When out snowboarding or skiing today we all see tons of people in either oversized goggles or in more retro styled cylindrical goggles. In all this hubbub it seems that sometimes a good middle ground is cast aside. With the Emperor goggle, Bollé has given all the aspects of the oversized goggles that we see and put them into a product that has oversized styling but a fit that can cater to a much wider range of face sizes.
Let’s start with where the goggles hit the face. The foam in the Bollé Emperor is a triple-layer foam where the layer that touches the face is an ultra-soft micro fleece. That layer is then backed by two additional layers; one that keeps the goggle softly mounted and another that is a bit more dense that give the fit a stable feel. Triple-density foam on snow goggles has become a must-have for high end products and Bollé’s execution is on par with the best we’ve seen. Even on long days on the hill I was comfortable and never felt undue pressure. NOTE: the Emperor is not an over-the-glasses goggle.
The strap on the Emperor uses a single, 1/2 inch wide bead of silicon to keep it in place on your helmet or head (side note: WEAR A HELMET). It offers plenty of adjustability to fit even some massively wide noggins which also helps keep the pressure on the face dialed right where you’d want it.
The lens of the goggle that we tested was Bollé’s Green Emerald. In bright sunlight this lens performed very well, giving plenty of detail even in flatter light. In more overcast, flat light, the lens did well but details were a bit muted making visibility a tiny bit challenging. The lens in the Emperor is spherical, which makes for a wonderfully wide field of vision, even though it resides in a frame that isn’t as oversized as some. Bollé touts the Emperor as having a full 180° field of vision and while it is superb, it does fall a couple degree short of that mark in the periphery. As for fog resistance, this goggle does a fantastic job. The lens is uses a double lens thermal barrier in combination with Bollé’s Equalizer vent. Add to those things the superb cross-ventilation that full top and bottom vents provide as well as their embedded P80 Plus anti-fog layer and you’d be hard pressed to get these things to fog up even in a high-schooler’s car on a Friday night.
As I mentioned earlier, the Emperor has oversized styling without all the extra bulk. For me, this meant a perfect fit with my helmet which has been pushed back a bit my larger goggles. The field of vision also adds to the fit by keeping the wearer feeling unconfined.
At $119 the Emperor is well priced for a premium snow goggle. Its versatility and size make it ideal for almost all face sizes (adult face sizes, that is) and it’s field of vision and clarity give it the look and feel of goggles that are much larger. In my opinion, the Emperor could take itself to the next level with an easily swap-able lens system. Maybe in 2015!
Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).