Finding the best ski goggles is a challenge for even the most experienced and avid skiers. Unlike the goggles of yesteryear, which all had the same features and little variety, today, you can find hundreds of different goggles. The choices can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve had problems with ski goggles in the past.
I love skiing, but finding the best ski goggles is a challenge for me as well. I went out and tested many different makes of goggles from several manufacturers to see what, exactly, is out there.
We evaluated many different pairs of goggles for forward and peripheral visibility in different lighting conditions; ventilation, fog, and scratch mitigation; comfort, suitability for different types of skiing, and durability both on and off the slopes.
From all of our research, we found the 16 best ski goggles on the market today. Read on to find out what they are.
1. Smith 4D Mag ChromaPop Goggles (Best Overall)
2. Smith I O Mag Goggles (Best Runner-Up)
3. Smith Range Snow Goggles (Best Budget)
4. Smith Vice ChromaPop Snow Goggles (Budget Runner-Up)
5. Julbo Skydome Snow Goggles (Best Ventilation)
6. Anon Sync Ski Goggles (Ventilation Runner-Up)
7. Anon WM1 Women’s Ski Goggles (Best Overall for Women)
8. Smith Drift Goggles for Women (Women’s Runner-Up)
9. Giro Moxie Women’s Snow Goggle (Best Budget for Women)
10. Smith Youth Daredevil Goggles for Kids (Best Overall for Kids)
11. Anon Tracker Ski Goggles For Kids (Kids’ Runner-Up)
12. Bolle Explorer OTG Goggles (Best Budget Goggles for Kids)
13. Anon M4 Toric Goggles (Best Toric Goggles) (Editors Choice)
14. Oakley Fall Line XM Prizm Goggles (Best Optics)
15. Julbo Cyrius Photochromic Goggles (Best Photochromic)
16. Smith Knowledge OTG (Best OTG Goggles)
Best Ski Goggle Mini-Reviews
These are 16 of the best ski goggles you can find on the market, suitable for all types of skiers, snowboarders, and environments.
Smith 4D Mag ChromaPop Goggles (Best Overall Ski Goggle)
Smith’s 4D Mag goggles likewise come with their ChromaPop lens, which enhances contrast and gives you unparalleled visibility on the slopes so you can follow your line quickly and safely, and as easily as your skill level allows. Their Bird’sEye Vision lens gives you a visual field that’s 25 percent larger than the Smith I O Mag goggles for outstanding visibility on the toughest terrain.
These goggles come in a massive variety of colors that filter different shades of light to further enhance your visibility and make you even safer while you’re shredding the slopes, and the Bird’sEye vision not only gives you superb clarity on your own line but also enables you to see your fellow skiers and snowboarders around you.
When you buy Smith’s 4D Mag goggles, you get a microfiber bag that can double as a cleaning cloth, a hard case, and a second lens, giving you a bright-light and low-light lens all in a single package.
One of the best things about these goggles is the easy lens change system. Smith’s 4D Mag goggles come with magnetic lenses that make swapping them out so quick you can do it on the lift or even in the lift line. Because the Smith 4D Mag goggles have some better technology than the Smith I O Mag goggles, they’re a bit more on the expensive side.
- Silicone-backed strap with a quick-fit system for an easy, custom fit
- Two different locking mechanisms hold the lens in place
- Three layers of Dri-Wix foam padding for comfort and dryness
- Air-Evac tech for reduced fogging risks
- Bird’sEye vision also augments ChromaPop tech, further reducing color confusion and enhancing natural color vision
- Water can pool up along the bottom of the lens, especially with wet snow and rain
- Lighter-colored frames are visibly reflected in the lenses
Smith I O Mag Goggles (Best Runner-Up Ski Goggle)
Smith goggles are among the most well-known when it comes to quality snow goggles, and the Smith I O Mag goggles are among the highest quality goggles. These goggles come with ChromaPop lenses, which are excellent for contrast whether you’re flying down groomed trails or skiing backcountry slopes with lots of sunlight mixed with shadow.
The Smith I O Mag goggles don’t come with a polarized lens because the ChromaPop technology replaces polarization and provides outstanding UV protection. The color variety in the lenses ensures you’ll be able to purchase pairs that work best for the light conditions in which you most often ski.
If you so choose, you can even purchase lenses in colors that are optimal for other conditions as well.
The Smith I O Mag has a spherical lens shape, which gives you better peripheral vision and more closely matches your natural eye shape, resulting in less visual distortion, especially on your periphery.
And when you want to change them out, you merely unclip them and pull them away from their magnets, put the new lenses on, and secure them with a flip of a lever.
- The magnetic lens system uses N52 magnets along with a quick-lock system, making it easy to swap lenses
- Compatible with all Smith helmets and others
- Five times
- The frame adjusts itself to the wearer’s face
- Vent placement prevents fogging even when worn with a helmet
- These are 2021/2022 lenses and not compatible with earlier Smith goggles
- Can’t choose which two lenses you receive
Smith Range Snow Goggles (Best Budget Ski Goggle for Beginners)
You might want a pair of Smith Goggles but would prefer not to pay a few hundred dollars for them. Never fear; Smith has some of the best budget ski goggles available. Their Range goggles give you all the quality of Smith Optics without the accompanying price tag of the Smith I O Mag and Smith 4D Mag goggles.
These goggles have a cylindrical lens with an anti-fog coat on the inner lens, and good ventilation augments the anti-fog coating on the lens.
You also get an ultra-wide strap with silicone backing, which keeps the strap comfortably in place over your hair and under your helmet. The lens profile also tapers from the center towards the outside to help prevent visual distortions on the slope.
