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Lens Tech Dominates 2014

Goggle technology makes big strides for next season.

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Consumers are demanding superior vision in variable conditions. Suppliers are responding by continually refining eyewear technologies. At the Show, look for lenses for all light, enhanced fit, unrestricted vision, a revival in cylindrical lenses, and next-level user friendliness. Companies are tweaking interchangeable lens systems, while new photochromic lenses can change tint instantly. “Large fit, frameless goggles with fast-change lenses still dominate the market,” says Joel Kramer, marketing and team manager for Dye. “Solid optics, good anti-fog, breathability, and helmet integration hammer home the sale.”

Photochromic Lenses

Uvex’s Snowstrike VT is electronic, changing tint in a fraction of a second without swapping lenses. By pressing a but- ton, wearers can cycle through four different tints. New to Julbo’s line of photochromic offerings is the Universe goggle with Snow Tiger lens, which enhances color contrast and changes tint on demand. The oversized, minimalist frame gives skiers maximum vision in changing light. “Photochromic lenses are far more versatile and user friendly than inter- changeable lenses” says Julbo president Nick Yardley.

Bollé’s updated Nova II has a 25 percent wider lens for increased peripheral vision with the photochromic Modulator, a 50 percent polarized lens. “Fully polarized lenses can make it difficult to distinguish between snow and ice, and photochromic is the future,” explains Marti Hatridge, Bollé eyewear brand manager.

Interchangeable Lens systems

When it comes to interchangeable lenses, Electric contends swappable is king. The company’s new EG3 premium quick- change spherical lens goggle has a moisture-tight lens-to- frame seal. Anon, which made a splash at last year’s show with the M2, brings its Magna-Tech Quick Lens Change to the women’s WM1. The goggle uses seven points of mag- netic contact and an ultra-secure lens-to-frame seal. “Quick lens change technologies and a resurgence of oversized cy- lindrical goggles are the biggest trends,” says anon PR man- ager, Melody Pfeiffer. Dragon’s new NFXs, a smaller ver- sion of the ISPO-winning NFX, offers quick lens change in a cylindrical style. Smith’s hot cylindrical offering is the Squad while its new I/O 7 goggle uses a single quick re- lease to change lenses. Outriggers improve helmet-goggle interface, and dual zone Air-Evac vents reduce fogging.

Shred Optics introduces the Smartefy, a small-frame near-rimless spherical goggle for smaller faces. It features Shred’s No BS Lens Replacement System, enhanced with lower friction notches and a Poron filter to equalize pressure between double lenses in changing altitude. Dye expands the offerings on its CLK goggle. The lenses swap out with the “click” of two hidden buttons. Dye calls it “insanely fast and simple lens change.”

Enhancing Fit and Expanded View

“We made it easier than ever to achieve perfect fit,” says Jake Strassburger, alpine commercial manager for Atomic. The Savor 3, a cylindrical double-lens goggle with extra-wide field of vision, molds to the contour of your face using y-cuts and triple-layer foam. Electric’s new cylindrical-lens RIG goggle nails helmet compatibility with articulating outriggers that pull tension from temples and evenly distribute pressure at contact points.

Oakley’s rimless new Flight Deck and A Frame 2.0 feature high peripheral vision interchangeable lenses in a minimal frame, with superior fit and helmet compatibility, while K2 goggles continue to perfect helmet-goggle integration.

Addressing the demand for increased peripheral vision, Von Zipper introduces the Feenom NLS. “It’s a coming of age for our classic Feenom,” says Stephen Duke, Von Zipper snow team manager. The NLS has more peripheral vision and improved hinges for helmet integration on a clean, modern frame.

K2’s value-priced, semi-frameless Photoantic DLX has a large format lens for a new school look and increased vision. K2 also introduces the Sonar by Zeiss lens into its line for maximum contrast and visibility across a range of light conditions. Salomon debuts the X-Tend goggle, which features greater field of vision and scoop-shaped vents that create low pressure zones to pull moisture away and reduce fogging.

Tech Talk

Zeal’s new camera goggle “gives us so much more fit flex- ibility thanks to more lens availability,” says Carl Walker, Zeal product specialist. “All aspects of the camera have been improved, including Wi-Fi integration that lets users upload directly to social media.” Zeal is also introducing a higher transmission and efficiency polarized lens that will “open up new avenues for low-light polarized lenses,” says Walker.

(From the SIA Show Preview)