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Wiley X claims their eyewear offers "High Velocity Protection," and in the case of the SG-1 goggle, it's a lot more than a marketing term. Classified by the optics company as a safety and tactical goggle, the SG-1 has plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts, with low weight, a close fitting profile and secure strap to go along with easily interchangeable lens options.
Occupying a space somewhere between full on race wrap sunglasses and ski goggles – they harken to the strapped Oakley water jackets glasses – the SG-1 will hit the sweet spot for some and be a jack of all trades, master of none for others.
The coverage is full-on goggle, with total protection from any trailside or ski run obstacles. No stray branch is going to slide under the lens or piece of gravel kick up into your eye. The close fit initially caused some concerns about ventilation and fogging, but the company's Top down venting system seemed to handle temperature control to keep the lenses clear.
The optics are designed to be military grade (seriously, the goggles are authorized for use with the U.S. and Danish militaries), and the tested clear lenses didn't disappoint. There was no distortion at any corner of the lens and the field of vision was top notch with nearly 100 percent peripheral vision intact.
Fit is close, as expected, though the goggle-inspired profile doesn't have the thick nose padding like a pair of dedicated snowsports goggles. This can make a perfect fit tough to achieve for those with a prominent nose bridge and can cause long-duration comfort issues.
A hybrid design that isn't a true goggle and certainly isn't sunglasses, the SG-1 is most at home on the Nordic ski trails in less-than-perfect weather or on a bike. The wind blocking is far above all but the most oversized and ridiculous sunglasses and for off roaders, the secure strap keeps everything where it should be while being thin enough not to create issues with helmet straps. And for protection, the SG-1 is overbuilt for most outdoor applications, meeting stringent ANSI safety ratings for impact and velocity standards. Basically, it's enough for the military, your after-work loop shouldn't provide much of a challenge.
The SG-1 goggle's greatest strength is its greatest drawback, because while the function-first design is rock solid for low light outdoor activities (or sunny days with optional smoke lenses), they have no place on the back of the truck or the bar for beers after. Think of them like Lycra. On the bike, the performance is second to none. But you wouldn't want to be seen like that stopping to pick up milk on the way home. (MSRP $114)
Alex Strickland was born and raised in possibly the least mountainous and outdoorsy city in America – Memphis, Tenn. Despite the lack of trails and people to enjoy them with, he became a hiker, mountain biker and runner. Today, he's traded up for the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and added skiing to the mix, once someone explained what snow was.
A former newspaper editor in small-town Montana, Strickland enjoys freelance writing and photography for publications around the Mountain West and sharing his love for the outdoors through his work.
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