Their dual-layer foam padding provides excellent comfort as the frame molds itself to your face, allowing for all-day wear without facial soreness.
Even though these have one less layer of padding than the Smith I O Mag and Smith 4D Mag goggles have, they still come with DriWix technology in the padding to help keep your face and the air inside your goggles dry to further reduce fogging.
While it comes with fewer lens colors than other Smith Optics goggles, you still have an excellent selection from which to choose depending on where you buy them, and you still get superior lens quality with them.
- DriWix facial foam stays dry even if you’re working up a sweat on the slopes
- Compatible with Smith helmets
- Large frame size for better fit and overall view
- Includes replacement lenses
- Excellent for those who want style, quality, and comfort
- Lenses aren’t polarized, potentially causing problems with glare on bright days
- Must order low-light lenses separately
Smith Vice ChromaPop Snow Goggles (Budget Runner-Up Ski goggle)
Looking at the last three snow goggles we’ve reviewed, it should come as no surprise that Smith Optics has the runner-up for the best budget goggles on the market. They’re slightly more expensive than Smith’s Range goggles, but not nearly as expensive as the Smith I O Mag or Smith 4D Mag goggles.
They’re also not nearly as expensive as some of the other goggles on this list, like the Smith 4D Mag goggles, and they come with many comparable or even superior features.
Unlike the Range goggles, a Vice ski goggle comes with ChromaPop lenses, which will boost contrast on the slopes and act as a polarized lens as well. And the spherical lenses reduce visual distortions on the slopes, particularly on your periphery, making your day on skis safer for you and those around you.
This ski goggle isn’t billed as over-the-glasses goggles. However, some have found that they do fit over certain frames. If you wear small, narrow glasses frames, you might be able to wear these goggles over them, which is a plus, especially for a budget pair.
You may find that they press your earpieces into your temples, though, so you might do better wearing contacts or finding a pair of true OTG goggles.
The strap is longer than other goggles on the market, too, making it so you can wear these with a helmet without needing an extension on the strap. Overall, for those on a budget, these are the best goggles available.
- Anti-fog and ventilation work very well together to prevent fogging
- Lenses are photochromic in addition to having ChromaPop technology
- They have 100 percent protection against dangerous ultra-violet rays
- Multiple lens colors give you options for the light conditions in which you most often ski
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Silicone backing on the strap is fragile
- Moisture can pool on the goggles, interfering with visibility
Julbo Skydome Snow Goggles (Skiing Goggle for Best Ventilation)
You know how vital quality ventilation is with lens coatings and other anti-fog measures if you’re a backcountry skier. Julbo’s Skydome goggles have outstanding ventilation and other excellent features, ensuring you remain as safe as possible to cut up the snow among trees and boulders.
Besides the ventilation, these goggles have oversized lenses to give you a massive field of vision and are photochromic to adjust to sunny and cloudy conditions. The lenses also have extra-high contrast red coloring to further enhance your vision and allow you to see obstacles well before you’re upon them.
REACTIV lens technology further boosts contrast, so you have as much visual warning of obstacles and hazards ahead as possible.
Besides being great for skiing, these are excellent snowboard goggles, too, in part because of their field of vision. They also have a dual-adjustable strap that helps make them compatible with the types of helmets snowboarders and backcountry skiers wear, plus they have an extra-large fit, so even adults with large faces can wear these.
- Spherical lens combined with minimal frame ensures an unobstructed view
- REACTIV VLT reduces visible light transmission by 17 percent at its lightest and 75 percent at its darkest
- Lightweight at less than five ounces
- Enhanced airflow helps keep your face cool on challenging runs
- Red lens adjusts to different lighting conditions than most other lens colors
- You can’t swap the lenses out
- The photochromic feature can become problematic if you’re into backcountry skiing
Anon Sync Ski Goggles (Snow boarding Goggle for Ventilation Runner-Up)
For those on a little bit more of a budget or who prefer a set of goggles with a cylindrical lens but still love cutting up backcountry snow, Anon has a pair of goggles that have excellent ventilation like the Julbo Skydome goggles – but don’t cost as much.
These goggles come in both men’s and women’s sizes and styles, even though they’re often billed as unisex goggles. They come with medium and large frames to better fit the different facial bone structures of women and men while still working for everyone.
These goggles have unique cylindrical lens technology to reduce visual distortion, helping you gauge the actual distances to obstacles and potential hazards. You have a choice of three lens colors as well that will give you the best natural color vision and contrast possible, too.
The low-profile frame has dual-layer padding with a third fleece pad for enhanced moisture-wicking, which is excellent for backcountry skiers and snowboarders alike.
- Air vent runs the full perimeter of the frame
- Comes with a replacement lens and microfiber bag
- Fleece pad enhances moisture control for added anti-fog benefits
- Can be worn over glasses
- Magnetic lenses allow for quick and easy lens swapping
- Lenses are not polarized
- You have limited lens color options
Anon WM1 Women’s Ski Goggles (Best Overall Ski Goggle for Women)
For women who are looking for high-quality goggles that make finding the perfect fit and swapping lenses easy, look no further than Anon’s WM1 Women’s goggles. These goggles have a spherical lens technology that enhances clarity and visibility in different lighting conditions, as well as a superb anti-fog coating on the inside for increased vision and safety on the slopes.
If there’s anything women don’t like, it’s a product made for women that’s lower quality than the men’s equivalent, and these goggles are an excellent choice in that regard. They come with an easy lens changing system. Swapping out the high-quality lenses on the lifts or quickly in the lodge is a snap.
Unlike many other snow goggles, this magnetic lens system is compatible with certain face coverings for seamless protection against the cold without the lens fogging that tends to come with such coverings.
