What do you get when you take a cylindrical goggle, rip off half the foam, and replace the strap with earpieces? No, this isn’t a question that can be answered with a mythological creature from ancient Greece or modern Australia. It’s the Oakley Wind Jacket 2.0 and it’s pretty awesome.
We’re certainly not afraid to whip Oakley when they screw something up or turn out a half-assed product. The Wind Jacket 2.0 is not one of those. With ample coverage from a cylindrical, Prizm Snow lens, it functions admirable on both the up and down on backcountry tours, subs in for traditional goggles on sunny resort days, and gets a surprising amount of compliments both on and off the slopes.
Wind Jacket 2.0 Features and Construction
Like most Oakley shades, the Wind Jacket starts with a frame made of their O-Matter, nylon-infused plastic. Standard Unobtanium nose-pieces keep the frame stuck to your face, even without the included strap. Hinges are plastic on plastic with a metal screw and move smoothly.
The lens, which is almost ski-goggle size, ticks all the buzzword boxes from Oakley: Plutonite, High Definition Optics, Iridium, etc. Important here, though, is the Prizm Snow tint, which really does pop contours on an otherwise entirely white ski slope.
Unique-ish to the Wind Jacket is the upper foam strip. Like on ski goggles, Oakley includes soft, foam that contours to your face, keeping wind and precipitation from blowing down into the lens. The foam strip is relatively easy to remove by popping the lens out of the frame. It’s more difficult to reinsert. Unfortunately, neither removal nor reinsertion is easy without getting fingerprints all over the lens.
How I tested the Wind Jacket 2.0
I took the Wind Jacket on multiple tours up Jones Pass and skied with them inbounds at Vail for a few days. While I was lucky enough to have mostly sunny conditions, the light did get flat a few times.
I wear contacts, so it’s important that eyewear blocks wind. If not, it’s mostly useless.
Oakley Wind Jacket 2.0 Review
I think I may have a bias against Oakley. I was never a huge fan of their goggles. I’ve had a pair of original Half Jacket XLs for decades, rode with them for years, and always hated that the lenses were so close to my eyes that my eyelashes smudged them. I expected the Wind Jackets to be a novelty. They’re not. I likewise expected people to think I looked ridiculous in them. They did not. Instead, I have no choice but to report that the Wind Jackets really do block wind and generally kick ass on sunny ski days.
People would ask, “what ARE those?” closely followed by, “do you like them?” My standard response was, “I love how they work but hate how they look.” To my surprise, people would return with a compliment. So, they worked well and everyone except me thought they looked good. Maybe I was wrong and needed to adjust my thinking.
On the functional side, the Wind Jackets are good at blocking wind. if anything, they could be a bit better at it if they were closer to my face, but that may be a function of face shape rather than a design issue. They’re comfortable. And, they stayed on my face during powder runs even without the included strap attached to the earpieces. The strap makes them bombproof; they stay on even during spills.
I’m rather enamored with Prizm Snow lenses. Both Oakley and Giro, with the Vivid lens, have found a way to truly enhance snow vision on sunny days. Glare is destroyed; moguls are distinct; UV rays blocked. I’ve tried to include a couple of side-by-side comparison pictures, for what it’s worth. You can click to make them bigger:
Overall, the Oakley Wind Jacket 2.0 represents a solid replacement for goggles on sunny days when you want to block wind and glare, but don’t want a sweaty face. I wish I could say they’re a bargain, but somehow they’re more expensive than an equivalent, cylindrical-lens goggle with the same Prizm Snow lens. That said, I’d rock them on any sunny day when the temp tops 40º.