Oakley A-Frame Goggles
Published: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Updated: Saturday, October 23, 2010 02:10
Snow goggles redefine a person's look all by themselves. They either complement or distort a person's natural features, which is a high priority for many. But, most experts, and people who spend a lot of time on the mountain, will tell you that the appearance, and even the price, of a pair of goggles should take a back seat to their all around performance. Oakley's A-Frame series, however stylish they might be, were a disappointment when it came to performance in critical situations.
Here's a rundown of their stats and a log of an experience I had with them.
Data Break Down:
Cost: Dogfunk.com (all styles): $90-130, REI (only one style): $90. Compare to Giro Manifest: $208; Dragon Mace: $145; Electric EG2: $169, Smith Phenom: $160
Fit: Designed for medium to smaller faces, and not with helmets. If you have a big face and wear a helmet, and don't mind looking like an alien version of Elmer Fud, then these are for you.
- Is the original, and leader, in field-of-vision optics
- Light weight and sits close to face
- Not as expensive as other Oakley designs, and not as expensive as other companies with a similar design
- The lenses are double-walled and made from Oakley's Plutonite® material, which are capable of enduring a serious beating
- Anti-fog smears on the inside of lens, which ruins them indefinitely
- Hi-Intensity (H.I.) lenses scratch easily
- In most cases (other than Asian Fit) they are tailored to medium and smaller heads; the caveat here is that if you have a round face, these goggles will make it look wider and rounder
- Not helmet friendly, unless you don't mind an ice-cream headache throughout the day from exposed skin
All the pro-aspects of the A-Frame I mentioned are what make the goggle such a hot item. And that's why I bought them. They truly are one of the best goggles I have used when it comes to field-of-vision, and on most days you don't notice they're even on your head. But there is one flaw in the design that is a big enough problem to never use them again.
What happened to me -on several occasions- was that the fog on the inner lens froze when it was on my face, which has never happened to me before, even with bottom-of-the-barrel Scotts. I made sure the lens was not ajar, then looked to see if the insular foam on the lens tore. Nope.
So, in a desperate attempt to get down the hill, I wiped the inside of the lens with the hem of my cotton undershirt. They cleared up and remained that way until I was able to hang them up to dry while I rested. But when I picked them up again and put them on, I noticed that there were gooey streaks on the inside of the lens. I tried to wipe them up, but only worsened the situation. My day was over. I'd lost my eyes.
I was able to get another set of lenses and gave them a second try. On a day when the snow was deep and powdery I hooked my nose after dropping off a small cornice. I cart wheeled, sending my beanie and goggles asunder, which effectively caked the inside of the goggles with snow. I knocked the brick of snow out, and resisted the temptation to clear up the ice with fabric. After 30 minutes of standing in blowing snow, I could see clearly enough to get down the hill.
I've never had a lens that gets destroyed when wiping up the inside of the lens, which is a big enough deterrent to never use them again.