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Glade Optics Challenger – Great Stylish Ski Goggles for Under $100

Glade optics challenger ski goggles review

I recently got a chance to check out the Glade Optics Challenger goggles. I saw a lot of Glade Optics ads recently and mentions in Blister Gear and Outside Magazine. I wanted to see what all the talk was about. I contacted the folks at Glade Optics and Curt Nichols hooked me up with some goggles to try out. The Challenger was the original Glade Optics goggle. It is a stylish medium fit cylindrical lens goggle with swappable lenses. Keep reading to get the full review on the Glade Optics Challenger Ski Goggles.

About Glade Optics

Glade Optics was founded by Curt Nichols, a self professed ski bum from Mad River Glen, Vermont. He now lives and runs Glade Optics in Breckenridge Colorado. From watching his YouTube Videos and seeing responses on Social Media, Curt is a really enthusiastic skier and carries his enthusiasm into this company. He seems to truly love both the mountains and his company brand and what they are making. We could use this kind of personal attention and enthusiasm from more skiing related companies. I have no doubt we will see more great things come out of Glade Optics in the future.

Glade Optics Challenger Snow Goggle Features

Glade Challenger Goggles
Glade Challenger Product Image
  • GREAT VALUE AND PERFORMANCE – Winner of Outside Magazine’s ‘Best Goggle’ 2022, the Challenger is hands-down the best value in skiing. With more features than any other at its price, the reviews on this goggle speak for themselves.
  • GREAT ANTI-FOG PERFORMANCE – UltraClear anti-fog ventilation system circulates air to keep your vision clear.
  • COMPLETE EYE PROTECTION – UV400+ for 100% UV protection because eyes are kind of important
  • COMFORTABLE FOR LONG SKI DAYS – Triple-layer composite foam and fleece interior for a cozy, sweat-free feel

I picked up a set of Challenger goggles with green lens and black strap. The Challenger goggles do not come with an additional lens so I also got a low light lens to try out. Here in Michigan, it is overcast, dark, and cloudy in the winter a lot more often than it’s sunny. I use the second low light lens that comes with goggles a lot more often than the standard bright light lens.

The Challenger goggles are medium fit with a cylindrical lens. They have a semi easy to use lens swapping system but do not come with a second lens. They are available with 4 color lenses and a black or white strap.

Challenger goggle and bag

Price

The Glade Challenger goggles retail for $99. They do not include a second lens. A low light lens or other extra lens will set you back another $45. You also get a black microfiber goggle bag with the goggles.

If you order a low light lens it will not come with another bag or other method for storing the lens. This is a bit of a miss as every other goggle maker I know of either gives you a bag or hard case when you buy an extra lens.

There is no Glade Optics coupon code, discount code, or promo code available for Glade Optics. If I ever get my hands on a Glade coupon I’ll add it here since I’m always looking out for deals and savings for my readers.

Lens

The Challenger goggles use a flat cylindrical lens. It has a row of vent slots built into the lens along the top. The vents have a bit more character to them giving the goggles a very unique look. A lot of cheap Amazon goggles have a row of straight vent slots. It’s good that the Glade didn’t just put a straight row of vents into the Challenger lens.

Both lenses have a very shiny mirror finish to them. The green lens looks really sharp in bright light.

The lenses are clear without much distortion. I didn’t find any obvious areas of distortion around the corners or edges of the lens. The clarity and focus are right there with other $100-$200 ski goggles.

Both lenses have UV400+ 100% UV protection to block UV rays and keep your eyes safe from the sun.

There is no photochromic lens option available for the Glade Optics Challenger goggle. If you would like a photochromic goggle, check out the Glade Adapt. The Glade Adapt lenses will not work with the Challenger frame. They are different.

Challenger lens front
Challenger lens back

Frames

The frames are made with TPU plastic and are soft and bendable. They have vents along the top and bottom. They have triple layer face foam.

I find the frames to be comfortable to wear. The foam is soft enough to be comfortable. The inner most fleece layer has a good feel. The nose area feels like it is tight enough to seal but not tight enough to feel like they are pinching my nose.

The construction looks similar to most other goggles in the $100-$200 price range. Everything looks well put together like it will last. Nothing looks like it might break or fall apart.

Challenger frames front
Challenger frame back

Field of view

The field of view is good for a medium fit goggle. It is as good as any other medium fit spherical or toric lens goggle. Glade Optics has done its homework with frame design. All the Glade goggles I have tested have really good peripheral vision.

Bright light performance

The Green lens has a VLT of 24.8%. It’s on the lower edge of what you would want to use on a really bright sunny day. I found it worked well as long as you didn’t stare right at the sun (which you shouldn’t do anyway). Sometimes it’s hard to avoid if you are staring straight into it riding up a chair. The clarity and terrain definition was good in bright conditions.

