Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular snow sports in the world. While people know they must take precautions against the wind and cold, few realize it is also important to protect their eyes. The UV radiation from the sun bounces off the surface of the snow and can affect your vision. The sheer light is also dangerous because it reflects off the snow and becomes blinding.
To avoid injury, you need to wear a pair of dedicated ski or snowboarding goggles which include the proper protection. Instead of forcing you to find these by yourself, this ultimate guide identifies the top 10 best ski and snowboarding goggles currently on the market in 2021.
These Abom One Goggles are the best overall pair of snow goggles because they are flexible, versatile, and suitable in a broad range of conditions. One of their most striking features is the availability of multiple colored lenses that work in a broad range of lighting conditions. The current lineup includes blue mirror, green mirror, straight yellow, x-ray black, and orange mirror. As you can guess, the mirror refers to how reflective the lens is. It is possible to switch between inserts but each additional lens is sold separately.
The Abom One has a spherical shape and medium ventilation to improve vision and reduce fogging and distortion. The lens inserts are easy to switch and the goggle frame is medium-large, providing ample room for the eyes without limiting your field of view. Multiple sizes are available and the Abom One pair is helmet-compatible.
Overall, these are the greatest snow goggles for men and women alike. They are comfortable, easy to adjust and prevent unwanted glare and frustration on the slopes.
Individuals with a large budget and an interest in having the best should invest in the POC Lobes Clarity Goggles. This pair features special interchangeable lenses designed to accommodate overcast conditions and full sun exposure. There are also multiple straps available in green, blue, and red. Lenses are available with a yellow, orange, or rose gold tint.
The Lobes Clarity pair stands out by having a large frame size and high ventilation. They are comfortable and roomy, and the lens is spherical to reduce distortion and fogging. The large spherical lens is also designed to provide a more natural field of vision and to accommodate riders who need to wear their glasses while on the slopes. It is possible to use interchangeable lenses with this pair but the process takes some time and consideration to avoid damaging the goggles.
Besides being the best premium option, the Lobes Clarity is also the best pair of skiing and snowboarding goggles for riders concerned about fogging.
Not everyone has the funds to splurge on goggles. If you are looking for something cheap yet effective, look no further than the Vonzipper Feenom NLS. These goggles have special lenses for full sun or partly cloudy days and automatically come with a bonus lens so you get two for the price of one.
The frame of this pair is medium to large and it is moderately difficult to replace the lenses. They are helmet compatible and ventilation is high. The lens itself is spherical and roomy to reduce distortion and give you an accurate view of your surroundings. Triple foam is used around the edges to form a tight seal and the frame itself is ergonomic and quite comfortable.
These goggles are simple and straightforward but still manage to include some bonus features that the penny-pinching skier or snowboarder will enjoy. These include:
Overall, the Vonzipper Feenom NLS goggles are great on a budget and include many of the features you need to remain safe and comfortable when in the mountains.
The 5th Element Stealth MAG Goggles are another inexpensive pair that focuses on including the essentials instead of fluff. One only lens is available: the Full Revo Red. However, it is one of the easiest to swap out and is compatible with a broad range of lenses so you never have to worry about having the right one. A spare is even included upon purchase. This is made possible by the use of magnets that hold your chosen interchangeable lens in place even while traveling at 40+ MPH.
The frame of the 5th Element Stealth MAG Goggles is medium to large, designed to accommodate the majority of skulls. The lens is spherical to reduce distortion and there is moderate ventilation to reduce fogging. The snow goggles are compatible with helmets but also work well with beanies and other hats.
For a low price, the 5th Element Stealth MAG Goggles offer plenty of protection and flexibility for those on a budget.
The sleekness of the POC Iris X SML Goggles is what made them initially stand out. This pair sports a medium frame suitable for most adults and features a sleek black or white design. Multiple mirrored lenses are available and designed for moderately sunny/cloudy conditions. The lens shape is flat to provide a traditional feel to skiers and snowboarders, and the lens is permanent. There is room to place a prescription insert for individuals who need glasses or contacts.
At first glance, it does not sound like the POC Iris X SML goggles offer much to an athlete. However, some key features make these goggles more palatable. The most important is the sizing as this pair is one of the only ones designed for smaller adults who need a tighter fit and less space around the face. Some other notable features include:
Wearers should note these goggles are helmet compatible.
The Giro Contact Goggles are noticeable for the slogan on the strap: “Protect Our Winters.” These goggles possess a large frame for an oversized style and have a spherical lens suitable for full or partial sun. You can choose which lens you prefer upon purchase and can change it out with others with relative ease. The combination of frame and lens is available in fiery red or sedate blue depending on your personal preferences.
When it comes to ventilation, the Giro Contact Goggles have a high amount to reduce fogging and improve warm air circulation around the skull. These goggles are helmet compatible but wearers should be aware that their oversized nature can cause the plastic frame to brush against a helmet. A spare lens is included upon purchase.
