While you can’t have a good experience without your trusted snowboard setup, buying a pair of quality snow goggles are perhaps the most important thing to purchase. Without seeing well (and looking mighty fine) you’d be hard pressed to enjoy your day on the snow. This is why you should consider what kind of conditions you face the most. This it determines what kind of lens types and colors to use. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about goggles to find the best size, fit and style for your needs. Here are a few things to consider before you buy snowboard goggles for yourself.

Finding the right fit for your goggles

Everyone’s face is different, which makes goggle shopping a very individual experience. So, instead of buying what your friends are wearing, you should consider testing a few different brands and designs to find the ideal fit. Luckily, the market is full of awesome-looking and well-performing models to choose from!

Lenses make a difference on the slopes

Lenses come in both cylindrical as well as spherical styles. The main differences are that cylindrical lenses are flat vertically, which can distort your peripheral vision slightly. However, they are also a lot more friendly for your wallet in comparison to spherical lenses. As far as performance goes, spherical, or ”dome-shaped” goggles give you a number of advantages on the slopes, such as:

Reduced distortion and better optics due to the lens’ curvature. This, on the other hand:

  • Lets the light hit your eye naturally.
  • A bigger surface area of the lens improves peripheral vision.
  • Spherical lenses are engineered to reduce glare on the slopes.
  • Better insulation and air flow… and less fog!

Lens color makes a difference too!

While the color of the goggles are often thought of as a matter of style, colors do offer different properties. Some lenses are more suited for brighter days whereas others have more advantages on cloudier days with lower visibility. They are often measured by VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, which indicates how much light passes through the lens. The scale is shown from  0% to 100%. The higher the number, the less light it blocks. This is also what gives the lens its color. A general ballpark for lens colors are:

  • VLT 60% – 90%, yellow, blue & rose. These lenses are often see-through. Great for lower light conditions.
  • VLT 5% – 20%, darker colors such as black, gold & grey. These lenses are often mirrored and work best on really sunny days!

Buy lenses for the weather you face the most. You can also purchase interchangeable lenses for more versatility.

Snow goggles pack an impressive amount of technology

A lot of brands have polarized lenses on their collection, which reduce the strain on your eye on snowy conditions. Polarized glasses filter light effectively and reduce glare. This leads to a clearer vision with increased definition and contrast on the mountain.

Nearly all goggles sold nowadays offer 100% UV-protection. Even lenses on the lower price point protect your eyes from harmful rays. However, it is advised that you make sure the lens has this sort of protection before you go ahead and buy snowboard goggles for yourself.

Mirrored lenses reflect more light than see-through lenses. This leads to better clarity and decreased glare on sunny conditions. Plus, you look mighty fine in them!

Photochromic lenses change the amount of light they reflect in regards to the light condition you are facing. Pretty cool, huh! While they are extremely versatile, adjusting to a new light condition can take a few minutes. Oakley has their own technology similar to photochromic lenses, called Prizm lenses. However, they have a broader light range, making them even more versatile.

Multiple brands have realized how annoying foggy goggles can get. Thus, some lenses have an anti-fog coating in order to prevent that from happening. Just make sure you don’t wipe off the coating with your gloves.

A spare lens gives you more options on the mountain

As much as it hurts to say, it can’t always be sunny. While a lot of riders only use one pair of lenses, it may not always give you the visibility you need on the slopes. In addition to this, a full set of goggles is not the cheapest thing to buy. Thus, buying a spare lens is the best way to go! Nearly all manufacturers already sell interchangeable lenses for their frames. The best part about this is they are a breeze to change yourself. Just make sure you get a lens that fits your goggle frame!

Spherical lenses provide better vision and enhanced performance on the mountain.

Goggle sizes

The first thing to think of is the size of the frame. Buy too small and you are left uncomfortable for days on end, whereas the right size keeps your lenses in place and the snow out of your eyes. Just like with snowboard boots, comfort is key.

A good general rule when you buy snowboard goggles is to buy it in the same size as your helmet. Small sizes are usually meant for kids and smaller adults while medium sizes usually fit most riders out there. Another cool thing is that snow goggles are unisex by design.