The triple-layer padding inside the frames consists of two layers of foam and a third of fleece that helps wick away moisture and heat and releases it into the air, away from your lenses.
With so many goggles having designs that are optimal for men despite their unisex design, women can have difficulty finding high-quality goggles that fit their unique facial structures. Anon has taken the work out of finding an excellent pair of women’s goggles.
- Can fit over regular glasses
- Nine magnetic points between the lenses and frames ensure lenses stay securely on frames
- Anti-scratch coating in addition to anti-fog and smudge coatings
- Very wide field of view even with small, low-profile frames
- Spare lens included
- A little on the pricey side
- Lenses aren’t polarized
Smith Drift Goggles for Women (Snow boarding goggles for Women’s Runner-Up)
Smith Optics has such a wide variety of goggles that it’s nearly a given they’d have a style specifically for women. Smith’s Drift Goggles for Women combine feminine style with Smith’s high level of quality and craftsmanship. They’re also more affordable than many other women’s goggles, giving women exactly what they’re looking for in ski gear.
Even in flat light, the lenses in the Drift goggles provide excellent clarity, color, and contrast. Special airflow technology allows increased flow-through to help keep your lenses clear of moisture and fog. The interior anti-fog coat works in concert with the airflow for a virtually fog-free day on the slopes.
These goggles have interchangeable lenses, although you have to purchase any extra lenses you want, and they’re compatible with all Smith helmets and other helmets as well. The silicone band inside the goggles’ strap ensures it’ll stay in place across your hair or on your helmet.
However, women who want ChromaPop lenses might prefer the Smith I O Mag, Smith 4D Mag, or Vice goggles.
- Provided lenses are suitable for cloudy conditions
- Option to buy other lenses that work for other lighting conditions
- Very snug without being uncomfortable or painful
- Excellent lens quality
- The flexible frame adjusts to your face
- Replacement lens sleeve included but not lenses themselves
- Limited frame colors and styles
Giro Moxie Women’s Snow Goggle (Best Budget Ski goggle for Women)
Not all goggles are meant for all people. Because women have smaller bone structures and different facial shapes than men, they often require different sizes and shapes for sports equipment, including ski equipment. Giro’s Moxie Women’s Snow Goggle may appear cheap, but it is an excellent option for women on a budget who still want equipment made especially for them.
Even though they aren’t frameless, they have quite a wide field of view and a double layer of foam with a third micro-fleece layer to reduce moisture and improve comfort. This layer also augments the anti-fog layer on the inside of the lens, giving you great visibility and clarity in a variety of conditions.
These come with cylindrical lenses, so despite being great ski goggles for women, they don’t have all of the visual benefits that spherical ones do. Nevertheless, if you’re a woman on a tight budget who loves to ski, these are high-quality goggles that will serve you well on the slopes.
- Lenses come in a wide variety of colors for all lighting conditions
- These fit well over glasses
- Designed to work with Giro helmets like all other Giro equipment
- Interchangeable lenses available
- Spare lens included
- Lenses are neither photochromic or polarized
- Fingerprints and other smudges show up unusually easily
Smith Youth Daredevil Goggles for Kids (Best Kids Ski goggles Overall)
When you take your kids skiing with you, you want them to have the same eye protection and visibility you have. There’s quite possibly nothing that’s more important, especially when they’re learning.
Smith’s Youth Daredevil Goggles for Kids are the best children’s ski goggles you can find. They come with cylindrical lenses and small frames designed especially for the unique structure of a child’s upper face.
If you remember how often and hard you fell when you were learning to ski, you want your child to have as much protection for their heads and eyes as possible. Fortunately, Smith’s youth goggles are compatible with helmets, ensuring your little ones have the most protection possible while still having that “cool” look that kids crave.
These goggles fit children ages eight to 12, and kids can wear them over their glasses so long as the frames aren’t huge. Since many consider children in this age range to be too young for contacts and prescription goggles are expensive and require a doctor’s consultation, having a good pair of OTG goggles is a must for many parents.
- Has dual-layer foam padding for comfort
- Floating foam membrane reduces pressure on the temples from glasses frames
- They can fit children younger than eight
- Light transmission reduced to as low as 17 percent depending on lens tint and color
- Hydrophobic coating combined with FogX anti-fog coat for excellent visibility
- Limited frame colors available
- Does not come with a spare or replacement lens
Anon Tracker Ski Goggles For Kids (Kids’ Runner-Up)
Another great pair of goggles for children, Anon’s Tracker kids’ goggles work well as skiing or snowboarding goggles and are excellent for other snow sports, too. They have frames that are specially designed for small faces, with non-slip silicone straps to fit around the helmets that protect your child’s head when they fall or crash.
They come with a polyurethane, flexible frame suitable for the beating children tend to give sporting equipment. Plus, both the frame and lenses are highly scratch-resistant. Your child can drop or drag these, and the lenses won’t suffer the gouges others will.
You also get a massive variety of lens colors, allowing you to help your child learn what color lenses work best in different light conditions.
You don’t have to worry that your child will suffer distorted peripheral vision, either. Anon’s cylindrical lens technology involves tapering the profile down towards the outsides to reduce such problems. While a cylindrical lens isn’t always optimal, this particular lens shape can work well for children.
Full ventilation around the frame’s perimeter to augment these goggles’ anti-fog coat rounds out how great these goggles are for your young ones.
