The Virtue VIO paintball mask has been one of the most anticipated new products of 2014. Since its announcement just before World Cup 2013 there has been a great deal of interest around the Virtue goggle and how it would stack up against the competition. PunisherPB.com has long been one of the biggest supporters of the Virtue product line and has dove in with both feet stocking a huge assortment of the goggles and its accessories. Here we are going to take a look at the goggle and how it looks against the market.
The VIO sports a number of unique features, starting with its customization ability. Using the customizer players can fully customize the goggle to their unique style or tactical objective. This means that when you purchase a VIO goggle you can get the exact color and lens combination you want without buying things you do not. This comes in handy as a lot of player’s first purchase is a new lens for their goggle and they may never actually use the lens that comes with the goggle. The color combinations are seemingly endless, and with VIRTUE promising to continue to add new color-ways and potentially (unconfirmed) special editions, the options only grow.
The VIO paintball goggle’s innovation does not stop with the customization aspect, they have brought new and unique safety features as well. The lens mechanism on the VIO is incredibly simple as well as incredibly safe. By pinching the strap latch and pulling on the strap you can disengage the lens lock, this exposes a unique “unlocked” tab (pictured above) that tells the user that the lens is no longer secure. This feature also aids in lens installation as the “unlocked” notification does not go away until the mechanism is properly re-engauged. It is important to note that Virtue has brought the goggle to market with MANY strap options that all include this safety feature.
The VIO also ships with a padded chin strap, the strap is well made and the clasps are thoughtfully held on top of the padding, meaning no pinching or wearing should occur during use. The chin strap is also removable should the user decide to take it off, with simple Velcro.
The Virtue VIO has exemplary construction, there where question marks about a hopper/board company producing their first goggle, but VIRTUE has knocked those away confidently. Pictured above shows the statement of quality Virtue has used on their VIO paintball goggle, the hinge plates that secure the lens and anchor the ear flaps and strap are held in place by a bolt, with a locking nut. This is a very important design feature because it means the most stressed area of the goggle relies on a metal bolt, and not plastic. This bolt is held in with an allen key and due to the locking nut used in the hardware, it will not back out over time. We think this feature will go unnoticed by many players, but makes a real statement about the thought that went into the VIO goggle’s design.
The design work of the Virtue VIO paintball mask does not end with the hardware used for assembly. Careful thought has been put into the materials used for its construction. The facemask (as explained in the above video) uses a dual polymer construction pairing flexible and rigid materials to create the mask portion of the goggle. This design feature used by Virtue has allowed the goggle to remain structurally rigid, while allowing a high degree of flex and subsequently comfort. VIO’s facemask is tightly secured to the goggle frame and ear pieces using a series of clips and two snaps, these tightly secure the facemask to the frame and ears allowing zero gaps. This system makes for easy customization, and allows for component flex giving the goggle a very ergonomic flex.
VIO sports a dual compound foam for the goggle frame, this allows there to be a soft foam against the users skin and a more dense foam closer to the goggle frame. The dual foam compound allows the foam to be minimally bulky while still being comfortable and able to absorb the shock of impact. The foam is also removable for for maintenance, replacement and future upgrades(unconfirmed).
Ear covering is another vital part of goggle design and something Virtue has handled well. The unique design of the hinge lock system makes the mounting point for the ear panels as outboard as possible without extending the width of the goggle. This means that the maximum amount of space is left for the player’s ear and no pinching or compression will occur. The ear flaps themselves are constructed of a heavy duty fabric material over a dense impact foam, they also proudly wear the virtue logo as a nice design detail.
Overall we have been very impressed with the VIRTUE VIO paintball mask and feel it will definitely take a place at the top of the goggle market.