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Giro Contact Goggle

Cy Whitling reviews the Giro Contact Goggle for Blister Gear Review

Giro Contact Goggle

Giro Contact Goggle

Frame Color: Black Wordmark

Lens: Persimmon Boost (52% VLT)

Features:

  • EXV – Expansion View Technology
  • SNAPSHOT – Magnetic Interchange Lens System
  • Triple-layer face foam with micro-fleece facing
  • Anti-Fog Coating

MSRP:

$240 with two Flash lenses
$300 with one polarized lens & one Flash lens

Days Tested: 6

Test Locations: Porters Ski Area, Craigieburn Valley, NZ

Intro

It’s no secret that we’re fans of the Anon M1 and M2 goggles and their lens retention system that utilizes magnetic attachments to make swapping out lenses incredibly easy. Giro now has their own take on that concept, with their top-of-the-line Contact goggle.

The Contact employes Giro’s “SNAPSHOT” Lens retention system. Like the M1, the Contact has six magnets arranged around the edge of each lens, along with another six in the frame of the goggle. But unlike the M1 and M2, Giro has also included a locking tooth on one corner of the lens, along with an accompanying button on the top of the frame. This was done to provide an extra level of security to keep the lens locked into the frame, while still permitting quick lens swapping that doesn’t require you to take the goggles off your face.

Lens Retention System

In theory, the SNAPSHOT system sounds perfect. It provides a bit of added insurance that your lens will stay in place in a crash, and it makes it easier to remove the lens from the frame, since pushing the button also pushes out the edge of the lens from the frame, allowing you to grab and swap out the lens without ever touching the front or back of it.

It needs to be said, however, that after hundreds of days in the Anon M1 and M2, three different Blister reviewers have never had a single issue of the lens popping out. So in our view, the Contact’s additional level of security isn’t a solution to a real-world problem, but it does provide additional peace of mind to those who are skeptical of the Anon retention system.

In practice, however, the Snapshot system was a little less simple than it appeared. The button is small, soft, oddly shaped, and hard to push. With a little practice, I was able to easily pop my lens on and off without gloves on, but add a helmet and thick gloves to that equation, and things become much more difficult.

This is largely due to the shape and softness of the button. It barely protrudes above the top of the frame, which makes it hard to find by feel, especially when wearing gloves. On top of that, the button has a soft, rubber sheath over a harder plastic knob. That means you have to feel around a little to find the actual inner button and depress it.

Cy Whitling reviews the Giro Contact Goggle for Blister Gear Review

Giro Contact SNAPSHOT button

While not incredibly easy to use, this isn’t too much of an issue if you are wearing thin gloves and no helmet. But if you have on a pair of thicker gloves and a helmet, things get much more difficult, since that button is located in the small gap between helmet and goggles. (But really, this is only a big deal if removing your gloves to swap lenses is a deal breaker.)

All that said, the SNAPSHOT system does have some advantages. The biggest is that depressing the button pushes the lens out from the frame. This means you will never fumble for an edge or smudge your lens at all when swapping it out. Instead, the Contact’s lower frame (below the eyes and around the nose) is flexible enough that you can simply push the button, grab the edge of the lens that pops out, and flex the lower goggle frame to pop the lens all the way out.

Unfortunately that flexible lower portion of the goggle frame is a double edged sword. It does make the lens easier to pop out, but it may do this too well. Regularly when I went to push the goggles up on my face I would collapse this lower frame, effectively popping the lower lens out of the frame.

While the lens never would fall out—the top clip prevents that—it was disconcerting to have a gap open between the lens and frame. This could be an issue in any crash that involves a serious facial impact, since it’s very easy to fold the flexible frame away from the rigid lens.

Of course, a more flexible frame means the goggle will adapt more easily to different face shapes, but I’ve never really run into that being an issue with stiffer framed goggles.

Fit & Field of Vision

Giro lists the Contact as a “Large size adult EXV semi-frameless design,” and I found that to be mostly accurate. They’re comparable in size and have a marginally better field of view than my previous Zeal Forecast goggles, and they fit about the same and have slightly less field of vision than the Marker Projector +.

With respect to the Smith IO and the Anon M1, the Contact falls between the two in terms of size. Of course, your best bet is to go into a shop with your helmet and try them on to make sure they’ll work with your face, but these recommendations should offer a starting point.

Cy Whitling reviews the Giro Contact Goggle for Blister Gear Review

Cy Whitling in the Giro Contact Goggle.

At no time was I frustrated by the Contact’s field of vision. They’re don’t have the huge FOV of something like the Electric EG2 or the Von Zipper Fishbowl, but they also don’t make my face feel like it’s being swallowed by a space helmet as those other goggles do.

NEXT: Helmet Compatibility, Optics, Etc.

7 Comments

  1. Robin October 30, 2015 Reply

    What is the green shell that Cy is wearing on page 2?

    • Cy Whitling October 30, 2015 Reply

      Hey Robin!

      That’s the Sweet Protection Supernaut Jacket

      • Blister Member
        Jamie November 4, 2015 Reply

        Hi Cy.

        Have you had a chance to put much time in the Sweet Protection Supernaut Jacket / are you doing a review of it? Quite keen to find out a bit more info on it as i’ve had my eye on it…

        Cheers,

        Jamie

        • Cy Whitling November 4, 2015 Reply

          Hey Jamie!

          I put about 8 days in it while we were in NZ over the summer, before I passed it off to another reviewer. We should have a full review up soon though.

          Thanks!

          Cy

  2. Quinn January 26, 2016 Reply

    Hey Cy, do you know if this set of goggles is compatible with glasses? Thanks!

