Best Oakley Goggles

As a leader in the outdoor optics industry, there’s a certain expectation of quality in Oakley goggles. Last year I spent quite a bit of time testing their Flight Deck model in-bounds at Mount Baker and thought it was an excellent option for resort riders anywhere.

Over the last few weeks, I had an early-season head start riding with their Fall Line XL model. These cylindrical goggles bring the comprehensive quality in-line with any  premium model on the market- with proven features such as Oakley’s RidgeLock lens swap system. Though the Flight Deck may be a long standing industry favorite, I enjoyed both the look and the feel of the Fall Line much more.

Below, we’ll look at the Fall Line based on our experiences riding with it and see how it compares with some of our other favorites.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Brings the A-grade visual quality that we've grown to expect in Oakley goggles
  • check-mark
    Leader in comfort and fit, with sizes for differently shaped faces
  • check-mark
    More subdued style that will appeal to those off put by other options from Oakley

Things we don't like:

  • check-markOnly comes with one lens, a big ask for such an expensive goggle
  • check-markFogs up easily unless you have some air moving through it

Where to buy:

Oakley Fall Line Xl Product Image

Oakley Fall Line XL

Slick looks and luxury performance from optics professionals

The Fall Line XL represents the best that Oakely has to offer in both comfort and style. Though we have some reservations about their cumbersome lens swap system, our time with the Fall Line XL has been nothing short of the polished, professional experience you’d a reigning champion of the outdoor optics world.

Specs & Features

  • Cylindrical PRIZM Lens Technology
  • Rimless Lens
  • Rigid Exoskeleton Frame
  • Impact Resistant Plutonite Lenses
  • Dual Ventilation and Anti-Fog Coating
  • Peripheral Awareness FOV
See the complete list of the best Ski Goggles here!

Lens Quality

Oakley consistently delivers when it comes to visual clarity in rapidly changing mountain conditions. I’ve been using the Fall Line primarily in overcast conditions that most people would consider “bad” lighting, and they’ve held up so much that I’d trust them in nearly any terrain in almost any conditions.

Alongside Smith’s Chromapop lenses, Oakley PRIZM technology represents the best in high color, high contrast outdoor optics. Nowhere does this make as much difference as it does in the snow. I took note of this last year with the Flight Deck, reveling in their on-piste prowess, and the same holds for the Fall Line.

The difference is seeing fine details in the snowpack that I would otherwise be guessing about or totally unaware of. They’re not X-ray vision or cliff detectors, but they can help make out little details when the light is flat.

I lapped the same run a couple of times in a cheap pair of goggles that I was testing out, then went back and gave it another go in the Fall Line goggles.

The high-quality PRIZM lenses improved my ability to make quick adjustments accounting for the terrain. They don’t make me ski any harder, but they certainly help me make better line choices when lighting is in question.

Persimmon 39% VLT Lenses

I opted for some lenses that would excel in the largely overcast weather conditions we experience in the Pacific Northwest. With the massive amounts of precipitation we’ve been receiving this winter, it was a prudent decision on my part.

The Persimmon lenses do the trick for any conditions short of snowing sideways. On Mount Baker, where snowfall can be patchy and mixed with varying light qualities, they’ve worked very well to keep me aware in low-light conditions while staying protected when the sun occasionally peeks through the veil.

Oakley makes a total of 23 different lenses for the Fall Line ranging from transparent to black mirrored. You should be able to find a few different options that would work for your home mountain’s conditions- and maybe spring for an extra set if you’re willing to spend the extra money.

Oakley Fall Line Xl Lens Close Up

Lens Change System

Much to my chagrin, the Fall Line uses Oakley’s Ridgelock lens change system. By far, it’s my least favorite lens change system that I’ve had the privilege of trying. By far, it’s my most significant criticism about this pair of goggles.

I can’t help but feel like I’ll break the lenses when I struggle to pry them from the frame. Because of the “frameless” style of these goggles, it’s virtually impossible to do without smearing your fingers on the lens. It requires quite a bit of effort to get them popped out and some finesse to get them reinstalled after the fact.

When you couple the effort it takes to remove your lens and the fact that you’ll likely need to give them a wipe down after the fact, don’t expect to be swapping your lenses out on the lift or in a hurry.

Despite my general distaste for it, there are a couple of good things to be said about the Ridgelock system. Its general stubbornness makes it pretty burly. You’d need to subject yourself to a pretty heinous fall to get them to pop out from the frame. Additionally, I’ve never had issues with air sneaking in through the sides, as is sometimes the case with some quick-change systems.

Oakley Fall Line Xl Face Foam Flat Lay

Ventilation and Fog Mitigation

Fog buildup is an issue that I’ve noticed consistently with the Oakley goggles that I’ve tested. I’m willing to bet it’s that they usually have larger lenses and give more surface area for moisture to build up upon and that it would be hard to build a frame with enough ventilation to do a comparable job to smaller goggles.

On this note, my very first impression of the Fall Line wasn’t very promising. There was noticeable and performance-impacting fog buildup accumulated from nothing more than milling around a parking lot waiting for some friends to get ready. It got to the point where I almost left them in the car in lieu of something I was sure would work better.

Fortunately, they cleared out entirely when I started moving downhill. The goggles have followed this trend since- trouble with fog buildup when I’m waiting in line or stopped for an extended period on the side of a run and; then clearing out when air starts circulating through them.

The Fall Lines make use of the same high-quality lens coating used by all of Oakley’s PRIZM lenses. Additionally, they have a fairly standard ventilation setup, with one long channel across the brow and two smaller openings in the cheek area.

