may have only had one style for women, the Commit. I couldn’t believe how light they felt and how they didn’t move at all when I ran!
But over the past few months, one of the nose pieces has gotten pretty loose. During the Raleigh Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in March, the nose piece flew off while I was running. I stopped and struggled to get it back on, knowing I’d be running into the sun for the second half of the race and, therefore, losing at least 30 seconds from my overall time. I couldn’t let that happen again.
I figured I could just go to the Oakley store in the mall and they’d fix them right there. But because the Commit style is actually from 2007, replacement parts need to be ordered from corporate headquarters. The Oakley employee gave me the number for customer service and said the replacement parts will be about $15 (much less than buying a new pair of Oakleys!). Oakley customer service was excellent! I was put through to a person right away. Since the sunglasses are such an old model, he wasn’t even sure they’d be able to obtain the replacement nose pads. After researching, he found out he could put in a request but it may be weeks to months before I’d receive my nose pads. However, they’d be free of charge!
Although I was happy that my Oakleys could be repaired, I was concerned going into three upcoming races and many of my regular runs without any sunglasses. I started searching for Nike sunglasses because of their variety of styles, but I had trouble finding any in stores and didn’t want to order a pair online without trying them on first. Coincidentally, there was a Nike rep at the Tar Heel 10 Miler expo with a whole rack of sunglasses at the Fleet Feet booth. I tried on a pair of bright magenta Nike Exhale, described as “perfect for women looking for style while running,” and loved them! However, I couldn’t make the decision on the spot (and also before reading online reviews).
Since it could take a long time to get my replacement nose pads, I decided to order the Nike Exhale from amazon. I first ordered the 2015 deep burgundy color, figuring I may wear the darker color more often, even while not running, but I found them to feel much heavier than the matte bright magenta color I’d tried on at the expo. I believe the bright magenta color is the only color made with the matte finish, a much lighter frame than the shiny plastic style.
I returned them for the bright magenta color which were only $50, on sale, since the color is from last year’s line. I love the lightweight matte plastic and the large lenses. They move a bit more than my Oakleys, which do not move AT ALL, but pretty much stay in place and are super light. I love the additional coverage, as well, and the more fashionable style.
Some other features of the Nike Exhale sunglasses:
– Adjustable rubber ventilated nose bridge
– Secure wrap temples with rubber grip
– 100% UVA and UVB protection
Overall, these are a fun alternative to the more typical, traditional style of running sunglasses. I think I’d opt to wear my Oakleys for long runs and races since they don’t move at all, but the Nike Exhales are perfect for training runs and shorter races. Plus, they’re more feminine and cute enough to wear around town, as well!
To my surprise, the Oakley nose pads arrived in just a few weeks! I brought the replacement pads and my sunglasses to the local Oakley store where they thoroughly cleaned them and secured the new nose pads. I’m very impressed and happy with Oakley’s customer service and can’t say enough great things about their women’s running sunglasses. I have to admit, it is kind of nice to have a couple of options for running sunglasses since I wear sunglasses basically every time I go out for a run. To save money, I’d suggest looking into last year’s models that are typically heavily discounted.