- Lenses are set back into the frame to help reduce scratches from impacts and general kids’ use
- Excellent for children as young as four
- Seamless integration with children’s helmets
- Inexpensive for high-quality, modern goggles for kids
- Magnetic integration allows for a seamless, fog-free experience even with a face mask
- Lenses aren’t polarized, increasing glare for your child
- Lenses aren’t interchangeable
Bolle Explorer OTG Goggles (Best Budget Goggles for Kids)
Goggles can get expensive when you’re buying pairs for the whole family, especially quality pairs that fit over glasses. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality for the price, especially when it comes to your little ones on the slopes.
Bolle’s Explorer OTG goggles are small enough for children as young as three and specially designed to wear over glasses, which is almost a necessary feature since so many children require corrective lenses but can’t wear contact lenses, and your young ones must be able to see as clearly as possible.
These goggles have double-pane, carbon-glass lenses with anti-fog and anti-scratch treatments to handle anything your child can throw at them (or throw them at). They’re very lightweight for tiny faces, and their double-density foam ensures maximum comfort for even the fussiest children.
Flow-Tech airflow technology ensures that neither the goggle lens nor glasses lenses will fog up while they’re out in the snow.
The double-pane lenses also provide insulation against the cold, helping to protect the delicate skin around young children’s eyes.
- Excellent for young children who want to ski or snowboard
- 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays
- Manufactured with a special system to seamlessly meld with helmets
- Spec chart helps determine best colors for expected light conditions
- Compatible with optical clips
- Best for very young children – may have to find new goggles as they get older
- Lenses aren’t polarized
Anon M4 Toric Goggles (Best Toric Goggles)
You have cylindrical and spherical lenses, and now you also have toric lenses, which combine the previous two. The Anon M4 Toric goggles have a true spherical curve horizontally but a slightly less-than-spherical curve along their vertical axis.
In other words, a toric lens gives you the best of all lens worlds, and thus, better visibility and clarity than anything else.
The Anon M4 Toric Goggles are on the cutting edge of goggle technology. Their shape is better at mimicking your eyes’ shapes than lenses with a spherical shape, which is why you can see so well with them. This lens shape is also great for maximizing ventilation, giving you as much airflow as possible without a fan.
Cylindrical and toric lenses can appear quite similar because of the softer vertical curve, but make no mistake. There’s no comparison between the two, particularly when it comes to peripheral vision. A cylindrical lens does taper to reduce peripheral distortion. The lens shape of the Anon M4 Toric Goggles gives you unprecedented peripheral vision, even better than that of spherical lenses.
PERCEIVE technology in the Anon M4 Toric goggles further enhances your clarity of vision, and an oleophobic and hydrophobic coating on the outer lens reduces smudges, scratches, and water spots.
Perhaps one of the best features of these goggles is that they’re compatible with glasses, so if you don’t wear contacts, you can still wear these goggles.
- Integral Clarity Technology treatment prevents fogging over long periods
- Channel ventilation around the entire perimeter of the frames
- SONAR technology regulates specific light wavelengths to further improve vision
- Magnetic lens change system keeps your lenses securely in place with quick change-out ability
- Precise, seamless fit between goggles, face masks, and helmets
- These are very expensive goggles
- Designed primarily for men so women may have trouble finding a pair of Anon M4 Toric Goggles that fit
Oakley Fall Line XM Prizm Goggles (Best Optics Ski Goggle)
We know the term “fall line” sounds like a fashion line from New York Fashion Week, but in the case of Oakley’s Fall Line goggles, the phrase refers to the most direct line down a hill.
These are cylindrical goggles with a wide field of view and construction that fits most helmets perfectly, providing you with added safety on even the most challenging slopes.
If you’re looking for the best goggles for optics, you can’t beat Oakley’s exclusive Prizm lenses for better contrast and optics on the slopes. This ski goggle is excellent for skiers and snowboarders who enjoy shredding backcountry slopes with lots of hazards and obstacles and have found that lenses without this kind of technology just don’t cut it.
This is also an interchangeable lens goggle, and while they don’t have a magnetic lens change system, you can still switch lenses pretty quickly and easily. You can also wear your regular glasses underneath them, and the dual venting system built into the lenses coupled with an anti-fog coat will help keep both your glasses and your goggles fog-free.
- Three-layer, moisture-wicking fleece padding further reduces humidity in your goggles and keeps your face warm and dry
- Injection-molded dual Plutonite lenses protect you from dangerous UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, as well as certain types of blue light
- Frame molds to your face even in very harsh conditions
- Lenses sit closer to your face without discomfort, giving you a better peripheral view than standard cylindrical goggles
- Lenses available in many different colors
- Lens change system is a little more complicated than those of Oakley’s competitors
- Ventilation can allow your face to get cold
Julbo Cyrius Photochromic Goggles (Best Photochromic ski goggle)
Lenses that change tint depending on light conditions can feel like a godsend on the slopes. Unless you’re constantly going in and out of shadows at a quick pace, you’ll probably love having photochromic lenses that get lighter or darker depending on how bright or dark it is outside.
Julbo’s Cyrius photochromic goggles not only have that capability, but they also have a minimalist frame. This feature enhances your field of view alongside the photochromic lens, and their VLT protects your eyes against UVA, UVB, and UVC light in all conditions.
Furthermore, specific lens colors, like red, help with contrast to the point where you may never consider switching to ChromaPop or Prizm lenses. Even if you prefer the most backcountry of backcountry skiing, Julbo’s Cyrius goggles can work wonders for your visibility.
You also get two layers of foam for padding and shock absorption. The inner layer also has a unique material to ensure it remains soft against the skin on your face.
