Ski & Snowboard Goggles Buying Guide

The hardest part of buying a new pair of goggles, or anything for that matter, is that you always seem to be asking yourself which are the best ski goggles? What brand do I buy? What are you actually looking at? And just what are ski goggles, anyway?

Choosing ski goggles and lenses isn’t as simple as choosing something that matches your outfit. There’s a bit of science that goes into deciding on which shape of eyewear and what colour lenses will work best for your mountain conditions. If you want to avoid having a bad time on your next ski trip due to poor vision then listen up and let us give you the rundown on what to pick when it’s time to select your new snow goggles.

How Do I Choose Ski Goggles?

Throughout the world there are many snow companies working to innovate and develop new technologies that aim to improve the users experience on the snow. These innovations work to solve simple problems such as the fogging up of men’s ski goggles or being able to provide the best visibility is the worst conditions. But how do you make the right choice? Whether you’re looking for men’s snow goggles or women’s snow goggles, the best ski goggles for you will depend on your face shape and size. Here at Snowcentral, we recommend using the spherical shaped goggle lenses as they provide the largest field of vision when compared to the other shapes. However trying on goggles to make sure they fit on your face is also important.
Here are a few things to consider when looking into purchasing a new pair of goggles to make sure that you get the right one for you.

The ‘Fit’

Ever noticed that there is an abundance of different goggles on the market with all different sized frames? The frame size is a vital part of any goggle choice and for many different reasons. For example, you wouldn’t see an adult in a kids’ goggles or a kid in an adults’ goggles because that would just be crazy. To start with it would be either way too big and just fall off or it would only cover one eye and you’d be nicknamed ‘Patchy The Pirate’. A goggle that fits right will pretty much have two major components. These will be that it will fit comfortably on the face and that it will keep the lens in place.

Frame Sizes

A good thing for adults is that adults can usually fit into multiple, different-sized frames comfortably. However, if you want to make sure that you have the best fit possible, here are some guidelines to follow. Think about the size of your head. If you can’t imagine what size your head might be, try to base it on your helmet size. For example, if you need to buy a small helmet then you should be looking for a small goggles’ frame and the same again with medium, large to extra-large.

Small Frames

This type of goggles will fit anywhere between adults who have smaller faces, youth or even kids. The good thing with these sorts of goggles is that for the youths, hopefully they can get some more years out of them rather than just one or two years.

Medium Frame

Medium framed goggles will fit a wide variety of adult faces as these are the most generic frames that have the broadest fit.

Large Frames

These frames are the biggest of all. They are a great fit for those who have a larger type of head and those who also sweat a lot more than the common man or lady. The larger framed goggles have a wider view that helps when you are trying to see where you are going.

Goggles for Glasses

Goggles for glasses are called over the glasses goggles or OTG for short. These goggles have either small cut-outs on the side of the frame or in the foam itself to allow the frame to fit in snugly into the sides of them. This way the frame can sit comfortably on the face and not put too much pressure on the temples. OTGs also usually have a deeper depth to them to allow for the glasses to go inside of them.

Lens

Having the correct lens is critical to being able to see on the slopes. Having the wrong lens is like having sunglasses on in the middle of the night while trying to star gaze. Ever tried it? It’s rather hard, trust me. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when it comes to looking at lenses:

Lens Shape

Cylindrical

These types of lenses are usually found on the lower to mid priced goggle range. They usually consist of a flatter lens that curves from side to side. These are great goggles as they usually aren’t too overpriced however they do sometimes distort your vision slightly. These would be a great option for those who don’t go every year but still want a lens that is going to make it great on the hill.

Spherical

These lens types are usually found on the more expensive goggles. These lenses are curved lenses that curves from the top to the bottom then side to side providing the best vision possible. As the goggle lens is more rounded, it reduces the glare from the sun, so there is not as much of a flat surface for the light to reflect onto, ie less glare-y.

Lens Colours

What color lens is best for ski goggles? Do not be afraid of trying out different lenses. Instore lighting is a different type of light vs. natural light and it is good to see what the lens will look like in natural light conditions. If you are in a store, ask the sales person if you can go outside and see what it will look like. Here is a quick reference for the colour of the lenses from a night type of lens to a bright and sunny blue bird lens.

Recommended Colours For Goggles’ Lenses

Polarized Lens Types
Polarized Lens Types

Rose/Pink: Good for low to mid light, suited for cloudy, overcast days on the hill, typically low alpine.

Yellow: This is the go-to colour. Suitable for most days on the hill, great for snowy conditions and sunny days as yellow filters out blue light. It also increases depth perception and reduces glare.

Amber/Orange: also a great universal colour. Good for overcast, low light as it increases shadow definition and helps see through fog. It also reflects blue light so would be ok to use on partly sunny days.

