2013-2014 Oakley Elevate Goggle
• Optimized to fit small to medium faces
• Internal skeletal support system
• Flexible O Matter® chassis
• Balanced fit (with or without helmet) via fixed O Matter® strap outriggers
• Moisure wicking triple-layer polar fleece foam
• Fog elimination of dual vented lens with F3 anti-fog technology
• Protection of Plutonite® lens material that filters out 100% of all UV
• Tuned light transmission of Iridium® lens coating (optional)
• Metal icon accent
Frame Color: Houndstooth Black
Lens Color: Black Iridium
Days Tested: 45
I have a smaller face, and it can be difficult to find a google that both fits comfortably and has a large field of vision.
That’s why I was interested in the Elevate, which Oakley describes as a goggle designed for comfort, particularly for people who have small-to-medium sized faces.
After testing the Elevate for almost a whole season, I found it not only to be extremely comfortable, but that it also allows for excellent peripheral vision, provides good protection on storm days, and syncs well with my Bolle Sharp helmet.
(Oh, and some of the Elevate models are currently 50% off, including the model I’m reviewing here—see the link at the bottom of the review. Just one of the perks of thinking about snow in June.)
Fit (& Comparisons)
This season, I spent time in both the Elevate and the Bolle Duchess goggle. While the Duchess also works for small-to-medium sized faces, its lens height measures .5cm shorter above the nose, and its lens width is .75cm narrower than the Elevate’s lens.
Additionally, the Duchess has black tabs that stick out on the sides of the lens, further reducing the peripheral vision by a few more centimeters. Even though both goggles fit my face well, the Elevate provides a much better field of vision than the Duchess.
One of the features that Oakley claims increases the comfort of the Elevate is that you don’t have to overtighten the goggle straps as much as on other goggles for the Elevate to rest securely on your face. When skiing fast over bumpy terrain, I often find that other goggles tend to bounce around, hitting my nose or creating a gap between my helmet and goggles, which require me to cinch the goggles down extra tight. The Elevate, however, always sat snugly on my face without the goggle strap feeling too tight around my helmet. The back side of the goggle strap has three sticky strips, which I found prevented the strap from moving at all on the helmet.
The Elevate fits well with my Bolle Sharp helmet, and I did not experience any gaps along the edge of the goggles.
Even on the windiest, snowiest days at Alta, I never worried about the elements leaking through the goggle. The Elevate’s triple-layer polar fleece foam helps the goggle stay well insulated. The goggle is also compatible with the goggle lock on the back of the Sharp helmet.
Venting / Fogging
I spent a lot of time wearing the Elevate while touring and boot packing up Alta’s Rocky Point. In order to see how well the Elevate ventilates, I kept my helmet and goggles on during the half-hour boot pack up Rocky Point to the ridge.
Because my head got pretty sweaty, the helmet and the goggle’s inner foam were damp by the top. Although I was expecting this to happen, I was surprised that I could keep my helmet and goggles on without dying of discomfort. And more importantly, while skiing on warm days in challenging conditions where it’s easy to overheat and start sweating, the Elevate never fogged up on me.
The Elevate comes with one lens, which in my case, was Black Iridium. (The Houndstooth Black frame is also offered with a VR50 Pink Iridium lens.) Oakley describes the Black Iridium as an “all-purpose high contrast lens for sunny conditions,” and is best for medium to bright light. Although this is a darker, bright light lens (18% Visible Light Transmission), Black Iridium actually worked quite well for me as an everyday lens.
I experienced several white out and flat light days where I had trouble seeing, but the other people I was with had visibility issues, too. On sunny days, I never felt like I was straining or squinting my eyes, but still had accurate color transmission and good contrast in the afternoon shadows.
The Elevate’s lens system is pretty straightforward; all you do is snap the lens in and out of the frame. Although it’s not difficult, it’s certainly not as quick as the system on the Smith I/OS. Still, swapping lenses doesn’t take more than a few minutes. Personally, I prefer gear that I don’t have to mess around with and don’t necessarily want to be swapping out lenses everyday, or even multiple times a day. I like to have one goggle and lens for everyday use, and in this respect, the Elevate with the Black Iridium lens worked great for me.
Replacement lenses for the Elevate range from $45 to $75, which is in the middle of the spectrum for Oakley’s spare lenses. Additional Smith lenses average around $65, while some of Dragon’s lenses cost up to $120. So, as far as spare lenses go, the cost of the Elevate’s replacement lenses is about average.
The Elevate worked really well for me, whether I was skiing in the resort, boot packing, or touring. The Elevate fits securely on my helmet, allows for impressive peripheral vision, and over 45 days of use, it never fogged up on me.
And for those who find the Elevate still to be too large, it also comes in a narrower “Asian” fit. I can definitely recommend the Oakley Elevate goggle to someone with a smaller face who is looking for a comfortable and versatile pair of goggles.