- The silicone-backed strap comes with an overstrap to ensure compatibility with almost every helmet
- Good for people with large faces
- The frame has cuts on it for better flexibility
- REACTIV High Mountain 2-4 and All-Around 2-3 have high lens quality and are polarized in addition to having photochromic capabilities
- REACTIV technology reduces the need to carry around a second lens
- Not all REACTIV lenses are polarized
- Expensive ski goggles compared to similar goggles from competitors
Smith Knowledge OTG (Best OTG Goggles for Skiing)
So many of us wear corrective lenses, and while prescription snow goggles do exist, you’ll find that you have limited choices. You also need to see your eye doctor and then go to a shop that does prescription goggles, and you’ll end paying a pretty penny for them.
Not everyone can wear contact lenses, and many people just prefer not to. Although many snow goggles on the market fit over most glasses frames, Smith Optics’ offers a pair of OTG goggles that sit at the top of the pile of OTG goggles.
These are lightweight goggles, too, which is a bonus for anyone who’s ever worn or currently wears heavy glasses or has had heavy goggles in the past. Heavy frames on your face, whether they’re goggles, glasses, or both, can give you headaches and other problems, ruining your day out in the snow.
They use the same floating foam technology around the temples that their Youth Daredevil Goggles use to keep your earpieces from pressing into your temples, giving you all-day comfort despite your glasses.
You get adjustable vents along with filtering technology that keeps air pressure equalized in the space between the two lenses, reducing visual distortions all across your field of view.
- Wide, silicone-backed strap makes these goggles compatible with helmets in addition to glasses
- Large fit enhances comfort over most glasses frames and face sizes
- Cylindrical lens has fewer points on the surface to reduce glare while ensuring the light you need gets to your eyes
- Available in Asia fit
- Fits with helmets from manufacturers other than Smith
- Bulky if you’re not wearing them with a helmet
- Can feel heavy on your nose despite lightweight frames and lenses
Buying Guide: What to Look For When Shopping for Ski and Snow Goggles
We want you to understand the technology that goes into ski goggles and understand things like fit and comfort so you can narrow down your choices to the set of ski goggles that’s best for you.
Lens technology has vastly improved over the last couple of decades. Gone are the days of limited lens selection and technology. Modern ski goggles incorporate a whole host of technological improvements in their lenses that allow you to better customize your view, so you have the best vision possible out on the slopes.
You have three lens shapes: Cylindrical, spherical, and toric. Cylindrical lenses only have a horizontal curve and a flat face. They create a certain flatness with your view, increasing potential problems with sun glare and reducing your peripheral vision somewhat.
However, goggles with cylindrical lenses are usually cheaper than those with the other two types of lenses, so if you’re on a budget, consider looking for a quality pair with cylindrical lenses.
Spherical lenses are shaped a little like your eye. They give you better peripheral vision than cylindrical lenses and a far better forward view because there’s less distortion and less glare with which to contend. These are excellent when you need to minimize distortion as much as possible, such as with backcountry skiing.
Toric Lenses vs. Cylindrical and Spherical Lenses
In eyewear like contact lenses, a toric lens has thick and thin spots to help correct for astigmatism. In ski goggles, a toric lens has a tighter horizontal than vertical radius. This lens shape helps improve your peripheral vision as well as your general optics, giving you less distortion on the slopes.
These lenses are new compared to the two other lens types: Cylindrical and spherical. They take both shapes and combine them to create a lens shape that matches your face as closely as possible.
What to Buy?
Consider how often you actually go skiing or snowboarding before choosing your goggles. If you only ski once in a while, then a basic pair of goggles with cylindrical lenses will do fine for you.
However, if you ski often or like to ski off-trail or backcountry, you want to take a look at each lens shape, tint, and color to determine which is the best set for you.
Toric lenses give you the best of both worlds: A good curve horizontally but less of a curve vertically, giving you the best vision possible on the slopes.
Keep in mind that these are new on the market, though, so you might have some trouble finding what you consider an affordable pair.
Nevertheless, for the truest view possible, these lenses are excellent and worth the price.
If you remember switching from non-polarized to polarized sunglasses, you might remember how much of a difference the polarized lenses made when it came to how hard the glare from sunlight was on your eyes. Light reflected from your hood and the cars around you, as well as windows on buildings, was far more bearable and allowed you to see much better.
Most goggles these days come with lenses that are polarized, which reduce sun glare on snow and water. ChromaPop and Prizm lenses do this, too. We tend not to consider how much glare we receive on the slopes because the reflection isn’t mirror-like the way it is on the roads. You may not realize how much that glare hurts your eyes and affects your vision until you get some polarized, ChromaPop, or Prizm lenses.
What to Buy?
Many goggles have lenses that are polarized, and certain models from Smith and Oakley have ChromaPop or Prizm technology that replaces polarization. However, it’s a feature that can raise the price of the goggles you want. While you won’t have to search high and low to find polarized goggles, you might have problems finding a pair on a tight budget or for your children.
If you wear glasses, you might already know what photochromatic lenses are like. Like Transitions lenses, this is a goggle lens that lightens and darkens depending on the ambient light around them, reducing the need for you to have different lenses for different light conditions.
What to Buy?
If you prefer to stick to groomed slopes and trails while skiing from the early hours until dusk, photochromic lenses will work quite well for you because they’ll adjust themselves with the changing sunlight, even in the low light of sunrise and sunset.
These lenses become problematic if you prefer backcountry skiing, though. For one thing, they don’t transition instantly. It takes time, and when you’re moving in and out of sun and shadow at a rapid clip, you don’t get the contrast you need to properly read the slope ahead of you.
Once upon a time, goggle manufacturers made lenses you could change out so you’d have a backup in case you cracked or broke your primary set of lenses. These days, however, interchangeable lenses serve a variety of purposes for skiers of all types.
