With the 2020 ski season seeing a premature end thanks to well-above-average temperatures all winter long and curtailed by the coronavirus, many winter sports retailers are stuck with an overstock of all kinds of equipment and accessories. From gloves to outerwear and even skis and snowboards, it’s a buyer’s market out there.
While the season may be over, we think it’s a great time to snag a good deal on a pair of ski and snowboard goggles. While an afterthought for many, goggles are an essential piece of gear, whether it’s snowing (either naturally or artificially) or not. With many models offering interchangeable lenses, you can change up your eye protection as conditions change.
But like every other piece of winter sports equipment, there are a ton of options, and unfortunately way too much junk. We’ve searched for some of the best goggles on the market and have assembled the list below. Let’s get started.
Top Ski and Snowboard Goggles
sits in the middle of the manufacturer’s ski goggle lineup, and offers a good mix of both value and functionality, without the high price tag. The cylindrical lens is equipped with Smith’s Fog-X anti-fog technology and three layers of foam to create a solid seal. This provides additional moisture-shedding properties that allow for a dry, fog-free view of the terrain ahead.
ChromaPop lens tech — a long-running staple of Smith’s sunglasses — works by filtering out specific wavelengths of light to reduce ambiguity in the part of our brain that processes color. The result is a visual clarity that lets you ride in virtually any light conditions with nearly unmatched optical clarity. A protective non-ChromaPop lens is included with the package, and you can purchase other lenses separately and change them on the fly. Add the company’s self-shaping Responsive Fit Frame that morphs to the contours of your face, along with the Ultra-Wide Silicone Backed Strap, and you’ve got a killer goggle.
Most of us probably know Oakley more for its sunglasses. They’ve been manufacturing ski goggles for years, however, with the same fashion-forward design as their sunglasses. The fighter pilot-inspired
is a great example, with a rimless design and interchangeable lenses. The Prizm lenses are Oakley’s version of Smith’s ChromaPop, which allows for the elimination of glare while maximizing contrast and enhancing visibility. They also feature anti-fog coating, and even though they aren’t marketed as OTG (over-the-glass) frames, most eyeglass wearers can wear their glasses underneath comfortably due to the Flight Deck’s larger size and discreet frame notches at the temples.
There are several lens options available (you can also purchase additional lenses separately). We recommend you select any of the Iridium lens options.
Normally, we’d worry about recommending a cheap pair of goggles to our readers that we don’t have any experience with. But
1,500 ratings, more than 70% of them have five stars, is more than enough evidence that this budget ski accessory manufacturer might just be onto something. The company offers an astonishing number of color options, including a respectable number of lens types. They’re eyeglass compatible and feature fog protection like the big-name goggle brands.
From the reviews, the goggles fit well and are surprisingly durable. And the lenses generally perform well when compared to more expensive models, albeit with less contrast. As long as you keep in mind these aren’t going to be as good as the top-tier brands, the OutdoorMasters might be one way to save on all the gear you’ll need to hit the slopes this year.
Anon is arguably one of the top ski goggle manufacturers on the market, and that reputation comes at a premium. We think they’re well worth it if you have the funds for them as they are both comfortable and durable. One of the coolest features of
is not only the superior anti-fog capabilities of these lenses, but how easy it is to change the lenses.
Strong magnets hold the lenses to the goggles themselves. To swap them out, pop them off and put the new lens on. We understand your reservations about these goggles, as it would sound like magnets wouldn’t be enough to hold the lenses on. That isn’t the case: Reviewers say that while the lenses are extremely easy to swap, they stay on even on the hardest falls. And the contrast and clarity are top-notch thanks to Zeiss Sonar lens technology that is built right into the lens.
Just like OutdoorMaster’s Pro goggles, their
are equally budget-minded and equally well-reviewed. They run a little bit larger than most goggles to accommodate just about any size glasses. The lenses are treated to prevent fogging and feature a UV-protective covering to protect your eyes in sunny conditions.
You can’t change the lenses on this particular model, unfortunately. However, these goggles are so cheap, you can purchase several different pairs for the various conditions you might run into. We’d recommend you purchase the clear lens version for low light situations and one of the darker lenses for sunny conditions at a minimum. A lens with around 50% VLT might be a good idea for cloudier days, however.
Most of the goggles we’ve recommended so far work for either men or women, although some of the larger models may be too large for a woman’s face.
is a potential alternative that fits a woman’s face a whole lot better. Like Anon, Giro developed its lens technology with Zeiss (Giro calls it Vivid) to help increase contrast and clarity while providing excellent glare and UV protection. While not a true frameless goggle, the lenses are interchangeable just the same, and you get both low light and full sun lenses with your purchase.
Owners say the goggles fit well and don’t fog up easily. They’re also durable, with many reporting they’ve gotten several seasons out of the same pair of goggles. With an easy method to swap lenses to boot, we’d highly recommend the Giro Luisis to skiers and riders looking for a pair of goggles that are designed with women in mind. You won’t be disappointed.
While the Smith Squads are great goggles, stepping up to
is worth it. You’ll get superior anti-fog protection, as well as better ventilation and the company’s quick-release lens change system, which makes switching between lenses on the hill a breeze. We appreciate the fact that Smith includes two mirrored ChromaPop lenses with your purchase: Storm, which brightens flat light and enhances contrast on darker days, and Sun, which reduces glare and fills in shadows. Another feature of the lens is Porex. This is a filter allows air molecules to pass through but not water, preventing moisture from getting in between the layers of the lens, a major contributor to your goggles fogging up.
How to pick the right goggle
While a good part of the process of picking the right goggle comes down to fit, we’d argue a more important consideration for long-term satisfaction is picking the right lens. While the obvious role of the goggle is for protection, they’re also worn to help you see better on the hill. If you’ve ever been on snow on a sunny day, you’ll see what we mean. The glare itself can be blinding, and wearing a pair of sunglasses is asking for trouble — one spill and they’ll go flying.
If you generally ski or ride in the same conditions over and over, a pair of goggles with non-removable lenses will do you just fine. In this case, you’ll probably want to steer toward lenses that offer a fair amount of visible light transmission (VLT), probably around 50% or so. A lens with a 50% or so VLT will work well, although it might be too dark for night runs.
If you find yourself in a variety of conditions, goggles with removable lenses are the much smarter buy. Typically out of the box you’ll get at least two lenses, one for sunny conditions with around 10% VLT, and another for overcast conditions, with a rating of approximately 50% VLT. If you’re a night skier, we’d also recommend a clear lens, which in many cases will have a VLT of 90% or higher. Pick a removable lens system that is easy to swap out lenses on the fly — you’ll thank us later for doing so.
Another vital consideration is anti-fog. Nothing makes a pair of goggles more useless than an inability to stay fog-free. Nearly every mid and high-end goggle will have this functionality, with generally better results on higher-priced goggles. There are some exceptions to this, but like with everything else, you get what you pay for.
Finally, if you are looking to purchase a helmet, select the same manufacturer for both the helmet and goggles whenever possible. While most goggles will play well with just about any helmet, you’ll get the best fit this way.