More of an experience than a store, the concept shop offers everything from a station designed to help you build your own custom eyewear to a chance to check out the latest cutting-edge snow goggle technology. Adding to UTC’s remarkable revitalization, the store brings a touch of sci-fi to the shopping center.
Apart from the usual high-end apparel and eyewear offered at many Oakley outlets — including sports eyewear designed to enhance most any athletic endeavor — UTC’s location allows customers to choose nearly every aspect of their glasses, and they can even test their effectiveness against the elements in an environmental chamber. And for those who might be wary of what the price tag gets them, the store demonstrates just how strong Oakley lenses are with its impact test display. Three sets of lenses show that they don’t crack under various forms of pressure — the pressure, for example, of a metal spike dropped from a height of more than 4 feet or quarter-inch steel shot traveling at 102 miles per hour. Even a 12-gauge shotgun shot at point-blank range couldn’t manage to mangle the lenses.
Most impressive, however, is the futuristic product known as the AirWave snow goggle (this is where visions of 007 come to life before a customer’s eyes). The AirWave — the myriad abilities of which are demonstrated in a looping video on the wall of the store — turns the experience of swooshing down the slopes into a science experiment. Outfitted with a tiny display screen inside the goggles, the product can be linked to the wearer’s GPS or Bluetooth — and that’s just the beginning.
The AirWave can measure the wearer’s speed going down the slope, height, distance and airtime of a jump, the vertical feet traveled over a run, day or season — it can even pinpoint the location of the wearer on a map and can find lost companions, provided they have the AirWave app on their smartphones. And though the screen is small enough to fit inside the goggles without obstructing full-forward or peripheral views, its prism technology works so that the viewer reads every stat with the same clarity as if it were a 14-inch screen viewed from a distance of 5 feet. All of the features, meanwhile, can be controlled with a remote control whose dials are made to be handled without the need to remove bulky gloves.
In its steady march toward the future, however, Oakley hasn’t forgotten the past. A veritable museum of the brand’s past designs lines the walls of the store, taking the customer on a journey through the company’s history (don’t miss the “Medusa,” an intimidating-looking helmet/eyewear that looks to be straight out of a science-fiction movie and can fetch up to $4,000 on eBay). Oakley has long had a reputation for innovation. In the relics of eyewear past, customers can see the inventions that, in their time, were as impressive as the AirWave. From the ultra-lightweight all-metal titanium alloy frames to the “Over the Top” — a sunglass whose frame literally sits over the top of the wearer’s head and has been popular with Olympic athletes — the company has prided itself on raising the bar for the eyewear industry. To see what the minds at Oakley will cook up next, visit the store at Westfield UTC or call (858) 558-8637.
For more information about the company, visit www.oakley.com.