Gear trends: 2015/16 Goggles

Consumers seek a holy grail goggle for any weather condition. Check out their options on specialty retail shelves next winter.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 20 – 24. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Goggles have neverbeen one size fits all, or should we say, one lens fits all conditions.

But brands continue to widen the scope of a single goggle and what conditions it can handle — from bluebird days to blizzards. On the show floor you’ll see continued efforts to improve clarity, enlarge the field of vision and increase the ease of lens changes.

“People, consumers, retailers: they are all chasing the fastest lens change, and we believe the fastest lens change is the one you never need to make. One lens for all conditions that adjusts automatically,” said Joe Prebich, marketing director of Zeal Optics. For fall/winter 2015-16, Zeal updates its Automatic lens line with the addition of the Automatic Plus, featuring added color and clarity enhancements.

At Smith Optics, check out the brand’s new Squad Goggle (MSRP $80). Focused on clarity and providing one of the largest fields of vision, The Squad features a cylindrical lens made from molded carbonic-x material. It’s tough, but still has Fog-X technology and TLT Optics ensuring crystal-clear vision. The minimal semi-rimless frame technology and newly designed, fully integrated strap connection point delivers function without extra moving parts. For extra clarity when the elements change, Smith ships the Squad with an extra lens.

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Swing by K2 Sports, where Helmet and Goggle Category Manager Nigel Steere will tell you that he gets his inspiration “from sunny days, rainy days, snowy days, icy days and using our equipment in something known to weather forecasters in the Pacific Northwest as a ‘wintery mix’ — check our forecast, it’s real.” In response, K2 debuts the Source Z (MSRP $145) and Source (MRSP $125) rimless goggles. The Source features large connection points, allowing for easy lens loading, as well as a Drip Lip to keep melted snow from running down the lens and blocking vision. The lens on both models is a spherical lens with the Source Z upgraded with a high performance Ri-Pel coated lens. The treatment helps reduce glare.

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Included with both models is a spare lens, the Source Z’s being the Versatile Lens by Zeiss Sonar. This lens is proclaimed to be ideal for most conditions due to its heightened light contrast that provides enhanced color brightness and depth perception.

--Jessica Hamel

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