Large or oversized goggles are meant to give the rider a more wider peripheral vision both vertically and horizontally. In short, you simply see more of what is happening around you on the slopes. With this in mind, some manufacturers have created thinner frames so that your field of vision is not compromised. So, either hitting the biggest jumps or the most packed slopes, you should enjoy the enhanced spatial awareness of an oversized pair of goggles. Just make sure they comfortable and compatible with your helmet.

Over the glasses (OTG) goggles are meant for riders that need eyeglasses under the goggles. Luckily, more manufacturers have started to offer goggles that are a touch deeper than your average designs. Therefore leaving room for your eyeglasses under your goggles and keeping you still looking nice and fresh. Just make sure that their inner channels are compatible with your goggles. This way your glasses will not break and you’ll stay comfy all day long.

Other things to consider

The goggles have to be compatible with your helmet. If the strap is too tight (or doesn’t provide a snug fit around the helmet), try a different one. Nothing is worse than an ill-fitting pair of goggles that you have to adjust constantly. Luckily, most of the helmets and goggles on the market are compatible, but there are a few variations in dimensions from brand to brand. A smart rider always takes a helmet for goggle shopping, or vice versa. Just make sure that there is no gap between your helmet and the goggles – you’ll thank us later. Because nothing is more unrewarding than someone calling you a ”gaper” on the slopes.

The straps have an adjustable buckle that you can use to change the length of the strap. This is also something to remember if you are buying goggles for a growing child. Buy something that can be customized and used for a longer time. While we strongly suggest that you wear a helmet on the mountain, beanie-bros should make sure that the buckle on the strap does not create too much pressure on the head.

As we said before, everyone’s face is different and finding the perfect fit can be quite challenging. When shopping for new goggles you should look how the foam sits between the frame and your face. The fit should be snug enough that there is no gaps for snow or wind to get through. However, if you feel any discomfort then we suggest to try on another model.

A good general rule for goggles is to buy it in the same size as your helmet.

Common issues with fit

”My temples hurt”

Loosen the straps on your goggles to relieve some of the pressure. If that doesn’t help, we suggest you buy a wider pair of goggles. This also goes if you have too much pressure on the outer edges of your eye sockets.

”There’s too much pressure on my nose”

Sounds like your goggles may be too small. You might want to try to loosen the straps and see if it relieves some of the pressure. If not, then you should consider buying a wider pair of goggles.

Fog off!

All goggle manufacturers offer ventilation technology to help prevent fogginess. On the other hand, all manufacturers have their own designs to reduce fogginess so make sure that the ventilation holes are not blocked by your helmet. If you really want to go high-tech, there are a few goggles with built-in battery operated fans inside!

Foggy goggles are not only annoying, they make riding almost impossible. So, here’s a few tips to avoid bad vision on the slopes

  1. Keep moving. The air flow is what keeps the fog away
  2. Make sure the air holes on your goggles and helmet are not covered.
    More ventilation – more visibility.
  3. Don’t keep your goggles on your forehead. Your head gets very hot when you stay active and the heat wants to get away from your body. Your goggles only condensate that very heat resulting in a foggy and blurry vision.
  4. Do not scratch your lenses with your gloves. A lot of brands ship their goggles with a complementary micro fiber fabric. Use those instead!
  5. If your goggles do get foggy, try to shake them for more air flow. You might also want to go indoors and dry them properly so that the moisture does not freeze. Another great tip is to have two lenses with you when you hit the slopes.

Take care of your vision

  • Buy snowboard goggles with interchangeable lenses
  • Don’t put your goggles on hard surfaces lens down
  • When you don’t use your goggles, put them into a soft microfiber bag. Most manufacturers ship them in one so don’t throw them away!
  • Use the same cloth to dry and wipe the stains from your goggles – not your shirt!
  • Let your goggles dry before putting them into a microfiber bag for a long time
  • Don’t keep them in high heat or direct sunlight

Did our snow goggle buyer’s guide teach you anything new? Let us know in the comments. 

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