While ski goggles are a vital part of your gear closet, choosing the right pair is more complicated than you may think. Goggles come in a variety of shapes, colors and styles, so to make the right decision for you and your wallet, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the options. We've broken it down to help you find the best ski or snowboarding goggles for your needs.
Lenses come in two shapes: Cylindrical and Spherical.
Cylindrical lenses wrap across your face but are vertically flat. These types of goggles are best if you are on a budget. Goggles with this type of lens protect your eyes from the wind and the sun, which is exactly what goggles should do. But your vision would be a little better with goggles featuring spherical lenses.
Spherical lenses wrap across your face and have a slight vertical curve. This curve works with the natural shape of your eyes to reduce distortion and glare. Spherical lenses also give you a wider field of view than cylindrical lenses.
Lenses come in a variety of colors to aid your vision in different types of natural lighting. The tint of a lens is actually measured using VLT, or visible light transmission. Goggles with a low VLT percentage are meant to be worn on sunny days, while goggles with a high VLT are meant to be worn in cloudy or dark conditions.
Light-colored tints such as rose, yellow and clear are best for letting light in. These types of lenses should be worn on cloudy or mostly cloudy days to allow you to see well in slightly darker conditions. If you live in an area that usually has cloudy skies, consider buying a pair of goggles with a light tint.
Dark-colored tints such as dark grey, copper and emerald are best for keeping light out. If you'll be skiing on bright, bluebird days, shop for goggles with a darker tint. For some extra protection from the sun and a clearer view, shop for mirrored lenses. If you can see yourself in your goggles, there's a good chance that they'll work well in bright conditions.
Having trouble deciding? No need to worry; some goggles come with interchangeable lenses. Just swap out the lens depending on the conditions that day.
Many ski and snowboard goggles have at least one way to prevent fog from forming within the goggles while you're on the slopes.
A common way to prevent fog is through ventilation. All goggles have vents either on the top or on the sides of the goggles. The wider the vent, the better the airflow, so look for larger vents if you are worried about fogging.
Some goggle lenses have anti-fog coatings to prevent condensation from getting in the way of your day on the mountain.
You should consider a few factors when testing the fit and comfort of your goggles.
Goggles are adjustable, so the different types of fit are in reference to the overall size and shape of your face. If you have a narrow face, look for goggles with a small or narrow fit. Women-specific goggles are designed for small or medium faces, so they are often a good choice for female skiers and snowboarders.
The padding on your goggles should help with comfort, but too much padding can promote fogging on the inside of your lenses.
If you wear glasses, be sure to try ski goggles on over your glasses. Look for OTG, or over the glasses goggles, to make sure that your glasses and goggles fit comfortably together.
Have a better idea of what type of goggle you're looking for? Check out our ski and snowboard goggle selection to find the right pair! Check out our snow sports buying guides if you need more information on other pieces of cold weather gear.
Watch as Heather from Just a Colorado Gal explains what you should consider when buying new ski or snowboard goggles.