Sure, many people will still use them for emergency purposes only. It’s never a bad idea to have a spare pair of lenses with you, especially with today’s goggles, since you can simply swap lenses very quickly.
What to Buy?
Interchangeable lenses are an excellent solution to the above problems with photochromic lenses, especially if you enjoy off-trail or backcountry skiing. You can carry different lenses for different conditions and swap them out quite easily depending on the prevailing light conditions. You won’t run into a problem with your lenses constantly trying to adjust to rapidly changing light conditions that come with skiing in and out of shadows.
If you choose to buy an all-purpose pair of goggles instead of going for an interchangeable lens system, you can save money, which is excellent if you’re on a budget. However, if you can spring for lenses that swap out, you should at least consider doing so.
Lens Tints, Colors, and Mirroring
Do lens tints and colors even matter? They do, yes. If you ski in an area that regularly has poor lighting conditions like cloudiness, lenses with a lighter tint will work best for you. These are low-VLT, meaning they let more light in, allowing you the shadow and color contrast you need to read the slopes.
A darker lens tint has a higher VLT, which lets less light in. You want to use these lenses on “bluebird days,” or days that are bright and sunny. You want to use a clear lens for night skiing.
There is a variety of lens colors on the market. You might prefer one color over another simply because that’s what you’re used to with, say, your sunglasses. However, there is a reason snow goggle lenses have different colors to them that you should consider when shopping.
What to Buy?
When it comes to color, black, red, and platinum lenses work best on bright, sunny days. If you have partly cloudy conditions, you want red, green, or blue lenses. These colors also work well as all-purpose lenses.
For low-light or very cloudy conditions, yellow, gold, copper, and amber lenses are your best bet.
Mirrored lenses let in less light than non-mirrored lenses. What you want there depends entirely on whether you want the reduced visible light transmission or not.
ChromaPop and Prizm Lenses
ChromaPop is a trademarked lens that Smith Optics created to enhance your vision beyond anything any other ski goggles can offer. With a ChromaPop lens, you get better definition, more natural color vision, and enhanced clarity that allows you to see better on the slopes. The Smith I O Mag, Smith 4D Mag, and Smith Vice goggles all have these lenses.
Oakley’s Prizm lenses do the same thing, just with different technology, and many Oakley goggles have them now.
Your eyes can have difficulties distinguishing between green and blue or green and red light on the slopes. Prizm and ChromaPop lenses filter out the overlaps that create these problems so that you can better differentiate individual colors.
Keep in mind that Prizm and ChromaPop don’t denote colors, so you should choose lenses with colors suitable for bright light and low-light conditions.
What to Buy?
Goggles that use these lenses aren’t the cheapest out there. You might think this kind of lens technology is awesome and necessary, but if you only ski occasionally and stick to groomed, marked slopes, you probably don’t need it. These are best for backcountry skiers who need to be able to see everything sharply.
For night-skiing, you will always want a clear lens to put on your goggles.
Many years ago, ski goggles came with a single-pane lens, which was prone to fogging no matter how well-ventilated the goggles seemed. We’ve all fogged up lenses of one type or another, and doing so is, at best, an annoyance, but at worst, it can put you into serious danger by obscuring your vision.
Today, most goggles have double-pane lenses, except for some children’s goggles. Two lenses with an air pocket between them are one of the most effective methods of reducing problems with fogging.
Lenses also have an anti-fog coating on them, which further reduces fogging issues. These coatings are chemicals that prevent water condensation from forming on the lenses’ surfaces. They usually wear off after some time. However, in 2011, Universitie Laval in Quebec patented a permanent anti-fog that uses several types of polymers to bond to surfaces.
Generally, a ski goggle will use an anti-fog coating like one of these two because they work the best in concert with the double-pane lenses.
Good ventilation is key to preventing fogging because it ensures that air flows through your goggles, preventing the air inside from getting too warm and causing your lenses to fog up.
When you’re considering ventilation, look for goggles that have wide vents along the top, bottom, and sides, rather than small vent holes. Smaller vent holes might help keep your face warmer, but the larger vents work better to prevent fogging.
Some high-tech goggles come with tiny ventilation fans to prevent fogging. You might think that a fan would make a ski goggle so unwieldy that it’s not worth the extra cost, and trust us, we did, too.
The best fans allow you to turn them on and off without removing your gloves, have a low-profile housing so they don’t interfere with your helmet (if you wear one), and run quietly or silently.
What to Buy?
If you plan on purchasing OTG (over the glasses) ski goggles, you’ll probably have issues with fogging. Consider getting goggles with a fan, or buying a fan separately, if you plan on wearing them over your glasses to minimize the risk of fogging up your glasses as well as the goggle lenses.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you may be able to find a pair of snow goggles with a fan for a reasonable price. Keep in mind that they’ll be a little heavier than your standard pair of goggles, plus you have to worry about things like charging before you hit the slopes. They’re an excellent addition to anti-fog coatings.
For the most part, anti-fog coatings are sufficient because most ski goggles have excellent vents all around the outside of the frame. Unless you feel you need a fan, you’ll find that well-ventilated goggles generally are sufficient.
Most of the best ski goggles these days are frameless, meaning that the lenses simply clip to their frames rather than inside them. That makes changing lenses out a snap – literally. With a frameless goggle, you just snap one set of lenses off and the other set on.
This technology allows you to change your lenses to give you an optimal view despite changing conditions on the slopes.
Like Dragon, Smith, Electric, and Oakley, many of the biggest manufacturers sell goggles without frames, both for their looks and their increased functionality.
You can still find goggles with frames, as in, the lenses sit inside the frames instead of on top. However, since frameless goggles are the standard today, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a pair with all the features you need and are still in your price range.
