Jess DonaldJess has helped to project manage several international sporting events and now works to make these events and venues more sustainable. She lives in Chamonix, where nature and adventure are on the doorstep, driving her to work towards a more sustainable future.
The SunGod Vanguard goggles are a great combination of crystal-clear vision and a wide lens. They allow you to see the entire piste and surrounding environment with amazing clarity.
Exceptional clarity: delivering vibrant colours and sharp details
Enhanced peripheral vision eliminates blind spots
Anti-fog and anti-scratch
Comfort and Fit: there were times when I noticed the goggles pinching a little on my cheeks
The mechanism to change the lens isn’t obvious at first!
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
I’m looking for effective goggles that give me clear vision, are robust and easy to handle, comfortable and look great. I’m not great at ‘product care’, meaning I don’t tend to keep goggles in their boxes! A good product for me is a practical one, which these goggles definitely are. During the winter they live in the designated goggle pocket of my rucksack, and only during the summer do they get the full protection of their box. These goggles roll with the punches of a skiing lifestyle and provide a wide-screen TV view of the mountain – no fuss and 100% effective.
One word: BEAUTIFUL.
I chose a metallic ‘chrome’ 4KO® lens which I knew I was going to like, but I wasn’t expecting such a glistening clean, shiny silver lens when I opened the box. The chrome lens was chosen with bright conditions in mind, while I also selected a blue coloured, low light 4KO® lens to try too. As with many SunGod products, the lenses are interchangeable and replaceable should you have a mishap, and the goggles are fully customisable down to the strap. Along with the white frame I chose, they look badass!
At first I did think they might be too big but as soon as I put them on over my helmet, I realised they fit perfectly and looked slick.
they’re fully customisable down to the strap, and along with the white frame I chose, they look badass!
I tested two sets of lenses in the same frame, one suited to low light and the other to brighter days. The test involved skiing in all conditions throughout March and April in Chamonix in the French Alps. The conditions ranged from bright, sunny days to lower light, overcast days and well into the evenings. I tested them on and off-piste across different light levels to test the clarity of vision on unknown off-piste terrain. I was particularly impressed with the low light lens and liked the blue colour of them. Previous low light lenses I’ve used have been red but blue is nicer and the off-piste powder routes were much easy to decipher.
One thing to note is that I always wear a helmet, so these goggles have only been tested in conjunction with a lid! I have a Smith helmet which fits well with the Vanguards – the goggles fit snugly across the front of the helmet.
WHO ARE THESE GOGGLES FOR?
The SunGod Vanguard goggles are for all-terrain skiers and snowboarders. There’s not much more to say really, these goggles give you everything you want from the product; clear visibility, they don’t fog up, comfort, lightweight and they look awesome! The lenses, frames and strap come in a range of colours, so for anyone particularly interested in their slope aesthetics – these are definitely for you.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
These goggles are big – they are not for someone looking for discreet goggles that go unnoticed!
LENSES FOR EVERYONE
The different lens options are great. I really like the metallic I opted for and the low light lens is a nice blue. There were a couple of close second choice colour options which I still might buy to give me a selection.
The foam that sits against your cheeks is well padded and thick giving good cushioning and protection. I haven’t fallen over yet wearing these goggles so I don’t know how an impact feels but generally there’s good cushioning.
Despite the size of the goggles they are lightweight and easily fit in pockets meant for goggles in rucksacks. The box for the goggles is bulky due to its size so I ditched that and just keep them plus the spare lens in the designated pocket of my rucksack.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The cost of the Vanguards with SunGod’s standard 4KO® lens is £120, for the 8KO® lens (which has a decent bit of additional science behind it!) it’s an additional £50. It’s well worth checking out SunGod’s lens guide to find out which lenses are best suited to your activity, as the different tints have different suitabilities to light levels. The case is extra (£20) but as I’ve said, it’s quite bulky and therefore less practical for active use, but tough and handy for summer storage.
Given that SunGod’s products come with a lifetime guarantee, for me this cost bracket is reasonable. You definitely get a lot of value for spending your hard-earned cash on a pair of Vanguards.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, I rate the SunGod Vanguards highly. Compared to similar products on the market (many of which have a higher price tag), the Vanguards deliver a well-rounded product that I would definitely recommend.
My expectations based on the marketing of the goggles were pretty high. I expected them to be highly effective on the mountain, however I did not quite expect the clarity of vision and wide-angle lens to be so good. For me, these are such winning features; from a safety point of view and how much they enhance your experience in all conditions. This includes both the more low light-specific lens and the standard light, both of which I was very impressed with.
Aesthetically, I imagine opinions would be quite subjective! Perhaps not everyone is a fan of larger goggles, but in my view, once fitted with a helmet they look great. I’d also say that if the lens size enhances the incredible visibility these goggles offer, it’s well worth embracing even if it isn’t quite your style!