SKI GOGGLES: PLANETSKI PUTS THE BEST TO THE TEST
19th October 2017 | Alf Alderson, Gear & Equipment Editor
Last modified on December 22nd, 2019
You gotta be able to see where you’re going come sun, snow or sleet – here are Six of the Best ways of doing so…
DRAGON NFX2 £149.95 www.thesnowboardshop.co.uk
The NFX2 was Dragon’s best-selling goggle in 2017, and with its good looks and brilliant ‘Swiftlock’ lens change system there’s no reason to think the 2018 version won’t also be a best seller.
The ‘Swiftlock’ system is utter simplicity – you flip up a small locking lever integrated into either side of the goggles’ frame to remove the lens, drop in the new one, and flip the levers backup; it takes seconds and can be done with gloved hands.
And the NFX2 comes with two lenses, one for sunny conditions and one for cloudier skies, so you’re pretty well sorted for anything the weather can throw at you.
This season the NFX2 also features Dragon’s ‘LUMALENS Optimised Colour Technology’ which provides ultra high-definition across the entire spectrum of light conditions while enhancing colour vividness, increasing contrast, improving depth perception, and reducing eye fatigue.
By filtering out light attributed to haze and glare while letting in light that intensifies clarity and contrast, LUMALENS provides all-day comfort for your eyes and consistently crisp, clear optics; we approve…
Good venting ensures you don’t steam up whilst wearing the NFX2, and our only issue with these goggles was that they come in a medium fit, which means that if you’re a big head you’ll probably find the peripheral vision a bit limited.
VERDICT Great looking goggles with one of the best lens change systems out there. Buy It Here >>
NIKE COMMAND TRANSITIONS £249.90 www.nikevision.com
The Command features optically correct spherical Transitions lenses which automatically darken or lighten in response to changing sunlight and weather conditions.
The lenses are also ‘colour optimised’ for better contrast and increased depth perception, and they can be changed pretty easily if you scratch or smear them.
Peripheral vision is very good, and the Command is helmet-compatible, and as you’d expect there’s a silicone strip on the strap to ensure they stay in place on your lid, whilst the ‘Softrigger’ frames are designed to disperse any pressure points, so that along with the soft, triple layer foam you get a very comfortable fit.
Fogging is prevented through a combination of water repellent mesh over the vents and anti-fog treatment to the lens.
Despite the price the Commands are not at all blingy, so should appeal to skiers with a thick wallet who want something pretty low key.
VERDICT Top quality goggles, but at a top price.
BOLLÉ EMPEROR £89 www.bolle.com
Our test model came with an S3 ‘citrus gun’ lens for bright conditions, and with its good peripheral vision the Emperor more than did the job in bright sunlight.
When it heats up the goggles’ ‘equalizer vent’ allows dual direction airflow to maintain an ideal air pressure and precision optics between the sealed double lens, and as the outer lens features a scratch-resistant surface clarity remains good even if you’re the kind of skier who gives their goggles a bit of stick.
The lenses also have an embedded anti-fog layer in the inner lens, which disperses water molecules across the surface of the lens to restrict moisture build up and condensation, and as ever with Bollé goggles the double-layer face foam is soft, comfortable and not too bulky, so that the goggles sit quite close to your face.
The build quality of the Emperor feels tough and sturdy and they look good too, all of which makes them a good option at a reasonable price.
VERDICT No-nonsense, good looking goggles that do the job well.
JULBO AIRFLUX £100 www.julbo.com
The Airflux is aimed at freerider and ski tourers who want to be able to wear their goggles when skinning/hiking without them fogging up.
This is achieved through Julbo’s ‘Super Flow System’, which allows you to flip the lens forward creating a gap between the frame and the lens for better airflow and reduced fogging; once you’re ready to head back downhill you simply snap the lens back in place and away you go; in theory you can do this without removing the goggles but we found that we usually ended up taking them off to be sure of a secure fit, which is no big deal really.
Our reviewer has used the Superflow System for two seasons now on a pair of Julbo Aeroflow goggles and confirms that it does work effectively; what’s more, it’s just as effective when standing in crowded gondolas and cable cars.
The minimalist frame design of the Airflux provides a wide field of vision, and it comes with the options of a category 2, 3 or 4 Spectron polycarbonate spherical lens.
Fit is very comfortable whether wearing a helmet or beanie, and the price isn’t over the top, making the Julbo Airflux well worth checking out.
