Gear Review: Wiley X Captivate Lenses (Models shown – Contend, Peak and Breach)

In this review, it’s all about a lens; a new Wiley X lens. As someone who relies daily on the best quality sunglasses, but that also needs EN. 166 & ANSI Z87.1 safety standards, Wiley X has been my go-to brand and has never let me down. I also, in most cases, prefer polarized lenses for glare reduction and enhancing colour depth. Wiley X have now produced a further enhancement to the polarized lens by increasing colour contrast with the CAPTIVATE lens. In this review the focus is primarily on this new lens itself, but can be seen in three of the first models to feature the lens; Contend, Peak and Breach (which also has the gasket technology).

What’s in the box?:

Here is what is included for all three models.

A look round the Contend:
This ‘Contend’ has the Blue mirror version of the CAPTIVATE lens.

A look round the Peak:
For the ‘Peak’ it is the Copper CAPTIVATE lens.

A look round the Breach:
Lastly the ‘Breach’ has the Bronze Mirror CAPTIVATE lens. Also look out for the gasket, and in this model, the side vents that can be opened and closed as required.

What is the CAPTIVATE lens like to use?

First impressions? That is actually very difficult to describe when you go from one of Wiley X’s already superb polarized lenses to the new enhanced CAPTIVATE polarized lens. Between one Wiley X polarized lens and the CAPTIVATE lens, is there a marked difference? It is simply not possible for there to be a massive difference. Instead it has taken a longer period of use to really appreciate the improvement, as I have now experienced a wide range or lighting conditions and locations with differing colour ranges.

None of the lens versions on test are completely neutral, so all give a slight colour cast to the overall rendition of what you see. This is one aspect of the eyewear we choose that adds an extra dimension and allows us to see more and differently than without any lens.

Since getting to know the new CAPTIVATE lens, I’ve been trying to work out how to best show what this lens does, and am still no satisfied, but here goes with my attempt.

Bear in mind, that like all of our senses, we have our own built in ‘automatic balance’, so like a camera has a White Balance setting, and this can be set to Auto White Balance, our eyes also do this to some degree, and after wearing a lens for a period of time our eyes adjust to them.

Coming from daily use of Wiley X lenses already, first impressions were of an excellent lens, but could I see what made them different? Over time, and with swapping back to the standard polarized lens, the answer was yes. What I was seeing through the CAPTIVATE lens was clearer and more defined. It was subtle, but the impression was of sharper edges, and a higher clarity. As we are seeing objects which don’t typically have a ‘border’ or ‘outline’ in a different colour, we are seeing the edge of an object as its colour meets the next background or object colour.

The intent of the CAPTIVATE lens is for it to reduce light in the parts of the light spectrum where Blue merges with Green, and where Green merges with Red so that you see a more significant difference between blue/green and green/red boundaries.

This is not done to such an extent that you can’t see certain shades, but so that you have an impression of higher contrast between colours. As I said before, this is not so marked you put them on and see something so unreal, but rather that with more use you can appreciate how clearly you are seeing your surroundings.

In an attempt to show the effect of these lenses, I am including two galleries with photographs taken through the different lenses. In the first set, the camera is set to a fixed Daylight White Balance (so is not adjusting the colour balance), and in the second set the camera is set to Auto White Balance to try to introduce some of the acclimatisation our eyes have.

There is a control shot first with no lens in front of the camera, then the three different models.

Daylight White Balance set

Auto White Balance set
This is the set I feel, more closely represents what your eyes see (but not exactly) for each lens type. The stand-out photo is probably the one of the metal cover in a pavement which has weeds growing round it and when you go from the control shot to the Contend lens. The green really stands out.
Another characteristic I like about the Bronze Mirror lens in the Breach was how it gave a pleasing deep bronze cast to the rusted metal surfaces in road furniture (manhole covers etc).

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

I’m trying something slightly different and starting with what doesn’t work so well, so I can finish on a more positive note

What doesn’t work so well for me

Sorry, not being biased, but really nothing.

