Having good eye wear is essential on the slopes.
There’s actually quite a bit that goes into selecting the right pair and I’ll show you how to properly buy ski goggles. After you’re done reading this guide I’m sure you’ll be ready to make a purchase.
Lenses To Consider
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable factor to consider when you choose ski goggles, the lens type will determine quite a lot about how you see the world through your goggles. There are two types to consider:
Also known as flat lenses, cylindrical lenses have a lower profile and curve only around the vertical axis. This results in glare at certain angles and some degree of distortion near the edges of your vision, impairing your peripherals.
If you feel comfortable with cylindrical lenses, the reduced cost of flat lenses can give you a bit of leeway for other important features, along with a wider range of product option.
These lenses curve horizontally and vertically, creating a somewhat bubbled look. More importantly, the difference in curvature produces superior visability and reduced distortion.
You’ll have less glare, a wider field of view, and a view that’s truer to reality in comparison to what you’d see through a flatter lens. In exchange for these benefits, you’ll pay more for a set of ski goggles with spherical lenses than you would for similarly outfitted goggles with cylindrical lenses, and you’ll face some limitation in designs and frame sizes.
To choose between the two, you’ll need to decide whether the benefits of spherical lenses are proportionate to the price hike. Many skiers decide to invest their budget elsewhere.
After you choose between cylindrical lenses and spherical lenses, you’ll want to consider tinting, i.e. how dark you want your view to be. Given the intensity of light on a snowy bank, you’ll usually want some degree of tinting.
The lens of choice if you’re skiing in an area that’s frequently cloudy or overcast, or otherwise not exceptionally bright. Light enough lenses can also pull double duty for night skiing while still providing a bit of protection against snow blindness.
For those sunny days where a snowy hill isn’t much dimmer than the surface of the sun. Dark tints can impair your vision even under top circumstances, but less so than being blinded by excessive light. Don’t try to use these at night.
There are a few reasons you might invest in clear lenses. For example, if you intend to do a lot of night skiing, you’ll struggle to see properly through darker tints. If you have some other form of tinting or light reduction in place, such as tinted glasses that you’ll be wearing beneath your goggles, that may also lead you to clear lenses.
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all tinting solution, you’ll probably want something with a lighter tint. If you only ski during the day, a darker tint may be the better solution.
Fogging can render even the best pair of ski goggles completely worthless. If you can’t see what’s in front of you, that’s more than a slight problem. You have a few technologies to look for to prevent this issue:
More and bigger vents means better ventilation, which means less fogging. Unfortunately, that cold air is cold air, so your face may not appreciate it. Choose according to your comfort level and the climate you’ll be skiing in.
While not present in all low-end goggles, once you hit mid-range you can expect some form of anti-fog coating on nearly any set of ski goggles you buy.
If you do go low-end, make sure you’re alert to the presence or absence of such coatings; goggles you can never see out of aren’t very useful. An anti-fog coating alone won’t prevent all fogging, however, so don’t put too much value on this point.
Double Layer Lenses
The overwhelming majority of ski goggles integrate double-layer lenses, but you should be alert to the difference between a well-sealed effective integration and a cheap going-through-the-motions integration. Still, mediocre double-layer lenses are better than single-layer lenses, which you may occasionally see on very low-grade goggles.
If you’re going high-end, you may be able to choose a pair of ski goggles with integrated battery-operated fans. These work extremely well to keep fogging to a minimum, but of course you pay for it in the premium pricing.
You’ll need to way price, comfort, and convenience to decide how to choose between goggles with different fog solutions. If you ski in colder climates, you’ll need to think more carefully about this than skiers in less extreme areas.
There are a few special factors you may want to take into account when looking at the fit of ski goggles. If you need to wear glasses or some other headgear beneath your goggles, make sure you’re going to get a comfortable, snug fit. Be similarly alert to problems caused by hair, head size, etc. You want a tight fit, but not an unpleasant one.
If you absolutely have to choose between ‘too loose’ and ‘too tight’, you probably want too tight—losing your goggles unexpectedly can be disastrous.
Think carefully about your ski goggle budget before you buy. It’s one of the most important pieces of equipment in your kit, so make sure you’re investing enough for an effective, comfortable, durable fit. Trying to go cheap on basic equipment like goggles will lead to accidents, breakage, and other headaches that cost far more than you saved.
It’s important that you make practical considerations your top priority when choosing ski goggles. If you can afford to pick and choose based on fashion after assessing goggles by their practical traits against your budget, feel free to get ones that look nice.
But don’t pick the wrong tint because you prefer the lens color, or buy an inferior set of goggles for a given price point because you like the brand. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice.
Don’t Ski Without Quality Goggles!
I’ve been skiing for a long time and I know from experience wearing a nice pair of goggles is very important. If you go low quality there’s a chance your day could be ruined.
The wrong pair of goggles will fog up, won’t block the sun or will make things too dark on cloudy days. You have all the information you need to know to make a purchase and if you follow what’s in this guide you’ll get a good pair.
If you’d like to see my top picks for ski goggles this year, click below:
If you have any questions you can comment below and I’ll respond as fast as possible. You can search around the ski section up top for more ski gear reviews.
Are you ready to rock a new pair of goggles this year?