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This year, our family decided we would go for a skiing trip in France which was a far cry from our usual skint flint trips that were restricted to the UK. It also happened to be the first time I'd been abroad, and I was dreading the flight but thankfully at least I'd skied before.
We all wanted some new ski equipment so had to track around for a specialist store that ended up sending us miles out of our way. Their shop was stocked to the brim with sports apparel and equipment, the first thing I noticed was the wide range of goggles they had to choose from. I went straight to the Oakley branded goggles, as I've heard they're the best in terms of quality and robustness.
There was an irritating shop assistant that constantly chased me around the shop, trying to offer his unwanted help. In the end I sympathetically asked for his advice on which to buy. He recommended the Snow Cross O Frame, not surprising I thought as they were the highest priced at £35.
To my surprise, my dad didn't take much convincing to part with his cash (maybe because he later bartered the price down considerably), so I made up for it by skimping on other items I'd needed.
The glasses came in two frame colour variations including jet black and matte white - I went for the black. The strap was mostly black and included the Oakley icon in white, and the lens was persimmon in colour (which is a sort of tropical orange-yellow) I was told that it had a light transmission of 55% and let 62% of all light through the lens so not only do they perform well at their preferred dull/low light conditions but they are ideal for bright ones also. The lens filters blue light to boost contrast and increase depth perception in a wide variety of conditions.
The lens are made with the clarity of optically pure 'Lexman', treated with anti-fog and further enhanced with the persimmon colour to boost depth perception in low and flat light. A triple layer of polar fleece face foam wicks away moisture.
I'm so glad I chose these goggles, whilst the rest of the family continued to complain about falling over and blaming the visibility of their goggles. The snow didn't get inside my goggles, the tinted lens offered incredible clarity and a wide peripheral view. And though the sun happened to be blazing the whole time we were there, the lens did protect my eyes from the UV just not from the sun burn that developed beneath, saying that though it wasn't as bad as the rest of the crew! Highly recommended purchase!
When it comes to Snowboarding I think it's fair to say that until recently I preferred to wear sunglasses over goggles. It's generally because I've found that goggles steam up incredibly quickly and take an absolute age to de-steam again. That was until a recent holiday when I forgot to take my sun glasses with me and rather than buy another pair decided to try these Oakley O Frame goggles as they looked a lot better than any of the pairs I had previously, of course that's probably because my old pairs were reasonably cheap from eBay.
The main difference between the Oakley O Frames and any other pair of goggles I've owned in the past are the fog vents. The row of small holes on the inside of the goggles helps to keep them well ventilated and reduces the amount of fog that builds up inside. There is still a small amount of build up but unlike other goggles it doesn't affect your visibility too much and I've not had to take them off to clear them yet. For me that is the one thing that puts me off using goggles and it seems that Oakley have got the technology just right to keep the O Frame's fog free.
Of course for goggles to work effectively they have to be able to reduce the glare from the sun shining off the snow and that is another area where the O Frame goggles have got one up on the other reasonably priced brands. The lenses have a scratch resistant coating over the top and use a lexan lens to reduce the glare from the slope. They don't stop the glare completely like a more expensive pair of goggles would do but they do reduce it quite a bit and make the experience on the slopes that little bit more enjoyable as you don't have to squint quite as much as with other reasonably priced makes.
While the fogging of the internal lenses was always an issue for me so was finding a pair that gave a comfortable fit. While these still cause some discomfort they are nowhere near as bad as other pairs I've worn and it's only really when you take a break and stop that you notice that they aren't quite as comfortable as they had seemed whilst actually boarding. They do have a double layer of foam on the inside to try and cochin the face and to an extent this works but it isn't perfect and at times they do feel a lot bulkier and far more uncomfortable than sunglasses. The advantage of course is that one size fits all and should you find them too uncomfortable they are easily adjusted with the strap to make them a little easier to bear.
With snowboarding of course one of the most important aspects for some people is making sure you get the look right and the O frame are an inexpensive way of helping towards that goal. They are available from a number of suppliers with Amazon having them for sale anywhere between £17 and £65 depending on the supplier and the colour you opt for but as a guide they should retail for about £30. Of course from a stylistic point of view there are 18 different colours available and each of them is quite a unique colour that will match in with most seasons Snowboarding gear.
I have to say that I am incredible impressed with the quality of Oakley O Frame. They are a very reasonable price and do exactly what you will want them to do. If like me you only go once or twice a season these are good enough and do exactly what you will want them to do. Of course you can pay a lot more and get more comfortable goggles but unless you are regularly using them these provide a very reasonable alternative and work just as well for what I personally need as a recreation Boarder.