The Thin Air sunglass/goggle hybrids from The North Face gave me a whiplash flashback to a date I only refer to now as "the incident." Like my date the Thin Airs are svelte, sexy and look good in red. Like my date the Thin Airs are expensive. And like my date the Thin Airs ultimately disappoint with substandard performance that falls far short of their come-hither promise.
Handling the Thin Airs in the store they seem like the perfect hybrid eyewear: both lenses are set in a single easily interchangeable frame, a glacier shield pops into place for maximum goggle-like coverage, and there is a clever elastic band that clips behind your head built into the temples.
In the field it’s a different story. The clever elastic band stretches out and won’t retract into the temples. Toting the extra lens assemblies takes a decent amount of space. And the coup de grace: the Thin Airs fog easily. All could be forgiven but the last, which is one of the most frustrating experiences one can have in the backcountry, second only to getting one’s low-hanging fruit caught in a zipper. Buyer beware.