Ski goggle lenses use specific types of plastic that resist damage during impacts but can scratch quite easily. Scratched lenses screw with our ability to see clearly and are also just plain annoying.
Because of that, their lenses have an anti-scratch coating on the outside. These coatings are films that help harden the lens’s surface. However, scratch-resistant isn’t scratch-proof, and they can still develop minor scratches.
You aren’t going to wear snow goggles of any sort if they’re uncomfortable. Goggles come with different levels and layers of padding; most come with at least double or triple layer foam with different densities. You want a pair of goggles with padding that helps mold them to your face for maximum comfort.
When you shop for ski goggles, try on multiple pairs from different manufacturers to find some with padding that fulfills these requirements. Some goggles come with thick, soft padding, while others have thinner padding. However, the thinner options might work better for your face if they’re soft and can molds to your face sufficiently.
When you do your due diligence on comfort, not only will they be comfortable to wear for long periods, but they’ll help with visibility and reducing distortion because they stay in place, plus you’re not constantly removing them.
OTG (Over the Glasses) Goggles
If you wear corrective lenses like contacts, you can buy pretty much any type of goggle you like. However, if you primarily wear prescription glasses, then you might want to consider a pair of OTG goggles. These goggles are built to avoid crushing your glasses and earpieces against your face and head, giving you the benefits of prescription goggles without having to hunt down and pay for them.
First, they have thicker foam padding than standard goggles and stand out farther from your face to accommodate the size and shape of your glasses. That prevents them from getting pressed into your face and eyelashes. The former is highly uncomfortable, while the latter smears your glasses with oil from your eyelashes.
While you’re looking for a pair of good OTG goggles, keep ventilation in mind. Ski goggles with large vents all the way around the frame might serve you adequately, but if your glasses are prone to fogging up, you might want to find some OTG goggles with a turbo-fan in them.
Prescription Ski Goggles
If you’d rather not deal with having to shop for OTG goggles that you can wear for hours on end, you can find prescription goggles and be done with it.
You’ll have to go to your eye doctor to get an updated prescription beforehand. You should also ask them to recommend a shop that does prescription goggles if they don’t do it themselves.
You need to know which goggles frames will work with a prescription lens. Once you have them, though, you no longer have to worry about wearing a ton of lenses, some of which will fog up more easily than others.
The problem is that prescription goggles are very expensive because they require such a high level of customization.
Prescription Lens Inserts
One way to get around the cost of prescription goggles is to get inserts with your prescription. These are a cheaper alternative to prescription goggles.
They’re lightweight, more comfortable than your glasses even with OTG goggles, and eliminate the risk that you’ll lose your glasses on the slopes should you go down and yard-sale all your equipment. Inserts are also quite durable, which can likewise make them superior to wearing your glasses under OTG goggles.
We’ve identified a few other features, bells that you might want to consider when shopping for ski goggles, too.
These days, high-tech smart goggles come with a display that tells you pretty much anything you want, including superimposing images over your view so you can better see what you’re doing. Heads-up displays show things like you where you are, what your elevation and slope angle are, how fast you’re going, and more.
Smart goggles connect to the internet, too, helping keep you up-to-date on the weather and allowing you to check your email and social media. You can use your goggles to upload videos to social media, but be careful not to do that while you’re negotiating the slopes.
You can connect these goggles to your phone to listen to music, send and receive texts, and even take videos of your runs without the hassle of attaching a camera to your helmet or jacket sleeve.
The display is right on your lenses, meaning it’s something you’ll have to get used to. Years ago, the display was tiny and limited to a single corner of your goggles. Today’s displays are far different and much easier to read.
Keep in mind that ski goggles incorporating this technology are expensive, and they’re not without their bugs. Make sure you really want to spend the money on these before you jump in and buy them.
Despite its name, SONAR tech isn’t the same that ships use at sea. Zeiss developed and patented a special lens tint that works to enhance contrast, colors, and brightness. Furthermore, many goggle lenses eliminate blue light altogether, giving you a “flat” view with insufficient contrast.
SONAR technology also reduces blue light but doesn’t eliminate it. This way, you have better vision overall, making it safer and easier on your eyes to ski in all light conditions.
You don’t have to worry about having to stick with Zeiss goggles if you want SONAR lenses. Other manufacturers, like Anon, use Zeiss’s lenses as well. Keep in mind that these are expensive goggles, so be sure of what you’re likely to spend before purchasing these types of goggles.
Like anything, you can run into problems when looking for a great pair of ski goggles. Here are several issues you might run into while shopping for snow goggles.
Finding the Proper Fit
Perhaps the most common problem when buying ski goggles is finding a pair that fit properly. Several different factors go into whether ski goggles fit you correctly or not.
It’s tempting to look for visually appealing frames, but that’s not the best criterion for fit. Finding a pair that doesn’t pinch the bridge of your nose or put pressure on your eye socket might be a challenge depending on the size of your head and the contours of your face. Both of these problems are uncomfortable at best but can cause significant problems like headaches and nasal issues.
You can address much of this simply by adjusting the strap on the goggles. However, depending on how poorly they fit, you can end up making them too loose just for comfort’s sake.
Small frames work well for people with smaller faces and heads, while medium frames fit most adults. Large frames are best for people with larger heads and for skiers who want an oversized look. If you like the oversized look, though, make sure they fit correctly.
You’ll also find goggles specific to men, women, and children. Women’s goggles are slightly smaller and narrower than men’s goggles, allowing for the fact that women tend to have smaller facial structures.
When you start looking for ski goggles, try on several different pairs from a variety of manufacturers.