VERDICT A good option for freeriders/ski tourers/anyone who sweats a lot.
SMITH I/O 7 WITH CHROMAPOP LENS £199.99 www.smithoptics.eu
The I/O7’s ‘Chromapop’ lens is interchangeable, and the goggles come with two lenses, one for bright light, one for low.
The lenses filter light at two different wavelengths to offer better detail, clarity, colour and definition over a greater range of conditions than a traditional lens.
The lens can be a bit awkward to change without a bit of practice, so we’d recommend trying it a few times before you hit the slopes and also using the microfibre goggle bag that comes with the I/O7 to help keep the lenses free of fingermarks.
Peripheral vision on the I/O7 is excellent, and the three-layer face foam is amongst the most comfortable around, whilst the ‘QuickFit’ strap system is a useful feature since it has a clip buckle so you can easily get the goggles on and off, particularly when wearing a helmet, whilst a dual-axis outrigger position system that pivots in multiple directions allows for better helmet integration.
The anti-fog inner lens and Scott’s ‘AirEvac’ integration technology keep fogging to a minimum, and the patented ‘Porex’ filter is a neat innovation that prevents optical distortion during changes in elevation.
VERDICT Expensive, but they do an excellent job and look good too; shame it’s not a bit easier to change the lenses though.
ANON M3 £190 www.anonoptics.com
The M3 has been one of our favourite goggles for a couple of seasons on account of its superb lens changing system.
Eighteen rare earth magnets at nine connection points on the frame allow you to change the lens by simply pulling it off and popping the replacement back in place without even taking the goggles off.
And they have an OTG (Over the Glasses) fit so anyone can wear them.
The magnets have a pull force of 2.75 pounds each which means they’ll stay in place unless you have the mother of all wipeouts, and they come with a spare lens so you can play with the system to your heart’s content.
In addition to all this jiggery-pokery the M3 also comes with Anon’s ‘MFI’ feature, which simply stands for ‘Magnetic Facemask Integration’ – four magnetic connection points allow you to seal the supplied facemask to your goggles at a snap, as with the lens, and again this can be done without removing the goggles.
The mask is especially useful on cold, windy chairlift rides.
Other top features including venting around the entire perimeter of the lens and full anti-fog treatment, plus a low-profile frame with thinner face foam along with lenses which thin towards the edges for improved peripheral vision.
VERDICT Great looking, innovative goggles with a stack of features, but at a price.
BOLLÉ GRAVITY MODULATOR £105 www.bolle.com
If you spend a lot of your time skiing in poor light conditions the Gravity Modulator that we tested is ideal, as it comes with a category 1-3 photochromic lens which lightens or darkens right through from bad light conditions to sunny.
The high contrast vermilion blue ‘Modulator’ lens, built with NXT Trivex technology for superior clarity, adjusts automatically to changing light conditions guaranteeing optimum visibility on the most changeable of days.
The design is relatively understated other than the quite prominent outriggers which allow for a good fit with helmets, and peripheral vision is excellent, as is the comfort offered by the triple layer face foam and the lack of any ‘bulky’ feel to the goggles.
Flow-tech venting and anti-fog treatment keep the Gravity Modulator clear, and anti-scratch outer lenses mean you don’t have to be too careful about how you treat them, but the main attraction, given the price, has got to be the photochromic lens.
The downside is that Bollé decided to discontinue the Gravity this season, but it’s worth looking out for and you may even get a deal on them since they’re no longer being manufactured…
VERDICT Versatile goggles with photochromic lenses at a decent price – if you can find them.
CEBÉ HURRICANE £64 www.cebe.com
Our test model Hurricane came with a category 2 lens which is about the most versatile option if you’re not going for a more expensive photochromic lens as it will work in moderately cloudy/moderately sunny conditions and to some extent either side of that too, so if you’re looking for a budget pair of ski goggles the Hurricane is worth considering.
They provide an excellent all-round field of vision, and outriggers allow the Hurricane to be worn comfortably with a helmet, whilst the triple-layer face foam feels soft, warm and snug against your face.
The lenses are, of course, treated with anti-fog technology – in this case it’s a combination of a polycarbonate outer lens and an acetate inner lens, which Cébé claim is the best solution to combat fogging.
VERDICT Good value goggles with a good fit and a reasonably versatile category 2 lens.
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