Things I like

Lens quality.
The clarity of vision.
Subtle effect of the enhanced colour contrast.
Strong and comfortable frames.
More innovation from Wiley X.

Gear Review: Wiley X Mega-Review! – Detection, Aspect and Vallus.

In this Wiley X Mega Review, I’m testing three recent models, the Detection, Aspect and Vallus. Each of these provide different looks, fit, features and lens specifications, giving this group a nice balanced mix. Since first finding Wiley X many years ago, I’ve not looked back when it comes to eye protection, lens quality, fit and style.

A little more Background:

In this group we have a flagship model, the Detection, with its set of five lenses to suit all lighting conditions without any reduction in eye protection. Frameless and with large wrap-around lenses the Detection is intended to provide maximum visibility and coverage ideal for, but not limited to, shooting.
Adding in the Aspect with emerald polarized lenses fills in more of the Wiley X offering, and the Vallus taking a third spot in this line-up rounds off a nicely balanced group.
Another crucial factor in the selection are those models in a size suited to my face. Wiley X offer a wide range of sizing options with the specifications clearly shown so you can find the right fit for you – another reason I find Wiley X difficult to beat.

The Detection:

What’s in the box?:

A good look round the Detection – Things to look out for here are:

Starting this gallery is a quick spin round the front, side and rear views, before moving onto the smaller details. Unlike most lens swapping glasses, the Detection lenses keep their nosepieces.

Lens swap on the Detection:

Most lens swapping designs have a moment of ‘should I be pulling/pushing that hard?’, but not with the Detection’s arm lock making swapping easier than any other I’ve used to date.

The Aspect:

What’s in the box?:

A good look round the Aspect – Things to look out for here are:

Starting this gallery is a quick spin round the front, side and rear views, before moving onto the smaller details. The Aspect has sprung hinges that allow the arms to both open up wider than the normal open position, to conform to larger heads, and also protect the hinges from over extension. This pair of Aspect glasses has the Emerald, polarized lenses for all the bells and whistles.

The Vallus:

What’s in the box?:

A good look round the Vallus – Things to look out for here are:

Starting this gallery is a quick spin round the front, side and rear views, before moving onto the smaller details. The Vallus is the most conventional in terms of ‘features’, but keeps thing simple and solid.

Technical Testing:

With a wide range of lenses, one of the specifications that is important to me is the light transmission. (I also have a hyper-sensitivity to light) using a fixed and stable light source and a lux meter, the transmission was measured to compare it to the Wiley X specifications. The results are shown as comments in the raw photos included in this gallery.

What it is like to use?

Truly an EDC for me, the time so far (as it does not end with this review) has given me some interesting material for three specific sections.

Protection test:

I couldn’t quite bring myself to shoot the brand new Wiley X models, but had an old pair of Wiley X made 5.11 Cavu glasses which were past their best. Testing these three new models inspired me to take the older Wiley X lenses out for a shootout!
Needing to choose silenced guns, I had a .410 shotgun, using .410 Long plus the Chiappa Little Badger in .22LR using subsonic hollow-point. Clearly the impact energy of the projectiles is quite different, but gives a stepping up of hitting power.

For the test, the glasses were held loosely and shot from around 15m. In both cases the lenses did come out of the frames, but had they been on a face, they would have been supported. The .410 was stopped by the lenses, but the .22 was not – still a very impressive result for a direct shot.

Wiley X saved me from serious eye injury:

It only has to happen once, so never let your guard down. Never, never go without eye protection even for seemingly safe jobs – the Wiley X Vallus has saved me from serious eye injury.

Despite spending plenty of time on ranges and using power tools and machinery, I have actually never had anything significant hit my eye protection. The mark on the lens shown in the gallery came from the freshly cut end of some coiled steel fencing wire that slipped from my grip and sprung straight into my face, with force, literally scoring a bullseye. Were it not for the Wiley X Vallus lens, I’d have been pulling out this wire from deep inside my eye; it all happened so quickly.

Initially I was annoying that it happened with a two week old pair of glasses, but I’d rather that than the alternative. I’m always super paranoid about eye protection, and in this case I have no doubt it would have been very bad, so am extremely glad it was Wiley X I was wearing.

