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.
Testing the Giro Blok in low light conditions at the resort.
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.
Giro's VIVID lenses are made by Zeiss, one of the industry leaders in optics.
While the lens performs its duties admirably, it can't quite match the outstanding optical clarity of the Anon M4, Oakley Airbrake XL, or the Smith I/O Mag. We put the Blok on par with the Smith Squad, one of the other cylindrical lens models, for lens quality. 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.
Testers found the Blok to have a comfortable fit and work very well with helmets.
We found their fit and comfort to be most comparable to the Smith Squad which has a similar shape and style to the Blok. We felt that the Smith I/O Mag offered roughly the same level of comfort at a significantly higher price point. Our two highest rated models for comfort are the Oakley Airbrake XL and the Anon M4, both of which have large fits and lots of coverage and will cost you more than double the price of the Blok.
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.
Giro has a unique style of ventilation on the Blok, with fabric mesh sandwiched around a soft green foam with perforated holes.
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, and their system works as well as the Smith Squad, and Anon M4. If you seek the ultimate in ventilation we suggest you check out the Julbo Aerospace with their unique pop-out lens system.
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 including the Smith Squad and Zeal Nomad. There are many models on the market with significantly easier lens change systems, including the magnetic lenses on the Anon M4 and Smith I/O Mag, or the press-fit systems on the Dragon NFX.
The classic notched lens attachment of the Giro Blok, not super difficult to change lenses, just not as easy as some.
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 like the Dragon NFX, but it can certainly hold its own with a more subdued and understated style that can stand the test of time.
The Blok has a more traditional and classic style than many of its competitors.
We feel the Blok is best suited to both skiers and snowboarders looking for an affordable, versatile, and quality goggle for resort or backcountry skiing. These goggles are lightweight and somewhat low profile making them easy to stash in your pack for hiking missions. They are also comfortable with a more classic angular look that works well with anyone's style whether you're ripping powder, groomer, or park laps at the resort.
At a retail price of only $100, 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. That said, the Blok was bested by the Smith Squad for our Best Buy Award due to that competitor's similar comfort, style, optics, and overall performance with two lenses included for the same price. We still feel that the Blok is an excellent goggle for the price, and replacement lenses are only $25.
The Blok is a great goggle for the price. We like the optics, fit, and style.
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. In the end, however, the Smith Squad bested the Blok for that distinction due to their inclusion of two lenses for the same price.
Giro makes a full line of goggles and replacement lenses for skiing and snowboarding.
goggle is available in 11 different color options, including Black Bar (tested), to suit a huge range of tastes.
Replacement lenses are available as an aftermarket purchase and there are 7 VIVID lenses ($25) that come in Onyx (14% VLT) (tested), Copper (18% VLT), Ember (35% VLT), Emerald (22% VLT), Infrared (62% VLT), Pink (32% VLT), and Royal (16% VLT).