    • Author
      Cy Whitling January 27, 2016 Reply

      Hey Quinn,

      I haven’t tried these on with glasses yet. I’ve been rocking glasses or contacts since I was 10, and have pretty much given up on wearing glasses with ski goggles, I’ve just had terrible experiences with fit and fogging.

      That said, I think the Contact could be a decent option for using with glasses since the frame is a little more flexible and may be able to conform to the face a little better. However, if you are shopping in this price range for a glasses compatible goggle I would check out the Anon M3 that I just reviewed. They fit glasses inside as well, or better than any goggle I’ve used, and are a step up from the M3 in just about every other feature.

      I am interested to see if Giro updates the Contact, or brings magnetic technology to any of their other goggles since this is their first offering, and it has the potential to be very competitive with some refinement.

  3. Blister Member
    OddB March 24, 2017 Reply

    I upgraded my goggles this season to the Giro Contact. I tried numerous manufacturers, including the highly regarded Anon goggles and found that the Giro Contact fit my face better. In contrast to the Anon, I also found the flexibility of the Contact and padding to be more comfortable. The Anon utilizes a stiffer foam which didn’t conform to my narrow face as well.

    My experience with the Contact has been similar in most regards to Blister Reviews with a couple exceptions.

    First and foremost, these are superb goggles: the FOV is excellent, the fit is excellent, and the quality of the Zeiss lenses are sensational. And when paired with the Giro Range MIPS helmet, the “system” is impeccable.

    Comments regarding the difficulty of using the button are exaggerated in my opinion. It’s a stupid-simple system that adds a minimal extra layer of security. I’ve never had an issue with the lens popping off. But it’s worth noting that I use two hands when removing my goggles — Goggles require proper care to maintain (especially given the cost of a high-end pair) and one-handed removal is something a lifelong wearer of glasses simply doesn’t do by default.

    I am also not one to carry an extra set of lenses for skiing inbounds all day. The extra lens pouch is certainly stowable, but it’s a bit large to carry in a pocket. I simply look at the weather report and select the lens that would work best for the days conditions. For touring, the button actually makes it easier to grab the edges of the lens.

    Persimmon Blaze lens — Superb low light
    Black Limo lens — Bomber bright light

    The Persimmon lens is just an all-around terrific lens. I wore these lenses by “mistake” on a couple sunny/overcast days and found that their clarity was outstanding.

    The Black Limo lens, however, is a bonafide blazing sun day lens. They don’t perform well at all in low light conditions simply because their tint is too dark.

    This lens combo comes standard with one of the Contact Goggle packages Giro offers for $250. Neither are polarized lenses, but you can purchase as many additional lenses as you like.

    –––––––––––––––––
    RX-Wearers
    –––––––––––––––––

    I had one final requirement for new goggles that has proven to be the bane of my skiing experience: I wear glasses. I can’t wear contacts.

    There are very very few goggle options for people who wear glasses. Manufacturers simply do not cater to people who don’t wear contacts. And there is nothing less comfortable, in my opinion, that wearing goggles over glasses or being forced to wear athletic glasses like Oakleys with specially-milled RX lenses on days when goggles are mandatory.

    Add to this reality the fact that there are also pathetically limited options for RX goggle inserts and people like me tend to either go without corrective lenses or we grin and bear setups that are simply uncomfortable to wear all day long.

    All of this together makes goggle shopping a less-than-favorbale experience.

    About seven years ago, I purchased a pair of Rudy Project goggles that accepted a Rudy Project goggle insert for RX wearers. Even though the insert was manufactured by Rudy for Rudy Goggles, the curvature of the insert did not fit the lens it was designed to fit, so the outside edges of the insert (nearest my temples) scratched deep grooves on the inside of the goggle lens. Still, it was the best solution I’d ever found.

    The standard universal RX inserts that pinch to fit a wide range of goggles simply suck. What makes the Rudy insert so much better is that the insert adaptor has a nose piece that is fitted to the internal frame of the goggle and utilizes a screw mechanism to allow for a perfect height adjustment.

    In shopping for a new goggle this season, I was fully expecting to have to find a new RX lens insert too. I was shocked and pleased to find that the Rudy insert fit the Giro Contact perfectly, even better than it fit the Rudy goggles they were designed for. The insert “system” I’m referring to looks to have been updated since I purchased it so many years ago, but it’s the RUDY PROJECT “GOGGLE INTERFACE” combined with the RUDY PROJECT “GOGGLE RX CLIP ON ADAPTER”. I assume little has changed in terms of its shape and function.

    This setup fits the Contact perfectly. The nose piece fits securely into a deep groove in the frame and prevents any lateral movement whatsoever. When securely in place, the curvature of the RX adaptor matches the Contact lens while providing for a large enough gap between the insert lens and the goggle lens to allow ample airflow with no rubbing or scratching. The RX insert height adjustment’s butt-end is just wide enough to bridge the gap of the Contact frame and seat itself on the frame’s edges without punching through the foam.

    RX Insert Performance with the Contact Goggle:
    The fit of the insert is so secure that I’ve only had to deal with minimal fogging when skiing and only on the most challenging days. I’m also extremely careful to never, ever touch the factory anti-fog coating on the inside of the Zeiss lenses.

    Can glasses be worn with the Contact? Depends how thick the arms of your glasses are. The softness of the foam would probably allow for it without too much discomfort. But why be uncomfortable?

    Finally, it’s worth considering that the shape of my face and the flexibility of the Contact’s frame may have a lot to do with why this setup works for me. Either way, if you require a prescription, this is an option worth looking into.

    The Contact combined with this RX insert has been nothing short of miraculous. What a difference it makes to be able to see clearly.

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