I was excited to try the Bolle Scarlett Goggles with NXT Photochromic lenses, which claim to automatically darken and lighten in response to changing light conditions; making the lens darker when conditions are bright, but increasing the visible light transmission when there’s less sun.
Bollé is one of those brands that I’ve always seen but never really tried. I knew they made goggles, but I didn’t know anything else about them.
Bolle Scarlett Fit
The first thing I noticed when I picked up these Bollé Scarlett Goggles is that they felt less substantial than the goggles I typically wear, a pair of large frameless spherical Dragons. I appreciated how the Scarlett’s smaller footprint fits better with ski helmet, eliminating the pressure on my nose, which I frequently experience with my larger Dragons. Also, the flexible frame moved easily to match the shape of my face.
How a goggle looks isn’t the most important part of picking a goggle, but it darn close. And in that regard, these Bollé Scarlett snow goggles do a great job adding interest without being stereotypically feminine. I love the floral swatches on either side of the strap, and colorful stripe on the left side of the frame. These details add a pop of color which helps the goggles stand out while maintaining a sleek look.
There were downsides though. That flexible frame felt too soft somehow as if they were made from lower quality material. They felt fine on my face and held up to regular wear, but handling them you could tell they weren’t top quality.
The other problem was coverage. I felt cold through the gap between my goggles and helmet, as well as around my temples. Probably because they’re not quite as large as my usual goggles. On a still day, this probably wouldn’t be an issue, but on a cold and windy day, it was quite noticeable. My face felt cold even with my neck gaiter pulled up.
I have to say I honestly didn’t think the NXT Photochromic lenses would be as good as they were. Every morning on the mountain I struggle to pick the right tint for the conditions, and more often than not wind up disappointed with the decision I made. And the day I first tried the Scarletts would have been especially challenging, as variable lighting conditions saw me skiing in everything from heavy snow to full sun. But with these Bollés I experienced seamless adaptability that always gave the perfect amount of protection.
And for the most part, the tint adjusted without me even noticing. People I was riding with commented on the tint changing with the weather, but from my perspective, everything always looked “right”. The only time the lenses let me down was the few runs we were in strong direct sun. Try though they might the NXT lenses just never got dark enough to give me the protection I wanted for full sun. And I expect they’d have a similar problem in low-light or night conditions, never actually getting light enough for ideal visibility.
All told I’m very happy with the Bollé Scarlett Googles ($119.95). The photochromic lenses were a life-saver for someone who usually can’t be bothered to think about their gear selection, but also comfortable with just enough design detail to be interesting and fun. They’re definitely going to become full-time residents of my boot bag, and will probably be my first pick for everything but full bluebird days.
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