The lens-change mechanism of the Manifest, called the “Pop Top,” is a spring-loaded lever at the top center of the frame that fastens over the lenses. It took awhile for me to get comfortable with the changing routine, but once the Pop Top felt broken in a bit, I was able to change out lenses in about 30-45 seconds. Changing lenses in the lodge or at the car is easy enough, but can be a bit more difficult on the lift because the Pop Top is rather hard to open and close with gloves on.
I also had some problems with the lenses not lining up perfectly after the Pop Top was pushed down. The black plastic that runs across the top of the lenses still stuck out a few millimeters, which sometimes allows moisture into the goggle.
The outriggers on the frame are supposed to keep the lenses in place, but seem to have little or no effect. They slide over the corners of the lenses without really touching them or providing any sort of structural support. Giro claims that the Pop Top design reduces stress on the lenses and frame, but I haven’t found it to add to the sturdiness of the goggle.
Which brings me to my biggest concerns with the Manifest: the lenses themselves.
I have really tried to care for these lenses, keeping them in a goggle bag every day since I received them, but they’re pretty beat up. The dark lenses have cracked at the nose from regular wear, and now they also fishbowl: water fills the space between the two lens layers. The amber lenses have scratches on the entire outer casing, and the plastic holding them to the frame has come off completely. I was surprised and disappointed to experience such durability issues in a lens made by Carl Zeiss, a company otherwise known for their quality optics.
The physical damage that has occurred to the lenses has also caused fogging issues. Recently, a humid storm here in the Wasatch was dropping a high-density snow. The temps were just below freezing, and I couldn’t keep the amber lens clear long enough to make it to the top of Collins lift. Blow-drying them in the bathroom under the hand dryer as a last resort wasn’t even enough to keep the moisture from accumulating between the two layers of plastic. It must have been entering through the top vents, or there is a crack somewhere that I can’t see. That being said, this took almost 60 days to happen, so they lasted that long, but I was hoping for a little more longevity from a high-quality lens.
I have to say that if Giro were to improve upon the quality of the lenses and the functionality of the Pop Top, the Manifest could be a very good goggle. But the bar is pretty high right now in the world of snowsport goggles, and with designs like the Oakley Airbrake, the Smith I/O, and the Anon M1 available, I’d have a hard time endorsing these goggles as a good buy when the lenses are disappointing and the Pop Top design seems to need a bit of tweaking.
The Manifest frame is comfortable and sturdy, but I think that Giro has some work to do to make the Manifest a serious contender.