Besides being large, the Giro Contact Goggles stand out for the following features:
Vonzipper makes a second appearance on this top ten list with their aptly named Cleaver Goggles. These goggles come with a variety of frame colors and lens types, making them a great choice for sheer versatility. You can choose between a broad range of full sun mirrored lenses but there are no automatic options for partly cloudy or overcast days. This omission is rectified by the fact that lenses are only moderately difficult to swap out.
When it comes to the frame, these Vonzipper Cleaver goggles are medium in size and suitable for most people. There is high ventilation to reduce fogging and improve air circulation, and the entire pair is helmet-compatible. The strap is also long and tough, so you have to worry less about breaking when in extreme conditions. While no warranty is included, a spare lens is.
Some notable features include:
The Smith Range Goggles are another option suitable for those on a budget. They are a simple and straightforward pair with optional lenses suitable for full sun or partly cloudy conditions. The lenses are available in multiple colors including black, red, charcoal, and white. The lens itself is flat and fixed so you will not be able to swap it with another.
The frame of the goggles is black and large to suit bigger faces or to give an oversized look. A durable silicone strap keeps it in place. The ventilation is high and the foam for the seal is moisture-wicking to reduce sweat. These goggles are helmet compatible and have the following features:
Wearers should note the size of the goggles means the plastic frame can sometimes brush against the edge of a helmet.
The Scott Vapor goggles are another example of a fixed lens pair that still stands out for quality and versatility. You can choose between lenses suitable for overcast or partly cloudy days and can take advantage of their spherical shape, which improves visibility and reduces fogging. The lenses are available in red, blue, or green. The silicone strap also comes in multiple colors like black, white, and blue.
The Scott Vapor goggles have a medium to large frame and high ventilation. They are helmet compatible and are easy to adjust. Some notable features are:
Finally, there are the Sweet Protection Interstellar Goggles. These are an expensive pair but one of the best options for skiers and snowboarders alike. A single lens and color are available: beryl yellow for overcast days. Despite the lack of flexibility, these are some of the best snow goggles for cloudy conditions and are also comfortable and easy to wear.
The frame of the Sweet Protection Interstellar Goggles is medium to large and accommodates rapid lens changes. While additional lenses do not come with the pair, at least they are easy to switch out when on the go. The lens is spherical for better vision and ventilation is moderate. These goggles are helmet compatible.
Some notable features are:
Goggles are a straightforward accessory with several key features you need to consider before choosing a pair. For example, some modern googles have removable inserts which will improve your vision depending on the amount of natural light around you.
Others have built-in prescription lenses which are great if you need to wear glasses when not exercising. Here are some of the most important features to consider when choosing the best goggles for skiing and snowboarding.
One of the most important characteristics of your snow goggles is the size. Goggles are not designed to be “one size fits all” and different parts of the item will have varying sizes. So, when trying to find the right pair for you, consider the fit, foam seal, helmet compatibility, and strap length.
Fit is the most basic of the sizing elements. This refers to how well the goggles fit around your face. To determine the proper size for you, it is essential that you try on a pair before actually purchasing the goggles of your choice. This can be done at a local store before getting the real goggles you want online. In general, the right fit for you will be comfortable, form a tight seal, and will not slip when you move.
The foam seal refers to the triple foam used by most manufacturers to ensure the goggles remain on your head. There are few differences in foam type, so this is only a consideration for individuals with special preferences. In general, make sure the foam is comfortable.
Helmet compatibility refers to whether or not you can wear your chosen pair of goggles with a helmet, beanie, or another hat. Goggles designed for ski helmets typically have a vent along the top which allows warm air to circulate around your scalp, keeping you warm.
Finally, you need to find the right strap length. The strap wraps around your head and keeps the goggles in place when you move. Your strap of choice needs to be sturdy and long enough to keep you comfortable while also stopping the goggles from moving. Do not use a product with a strap that is too tight or loose, and make sure the strap is long enough to wrap around your helmet if necessary.
Skiers and snowboarders need to be accustomed to a broad range of weather conditions on the mountain. These include heavy snow, slush, overcast skies, or a blindingly sunny day. One way you can cope with these conditions is by having goggles with the proper type of lens for your environment. If the weather in your area varies considerably, consider getting either multiple goggles or a pair with interchangeable lenses.
This is exactly what is sounds like. Some goggles advertise that they only use one lens designed to be utilized during all types of environmental conditions. As you can imagine, these have average performance. They’re not great during super bright or overcast days, but they will get you through most of your adventures okay.
A polarized lens reduces glare by reflecting the rays of the sun. Glare is a major issue for skiers and snowboarders because the vertical rays of the sun bounce off of the snow and mix with horizontal rays, causing the anomaly humans know as glare. Polarized lenses in goggles use the same principles as sunglasses and are a must have if you intend to spend any length of time on the slops in bright conditions. They should not be worn in overcast weather.
