Even absent confirmation from the company, we felt relatively certain that Oakley would eventually release a case for iPods – it already sells excellent computer bags and backpacks, many made from durable ballistic nylon, and some (such as the Adaptable Payload series) with military styling. Just in time for the holidays, the 99037 Case for iPods ($35) has appeared – a somewhat traditional, somewhat new flip-open case for fifth-generation iPods, made from ballistic nylon and Adaptable Payload-like in style.
Each 99037 Case features a “Tactical Field Gear” patch and a lower front snap to hold its front flap closed; two tiny metal ring holes next to the snap parallel its looks without significantly compromising the case’s front protectiveness. Currently available in black, 99037 will arrive in the depicted “sheetmetal” metallic gray version in March of 2007; both versions match Oakley’s other carrying case products, and some of its apparel. Elastic on the sides allows 99037 to expand or contract to fit 30GB, 60GB or 80GB fifth-generation models, and each matches the holes inside.
In terms of extra features, the 99037 is a little surprising in good ways: there’s an integrated, very strong spring-loaded metal clip at the top for attachment to bags or clothing, a rear snap that can be undone to create a belt loop, and a small mesh pocket on the inside of the front flap. The pocket’s large enough for a couple of credit cards or a small amount of folded cash, but not much else.
Protectiveness is pretty much par for the course on a flip-style case: 99037 features holes for the iPod’s Dock Connector and headphone ports, the former for Apple-sized cables and newer Belkin accessories only, the latter sized for any sized headphone plug you might use. Everything else is protected, and very substantially by fabric standards: the ballistic nylon is strong, and cardboard-backed in front and back.
Though we’d really like a flip-free case from Oakley – actually, multiple options, given the company’s impressive design skills – 99037 is a good start, rivaling similar flip-closed options we’ve seen from other companies, yet adding its own resilient, military flavor to the mix. Thanks to its neutral color options, it’s worth considering even if you don’t have any matching Oakley gear.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod 5G