Born out of the bone-chilling winters of the Mad River Valley in Vermont, Glade Optics is an eyewear brand dedicated to bringing top notch goggles directly to the consumer at a seriously awesome price point. Offering the same, head-turning style as the top brands in the ski industry, a variety of high-performance lenses and customizable design options, Glade provides everything that skiers seek from a pair of goggles, for a price that fits a skier’s budget.
Just prior to the New Year, we received a pair of Glade’s newest goggles in the FREESKIER offices: the Challenger model with cylindrical lens. Included in the package were two lenses: one Polarized Silver and one Low-light Orange, which can be swapped easily and on-the-go with small tabs along the frame of the goggle. At first glance, the Challenger is reminiscent of top offerings from Oakley, Giro and Electric—but Glade’s latest goggle has a singularity to its style.
I’ve had the chance to use these goggles over the past few weeks at different resorts around the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and they’ve held up with flying colors for a few notable reasons. First of all, the lens performance of the Challenger goggles is markedly impressive. The Polarized Silver lens cuts glare and enhances contrast, casting a yellow-ish hue over your surroundings; the Low-light Orange lens provides that additional bit of color enrichment and boosted contrast necessary on low-visibility days. Both lenses are also scratch- and fog-resistant and their cylindrical shape provides an enormous field of view.
Wearing the Challenger Goggle with a helmet is also notably comfortable—I didn’t experience any pinching or pressing, which can happen when pairing helmets and goggles from different brands. The double-layer face foam and ultra-flexible TPU frame allow the goggle to rest easy on over your eyes and on your face, while large air vents help prevent fogging.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Challenger Goggle—and Glade Optics, in general—is the ability to customize the product. For the Challenger Goggle, skiers are able to choose from six different lens tint options, including an all-new Photochromatic lens that automatically adjusts to the lighting conditions around you. Straps are also offered in white and black, for increased individuality.
Challenger Goggles start at $89 for versions with Non-Polarized lenses (add $45 for any additional Non-Polarized lenses), but upgrading to a Polarized or Photochromatic lens option is highly recommended and assuredly won’t break the bank. For only $99, Glade’s Challenger Goggle is available with either of the aforementioned lens treatments, and replacement or extra lenses are sold for only $55.
All in all, Glade Optics provides a high-performance goggle meant for the everyday resort skier, the backcountry powder hound and everyone in between. The company’s direct-to-consumer business model also ensures top notch customer service and the lowest price point possible for all of the products it sells. If you’re seeking a goggle that’ll last multiple seasons, that’ll stand out for its “worth writing home about” functionality, that’ll turns heads with customizable style and that won’t force you to take a second job to afford it, Glade’s Challenger Goggle is the perfect fit.