Goggles Buying Guide
From lenses to tilt and fit, here's what you need to be thinking about before buying a pair
Goggles are must have piece of kit for any skier or snowboarder, offering improved definition and basic protection for your eyes and face in harsh conditions. So it’s important they fit your face comfortably for maximum performance.
We’ll take you through the following to help you choose the best goggles:
- Lens type
- Lens colour
- Interchangeable lenses
- Lens tech
- Goggle frames
- Frame sizes
- Extra fit features
- Fit problems and solutions
- Goggle care
- Tips to avoid fogging
Our stores have a wide range of goggles and lenses, so if in doubt, vist us in store and get expert advice from our knowledgeable staff.
There are typically two types of lenses you can choose when deciding on your new pair of goggles; a spherical lens and a cylindrical lens. A spherical lens offers better optical clarity and an increased range of peripheral and downward vision. A cylindrical, or flat lens, curves horizontally and offers good vision at a lower price point.
While anti-glare modifications have been made to cylindrical goggles they will always have more surface points where the sun’s rays hit the goggle, creating blind spots. Spherical goggles have strategically planned curves to reduce glare.
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, with all offering varying levels of Visible Light Transition (VLT) - the amount of light able pass through the lens. The higher the VLT the more light can pass through the lens.
Generally, rose, yellow, or blue lenses are best for low visibility or low light conditions, with a VLT range of 60-90%. While darker colours such as black, grey, and gold function best on clear sunny days. These colours will often have a mirrored coating offering a VLT of around 5-20%. Lenses can also fall in the middle of the spectrum, performing fairly well in all conditions, especially in frequently changing light conditions.
Brands such as anon, Oakley, and bollé produce variable lenses with an advanced light sensitive coating , which can be used in all conditions.
Many manufacturers now offer interchangeable lenses, allowing you to use different lens types with just one goggle frame for maximum visibility and performance in varying conditions and terrain.
Traditionally, interchangeable lenses ‘clip’ in; however manufacturers are quickly creating innovative ways to make the transitions between lenses as efficient and quick as possible, such as using magnetic frames and easy to use toggles. Typically, these are more expensive.
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 reflect more light than standard ones, reducing glare in bright conditions.
Polarised lenses filter vertical light and further reduce glare more effectively than standard mirrored goggles. The increased clarity this gives you makes them perfect for more extreme snow sports.
Double lenses feature on most new goggle designs and act as a thermal barrier between the lenses, reducing fogging significantly.
Anti-fog lenses are treated on the inside with a hydrophilic chemical to to stop them steaming up. They require some upkeep, so always check the manual to find out how best to care for yours.
Photochromic lenses adjust to light conditions making them extremely versatile. When UV light increases the lens automatically darkens to contrast the change. These lenses don’t adjust instantly, so allow a few minutes for the change to take place.
Oakley now offer a range of lenses featuring similar technology to the photochromic lens. The Prizm™ lens adapts to the changing light by blocking strategic colour wavelengths resulting in maximum contrast.
Goggle vents are designed to prevent fogging by allowing water vapour to escape. Before buying, check goggles are compatible with your helmet to ensure the vents won't be blocked.
Goggle frames come in all shapes and sizes. Their main purpose is to hold the lens in place and to prevent contact with the snow. Although some shapes are more fashionable than others, the most important thing is that they're comfortable fit, especially as you will be wearing them for most of the day.
While most manufacturers offer specific sizing for kids, for most adults it comes down to preference: larger frames offer a wider field of vision, smaller ones tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear.
OTG stands for "Over the Glasses". They are goggles designed specifically to fit over spectacles. The lens chamber is slightly larger to provide extra space without causing pressure on the face, and the frame is channelled at the sides to allow the temples to sit comfortably against the head. Treating your spectacles with an Anti-Fog treatment can help to prevent them misting up inside the goggles.
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, what works for a friend might not necessarily work for you, so try on few pairs until you find the ones that fit you best.
The foam on goggles serves both for comfort and as a seal against wind and snow. For a perfect fit, ensure that it followers the curviture of your face, without any gaps.
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, on long days, it may lead to some discomfort.
Like goggles, helmets come in different shapes and sizes. Be sure to check the goggle fit with your helmet to make sure that there isn’t a gap and the vents arent being blocked.
If you find any problems with your goggles, try to locate the area causing the discomfort.
The goggle is too narrow, find a model with a wider frame.
Try tightening 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.
Firstly, try loosening the strap and positioning the goggles lower down on your face. If you're still having trouble, try a goggle with a larger bridge.
Try loosening the strap a little to relieve the tension, or try a wider pair of goggles.
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.
- Never use your thermal layers to clean your goggles. Always use the lens cloth provided, this will prevent scratching and removing the anti-fog coating.
- Allow your goggles to dry before storing them in your back once you return from the mountain.
- Keep your goggles stored in a soft bag, whilst they are not in use.
- Do not leave your goggles in direct sunlight to dry.