The Giro Contact is the flagship model of Giro’s ever expanding range of goggles featuring their VIVID by Zeiss lens range. We have been testing a set of Contacts with a slew of lenses for the last 18 months and are pretty stoked on them.
- Frame Colour: Black Wordmark
- Lenses Tested: VIVID Ember, VIVID Emerald, VIVID Infrared
- Helmets Used: Giro Jackson MIPS, POC Auric Cut
The Goggles are a Medium to Large frame size so will fit most adult males comfortably. Some Ladies may find them a little big but they are definitely a unisex goggle. We found the fit to be comfortable and provide excellent field of vision.
The Feature that sets the Contact apart is the incredibly easy to use Snapshot Magnetic lens interchange system. Magnets have widely infiltrated the goggle market now and make for the easiest interchange systems without a doubt.
Where the Snapshot system differs from other magnetic systems is the addition of a subtle button attached to a mechanical ‘lock’ on the lens.
The theory is that it would prevent you from losing the lens in the event of a big fall. Great, but the reality is even with a fully magnetic lens (Anon M2 for example) you are going to have far worse problems to worry about if you manage to dislodge your lens in a fall. We have had a huge amount of days skiing in a whole range of magnetic goggle options and have never once had a lens come out unintentionally while skiing.
The Snapshot system is incredibly easy to use while the goggles are still on your face, even with only 1 hand. Aside from changing the lens, the other great use for this was pulling the lens out to cool down while on a chairlift or gondola or to stop it from fogging upon entering a warm lodge on a powder day. Note: you will get some funny looks walking around the lodge without a lens in your goggles.
When putting the lens back in, most of the time it was necessary to push on the top right corner of the lens to re-engage the locking mechanism. Never had an issue if we didn’t as the magnets are strong enough in their own right. But it gives a satisfying click & that extra level of security.
In the time we have used the Contacts there have been no unexpected Fogging cases. That being said there are circumstances where every goggle fogs, a la above, walking into a warm lodge on a -10°C Powder Day or overheating hiking up to a peak.
In the case where you manage to fog it by overheating on a hike. A limitation of the goggle is that it won’t clear as quickly while skiing down. The Contact ventilation setup with EVAK foam doesn’t let as much air in as many other goggles. The workaround is to simply remove the lens for a minute up top and let the fog dissipate.
Of course, that is all with us knowing how to care for a pair of goggles. If you store it wet or wipe the inside anti-fog coating off your experiences will differ.
Our experiences with Giro’s VIVID Lenses are 100% positive. The contrast provided is a game changer from traditional lenses and the overall performance is at least on par or better than other high contrast lenses (Prism, Sonar, Chromapop etc.)
As nice as the interchange system is, we found that the mid-range lenses perform so well is the majority of conditions that the Lowlight Infrared lens rarely got used. Note: at the time of writing we didn’t have a ‘sunny’ lens.
Vivid Ember (35%) / Vivid Emerald (22%)
During this time we have used the VIVID Ember and Emerald as the mid-range lenses. Despite the difference in VLT (22%/35%) each lens is virtually identical to look through and are interchangeable in practice.
These lenses are perfect for use in a huge range of conditions and excel in low light conditions almost as much as the Lowlight Infrared lens. The extra light that is blocked by the lens seems to be balanced by the increase in contrast and still provides excellent vision in low visibility conditions.
The VIVID Emerald lens is slightly darker but still functioned perfectly in low light and flat light conditions. The Emerald lens met an early demise when it got scratched to oblivion in my touring bag and hence was replaced by the Ember.
The VIVID Ember lens has now seen 50+ days in every condition possible and has never skipped a beat. The Orange Mirror coating is still 100% after a handful of days where you are wiping your goggles a hundred times each run.
The one limitation the VIVID Ember lens has is that it doesn’t quite block out enough sun on the brightest of bright days. It is definitely manageable if you only had one lens. But there are definitely better options out there.
VIVID Infrared (58%)
The VIVID Infrared lens is an awesome low light lens that probably didn’t receive its fair share of usage, partially due to the Mid Range lenses performing so well in all conditions & partially due to the possibility of the tester becoming a fair weather skier.
The few days the Infrared lens made an appearance were largely stormy powder days when you need your gear to work. The lenses worked really well when it was dark but struggled if the sun unexpectedly showed up, much like any other low light lens.
We have tried the Contact’s with a range of Helmets in the store and haven’t found a bad fit yet. Giro’s range of Adult Helmets all are perfectly compatible and have vents that line up with the ventilation of the goggles which is handy but not a deal breaker.
The two helmets (POC Auric Cut & Giro Jackson MIPS) used over the 18 months of use both fit perfectly with the Contacts. Each has aggressive vents pointing down into the goggles and kept the goggles from fogging effectively.