Every day with Wiley X:

Readers who know me might remember I have a condition giving me hyper-sensitivity to light, and that this means I wear sunglasses every day at all times I am outside during daylight hours, and frequently indoors as well.

So when I say I have lived with these sunglasses from Wiley X, I have lived with them and worn them for hours and hours every day for months.

Detection – For shooting or any action sport, the Detection is superb. Its large wrap-around frameless lenses give you uninterrupted vision covering all your peripheral vision as well (good for picking up moving objects). The level of cover also ensures the highest level of protection from flying fragments.

Aspect – With glare being one of the worst things for my light sensitivity, polarized lenses are a real eye-saver. Generally I prefer the neutral type of lens (smoke/grey) so the Emerald is not something I might have jumped at, but if I allow myself to consider looks, well, these got more compliments than any eyewear I’ve worn before.

Aspect – The sprung arms on the Aspect afford it a level of comfort and ease of putting them on, but there is a small ‘feature’ which becomes more obvious over time. When you put them on, compared to arms without the sprung hinges, the Aspect will stay where it was when you let go. So if it is slightly crooked, the arms are not strong enough to straighten them on your face. You do need to ensure you put them straight. If you are popping them on and off quite a bit, this becomes more noticeable, where the standard hinge glasses, just snap into place, these don’t. A trade-off for the comfort.

Vallus – I’d not normally go for the non-polarized lens for my main eyewear, but the Vallus has claimed its spot thanks to the great comfort and excellent side protection due to the wide arms. The neutral colour lens works well, and not being polarized also means there are absolutely no ‘screen viewing issues’ which are a common hazard of the polarized lens.

Vallus – As described earlier, the Vallus has also actually saved the sight in my right eye, so I do have an even greater affection for them.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that covered in the review.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

I’m trying something slightly different and starting with what doesn’t work so well, so I can finish on a more positive note

What doesn’t work so well for me

Detection – lens holder in case can leave a mark on the lens which can be cleaned off. (Wiley X are already fixing this)
Aspect – Arm sprung hinge prevents the glasses auto-centring on your face.

Things I like

Detection – full coverage without the loss of any peripheral vision.
Detection – super easy lens swapping.
Detection – lenses to suit all lighting conditions.
Aspect – great comfort due to sprung arm hinges.
Aspect – fantastic Emerald polarized lens.
Vallus – light and comfortable.
Vallus – good side protection from wide arms.


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EDC Gear Review: Wiley X Sunglasses – Hayden, Kobe, Wave (EN.166 Safety)

Wiley X continue to innovate, and this Wiley X sunglasses review includes the new ‘Hayden’ which combines the timeless metal framed aviator style with high ratings of eye protection previously not possible with this style. Along with the more conventional ‘Kobe’ this group review shows the ‘Wave’ with its facial cavity seal system providing goggle like protection with sunglasses style.

A little Background:

For those that have not read one of Tactical Reviews articles on sunglasses, I just wanted to add a little explanation as to why the performance of sunglasses is crucial to me, every day, not just in the summer or on sunny days.

Due to having hyper-sensitivity to light, I wear sunglasses 100% of the time during daylight hours when I’m outside or driving, so get a lot of wearing time. I would never consider having only one pair of sunglasses and have many different types and styles. (I’m also a lens quality perfectionist)

Being a shooter, I also only settle for full protection when it comes to my eyes. This requires a good fit, a choice of lenses and of course the appropriate safety standards.

A few more details:

The three models on test here all offer something a bit different. Each has its own gallery to take you around the design and highlight features. The Wave has a further gallery in the next section to show the facial cavity seal in more detail.

Starting with the metal framed Hayden which has Polarized lenses.


Next we have the Kobe which has standard non-polarized lenses.


Last of the three is the Wave. In this gallery we focus on the overall look and details, but as it has the facial cavity seal feature, this has been put into a gallery of its own.

What it is like to use?