This style of lens is rare. It reacts to the amount of light in your current environment and changes how bright or dark the lens is based on the UV radiation on the slopes. Photochromatic lenses can be found in modern pairs of sunglasses and can be a great addition to your equipment. The downside is they are not always reliable and can be expensive to use on a regular basis.
If you do not want to choose just one style of lens, there are other options. The most common is to use interchangeable lenses that you can place in your goggles depending on the changing weather conditions. These are convenient but come with their own host of issues. In particular, it is easy to accidentally obscure your vision by leaving fingerprints on the surface or installing the lens incorrectly.
A common feature people are curious about is the different colors available for snow goggle lenses. These colors or tints are designed to help skiers and snowboarders adapt to different levels of light and UV radiation.
It is important to pay attention to your lenses VLT rating. VLT (Visible Light Transmission) determines the percentage of light that is allowed into your goggles. The higher the VLT percentage, the more light can get in.
The below table will help you understand what VLT value will work with various weather conditions:
|3-8%||Very strong light||Blue Bird||☀☀|
|8-18%||Strong light||Sunny or partly cloudy||☀⛅|
|18-43%||Moderate light||Cloudy, changing conditions||⛅☁|
|43-80%||Low light||Flat light and snowfall||☁❄|
|80-100%||Very low light||Snowfall, artificial light, night||❄☾|
The shape of the lens is essential when choosing goggles for skiing and snowboarding. Historically, you needed to choose between spherical and cylindrical options. However, many brands now sell toric lenses which combine these two shapes. This means you have three options: spherical, cylindrical, and toric.
Spherical lenses are sometimes called bubble lenses. This is because both the horizontal and vertical edges are rounded, creating a softer, bubble-like appearance. There are several reasons why this version is popular. One, the shape reduces glare. Two, the curvature of the lens offers more room for your face and better ventilation. Three, there is minimal distortion so your vision is more likely to be optically correct.
A cylindrical lens curves across the goggle from left to right and is completely flat between the nose and the forehead, resembling a cylinder split in half. Riders who choose these goggles are more likely to experience glare, fogging, and optical distortion because of the lens’ shape. However, these are the most traditional goggles.
A toric lens is often the best fit for riders because they receive the best of both worlds. Glare and fog are minimized, and the curve of the lens is the most optically accurate and true. A toric lens achieves these features by having slightly less curvature on the y-axis but a true spherical curve on the x-axis.
Finally, you need to decide whether or not you want prescription inserts. These are small lenses you can insert in your goggles if you need vision correction. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of using your goggles as glasses or cannot afford the insert, some goggles actually have enough space for you to wear your glasses underneath without difficulty.
Yes and no. While you will not be able to buy goggles for snowboarding and skiing that automatically match your prescription, you can purchase inserts that fit inside. These inserts have numerous benefits in addition to helping you see. They often prevent fogging, are designed to be comfortable, and are also engineered not to break easily. This ensures you have maximum protection while on the slopes.
It is possible to wear certain types of snow goggles over glasses. If you need a specific vision prescription and cannot find the right insert, some manufacturers make goggles large enough to encompass regular glasses. There are some downsides to doing this though. In particular, it is easy for your glasses to fog, you might experience extra pressure along your nose, and your glasses are likely to break if you crash.
Interchangeable lenses are just as effective as permanent ones. The catch is you need to install them correctly. Most lenses come with detailed instructions on how to properly remove your lens of choice and replace it with another. Make sure your interchangeable lenses are the right style and shape for your goggles.
Colored lenses affect your vision when skiing and snowboarding, but not in the way you think. The different tints are designed to block light and UV radiation. Darker lenses block the most and should therefore only be used on bright days to cancel out the light reflecting off of the snow. On the other hand, yellow lenses work great on overcast days because they allow as much light as possible to reach your eyes.
So, colored lenses will not worsen your vision unless you wear the wrong tint for your current weather. To improve your vision, make sure you choose the proper lens for the mountain conditions.
Yes. Both skiing and snowboarding require the use of snow goggles, which make it easier to see through the excess light and UV radiation on the slopes. They also offer additional protection against the wind, cold, and fogging caused by the warmth of your breath.
No. Unfortunately, only certain pairs have the capacity for you to swap lenses to better suit the slopes. If your current goggles don’t match the mountain conditions, you might need to invest in another pair.
As you can see, there are many excellent goggles for skiing and snowboarding. The best ones, though, are flexible, versatile, and accommodate riders of all shapes and sizes. This is why the Abom One Goggles top the list. They are comfortable, have excellent ventilation, and are easy to wear. You can even switch out the lenses without difficulty.
If you are looking for something more expensive, the premium choice is the POC Lobes Clarity Goggles. Not only are multiple colors available, but the ventilation is great and you can once again swap lenses with ease. Finally, those on a budget can enjoy the benefits of the Vonzipper Feenom NLS without compromising on quality.
Remember, ski goggles and snowboard goggles are practically the same thing. They fall into the same category: snow goggles.
Now, go out there and hit those slopes!