Blue: Blue lenses are great for low light but a tinted mirror blue lens works well in bright light too. Blue lenses help reduce glare and are usually paired with a darker tint for added versatility.

Mirror finishes: Mirrored lenses do a great job at reducing the sharpness of the glare without removing it completely, this helps to distinguish the changes in snow conditions (blasted ice patches!!).

Visual Light Transmission

Although this sounds pretty fancy and high tech, it’s really not and it is actually fairly basic. All Visual Light Transmission, or VLT, is the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the goggle lens. As VLT is based on a percentage, the lower VLT percentage range would work better on brighter days whereas the higher the percentage, the better it would work on overcast days.

Specialized Lenses

Transitional Lens

Transitional lens are a new technology that has only come around in snow goggles in the last few years. The transitional lens is an adaptive lens that is able to change when it comes into contact with UV light. The lens have a few benefits that include protection from harmful UV rays, colour optimization, clean and comfortable vision all day long and self-adjusting tint.

These lens are a great option for someone who is wanting to have the versatility of two lenses with the added benefit of not having to actually change the lens. The transitional lens adjusts it visual light transmission from anywhere between 16% – 76%.

Polarized Lens

Polarized lens are something that have been out and about for years. They are in both our sunglasses and also some snow goggles. What this means is that the lens will have a special filter that will cut out some of the glare, so as to provide more comfortable goggles and so that you can see better.

Goggle Features

Foam and Venting

The foam on any goggle always comes with limited life expectancy. Depending on how you treat your goggle will depend on the life of the foam. We find that the first thing usually to go in any sort of goggles is usually the form, so its important to take just as much care of the foam just as much as you would the rest. The foam on any goggles can be made up of a single layer of foam or several. This will mainly provide more comfort as it then becomes more squishy.

Vents however will allow the air to circulate freely throughout the goggle and prevent fogging. On higher quality goggles, there is usually more venting. For example, they will have a lot of vents over the top and around the sides of the goggle.

Anti Fogging

anti-fogging goggles
Foggy Goggles

All goggle brands try to do their own sort of anti fogging, however there is only so much that they can do, then it’s in your hands. Here are some tips to avoid fogging, keeping it to a minimum and your visibility to a max!

  • Avoid buying goggles that are too small for your face. If the goggles are too small for your face then the air in the goggles won’t have enough room to circulate inside the goggles and will eventually fog up.
  • Avoid putting your goggles on your forehead. Unfortunately they will fog up.
  • Avoid having your neck warmer too high up on your face. Your warm breath will go straight up into your goggles and fog them up
  • If you get water on the inside of the goggles, it’s important to not try and rub the moisture out. It is best to shake the goggle upside down and get as much of it out as possible then locate a hand dryer and dry the goggles the rest of the way.
  • It is important to keep the snow off all the vents of the goggle. If the vents are not clear, the goggle will fog as no air can get out. So remember to keep them clear.

Strap

All goggles should come with a strap to make sure that it is secure on your head. These straps usually go on the outside of the helmet if you are wearing one or over your head. The strap itself makes sure that the goggle stays in place on your face and doesn’t start sliding around like an untrained seal. Most straps are made out of a stretchy material that is able to stretch over your head. Some types of goggles even come with straps that have silicone/rubber on them to make sure that the goggles don’t slide around.

Helmet Compatibility

Google and Helmet
Gaper Gap

If you do wear a helmet, which here at Snowcentral we always recommend, you need to make sure that your goggles fit with your helmet. What this means that there are a few things to be cautious of when purchasing new goggles. See our Helmet Buying Guide if you’re in the market for a new helmet.

Firstly, make sure that the helmet is sitting comfortably and where it would normally be if you were skiing/snowboarding. If your helmet is positioned wrong on your head to begin with, then you may not get the full features and comforts of the goggle. Once the helmet is correctly positioned, try on the goggles you’re considering. Make sure that there isn’t a gaping gap from the top of the goggle to the bottom of the helmet lip. We call this the ‘Gaper Gap’. It will cause you to end up with a hectic sunburn or wind burn line.

From there make sure that the goggles are not pushing down on your nose so much that makes it harder to breathe through your nose. However, also ensure that there is no gap just above your nose. You want the goggle to fit securely around your whole face. If you feel like the goggle is pushing too much on your cheek bones, try loosening it a little bit and see if that helps.

If there is no gaper gap, pressure on your cheek bones or either a gaping gap or firm pressure on your nose then it looks like you’ve found a winner! Good work.

What Are The Best Snow Goggles?

Here at Snowcentral, we have a wide variety of snow goggles for a wide range of budgets and faces. These are just a few of the bigger brands that we carry both in store and online.

