Oakley Airbrake Review

Oakley Airbrake

Oakley has long been one of the best eyewear industries in the business, and they make some excellent ski goggles. Their Airbrake goggles are a perfect example of that. The tough goggles have great traits that excel across many different conditions and will hold up rain or shine.

Quick Summary

  • Where to Buy: Amazon
  • Best for: Resort and backcountry skiers who value durability and comfort.
  • Pros: Sleek design, easy to change lenses, durable, Prizm technology
  • Cons: Expensive, can let wind in at higher speeds
  • Alternatives: Smith Range, Smith 4D Mag, Julbo Cyrius

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I also know quite a few skiers who have worn these goggles and have spent ample time researching each and every trait.

Detailed Review

Oakley Airbrakes are great in both form and function. They are extremely stylish, are available in many different colors, and come with patented PRIZM technology. They have the toughness you need in rough conditions, but also inner foam padding and flexibility for a comfortable all-day fit. Those features make them great for both in and out-of-bounds.

A Tough Frame

When getting goggles, you need to ensure they come with a sturdy, reliable frame. The Airbrakes excel in that area thanks to their tough, rigid exoskeleton. Not only does that rigidity help with fit, but it also eliminates distortion and enables you to better see while you’re out on the slopes.

The frame also works well with helmets and is compatible with a wide range of different styles. That means you’ll be able to use them no matter what your setup looks like. The strong construction is also impact-resistant, which is a great bonus for people who don’t want to have to go out and get new eyewear each and every year.

All About the Lenses

Every ski lens needs to give you visibility in rapidly shifting or tough conditions, and that’s where the Oakley Airbrakes truly shine. These goggles come with HDO (High Definition Optics) that allow you to see at just about every angle. On top of that, the 100 percent UV filtering means you’ll lose no visibility in cloudy or sunny environments.

These also utilize Oakley’s much-touted Prizm lens, which is a knockout in just about every product they make. It blocks specific wavelengths along the color spectrum so you get the maximum amount of contrast as you ride. That’s the number one reason these goggles work so well in terms of both visibility and sight.

If you do get caught with the wrong lens, you can also easily change it out thanks to Oakley’s Switchlock Technology. Being able to quickly get a new view can be incredibly important, especially for skiers in tumultuous areas. Oakley’s advancement minimizes such issues in a big way so you’ll always be prepared.

Comfort and Fit

Every skier understands the importance of comfort, especially when it comes to goggles. The Airbrakes will hold up no matter how long you’re out on the slopes. That’s because they are comfortable to wear and feel great on your skin, while also made to form to your face.

Oakley has reinforced these with special triple-layer polar fleece foam that feels like a dream. It prevents you from getting sore, and also actively wicks away moisture so you stay dry and cool no matter how much snow dumps down or how hard you push yourself.

Another huge bonus of these goggles is the O Matter inner faceplate. Rather than just sitting on your face, they mold to you in a way that ensures cold air stays out while warmth stays in. It’s easy for goggles to say they seal and then don’t work, but you’ll have no such issue here.

Backing that up is an impressive strapping system with a unique goggle connection that further allows the eyewear to conform to your face. That allows them to stay on perfectly, and it works with just about any face, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not. The strap is also silicone-backed, a feature that prevents them from slipping or sliding around.

If you do go extremely fast, they can let in air and cause your eyes to water a bit, but that’s a small price to pay for the excellent results.

Two-Layer Ventilation

Hand-in-hand with comfort is good ventilation. Nobody wants their goggles to fog up during the day, nor do you want to run hot while you’re pushing yourself during a long day. Luckily, the Oakley Airbrakes tackle both of those issues in different ways.

These come with dual vented lenses that, true to their name, provide extra ventilation to ensure you never fog up. That then works well with the 360-degree frame venting that promotes airflow when you’re wearing a helmet. Both features keep your face cool and your eyes clear of any annoying fog.

As with so many high-end goggles on the current market, the Airbrakes also make use of anti-fog technology. The F3 that Oakley uses is excellent all the way around. You’ll almost never have any issues with fogging thanks to the dual-attack, with venting and the coating both working to ensure your vision stays sharp and clear.

What I Like

The most impressive feature here is the excellent lenses. The Prism technology works exactly as advertised, and the quick-change system is both easy and intuitive. Being able to see at all angles in different environments is one thing, but being able to get the exact lens you need at the drop of a hat is just incredible.

You also get premium ventilation with the Airbrakes. The dual-vented lenses and F3 anti-fog coating work together to create some of the best airflow on the market. Any skier at any ability level will be able to appreciate riding fog-free.

I especially love the tough construction that allows them to hold up under any environment. That means they are easy to wear on groomers, but also have what it takes for people who want to venture into the backcountry. Great for all slopes, regardless of the conditions.

What I Don’t Like

There’s a lot to like with the Airbrakes. However, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect goggles. Many will find them a bit expensive, which is definitely a barrier to owning anything that Oakley makes. If you want or are searching for a budget option, these probably aren’t for you.

Something else to note, as mentioned above, is that these goggles can let in a bit of air if you’re zipping down the mountain at high speeds. Their seal truly is great, but you may get watery eyes from time to time.

The Alternatives

If you want a tough pair of non-Oakley goggles that are also durable and comes with excellent comfort/ventilation, take a look at these items:

  • Smith Range – These goggles are a great budget item for skiers who still want a comfortable pair without paying an arm and a leg. You won’t get top-shelf clarity or precision, but they have pretty good edge-to-edge visibility and a tough frame.
  • Smith 4D Mag – If you don’t mind paying more for a quality goggle, these are worth a look. The 4D Mag will give you the same great construction you’ll find in the Airbrakes but comes with even better visibility. The BirdsEye Vision technology gives you a much wider field of view, even if there is a bit of distortion at the lens curve.
  • Julbo Cyrius – If you’re in search of something that also has excellent ventilation and comfort, the Julbo Cyrius is a good way to go. As with Airbrakes, you’ll find a flexible frame here that helps the goggles fit in the exact right way.

FAQ

Do Oakley Airbrake Goggles come with an extra lens?

Yes. You get one that works for sunny conditions and another that works in low-light environments.

Will the Oakley Airbrake Goggles fit over glasses?

Unfortunately, no. Oakley Airbrakes have a tighter frame that doesn’t work with other eyewear. You need Over the Glasses (OTG) models for that.

Are the Oakley Airbrake Goggles easy to use?

Yes, these goggles utilize Switchlock technology to ensure that the lenses can be quickly swapped out. Anyone at any level can use them to great effect.

Final Verdict

When it’s all said and done, the Oakley Airbrakes are a fantastic premium goggle. While they definitely cost a bit more, the ventilation, extreme comfort, unique lens technology, and easy change system make them more than worth the price.

These will give you excellent results no matter how you want to ski. The ability to reduce fog works for all skiers at all levels and the comfortable fit is something both newcomers and more advanced riders will be able to appreciate. If you want quality, it’s hard to do better.

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