GOGGLE BUYING GUIDE


There’s more to buying goggles than meets the eye (pun totally intended). When you’re looking to upgrade your eyewear, you should consider lenses, tilt, fit and lens tech too. 

Offering improved definition and visibility as well as protection for your face and eyes, no ski or snowboard set-up is complete without a pair of goggles. If you’re on the mountain all day, your goggles need to fit your face comfortably to provide maximum performance. Not forgetting you need to look great too. Here’s our guide to finding the right goggles.

Lens Type

Essentially, there are two lens types to choose from: spherical and cylindrical. The bubble-like appearance of spherical lenses is more optically true with better glare defence and peripheral vision, whereas the more retro cylindrical lens has a lower profile design but more surface points for the sun to hit and create blind spots. However, you can now splash out on a toric lens which combines the two, offering the best of both worlds with great optics and amazing peripherals. 

Lens Category

Ski and snowboard goggle lenses come in a wide range of colours, all designed to improve your vision for optimal performance on the slopes. Different coloured lenses filter light and brightness differently, and all lenses are rated based on Visible Light Transmission, or VLT. The lower the VLT percentage, the less light is let through the lens. 

 

As a rule, light coloured or Category 4 lenses are best for low visibility or low light conditions, with a VLT range of 60-90%, whereas darker or Category 1 lenses function best on clear sunny days with a mirrored coating offering a VLT of around 5-20%. Lenses can also fall in the middle of the spectrum, performing pretty well in all conditions, especially in frequently changing light conditions. 

Interchangeable Lenses

You can now use different lens types with just one goggle frame for maximum visibility and performance in varying conditions and terrain. Interchangeable lenses are typically ‘clip in’ or magnetic for quick and easy lens changes; however, some manufacturers are now using photochromic or electrochromic lenses which adjust to light conditions. They alter the level of tint applied to the glass at the push of a button, or automatically darken as UV light increases to change the contrast.

 

Check out some of our top brands for variable lens technologies:

Lens Technology

Lenses are getting smarter every year, so what should you look out for? 

UV Protection

Modern goggles now have 100% UV protection, designed to reduce and prevent UV damage to your eyes. The higher the altitude, the more intense the UV rays, so protection is crucial for a day on the mountain.

Mirrored Lenses

Mirrored lenses reflect more light than standard ones, reducing glare in bright conditions. 

Polarised Lenses

Polarised lenses filter vertical light to reduce glare more effectively than standard mirrored goggles and offer increased clarity, making them perfect for extreme snow sports.

Double Lenses

Double lenses feature on most new goggle designs and act as a thermal barrier between the lenses, reducing fogging significantly. 

Anti-fog Coating

Anti-fog lenses are treated on the inside with a hydrophilic chemical to stop them steaming up. They require some upkeep, so always check the manual to find out how best to care for yours. 

 

Find out more about goggle lenses here.

Ventilation

Goggle vents are designed to prevent fogging by allowing water vapour to escape. Check which goggles are compatible with your helmet to ensure the vents won't be blocked.

Frames

Goggle frames come in all shapes and sizes. Their main purpose is to hold the lens in place and prevent contact with the snow. Although some shapes are more fashionable than others, the most important thing is that they fit comfortably since you’ll be wearing them all day, every day on the mountain. 

 

Frame sizes often correlate to the size of your helmet or head and should fit your face comfortably. Different manufacturers offer different shaped goggles, so always try before you buy. Frame sizing generally comes down to preference: larger frames offer a wider field of vision whilst smaller ones tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear. 

 

You can also get OTG or "Over the Glasses" frames, designed to fit over glasses with a larger lens chamber to provide extra space. There’s no extra pressure on the face and the frame is channelled at the sides to allow the temples to sit comfortably against the head. Top tip: treat your glasses with an Anti-Fog treatment to prevent them misting up inside the goggles.

Extra Fit Features

Padding and strap size will both affect the fit of your goggles. Consider how comfortable the goggle is on your face and check for any pressure points that could cause problems. Everyone's different, so try on few pairs until you find the ones that fit you best. 

Face Foam

The foam on goggles serves both for comfort and as a seal against wind and snow. For a perfect fit, ensure that it follows the curvature of your face, without any gaps.

Strap

Goggle straps are usually adjustable using a clip or buckle. Wider straps are easier to adjust and are more likely to hold their position. Be careful not to over-tighten as it might be uncomfortable on long mountain days.

Looking After Your Goggles

Fit Problems and Solutions

If you find any problems with your goggles, try to locate the area causing the discomfort. Here are some common pressure points and how to prevent them:

Pressure on the outer eye socket?

The goggle is too narrow, find a model with a wider frame.

Pinching on the bridge of your nose?

Tighten the strap in order to secure the goggles higher on your face. If that doesn't help, try a goggle with a different bridge contour.

Gap on the bridge of your nose?

Loosen the strap and position the goggles lower down your face. If you're still having trouble, try a goggle with a larger bridge.

Pinching on the temple?

Try loosening the strap a little to relieve the tension or try a wider pair of goggles. 

Goggle Care

Use these simple tips to keep your goggles in tip-top condition:

  • When taking your goggles off, never place them face down on a hard surface. Rest them on the foam side with the lens facing up to prevent scratching
  • When cleaning your goggles, always use the lens cloth provided to prevent scratching and removing the anti-fog coating  
  • Allow your goggles to dry before storing them in your pack
  • Keep your goggles stored in a soft bag when you’re not using them
  • Do not leave your goggles to dry in direct sunlight 

Tips to prevent fogging

Being able to see where you’re going is pretty crucial to skiing and snowboarding (who knew?).

 

Here are a few tips to keep you from fogging up on the mountain: 

  • Keep moving: movement creates airflow in the goggles, preventing the lenses from fogging up
  • If your goggles become snowy, shake off the excess - don’t wipe it off as this may damage the film on the lenses
  • Keep the vents free of snow
  • Avoid putting goggles on your head as your body heat will cause them to fog faster 
  • If your goggles become damp, dry them out before your next session

If you’re still undecided, visit us in-store and our snowsports experts will get you geared up for this season with a wide range of goggles and lenses.

Read our helmet buying guide here.