I’ll start with a word – Safety. Let’s get this out of the way, but not dismiss it. Wiley X glasses easily surpass the safety standards designed to ensure standard safety glasses will protect you. The exact standard surpassed does depend on the model, and some have higher ratings, but all are at least EN.166 rated, so you know if you have a pair of Wiley X glasses on, you are protected.

A crucial factor for comfort and performance is fit, and with Wiley X there are models to suit all face sizes, so you might find you need to choose a different one to the models shown here to get the sizing right for you.

Here are the Hayden, Kobe and Wave being worn.

HAYDEN: Having made the switch to wearing protective glasses at all times, I have been missing my metal frames, so the Hayden is a seriously welcome addition. Being highly light sensitive, I am aware that there is less protection from light coming directly from the side as the thinner arm doesn’t block the light like a thicker plastic arm. A minor point, but might dictate which day I choose to use them.

As delivered I found the Hayden’s nose pads excessively close together, more so than any other glasses I’ve ever tried. Having a couple of specialised pliers I was happy to adjust the nose pieces myself, but most people might want to pop into an opticians and get them to help; even though I’ve done it before, it still worries me having to bend the metal nose pad holders.

The spring arms make for a very comfortable fit. You might notice from the photos the precise fit of the parts of these spring hinges. So tight and precise, they have nipped me a few times (hair and skin) when taking them on and off and flexing them both ways.

However, otherwise, once the nose pads have been set correctly, the Hayden is light, comfortable and the polarized lenses are excellent performers. Very impressed with these.

KOBE: These are the quiet but efficient ones in the group. No ‘special features’, but just doing the job. They are very lightweight and have an efficient ergonomic shape, a bit of a ‘fit and forget’ you are wearing them. The arm width is sufficient to block light from the side along with the fact they have a wrap around shape in the first place.

WAVE: A key feature of the Wave is its Facial Cavity Seal which also appears on several other models. This feature provides a very specific function; when you first put on a model with the Facial Cavity Seal they feel more like goggles than glasses and it can take a little while to get used to. However as you get used to it, the feeling becomes more comforting and the benefits can be very obvious. The Facial Cavity Seal is designed to protect you from wind, fine dust and pollen as well as blocking light that normally leaks in around the edges of sunglasses.

A more detailed look at the Wave’s facial cavity seal.


I’ve found that in situations where I would want to wear a peaked hat, the Facial Cavity Seal provides sufficient protection from light that would normally leak in around the frame and I didn’t need the hat.
Where the Facial Cavity Seal really shines is in wind and dust protection. Though normal sunglasses provide a degree of protection from wind, once it is coming from the side this is far less effective. Add in dust and your normal sunglasses are not much use. The Facial Cavity Seal immediately shields you from this and stops the blinking and squinting. You could use actual goggles, but Wiley X’s Facial Cavity Seal gives you the protection of goggles in a pair of sunglasses, and the included head strap keeps them firmly in place.
You also have the option of removing the seal and using the sunglasses as normal sunglasses. This is crucial as they do come with some of the issues of goggles.
Although the Facial Cavity Seal has some venting built in, yes, just like goggles you do get fogging. I found that this was particularly bad when driving (due to the lack of airflow), and other situations where I was hot and there was little or no airflow.
When it is windy, the small vents seem to cope with preventing fogging very well, but once conditions are calm, you are at the mercy of the temperature of the sunglasses and your immediate humidity (a nice way of describing the body’s output of moisture).
Knowing that when using the Facial Cavity Seal you can get fogging is just something you need to work with. When the situation demands the extra protection, the Wave delivers exactly that.
Remember though, that unlike goggles, you can remove the seal and they become normal sunglasses.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond that already described.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

         Things I like             |        What doesn't work          
                                   |         so well for me            
 All - EN.166 Safety or above.     |                                   
 All - Comfortable and lightweight |                                   
 All - Case, strap and cloth       |                                   
 included.                         |                                   
 Hayden - Metal Frames.            | Hayden - the hinges can pinch.    
 Kobe - Simple and reliable.       |                                   
 Wave - Removable Facial cavity    | Wave - FCS can cause fogging.     
 seal (FCS).                       |