Giro Blok Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, comfortable, fits great with helmets
Cons: One lens included, relatively basic
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Giro is probably best known for their cycling and snowsports helmets, but they have been putting out quality snow goggles for the better part of the past decade. They make an entire range of goggles for skiing and snowboarding, from very high-end to more reasonably priced models like the Blok. The Blok is a relatively simple goggle with quality Zeiss cylindrical lenses, a classic but stylish look, and a high level of comfort.
Like many snow goggle manufacturers, Giro has partnered with one of the industry leaders, Zeiss, for their lenses. The lenses used on the Blok are cylindrical, meaning that curve only on the X, or horizontal, axis, unlike spherical lenses which curve on both the horizontal and vertical axes. While some people will complain that cylindrical lenses aren't optically correct and distort your vision, it is really hard to notice unless you are testing goggles back to back and really focus on the differences between lenses. Such is the case with the VIVID lenses of the Blok. They offer a very clear view that is nearly as good as the more expensive spherical lenses on the market, and certainly on par with the other cylindrical models we tested. The VIVID Onyx lens that came in our test model was fantastic in bright light conditions but didn't bring up the contrast especially well in the shade or overcast flat light conditions. That said, the Onyx tint we tested only has a 14% VLT, so if we were using these goggles in mixed conditions more often we would probably get a different lens for them.
While the lens performs its duties admirably, it can't quite match the outstanding optical clarity of our award winning goggles. That said, the clarity of the Blok's lenses is pretty darn good and more than adequate for most people in most situations.
Comfort is one of the Blok's strongest suits. They have a "large" fit, but testers with both medium and large facial structures found these goggles to fit them pretty well. The shape of the frame is a little more traditional than many of the models we tested, and this shape is very agreeable with no pressure points to speak of. The triple layer face foam is soft, and the frame itself is relatively pliable to conform to varying face shapes. The strap is plenty wide and has two thin beads of silicone all the way around the inside of it to grip and hold them in place on your hat or helmet. The goggle frame is nice and flat across the top, and they fit incredibly well and gap-free with virtually every helmet. With all of that mind, we found the Blok to provide an ample amount of comfort for a day on the hill.
Ventilation and Breathability
During testing we found the ventilation and breathability of the Blok to be solid. The frame has ventilation all the way around its perimeter with a unique design that testers found to work quite well. Instead of the thin open-cell foam found on most goggles, the Blok has a thin green foam that is perforated with 3mm wide holes sandwiched between a more open fabric mesh. We found this system to work well, with adequate ventilation without excessive airflow around the eyes. Additionally, Giro has applied an anti-fog coating to their cylindrical VIVID lenses which we found to work very well until the temperatures reach sauna-like temperatures.
These goggles ventilate well enough that we would recommend them for both resort and backcountry skiing, so long as you don't hike uphill with them on your head all day long. We rank these among the top of the heap in terms of ventilation.
Ease of Changing Lenses
The Blok has a pretty standard lens/frame interface in the form of numerous notches around the edge of the lens that snap onto small posts in the inner lip of the frame itself. This lens attachment system is reliable and works well, although changing lenses is a bit more time consuming than many of the higher end models we tested. Changing the lenses on the Blok requires pulling with moderate force on the frame to separate it from the lens as well as lining it back up and pushing with a similar amount of force to secure it back in place. Many goggle designs share this attachment style which has proven itself for years. There are many models on the market with significantly easier to change lenses, but for most users the Blok is just fine .
After our testing concluded we thoroughly checked the Blok for damage or premature wear. Despite plenty of use skiing hot laps at the resort and being stuffed into a backpack for a number of backcountry ski runs, the Blok appears no worse for the wear. The lenses have zero scratches inside or out, and the face foam, strap, and vents all are in fine condition. The unique ventilation system looks to be somewhat more durable than the typical fragile open-cell foam that comes on most goggles. The strap, on the other hand, is a little thinner and flimsier feeling than most of the competition. That said, we see no reason why the Blok wouldn't last you for several seasons if cared for properly.
The Blok has a little more of a classic and angular style than many of the models in our test selection. Goggles have had this general look for decades, and Giro has made a visually appealing goggle that fits well with or without a helmet in the Blok. It doesn't have the space-age or bug-like looks of some of the new super large or bulbous frameless competitors, but it can certainly hold its own with a more subdued and understated style that can stand the test of time.
With a price that's easy on the wallet, the Blok is one of the least expensive models in our test selection. Considering the excellent fit, comfort, ventilation, and good quality optics, we feel this is a good value. The Blok was in the running for our Best Buy Award but other options with similar comfort, style, optics, and overall performance, and with two lenses included for the same price, edged out the Blok. We still feel that the Blok is an excellent goggle for the price, and replacement lenses are relatively inexpensive.
It may not be the flashiest goggle in our test, but the Blok impressed our testers with its relatively good optics, ventilation, high level of comfort, and reasonable price. This is a somewhat basic set of goggles, but they have solid scores across the board that nearly earned them our Best Buy Award.
— Jeremy Benson