Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comfortable, two lenses, flush frame/lens interface, great protection, durable, great snit-fogging capabilities.
Cons: Expensive, must keep the strap tight to avoid sliding.
Best Uses: Inbounds and backcountry skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling.
The Oakley Airbrake won our Editors' Choice award. This goggle stood out with fantastic lens optics, comfort, and protection from the elements. It has a contemporary style and great fit for most size heads. But when the dust settled, the ease of changing lenses and the security of then lens in the frame is what pushed this goggle to the top of our goggle search. This is truly a 2-in-1 product.
See all of the products we tested in The Best Ski Goggles Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Hands on Comparison
This goggle worked well in the sun, wind, and rain. The frame was moderately flexible, allowing it to fit our testers' faces well. Because of this good fit, we did not notice gaps around the edges of the frame. While skiing at high speeds it did a fantastic job of keeping wind out at the top and on the sides.
While testing the breathability of this product we tried to get it to fog up while skinning up hill. Most users will not use their goggles to go uphill, but the fogging that occurs is most commonly generated by the user and hiking uphill is a fantastic way to test the breathability. This design did a great job of venting out the moisture created from within. The vents worked well, allowing in enough air exchange. The anti-fogging coating also did its job well. Even when they did fog it was always possible to get them to unfog with the airflow produced by descending. The lens to frame interface really made this goggle stand out. The lens sits flush with the frame, allowing outside moisture to flow off of the lens without collecting in the corners. It is never advisable to wipe the lens with anything hard that can scratch it. However, sometimes there you have no choice but to clear the water or snow. Having the flush frame aids in the ease of clearing moisture off the frame with a soft cloth.
The anti-scratch coating worked well on the Airbrake. This particular goggle saw the most use of all the contenders, but still showed the least amount of scratches of the products tested. The storage bag that comes with the goggles has an extra internal sleeve for storing the second pair of lens. This goggle also comes with a thick storage tote.
This goggle is best suited for inbound or backcountry riding. It works well for any snow sport where clear vision is required and the light can change on a moment's notice. With two lenses offering superior optics, any rider is sure to have one more reason to say "that was an epic run" even when conditions are sub par.
This is not an entry level goggle. This is the goggle everyone should have to stay at or get to the top of their game. The price tag may cause some riders to shy away. However, anyone that has said I wish I had a pair of low light goggles will appreciate having two sets of lenses. Furthermore, once you try on these goggles in comparison to those with a lower quality lens, it will become clear why it was the Editors' Choice. This is the goggle you buy once and use forever, so it is worth every penny.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Oakley Splice, $120, is a quality goggle with clear optics.
In some places the Universal Soft Goggle Case
The Airbrake Replacement Lens, $45, is a replacement lens for your goggles, should yours break.
— Aaron Zanto
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 11, 2014
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