Seeing Clearly: Sable WaterOptics Goggles
Written by: Jordan Rapp
Date: Tue Jun 17 2008
So what makes these goggles so special? Why on earth would I plow under the goggle farm I had growing in the bottom of my swim bag? The real value in the RS101 is the lens quality. According their website, the lenses feature “Aspherical & Flat Lens Technology,” which is supposed to eliminate distortion. Now that seems somewhat contradictory, since how can something be flat and aspherical at the same time? My guess is that one refers to the inside of the lens, and one refers to the outside. But regardless of what it means, it really works. It’s actually somewhat shocking at first. Everything looks perfectly normal underwater and above. This makes a huge difference in open water swimming, and not just because you can now see all of the crap you had a suspicion might have been growing in that lake you’d been swimming in. Sighting above water is very easy, as you get a very clear view of your landmarks with just a quick look. I found it very easy to pick a mark and sight it with only a very short glance, something that can save a lot of time during a race, as swimming head up is swimming slow. No more of that “is that a buoy or a seagull?” The underwater clarity helps for drafting. Spotting the feet of the person in front of you, especially if they are a hard kicking swimmer, can be a challenge, and sometimes a gap has formed before you even realize it. I found it much easier to pick out feet among the bubbles with the Sables.
To add to the coolness factor, the lenses are swappable, so you can get a pair of mirrored lenses and a pair of lighter lenses that you keep pristine for racing, and then get a basic pair of tinted lenses for training. Of course, since the lenses are the expensive part, you could also just shell out for three pairs of goggles (just what we all need, MORE GEAR!!). Swapping lenses is also not super easy, and again, since you don’t want to touch the lenses more than is necessary (which is not very much), actually swapping the lenses is something that is cooler in theory than in practice. But if you are that guy who has the one pair of glasses with like 900 different lenses for every possible lighting condition, you are in luck.
Now, as a great many of you are probably saying, “well, this is great and all, but what if you can’t see more than three feet in front of you without a pair of coke bottles stuck to your face.” As an added benefit for those athletes that wear prescription eyewear, Sable offers their goggles in a whole range of diopters, at a cost of $99 for tinted and $110 for mirrored. So now you can see clearly out of clear lenses during the swim, a blessing for athletes who want proper competition goggles that also support their prescription.
So, is it worth it to shell out what’s now maybe three-quarters of a tank of gas for a pair of goggles? In this case, I think it’s worth the premium. On a relative basis, they are still a very cheap item in a sport where most equipment is measured in how many hundreds or even thousands of dollars it costs. To add to your peace of mind when you cough up for these goggles, you do get some added-value from Sable. They offer a one time lens replacement guarantee if the lens is damaged. And you get a lifetime warrantee on the frame and strap.
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Reviewed by: Una Brandreth, Jun 29 2011 1:13PM
However, with time the shine wears off.
There's a tendency for the lenses to pop out of the frame occasionally. That's not really a big deal; they snap back in easily and it doesn't happen often enough to be a major nuisance.
What is more annoying is that the anti-fog doesn't last. Within six months or so they were fogging up as badly as my Speedos, and quite a bit worse than the Yingfas that were less than half the price. The dealer recommended polishing them with soapy water and that helped for a while, but the coating degraded again pretty rapidly. I emailed Sable for advice and got no response.
I swim in a pool, so it may be that the chlorine is attacking the coating, but the goggles are supposed to be resistant to that. Also, for the price you pay and considering they are supposed to have a lifetime warranty, I would expect better (or some) customer service. Quite disappointing.
Yingfa is much better value for money and every bit as comfortable.
Sable Water Optics
Reviewed by: Joe Gambles, Jul 13 2008 12:09PM
Joe Gambles (Aussie Professional Triathlete)
Sable Water Optics is looking for retailers for this great product
Reviewed by: Phil Vriend: Sable Water Optics, Jul 3 2008 9:23AM
Bang on review
Reviewed by: Samantha McGlone, Jun 25 2008 12:33PM