Zeal Forecast Review

Zeal came out with a brand-new style for the 2014/2015 ski season: The Zeal Forecast.  It comes in a wide array of color and lens choices to match your style, budget, and goggle needs.  The Forecast is equipped with anti-fog infused molecules, maximum peripheral vision, and, depending on your lens choice, great polarization and ability to adjust to changing conditions on the fly.

Zeal Forecast Lens Options

The Zeal Forecast comes with three different lens options.  There is the standard lens ($109), the polarized ($179), and the polarized automatic ($219).  Zeal also partners with SportRX to offer prescription lenses with the Forecast frame.

It turns out a 2 year old can still manage to scratch the lens on cement.

All of the lens options come equipped with anti-fog molecules that are permanently infused into the lens material.  This is not a spray that is added at the end of the process, but rather Zeal makes tiny holes into the lens, which allow for the Anti-Fog molecules to saturate the lens.  A heat treatment then disperses the molecules evenly while sealing the lens.

The lens also has 100% UV protection, which is great for those bluebird days (now if only I could remember to put sunblock on my neck and chin).  The polarized version includes, you guessed it, a polarized lens.  This reduces glare and haze and generally makes it easier to distinguish objects.

The Zeal Forecast is also available with the “polarized automatic” lens.  This lens automatically adjusts to varying light conditions.  I found this especially helpful when turning into thick trees on otherwise bright sunny days.  The lens immediately adjusted for the lower light conditions and I did not have to worry about refocusing my vision.

Other Features

Plenty of ventilation.

The Zeal Forecast comes with plenty of ventilation along the top and bottom of the frame.  This new design for 2015 also has a dual strap system that allows for a better fit and more comfortable placement when not wearing a helmet (only for sledding though, right?).  In addition, the frame and stitching are designed to withstand a beating.

Vision and Fit

The Zeal Forecast has a medium to large sized frame, and fits well with a helmet.  One of the benefits of the anti-fog technology and ventilation is that the frame is able to sit closer to your face.  Zeal uses an injection mold to form the lens into a spherical shape, which reduces distortion.  This allows for excellent peripheral vision and almost no blind spots.

Zeal utilizes their “Mesh X Foam” which sits against your skin.  I have worn these when the temps actually were actually in the 50’s, and did not have to worry about sweat accumulation or discomfort.

Performance

There are three reasons that this goggle stands out against your ordinary pair: anti-fog properties, peripheral vision, and the automatic lens.  The anti-fog features worked great, and I have not been able to fog them up yet, which has been a problem for me (and everyone else) in the past.

I am also a fan of the peripheral vision that Zeal put into this model.  I have a narrow face, so the Zeal Forecast worked great for me to see without wearing goggles that are just too big for my face.  I even spotted snowballs coming my way that would have otherwise landed with a thud.

And then there is the automatic lens (yes, this is the more expensive version but it is worth it so you aren’t stuck carrying around multiple pairs of goggles).  The lens was easily able to handle varying light conditions, which reduces strain and keeps your eyes more comfortable throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

The Zeal Forecast hit the mark for what I need in a pair of goggles.  The anti-fog was spectacular, and is even included in the lower cost version.  However, I don’t think I could buy a pair of goggles anymore that aren’t polarized, so I would recommend springing for one of the more expensive lens options.  You won’t enjoy it at the time of purchase, but you will realize it’s worth it for years to come.

MSRP: Standard ($109), Polarized Lens ($179), Polarized Automatic Lens ($219)

Read more at ZealOptics.com.

 

Dan Brosious: Dan is a life-long runner and outdoor enthusiast, who grew up hiking, camping, and skiing in the northeast. Dan was a competitive runner through college, where he participated as a decathlete. While living in Arizona, he took up trail running to bring the excitement back to running. Dan has since finished several ultra-runs, including the infamous Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim traverse of the Grand Canyon. Dan currently lives in Colorado with his wife and kids, who have introduced him to even more activities. Did you know they have triathlons for 4 year olds?
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