In 2014, Oakley introduced the Flight Deck goggle with PRIZM lens technology. I absolutely loved it and wrote rave reviews. Three years later, in 2017, I continue to turn to this goggle time, and time and time again.
The Flight Deck goggle draws inspiration from the helmet visors worn by fighter pilots; the end goal for Oakley was to offer the widest field of view while remaining fully helmet compatible. I’d say they hit the nail on the head.
The large frame size and clean, rimless design yield a field of view that’s unrivaled—in my humble and correct opinion. Having sported the Flight Deck with helmets from upwards of one dozen brain-bucket-manufacturers, I can say quite confidently that you’d be hard-pressed to find a lid that doesn’t fit seamlessly with this goggle.
The additional bonuses are plentiful. I love the catchy, spaceman-esque look. This goggle turns heads everywhere I roam. And despite the oversized look, it fits very well on small and medium faces. I often recommend the Flight Deck to folks who wear prescription glasses; the frame and its foam fit well over most any pair of glasses and the lens sits far enough away from the face that you shouldn’t experience any “inappropriate grinding” between the glasses and the lens. Furthermore, discreet frame notches at the temple are designed specifically to provide compatibility with most RX eyewear frames.
Not to be overlooked, the face foam is mighty plush, providing for long, comfortable days on the hill. Said foam is also highly adept in the moisture-wicking department. I have not experienced any fogging with these goggles, except for rare cases where my mouth and nose are covered by a facemask and my heart-rate goes through the roof.
And then there’s the PRIZM tech.
In a nutshell, PRIZM provides increased contrast and boosted color, and thereby extreme optical pleasure.
In more technical terms, PRIZM boosts contrast by emphasizing certain wavelengths along the color spectrum. We like to compare this technology to an equalizer on a stereo; in the same way that one might crank the bass while enjoying a hip-hop track, PRIZM breaks light into individual colors and boosts certain ones while filtering out others. You as a PRIZM user thereby observe an enhancement in the contours, details and definition of snow environments. This allows you to see clearer, react quicker and ride with more confidence.
Many goggle manufacturers out there produce their own proprietary lens tech. Spy’s Happy Lens, Dragon’s Lumens and Smith’s ChromaPop are just a few examples. These variations are all fantastic in their own right and are worth exploring. I’ve tried much of what’s out there and Oakley’s PRIZM remains my go-to.
Regarding the various PRIZM tints, I’ve tested Sapphire Iridium (blue, above), Torch Iridium (red, below), Rose and HI Pink (pink, below). Both Sapphire Iridium and Torch Iridium (11 – 20% VLT) work wonderfully in both sunny and cloudy conditions. I can’t stress this enough: You can sport this lens on the brightest of days and also on a crumby, super-gray day. When light is ultra-flat, Rose PRIZM (21% + VLT) has you covered, while providing plenty of versatility. HI Pink (around 25% VLT) can be turned to when you encounter the nastiest of fog.
Candidly, the Flight Deck’s gasket-like Ridgelock lens-change system is not the most user-friendly. But, when you’re sporting the likes of the Sapphire or Torch Iridium PRIZM lenses (I recommend these above all others), you simply won’t need to swap lenses—hardly ever. Any reservations about the versatility of these lenses should be discarded.
All told, the peripheral vision coupled with the boost in contrast and color will open up your world and inspire confidence while skiing. What more could you ask for from a goggle?
Also worth checking out: For springtime backcountry skiing missions, the Wind Jacket sunglasses with PRIZM lenses are a must-have.