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Oakley Concept Store Comes to UTC

Build your own sunglasses or goggles at Oakley's newest store in UTC.

With all this cold weather, it's hard not to think of snow. Even in sunny San Diego, many sports apparel companies indulge our winter sports ambitions. And now Oakley has stepped up its game in the La Jolla area.

Oakley opened a unique concept store filled with lifestyle and performance sunglasses and goggles in Westfield UTC just before the holiday season. And it’s not just about fashion and what looks good, but there is a huge focus on fit and function.

The store has a custom bar area for shoppers to build their own sunglasses. Shoppers select a frame first and then lenses. There are numerous shapes and several colors of each. Once you have your pair, you can test them out. There’s an environmental chamber where you can test the sunglasses against light and wind. It is kind of like an old school nickelodeon where the film is you biking, golfing or boarding from the first person perspective, and wind and glare blast out at you.

Store Manager Ruben Rubalcaba, who has been with Oakley for eight year, said the option to build you own custom sunglasses is bringing in many shoppers.

Rubalcaba also pointed out the many “artifacts” on display at the store from one of the first pairs of sunglasses made by Oakley to the OverTheTop sunglasses worn at the 2000 Olympics and an original Medusa hat with goggles that are currently going for $4,000 on Ebay. But the real buzz at the store was for the newly released AirWave snow goggles.

The AirWaves goggles with Bluetooth access integrate GPS, music, phone calls, text and performance reporting for winter sports buffs. The goggles track jump analytics that show distance, height and airtime. Another sensor tracks altitude, speed and vertical descent data. The goggles even come with preloaded maps available for many resorts, so you can find your location and even track the location of your ski and boarding buddies.

Rubalcaba explained that when you’re active on the mountain, you have a clear view without obstruction and when it is time to stop and review your performance or get vital information, you simply move your eye toward the miniature prism lens on the bottom right of your goggles. The displayed information will appear as though you are looking at a 14-inch display from a distance of five feet.

Oakley has always been about technology and eye protection, Rubalcaba explained. He told us about numerous incidents on Oakley sunglasses saving eyes. He said  Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera recently protected his eye with a pair of Oakleys from a baseball to the face. The Tigers trainer is cited as saying that the sunglasses saved Cabrera's eye.

In fact, there is an entire community of Oakley wearers that catalogue their accidents and cite how Oakley sunglasses protected their eyes from serious injury.

The UTC store is Oakley’s second concept store in the country. The store also carries Oakley watches, accessories and sports apparel.

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