Let me preface this by saying I am an Oakley fan. I’ve used their products for as long as I have been able to afford them. From boots and gloves, to sunglasses and goggles I’ve tried many of their wares and only once have I been disappointed.
I’ll kick off with what these goggles are: very large framed, rimless, goggles with very large field of view, and excellent lens quality. These are meant to provide visibility over a larger range of light conditions than previous lenses could. They provide 20% light transmission and assist you by increasing contrast on the slope.
However, the huge face of these goggles and lack of protective frame rim invite scratching. Like most Oakley goggles, it is important to keep in mind to never wipe the interior of these lenses if they are wet. Once Oakley goggles fog up (infrequent but it happens) you can do very little other than lightly dab them with something like a chamois. There is a coating in there that prevents fogging, but it does get overwhelmed, and when it does you can ruin the lens by wiping it.
I’m an avid skier and like anyone that spends a lot of time on the hill, I’ve been stuck in flat light that literally ruins a day. Few things can waste a ski pass like not being able to see what is in front of you on the mountain. I’ve gone through a number of good goggles over the years and have never found a “general purpose” set that didn’t suffer the same limitation. Very bright lenses, typically yellow or amber, with very high light transmission (similar to shooting glasses with similar lens colors) do help, but are too specific for me skiing in British Colombia. Personally, I do not want to carry multiple sets of lenses on the mountain. A trip back to the parking lot from the top of Whistler is a very time-consuming exercise.
My previous sets of goggles include: the Oakley Airbrake (the one time I’ve been disappointed with a Oakley product) preceded by the Smith Phenom Wallstreets, then a set of Dragons (all the way back to a set of Darksites) I bought when I was about 9 years old. These Oakley Prizm lenses are the best I’ve worn, hands down.
I can say I have really enjoyed them from the first time I put them on. I even got to have the confused look on my face when the people I was riding with weren’t keeping up for some unknown reason until they explained they were riding blind. I was not seeing in perfect 20/20 by any means, but was managing and enjoying myself through those turns in a light driving powder. Proof positive that these goggles work, and is not all marketing (as I typically assume when I see products advertised like these). Though the frame is very large, it fits my face very well with no draft (even at full speed) and is compatible with my helmet.
On the worst day I have seen while wearing these I was in full white out. Near the top of Whistler mountain in overcast, sunless, driving snow I got to coast my way down going from one orange pole to the next until I had dropped half way down the mountain and could see reasonably well again. No goggle is perfect in all conditions, and very bad conditions require specialized gear to cope with. There is another lens for these goggles meant for conditions like this, but to this day I have not tried them out so cannot speak to their ability in truly bad light.
(Video courtesy of Sunglasses Shop YouTube channel)
According to Oakley.com these goggles provide “Unrivaled field of view with a wide range of helmet compatibility”.
- Optically correct rimless lens design with F3 Anti-fog coating
- Discreet frame notches at temple for compatibility with most RX eyewear frames
- Lens sub-frame attachment for fast and easy lens changing
- Injection Molded Polycarbonate under extreme pressure to create a precise contour of optically correct geometry
- Rigid lens carrier with flexible O Matter faceplate
- Fits most helmets
According to me, you can’t go wrong with this lens in this frame.
Get your own on Amazon here.
(Featured image courtesy of wired.co.uk)
Thomas James served with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from 2003 to 2007, including deploying to Kandahar, Afghanistan in February of 2006 in support of Operation Archer. He graduated from the Chemical and Environmental Technology program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2012. Currently he is working as a Corrosion and Materials Engineering Technologist in British Columbia. Outside of work hours he enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing, and science.