Oakley Front Line Goggle Review

New goggles from Oakley

Oakley Front Line Goggles
Oakley Front Line GogglesJeff Allen

Oakley's Airbrake goggle changed the way I thought of goggles, with its rigid lens and frame and hinged locking system. They didn't change the goggle industry though, and flexible polycarb-lensed goggles are still what most riders wear because they are what most riders can afford. In an effort to expand the use of its thick, injection-molded Plutonite lens (like sunglasses) Oakley has introduced the Front Line goggle, which is like a stripped-down version of the Airbrake.

The chassis of the Front Line is what Oakley calls its O Matter, which is the standard flexible-style chassis. This marries to the hard, curved lens by what is called Ridge Lock technology. It’s basically a ridge on the inside of the hard lens that has standard tabs that slide into the rim of the goggle frame like any other goggle lens.

Not nearly as easy, convenient, or simple as with the Airbrake goggle, swapping lenses is about as tedious as normal lens swaps. You do get the mega-impact protection from the injected lens, just not the on-the-fly switching ability.

The Front Line is a wide goggle with great field of view, yet it isn’t super tall, which is great for me since I have somewhat of a short face top to bottom (think Neanderthal). The Front Line fit in all the helmets I tried it with without issue. The outriggers are smaller and more swept back than on the Airbrake and some other goggles but still keep a great seal on my face.

I feel like the this goggle would accommodate any face shape better than the Airbrake. I personally didn’t have any sealing or fitment issues with the Airbrake, but since the frame is rigid and only the foam conforms to face contours, some might not find it a perfect match. The Front Line has both flexible frame and thick foam that can adapt more to a wider range of face shapes.

Oakley Front Line Goggles
The Front Line goggle is like the Airbrake’s little brother.Jeff Allen

I tested with the Prizm lens which is why the price is so crazy high. Without the Prizm lens, the standard Front Line is a much more wallet-friendly $130 (which is still pretty steep). The Prizm lens is used across Oakley's products as a new technology that highlights and lowers certain different wavelengths of light to increase contrast to help riders see subtle differences better. While I can say that the Prizm Jade Iridium lens looks freakin' amazing and does an excellent job of adding just the right amount of tint for both bright and low-light conditions, it's somewhat difficult to quantifiably tell how much added contrast there is, though I do think there is some.

Overall, is this goggle worth the price tag? The standard version is. Ish. That is a lot of money for any goggle, but what makes the Airbrake awesome is how easy the lens is to clean or swap. The Front Line doesn't have that and the price is still really up there. If I were buying a fresh pair of Oakleys, I'd just save a little longer and get the Airbrakes. —Sean Klinger

Rated 87
Style 19/20
Comfort 9/10
Function 48/50
Wash/care 6/10
Price 5/10
oakley.com, (800) 403-7449