I’m a technophobe when it comes to exercise. I've resisted the fitness tracker trend, don’t run a computer on my bike, and only occasionally use an app when I run. I guess you could say I’m a purist. I prefer to focus on how I feel rather than drown in data. Even if I enjoyed analyzing stats, then what? You need to know what to do with that information to make it valuable, and no shiny new tech accessory or app has ever offered me that solution—until the Oakley Radar Pace.
My initial thought was, “Really? A pair of sunglasses?” But that’s part of why this product is so genius: It’s an accessory I already use every time I run or ride outdoors, so adding it to my routine was effortless.
Here’s how it works: Download the Radar Pace app (available for iOS and Android) on your smartphone and pair the sunglasses. Go for your first casual workout or set up a structured training plan based on a goal (like running a 10K). The sunglasses are voice activated so you can prompt them as you run or ride ("How’s my pace?" "What's my heart rate?") without fussing with a wristband or phone. Just say, "OK, Radar..." to get the gadget's attention. You'll also get unprompted feedback as you go.
The coolest part? The frames hold a complex computer (powered by Intel) at a fraction of the weight (just 56 grams!)—without compromising on Oakley’s keen eye for design. The lens shape is Oakley's No. 1 best seller and instantly makes you look like a badass. Oh, and did I mention the sunglasses are multilingual? Radar speaks five different languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Show-off.
The more workouts you log, the more data Radar has to customize your workouts. If you miss one, it will compensate by adjusting your next few. Start to overtrain and it'll remind you to take it easy. The app will continue to cater to your personal fitness levels and training style to help you accomplish your goals—whether that's training for a marathon or just riding your bike more. The sunglasses also connect to your smartphone so you can take calls, listen to text messages, control music, or activate Siri or Google Now.
Check out this short video to see them in action:
The Bottom Line
I thrive on the social aspect of exercise. I love to run or ride my bike with a friend, but in order to fit exercise into my crazy schedule, I often have to do it alone. Radar provides some company during solo sessions, as well as useful, real-time feedback—which I found incredibly motivating, even though I'm not competitively training for anything.
Sure, there are downsides. The $499 price point, for one. But when you compare it to the cost of gym memberships and personal trainers or coaches, it’s actually a pretty affordable investment, especially as the app evolves with software updates. Though it currently only tracks running and cycling, I wouldn't be surprised if more activities are added in the future. And though some might argue sunglasses cater to outdoor workouts, the kit includes a clear lens for indoor ones, like a treadmill run.
They might not be right for everyone, but if you’re like me and love exercising outdoors—but don’t want to fuss with complicated wristbands—these shades will help you train smarter, not harder.