The final verdict on their fog-resistant qualities is complicated- sure, they could do a little better job of staying clear from a convenience standpoint, but when the stakes are high and you’re underway, they never seem to have any issues.

Fit and Field of View

The Fall Line XL has a better field of view than most other cylindrical goggles that I’ve had the opportunity to try. I’ve heard some complaints about the previous version of this goggle and the tunnel vision effect that plagued many users. Yes, the frame is visible at the extreme edges of your vision, but not in a way that meaningfully impacts your ability to navigate safely.

Speaking of the frame, comfort is a category where the Fall Line XL shines most. It takes the comfort crown out of all of the goggles that I’ve tested this season and may well be in the running of the most comfortable goggle I’ve ever tried.

Looking at the build, it’s easy to see why this was the case. The frame is hearty, with several layers of thick foam and padding around the flexible plastic TPU body.

As a final note on comfort, the Fall Line XL isn’t the only size available in the upgraded version of the goggle. While it fits my face more accurately than most other goggles (a major improvement from the consistent comfort issues in the goggle’s first iteration), the XL “extra medium” size brings the same style and attitude but better accommodates smaller faces.

Oakley Fall Line Xl Side View Skier

Helmet Compatibility

As is the case with most Oakley goggles and most goggles on the larger end of the spectrum, the Fall Line XL fits reasonably well with the few helmets I’ve had a chance to pair it with. While I can’t promise a perfect fit with every lid, I can say that it is designed to pair well with most, and that’s coming from what I perceive as a very “fashion-forward” brand.

I’ll update the guide as I get the chance to try it out with more than what I currently have in stock. But, if you’re worried about optimizing your fit, you could always try to match a pair of goggles with their manufacturer’s helmet.

Conclusion

Although it does take a slightly different approach, the Fall Line XL doesn’t do anything that the Flight Deck or any other luxury resort goggles I’ve tested do. I see most models favoring a field of view and features approach; the Fall Line XL shifts its attention toward comfort and style.

When I say it focuses on style, I’m not begrudging the way they perform on the hill. I’d say it’s pretty close to ideal for anyone who wants a top-performing pair of goggles but prefers the look and feel of cylindrical lenses.

Even though I like theme goggles, I think I would leave them at home any day I wasn’t riding lift-accessed terrain. Though I didn’t have many issues with fog buildup while skiing, I can’t speak for how they hold up in warm weather or very high-exertion scenarios. The cumbersome lens change system isn’t great for making switches on the go.

Speaking of lenses, my biggest issue with the Fall Line is that they only come with one pair. This, more than anything else, puts them out of reach for budget-conscious skiers.

Oakley Fall Line XM vs XL

The Competition

The Fall Line XL is a solid set of goggles for any serious resort rider, but they’re far from the only option out there. For me, they were a leader in style and comfort, but this may not be the case for every rider out there.

If they seem interesting, but you’re worried about the oversized frame, I’d encourage you to check out the aforementioned Oakley Fall Line XM. On the other side, their Flight Deck goggles offer a similar quality experience, ramped up to maximum proportions.

Those seeking a high-quality cylindrical goggle at a more reasonable price should check out Glade Optics. We tested both their Challenger and MagFlight models and came away impressed. They might not have the same high-contrast lens tech as Oakley, but they’re more than enough for most skiers on the mountain.

For more on goggles and to see side-by-side comparisons of more of our favorites, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Brings the A-grade visual quality that we've grown to expect in Oakley goggles
  • check-mark
    Leader in comfort and fit, with sizes for differently shaped faces
  • check-mark
    More subdued style that will appeal to those off put by other options from Oakley

Things we don't like:

  • check-markOnly comes with one lens, a big ask for such an expensive goggle
  • check-markFogs up easily unless you have some air moving through it
FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What are the best ski goggles?

The best pair of goggles for you is based on your build and budget, and it’s difficult to navigate what is certainly a very flooded market. Our goggle buyer’s guide has all the details you need to make your decision, along with side by side comparisons of our favorites. In the meantime, here’s a short list of the best.

Best ski goggles

What is VLT in goggles?

VLT stands for visual light transmission, and is a measurement of how much light is filtered out by the lens of your goggles before reaching your eyes. This translates to how “bright” the world around you looks. Higher VLT means more light will reach your eyes, and should be used on overcast days while lower percentages should be saved for when it’s sunny. For more on ski goggles and how to choose the right pair for your needs, take a look at our buyer’s guide.

What is the difference between spherical and cylindrical lenses?

Cylindrical lenses are curved along one axis, like a can of soup, while spherical lenses are curved across two axii more like a beach ball or contact. Spherical lenses typically deliver higher performance results but cost more money, while cylindrical do an adequate job for significantly less. Take a look at our buyer’s guide for more information on how to narrow your search for your best pair of goggles.

What does the Oakley Prizm technology do?

Every major goggle manufacturer has their in-house take on high-contrast lens technology. PRIZM is Oakley’s method of tailoring their products for a range of environments, by filtering out specific wavelengths of light. Prizm lenses are everywhere- from fishing glasses, to ski goggles. The lineup for their snow series is designed to deliver optimal performance in alpine environments.

The Flight Deck Prizm lenses are fairly well rounded for daily use, but are available in a variety of shades and VLTs to give you more options for your specific conditions. To see how Prizm technology competes against other competitors like Smith’s Chromapop, check out our best of goggles review.

On this page

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Go to Frontpage

close