The 24.8% lens is perfect for a bright partly cloudy day or slight overcast. If you live somewhere with a lot of really bright bluebird days you should look at the 8.4% VLT silver lens. For people living in places where clouds are more common the orange, green, and blue lenses make a lot more sense.

Challenger goggle sunny day

Flat light performance

I skied with the Challenger ski and snowboard goggles on a really flat light day at Nubs Nob. It was overcast with some sleet/snow mixture falling. It was as flat as flat light gets. The yellow flat light lens worked as well as any yellow tint low light lens I have tried. I had no trouble seeing the snow surface and terrain.

It doesn’t work as well as a more advanced flat light lens utilizing blue light filtering such as a Chromapop lens found in Smith goggles. I’ll give it an 8 out of 10 for flat light performance. For great flat light performance from Glade Optics, check out their Adapt goggle.

The yellow low light lens has a higher VLT of 76.5%. In addition to flat light, it will work well in any low light conditions such as night skiing.

Challenger flat light day

Anti-fog performance

This goggle has double pane lenses, a double layer anti fog coating and plenty of ventilation. I had no issues with fogging so far. My goggles have stayed fog free while skiing and while standing around. They didn’t fog while I was standing around at any point. I didn’t get to see how well the vents would work at defogging them once I started moving.

Ski Helmet compatibility and appearance

I tried the Challenger goggles out with a few helmets for compatibility and appearance. The goggle strap has silicone beads so that they don’t slide on helmets. I tried the goggles out with the following helmets. Anon Echo MIPS, OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS, and Giro Nine-C. The goggles have small to no gap with all the helmets I tried.

These goggles are medium fit so they work well for people with smaller faces. I really like the bright mirrored finish these have when out in bright light. You definitely won’t look like a gaper while wearing Glade Challengers.

If you prefer a bigger oversize looking goggle, check out the Glade Optics MagFlight.

See the below images to see how they look with different helmet designs.

Challenger with Anon helmet front
Anon Echo helmet
Challenger with Anon helmet side
Anon Echo helmet
Challenger with OM helmet front
OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS helmet
Challenger with OM helmet side
OutdoorMaster Diamond MIPS helmet
Challenger with Giro helmet front
Giro Nine-C helmet
Challenger with Giro helmet side
Giro Nine-C helmet

Lens swapping

I’m not going to lie. These aren’t the easiest goggles in the world to swap lenses. They are not a 4 second quick swap magnetic lens goggle. They are a minute of fussing and trying to align small tabs goggles. I admit, I hated swapping lenses the first time I tried it. It took me forever to line up the outside edge pins. Now that I have done it a bunch of times I can swap the lens out pretty fast. The 2 pins on each outboard end never snap in easily. The tabs snap in a lot easier than when the goggles were new. Check out the Glade MagFlight for really easy lens swapping.

Glade challenger lens swap animation

I’m not a fan of this type of lens swap system. I would rate these goggles similar difficulty to swap lenses as Oakley Ridgelock goggles such as Flight Decks. Like the Oakley Ridgelock, you have to push and squeeze the lens and frame a lot to get them apart and together again. That is more chances to smudge and scratch the lenses. The more you touch and rub oils and dirt onto the inner side of the lens, the more the anti fog coating loses effectiveness. I would rather buy 2 sets of goggles to switch between than swap the lens this way on a regular basis.

OTG – Over The Glasses

The goggles will fit over my glasses. They have cutouts in the foam on the sides. Like the other Glade Optics flat lens goggles, I don’t think they are that comfortable to wear with glasses. The Challengers are the smallest frames so it stands to reason they don’t work better. If you wear glasses I would look at the Glade Optics Gamma OTG goggles if these don’t work for you. The Gamma model is a purpose built OTG goggle.

Glade Optics Challenger Ski and Snowboard Goggle summary

Glade Challenger Goggles
Glade Challenger Product Image

What we liked
  • Stylish mirrored flat lens look
  • High quality lenses
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Good all around performance
  • Made by a company that is passionate about skiing and snowboarding
What we didn’t like
  • Lens swapping system is not that easy or quick
  • The optional low light lens doesn’t come with a bag or case for storage

Wrap Up

The Glade Challenger goggles are a great choice for someone looking for medium fit goggles. They have good lenses and a great stylish mirrored appearance. The lens swapping system leaves a little bit to be desired but it’s not bad once you get used to it. My wife is quite fond of the Challengers and will be keeping this in her ski gear for the rest of the season and beyond.

Overall, the Glade Challengers are worth checking out if you are looking for new goggles. I hope we see a lot more good things come out of Glade Optics in the future.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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