Quick intro to FLOAT II
FLOAT II is the 3rd generation of MessyWeekend’s first goggle: The XE-One. Back in 2018, MessyWeekend actually ran the most successful Kickstarter campaign for goggles, ever. (A feat that has yet to be beaten.) Then, last year, they upgraded that model with new lens technology—their XE2 lens technology—and gave the model a proper name: FLOAT. This is because they added a new model to their small collection: INUIT. (INUIT is the predecessor of their ACHTON model.)
That brings us to this year—2020—and to another upgrade. FLOAT II features a brand new, class-leading magnetic lens-changing system. The goggle has an eight-point magnet attachment mechanism that’s strong and durable enough to secure the lens to the frame, while still allowing for easy lens-swapping.
All right, let’s get into it!
FLOAT II vs ACHTON: Some Basic Differences
The main and most important difference between the models are the lens shapes. ACHTON (pictured) is cylindrical, while FLOAT II is spherical.
The second difference is that FLOAT II cannot be bought as an XEp model. This is nothing new, as MessyWeekend didn’t offer last year’s FLOAT with an XEp either; however, they are selling a FLOAT II-compatible XEp lens separately for €90. So, if you’re eager for a spherical lens with photochromic technology, it is possible!
The last difference is the frame and strap colors. This year, MessyWeekend added a color variation to their ACHTON collection: Army—but not to FLOAT II. So, if you’re looking for a pop of color that isn’t from your lens, ACHTON Army is the way to go. (Though, in our humble opinion, the Black + Green Revo combo is the nicest.) Ultimately, this is just a cosmetic difference, and really doesn’t have much bearing on the overall performance of the goggles. So, without further ado, we present to you a review of MessyWeekend’s FLOAT II.
Field of Vision
As far as lenses go, it’s hard to beat spherical lenses when it comes to field of vision, as they offer better peripheral vision, less distortion, and less glare. The larger the lens, the better your peripheral vision becomes, so it’s great that MessyWeekend increased the size of their FLOAT II model compared to last year’s FLOAT.
Clarity and Optical Quality
Since we’re looking at two different lenses for the same model, let’s take them one at a time.
FLOAT II XE2 Green Revo comes with two lenses: one for sunny conditions (15% VLT) and one for cloudy days with low light (55% VLT). The Green Revo lens is best suited for a range of conditions. It enhances color recognition, unveiling details like bumps and crud remarkably well both on- and off-piste, and features MessyWeekend’s high-contrast XE2 lens technology, which they released last year.
FLOAT II XE2 Silver Mirror also comes with two lenses: one for sunny conditions (16% VLT) and one for cloudy days with low light (55% VLT). The Silver Mirror lens, too, comes with MessyWeekend’s high-contrast XE2 lens technology, increasing depth perception and allowing you to see vividly by reducing glare. All of the FLOAT II lenses have 100% UV400 protection and are interchangeable.
As already mentioned, MessyWeekend upgraded their lens-change system. Which is great, because their last-season models have a click-in lens change system—easy enough to do once you get the hang of it, but definitely difficult if you’re wearing gloves on a cold mountain.
MessyWeekend upgraded both of their 20/21 models with a magnetic lens-change system. The frame and the lens are each fitted with an 8-point magnetic system that securely fixes the lens to the frame. On the FLOAT II, there are small tabs on the top corners of the lens, so you can easily remove and change the lens—even while you’re wearing the goggle!
As written in our ACHTON post, this system is similar to that of the Anon M Series and different from the Smith Mag goggles, which have an extra locking mechanism that requires you to remove the goggles before being about to change the lens. The primary benefit of this system is the little extra peace of mind. Ultimately, both are great, fairly intuitive systems, but Anon and MessyWeekend get a slight edge for speed and ease of use.
Ventilation and Fog Resistance
The ventilation system of FLOAT II is extremely effective at generating airflow from all sides. There are vents lining the top and bottom of the frame, while the dual-pane lens helps keep the cold on the outside and the heat of the inside further apart, aiding the anti-fog system. Of course, the inside of the lens is treated with anti-fog coating, so it’s best to minimize the number of times you wipe the lens, as it degrades the coating.
Fit and Comfort
The triple-layer foam is very soft and well-made—meaning no discomfort, chafing, or the need to loosen the straps even after wearing the goggles all day long. Additionally, the frame is quite flexible and molds nicely to your face, with the ability to cinch down snugly and comfortably. Size-wise, FLOAT II has a medium-to-large fit and are categorized as Asian Fit goggles. They are a bit larger, so if you’re looking for something closer to the Smith I/O Mag, then we’d recommend checking out ACHTON instead.
Overall, we’re big fans of FLOAT II. It offers excellent optics and fit, it vents very well, it comes with two lenses, an extra XEp lens is available for this model for the first time ever, and of course, the magnetic lens-change system is incredibly handy (we’ll hopefully be seeing more of its kind from other brands). The FLOAT II costs €130, and includes a hard case for safe keeping, a microfiber bag to protect the lenses and to be used for (minimal) cleaning, and a couple of nice MessyWeekend stickers for your skis or board.