The past year has been so strange on so many levels that even the winter sports season has been … off. This is why many outdoor retailers are sitting on a mountain of overstock gear, from ski jackets to winter backpacks to snowboards. It’s a buyer’s market out there. Right now is a great time to stock up on that ski and snowboard gear you’ve had your eye on.
That includes upgrading to the best ski and snowboard goggles. Goggles are an afterthought for many, but they’re an essential piece of winter sports gear, whether it’s snowing (either naturally or artificially) or not. With many of the best goggles offering interchangeable lenses, you can even adapt your eye protection as conditions change.
Like all outdoor gear, ski goggles come in a dizzying variety of sizes, shapes, frames, lenses, lens coatings, anti-fog technology — the list goes on. Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work, scouring every brand on the market to find the best ski and snowboard goggles that are right for you.
Oakley worked closely with Super-G World Champion Aleksander Kilde on the premier Flight Path XL Factory Pilot Snow Goggles. Like many of the brand’s ski and snowboarding goggles, this model delivers a wide, nearly rimless design to maximize the field-of-view and upward visibility. Exclusive Prizm Snow technology provides crisper contrast in challenging light and snow conditions on the mountain. Plus, they look damn good to boot.
Smith Optics brings decades of ingenuity, innovation, and design prowess to bear on its popular I/O Mag snow goggles. Industry-leading tech features include a Spherical Carbonic-x lens for distortion-free clarity, a 5X anti-fog coating, and the patented ChromaPop design that enhances color and contrast on the slopes. Smith’s own MAG lens system uses magnets to allow for easy lens swapping on the go.
There’s a lot to like about Zeal’s Portal RLS snow goggles. The rimless design maximizes your field-of-view up, down, and in your peripheral. The spherical polycarbonate lens is permanently infused with Everclear anti-fog molecules to reduce glare, distortion, and fog. It’s also coated with a Permashield Hardcoat to protect against scuffs and scratches. The best part is that it offers most of the same features as its bigger-name alternatives for less.
“Go big or go home” seems to be the design ethos with Anon’s M4 MFI Toric Snow Goggles. They’re the largest entry on this list — perfect for those with Texas-sized faces or snow lovers who appreciate the widest possible field-of-view. As the name implies, the toric lens shape helps maximize ventilation and vision in every direction. Layered foam in the lightweight frame molds to most any face for a comfortable, all-day fit. Plus, like Smith’s goggles, the magnetic tech allows the swapping of lenses in seconds.
Based on Oakley’s first truly oversized ski/snowboarding goggle, Canopy, the Flight Tracker XM Factory Pilot are another great entry in the brand’s catalog. The silhouette is classic yet stylized with a thick, full-rim construction. This ensures they not only look good but maximize visibility as well. The 25 available color combinations promise a good fit for a wide variety of face sizes and shapes. Plus, they integrate well with most snow helmets.
Giro’s no-nonsense Blok snow goggles strike a good balance between features, tech, and affordability. The cylindrical design was inspired by old-school frames but adds a modern Zeiss-built anti-fog lens for maximum clarity. Triple-layer foam fits comfortably on various face sizes and shapes, and the overall design works great with Giro helmets. At around $120, they’re one of our favorite, budget-friendly ski and snowboard goggle solutions.
We usually wouldn’t recommend a cheap pair of goggles that we had no previous experience with. But OutdoorMaster Ski Goggles Pro’s 3,750+ Amazon ratings — more than 80% of them have five stars — is evidence enough that this budget accessory manufacturer might be onto something. The company offers an astonishing number of color options and lens types. They’re also eyeglass compatible and feature fog protection like the other big-name goggle brands. They’re not going to be as durable or crisp as their brand-name counterparts but, for around $40, they’re a bargain for budget-conscious skiers and snowboarders.
While a good part of the process of picking the right goggle comes down to fit, we’d argue a more important consideration for long-term satisfaction is picking the right lens. The obvious role of the goggle is for protection, but they’re also worn to help you see better on the hill. If you’ve ever been on snow on a sunny day, you’ll see what we mean. The glare can be blinding, and wearing a pair of sunglasses is asking for trouble — one spill and they’ll go flying.
If you generally ski or ride in the same conditions over and over, a pair of goggles with non-removable lenses will do just fine. In this case, you’ll probably want to steer toward lenses that offer a fair amount of visible light transmission (VLT), probably around 50% or so. A lens with a 50% or so VLT will work well, although it might be too dark for night runs.
If you find yourself in a variety of conditions, goggles with removable lenses are a much smarter buy. Typically out of the box you’ll get at least two lenses, one for sunny conditions with around 10% VLT, and another for overcast conditions, with a rating of approximately 50% VLT. If you’re a night skier, we’d also recommend a clear lens, which in many cases will have a VLT of 90% or higher. Pick a removable lens system that is easy to swap out lenses on the fly — you’ll thank us later for doing so.
Another vital consideration is anti-fog. Nothing makes a pair of goggles more useless than an inability to stay fog-free. Nearly every mid and high-end goggle will have this functionality, with generally better results on higher-priced goggles. There are some exceptions to this, but like with everything else, you get what you pay for.
Finally, if you are looking to purchase a ski and snowboard helmet, select the same manufacturer for both the helmet and goggles whenever possible. While most goggles will play well with just about any helmet, you’ll get the best fit this way.
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