Sweet Protection Firewall Goggle
Lens Tested: Satin Saphire (12% VLT)
- Supreme field of vision
- Cylindrical lens
- Anti fog
- Super oleophobic/hydrophobic coating
Test Locations: Crested Butte, Telluride, Front Range, & Ten Mile Range; CO
Days Tested: ~10
Sweet Protection is debuting a brand-new lineup of goggles for 2019/2020. The company has a reputation for making high-quality gear (see some of our reviews for reference), so expectations for their goggles were quite high here at Blister. I’ve been spending time in their Firewall frame this spring, and so far, it seems as those high expectations have been met.
I would describe the fit of the Firewall as “Medium.” But the frame is pretty flexible so, for people with bigger or smaller faces, this goggle is still worth a look.
The Firewall frame fits me very well. I have a smaller face and tend to get along best with smaller frames (like the Glade Challenger), but I’ve found that I’ve been able to get really good fits with bigger goggles that have more flexible frames like the Firewall and Smith I/O Mag XL (review coming soon).
Some goggles feel very sensitive to fit (e.g., the Smith 4D Mag), and, when possible, we’d always recommend trying on a goggle (with your helmet) before pulling the trigger. But I think that people with a pretty wide variety of face shapes / sizes will get along well with the fit of the Firewall because of its flexible frame and lens.
Like most full-frame goggles, changing the lens on the Firewall is not a very easy endeavor. The frame must be pulled away from the lens around the full circumference of the frame to coax the lens out. Then, to replace the lens, it must be slotted into a small recess in the frame around the whole goggle. It is definitely easier to change the lens in the Firewall than other full-frame goggles I’ve used (most notably, the old Smith Phenom), but it is far more difficult to change the lens on the Firewall than on goggles with magnetic lens systems (e.g., Smith I/O Mag series, Anon M series, Giro Axis & Contact, Zeal Hatchet, & Zipline XT). The lens on the Firewall is still easier to change than the lens on the Glade Challenger though.
All that said, I am not very sensitive to lens-swap systems since I tend to choose my lens at the beginning of the day and stick to it. If you’re the type of person who likes to have an extra lens in your pocket / pack and swap on the chairlifts, you’re going to be much happier with a magnetic lens system. For the rest of us, the Firewall should be ok.
Lens & Optics
I’ve been using the Satin Saphire lens (12% VLT) with the Firewall, and I’ve been very happy with it as an everyday lens. If I know it’s going to be fully bluebird or fully gray day, I’ll choose a darker or lighter lens, respectively. But for any day where I expect some sun and some cloud cover, I’ve been very pleased with the Satin Saphire lens.
The Saphire lens provides good contrast in a variety of conditions, and is passable in very bright or very gray conditions. In very flat light, I have noticed some distortion in the lens, almost like a thin film over the field of view, but this has been rather minimal.
The Satin Saphire lens has very similar contrast and mixed-light performance to the Blue lens on the Glade Challenger. Both are solid mixed-conditions lenses.
Like most do-it-all products, the Saphire lens doesn’t do as well in specific conditions as more purpose-built lenses. There are definitely better full-light and flat-light lenses on the market. But for days when I’m not sure which lens to go with, the Firewall with the Satin Saphire lens is easy to grab.
Replacement lenses will not be available next season for the Firewall, but it can be bought with eight lens options, with VLT’s ranging from 10% to 81%.
No abnormal fogging issues to report here. As with all goggles I’ve used, in high-output situations (like long hikes) the Firewall can fog up. But apart from those scenarios, I haven’t had any issues.
Field of View
Sweet Protection claims that the Firewall has a 19% larger field of view (aka, “FOV”) than its leading competitors. I would say that the FOV on the Firewall is good — especially in the upward and side directions. The downward FOV is rather similar to the Challenger, I/O Mag XL, and Zipline XT, but not nearly as good as that of the Smith 4D Mag (which is an outlier on the market for downward FOV due to its unique extended lens).
I don’t think many people will be surprised by the FOV of the Firewall (in either a good or bad way), but I do think that the FOV is good.
I’ve used the Firewall with three different helmets.
With the Smith Maze, the fit is nearly perfect, with no discernible gap along the top of the frame and brim of the helmet. The Pret Cynic X has a similarly good fit, with a small but consistent 2-4 mm gap across the top of the google / helmet-brim interface. The Sweet Protection Switcher has a good fit as well, but the gap between the helmet brim and top of the goggle increases slightly towards the periphery of the goggle. As with any helmet / goggle interface, it’s best to test it out before you purchase, if possible.
After about 10 days in the Firewall, it still looks brand new. Because of its full frame, I expect the Firewall’s lens to stay scratch-free longer than the lenses on “frameless” options — the Firewall’s frame sticks out a bit from the lens, which provides more protection than frameless goggles. I’ll be sure to update this section if any durability concerns crop up.
At ~$110, the Firewall comes in at an extremely reasonable price. Similar to the Glade Challenger and Zipline XT, the Firewall is a high-quality goggle with a moderate price tag by today’s standards.
Compared to the Challenger, the Firewall is very similar. The Challenger is a bit smaller and less flexible, so if you have a bigger face, the Firewall is a better call.
Compared to the Zipline XT goggle (full review coming soon), the Firewall has far fewer features — for the price, no goggle on the market that we’ve used can match the feature set of the XT. It has a full magnetic lens swap system for around $100. For me, however, the Firewall is more comfortable because of its flexible frame.
Sweet Protection’s Firewall goggle is the least expensive offering in their new line of goggles for 2019/2020, and it’s a goggle we have really liked. It has an extremely comfortable, flexible frame, and the Satin Saphire lens has proven to be a good all-round performer. If you’re looking for a goggle on a budget, or if you have trouble finding goggles that fit comfortably, take a look at the Firewall.