You can try them in all light conditions, make sure they don’t fog up or make your eyes water, but you can also do a face plant or take a gate to the head. The National Parallel Champion took his new REKS goggles through the wringer and came out impressed.
The first time Garret Driller wore his new REKS goggles for racing, he inadvertently gave them the ultimate test drive. Competing in the belated opening World Pro Ski Tour event of the season at Steamboat Springs in February 2021, which arrived on the coattails of one of the largest snowstorms the area had seen all winter, the conditions provided a major opportunity for goggle-performance assessment. Mother Nature dealt Driller and the rest of the field a full gamut of natural-light conditions, from sideways blizzard to flat light to partial and full sun.
However, the striking appeal of his new eyewear was apparent the minute Driller put them on and stepped outside his door.
“My most important feature for goggles is A), they’re good lenses and B), there’s no air going through the gaps between your helmet,” says the 24-year-old U.S. Parallel National Champion. “When I got my REKS package, I tossed the goggles on my helmet, I walked outside and could tell the quality right away. Right away I was like, dang. These are pretty awesome.”
The next winning characteristic Driller noted was the absolute ease with which he was able to change lenses for different light conditions.
“I like the ability to change lenses on the fly,” he says. “I got all six lenses and made a note to not watch any videos before I went to change them. What I realized was, I don’t technically even need to take off my gloves. These lenses pop out and pop right back in. I used to bring four goggle frame and lens combos wherever I went. Now I can always just have the lenses in their little pack and change out whenever. It’s a much easier method all around.”
The next trial was the actual seeing part at high speed down a racetrack.
“We got a little of everything as far as light goes,” Driller says of the Pro Tour event in Steamboat. “I like running a rose lens [REKS calls it Amber-Silver] for my low light days, but they also double for seeing through shadows on sunny days. These were awesome. The REKS spherical lens isn’t super common in racing goggles. They’re mostly flat lenses, which is fine if you’re looking down the hill with a kind of tunnel vision on your line. But on the Pro Tour where you’re always looking in your periphery, being able to see your opponent from the side is pretty important. You can easily see into the other course while you’re looking down the hill.”
Also, gaps between goggles and helmet were a non-issue.
Snug, reliable fit
“If you’re going fast, you don’t have that wind whistling by your nose and making you cry. Also, the foam connection to my face is really good. It’s not super soft foam – it’s got the right mixture of firmness, so it stays where it needs to on your face,” he says.
Considering how easy it was to pop the magnetized lenses in and out of the frames, Driller was a little concerned about how the goggles and lenses would stay in place if and when turbulence came into play. As he was going head-to-head with Robert Cone in the final heat of the first Steamboat race, bearing down on the last few gates, he unwittingly presented his new goggles with a high-friction yardstick by hooking a ski on the last gate and crashing face-first through the finish line. He finished runner-up, losing to Cone by .17 seconds, but his lenses didn’t budge.
“I was very impressed because they didn’t fall out when I face-planted,” Driller says. “While training in slalom, I took a gate directly to the face, and they stayed in for that, too.”
Driller has made a point in his career to avoid crediting his best performances on any outside factor or accessory, but he noted that gaining every possible advantage with a pair of goggles certainly does not hurt.
“You start messing with your head when you attribute your successes to anything but yourself, but if you can have the best equipment to start, you have way less to worry about in the end,” he says.
George Granoff launched REKS sunglasses five years ago, offering performance optical lenses in iconic styled, unbreakable frames delivered direct to consumer. Working with Essilor Sun Solutions laboratory, REKS introduced Trivex® Color Boosting sun lenses.
“Advances in digital lens manufacturing also helped us provide precision prescriptions especially for our curved sport frames,” Granoff explains. “I became intrigued by the look of magnetized goggles and began talking to Essilor. They told me they were developing a new spherical lens design with improved optical characteristics including expanding the field of vision with less distortion. This lens opportunity lined up with our mission to create a better visual experience and we jumped.”
REKS goggles are available exclusively via direct-to-consumer format on reks.com. Prescription lens inserts with anti-fog coating that fit seamlessly into the goggle are also available. Each regular goggle purchase includes a selection of any two of the six lens color options, all of which are treated with anti-fog coatings, which comes in especially handy during this mask-mandatory pandemic ski season.
No fogging with mask on
“Not many goggles have been designed to prevent fogging when you’re wearing a mask over your nose” says Granoff. “However, our magnetized lenses sit on the front of the frame as far as possible from your face and with all the venting in between the lens and your face, I did not encounter a fogging problem and was also using our prescription insert.”
With a history in department stores, including a major role in launching BJ’s optical departments, Granoff experienced many customers interested in quality eyewear but looking for a fair price. REKS was launched featuring polycarbonate polarized lenses delivered in unbreakable frames for $50 with no up-charge for anti-reflective coating or mirrored lenses. Two years later, contrast lenses were emerging. In response, REKS launched Trivex Color Boosting lenses in polarized and photochromic versions for $75. Trivex® is the premium shatter-resistant lens material versus polycarbonate because it’s clearer. Special dyes are introduced during the manufacturing process that increase the contrast between colors making each color seem brighter. REKS has customized Trivex Color Boosting lens options for golfers and fishermen because sportsmen appreciate the durability of their unbreakable frames.
Digital freeform prescriptions provide precision up to 1/100 of a diopter while traditional manufacturing is only capable of 1/10 of a diopter. REKS manufacturers prescriptions in polycarbonate, Trivex®, Transitions® and Trivex Color Boosting lenses and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
“We knew we were only going to introduce one spherical goggle system and that the ultimate story was going to be about our color enhanced lenses and custom prescription insert. However, that meant we needed to build the best magnetized lens system and include other quality features like triple layer foam and a silicone non-skid strap,” Granoff says. “To capitalize on our direct-to-consumer business model, we decided to customize every goggle order by allowing the customer to select any two lenses they want included for the $180 price.”
As for Driller, he’s looking ahead – seeing all possible contour – in anticipation of his next race, this time hoping it lands him and his goggles on the top step of the podium.
“I’m very happy to have these goggles and to be part of the REKS team,” he says. “It’s nice working with those smaller companies who operate on behalf of the athlete and have the direct, back-and-forth contact. In this era especially, when you’re not shopping much or trying things on, to be able to get high-level gear without going anywhere and knowing it’s going to be just as good if not better than anything you’d find in a store is a huge. I’ll get those .17 seconds back next time.”