Here are some criteria for a good fit:
- Measure your head and face before doing any shopping to get a ballpark idea of what size goggles you need
- Ski goggles should feel snug across your forehead and cheekbones without discomfort or pinching your nose
- They should also wrap seamlessly around your face without gaps
- You should be able to adjust the strap so the goggles are neither too tight nor too loose
- If you wear a helmet, any goggles you wear should have a seamless transition between your helmet and your goggles to avoid problems with sun and wind burns
Your ski goggles can mess with your vision. Even though you can see, you may not be aware of just how little you can see until you realize you can’t read the slopes properly.
Using the wrong lens color and tint for the lighting conditions that day is one of the biggest causes of visibility problems. Too dark a tint makes it difficult to see when it’s cloudy, and an amber or rose color may let in too much light on bluebird days.
Also, a photochromic lens can get very dark, and if the light is sort of flat, you can feel like you’re skiing through fog. If you can switch these lenses out with ones that are suitable for that day’s lighting conditions, you’re good. However, if you can’t, you’ll have a difficult and less-than-fun day on the slopes.
Fogging is its own beast when it comes to visibility. Even with the best anti-fog coat, lens fogging can become a problem if it’s unusually warm and wet, if you’re wearing a gaiter or any kind of a poorly-ventilated face covering, or if your goggles themselves have insufficient ventilation.
Anti-fog coatings can wear off, or you can damage them or remove them with improper lens care, which increases your fogging problems. Fogged lenses are the bane of every skier and snowboarder out there.
What do you do to minimize any problems you’ll have with visibility?
- Before buying goggles and lenses, consider the conditions in which you most often ski, and look for the tints and colors best for those conditions
- Ask for advice on whether a photochromic lens is right for you, given your skiing habits
- Buy goggles with large vents on the bottom, top, and sides. Avoid goggles that only have small venting holes.
- Clean and de-fog your lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging the coating inside
- Make sure you store your goggles in a good case away from excessive temperatures and sunlight
Other Common Problems
Here are a couple of other common problems you can have with ski goggles.
Even with a scratch-resistant coating, you can get scratches, even deep gouges, on your lenses.
Scratch-resistant coatings enhance lenses’ impact resistance but don’t make them scratch-proof, so you can wind up getting them anyway.
Worn-Out Padding and Straps
The padding on your goggles won’t last forever, unfortunately. It can become compressed or deteriorate over time depending on how often you use your goggles and how well you care for them.
If you’re out on the slopes quite often during ski season, the strap on your goggles can wear out, too. The material can fray, and the elastic can stretch out or even break.
If you ski infrequently, both the padding and the strap can deteriorate and even fall apart.
You can’t prevent these problems, but you can mitigate them with proper care and storage. Keep in mind that you will have to buy new goggles periodically regardless, but you can keep your goggles in good condition when you take care of them.
Caring for Your Ski Goggles
Properly caring for and storing your ski goggles involves more than keeping them inside their case in a safe place in your house. However, when you follow some best practices, your goggles will last you for a long time.
How to Clean you ski goggles
After you come down off the slopes, you’ll have snow, water, and dirt on the outside of your lenses. First, shake your goggles to loosen and remove any snow that’s still on them. Then use a clean microfiber cloth to gently wipe the outside of your lenses to remove dirt, smudges, and water.
You shouldn’t try to clean the inside of your lenses, but sometimes, you might have to. For instance, everyone crashes on the slopes, and if you yard-sale everything when you do so, you could get snow inside your goggles.
If that happens, first tap them against your hand to get rid of the snow. You should avoid trying to clean the inside of your lenses, but if you must, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth and very gently blot them dry.
Avoid wiping or scrubbing. You can damage the anti-fog coating on the lens, giving you growing problems with fogging later on. While you can replace lenses, you want to replace them as infrequently as possible.
If you have to remove ice from your goggles, thaw it out first and then wipe or blot away the water. Removing ice, particularly from the lenses, can damage your goggles.
The inside surface of your lenses may also get dirty if you neglect them. You can use your microfiber cloth to very gently wipe away dirt and grime when your goggles are dry. Make sure to do that as often as possible to avoid having to scrub and, thus, damage the coating.
Ski goggles come with a microfiber drawstring bag that you should keep as clean as possible so you can keep your goggles in it. They’re washable so if you’re not sure how clean yours is, make sure to wash it before you put your goggles in it. The last thing you want is dirt and debris inside the bag that will stick to or rub against your goggles, thus damaging them.
Before putting them away, make sure that they’re dry. If you took a fall and had to shake snow and ice out of them, chances are that the strap and foam are wet. You might also have some residual water on the coating, which can stay there without proper drying.
Blot as much moisture as possible from the inside of the lenses and wipe it away from the outside. Then place them in a warm, dry place to dry out, the same as you would with a wet sweatshirt or socks.
You can store them in their bag in your ski jacket’s pockets if you like, but there are other better options. One of the best ones available is a pouch in a clean, dry ski bag. Many people store them inside their boots, but that bag is designed to keep your ski equipment safe enough to use for several seasons in a row, making it your best bet.
Another option, particularly for off-season storage, is a hard case. Hard cases protect them from the impact of a fall, among other things. Hard cases aren’t 100 percent necessary, especially if you have a ski bag, but they are an excellent idea.
Our favorite goggles are Smith’s 4D Mag ChromaPop goggles because they have a superb field of vision, give you excellent visibility, have magnetic lenses for easy lens swapping, and so much more. These truly are a pair of premium goggles, and you won’t be disappointed.
Check out all our snow goggles here or at Amazon!
If you are looking at other accessories for skiing: 24 Best Skiing Gloves.