Smith

Smith Ski Goggles have gone to great lengths over the years to be able to provide the biggest and best in the industry. Smith has created their own anti-fog system, they have put fans in some smith snowboard goggles, quick release lens and dual-axis outriggers. Smith Goggles IO are also a popular option, especially the Smith IO Chromapop.

Anti-Fogging System – Smith has designed an anti-fogging technology that allows them to etch their anti-fog into the lens itself.

Turbo Fan – Provides air to circulate more freely to allow for better air circulation.

Quick Release Lens – A quick lens change from bright and sunny to overcast will be a breeze.

Dual-Axis Outriggers – Pivot points on the strap that connect to the frame which allows them to sit perfectly on the face even with a helmet on.

Dragon

Dragon hasn’t been around for a long time but since they have been around they have definitely soared to become one of the top brands of snow goggles. They have bought to the table popular features like the transition lens, swiftlock lens change system, armoured frame ventilation and injection moulded polycarbonate lens.

Transition Lens – Changes with the UV light to provide a quick lens for both a sunny day and a overcast day.

Swiftlock Lens Change System – For a quick and easy change of any lens.

Armoured Frame Ventilation – There is a protection over some of the goggles the vents to make sure that the foam last as long as possible and doesn’t get filled with snow.

Injection Moulded Polycarbonate Lens – More impact-resistant than plastic or glass lenses.

How Should Snow Goggles Fit?

Have you ever put on a pair of goggles and they just don’t feel exactly right? Here’s a list of the issues that might arise and the solutions to them.

If you sense pushing on the bridge of your nose or even slightly over the airways of your nose, try loosening the strap a little or try different goggles with a wider nose section. You can actually get some goggles that have an adjustable nose section. These types of goggles are awesome for people with continuous issues with pressure on the nose.

You’ve decided that you need to get a helmet as well as goggles and you’ve found what you think is the perfect pair of goggles, but once you put the helmet on it doesn’t feel right. Try adjusting the strap that is on the side. Sometimes there is silicone or rubber on the strap of the goggle and it sometimes grips wrong when pulled into place. Once the strap is sorted, make sure that there isn’t a huge gap between the top of the goggle and the bottom lip of the helmet. Also be aware of the pressure of the nose here as well, as this might occur from the helmet pushing the goggles down. If these two things happen, make sure that the helmet is in the right position, so not too far forward or not too far back, and make sure that it is also the correct size.

Perhaps your everyday glasses don’t quite fit the over-the-glasses goggles. Firstly, check the width of the frame on the arm of the glasses and make sure that they fit in the cut-outs of the goggle and that they aren’t too wide. If you feel the glasses being pushed onto your face, the depth of the goggle may need to be bigger.

If you are getting a headache from wearing the goggles, check the width of the band. If it is on the smaller size you may want to think about getting a thicker band. A thin band will push into the head and may cause headaches whereas a wider band will distribute the pressure over a wider space and not cause as many problems.

How Do You Look After Your Goggles?

When You Are Away

Goggle Care
Storing Your Goggles

While skiing or snowboarding (often when learning) a fall can occur that will cause snow to get inside the goggles. In this case it is important to shake as much snow out of the goggles as possible and avoid touching the inside of the lens. Doing so will remove the anti-fog coating on the inside of the lens. Remove as much snow as possible by shaking it out and then head to the restroom to use the hand dryer to blow the rest of the moisture out. Once you get home from being on the slopes all day, it is really important to make sure that your goggles dry out really well. So take them off and leave them on the counter to dry over night, be sure not to put them into a dry room. Make sure not to leave the goggles face down on a bench or any surfaces as this could scratch the lens.

At Home

It is really important to make sure that you store your goggles in a cool space, so not the garage and not in the shed. I find the best place for them is in your bedroom at the bottom of your cupboard. I find that this is the coolest part of the house. Once they have been stored correctly, make sure that they are wrapped with a microfibre material or the bag that they come with. Be sure that they aren’t wrapped in plastic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long do ski and snowboard goggles last?

A: Goggles can last up to several years, however, it all depends on how you look after them. Follow our care advice to make your goggles last as long as possible.

Q:  Can I buy replacement lenses for my snow goggles?

A: You can usually purchase new lenses if you need them. The best way to do this is to contact a shop and see if they can get them in store if they don’t already have any in stock. When contacting a shop, it is good to know what sort of goggles it is that you are wanting to get a replacement lens for.

Q: What should I use to clean my ski or snowboard goggles?

A: When cleaning the goggles, the microfibre bag that most goggles come with is a perfect example of what to use. Only use it on the outside. If you rub the inside, you may rub out the anti-fog coating.

Now you know exactly what to look for in ski and snowboard goggles. Make sure that you follow these guidelines to ensure you get the right fit and comfort level. Let’s see what you’ve learned!