Alf puts two of Oakley's bit-hitters through their paces, including the low-profile and lightweight Windjacket.

Oakley Airbrake

PRICE: £185


WHAT THEY SAY: "Optimize your vision for any condition with the pull of a switch."

WHAT ALF SAYS: The chunky Airbrake comes with outriggers for a balanced fit with or without a helmet, but you’ll notice that one of the outriggers moves out further than the other. This is to allow access to Oakley’s ‘Switch Lock’ lens change system, by which you flick open a single switch which allows you to replace the lens.

You can’t really do it with gloved hands, and the outrigger gets in the way of the lens changing operation a tad. The chances are that you’ll end up touching the lens surface when you insert the replacement, but even so it’s a fast, easy and durable system.

The lenses feature ‘High Definition Optics’. These are a collection of patented technologies that allow Oakley eyewear to meet or exceed the testing standards of the American National Standards Institute for optical clarity, visual fidelity, and impact resistance.

Although this was one of the thickest of the frames I have tested, peripheral vision isn’t compromised, and the Airbrake has a really bombproof feel to both the frame and the wide strap. If you tend to give your goggles a lot of stick and like to be able to change lenses with relative ease, these are well worth checking out.

FOR: Solid construction, easy lens changing



Oakley Windjacket

PRICE: £120


WHAT THEY SAY: "Inspired by our athletes riding in Eyeshade® on the mountain, this new design combines the best of both purpose and style. Built to withstand all of the performance standards of being on the mountain, this eyewear also feels at home in the apres ski scene ot other off-mountain activites."

WHAT ALF SAYS: Goggles or sunglasses? That’s the obvious question when you spot a pair of Oakley Windjackets, which come as a bit of a blast from the past with their 80s styling, and are likely to be something you either love or hate.

In effect the Windjackets are big sunglasses/small goggles, with arms instead of straps (but at the same time retaining helmet compatibility), a thin, removable strip of triple-layer face foam along the top for wind protection and Oakley’s Prizm lenses which provide enhanced visibility of snow contours, bumps and textures.

They’re at their most effective in warmer spring conditions when their glasses/goggles mash up works well, and you can also use them as sunnies when lounging around the bar, but you’d be unlikely to use the Windjacket in ‘real’ winter condition as they wouldn’t offer enough protection against the cold.

I could also see the Windjacket being a viable option for other activities such as mountain biking, making them potentially quite versatile.

FOR: Good for spring skiing

AGAINST: The look won’t appeal to everyone

This originally appeared in the October 2016 Issue of Ski+board - click here for a link to the online version.

Alf Alderson is an award-winning freelance ski journalist who will be working on gear reviews throughout the 2016/17 season for the Ski Club of Great Britain.