how to buy ski goggles how to buy ski goggles

How to Buy Ski/Snowboard Goggles

Posted by Matt Gahman on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Planning on hitting the slopes this winter with your favorite snowboard or pair of skis? If so, there’s a lot of equipment you’ll want to be sure to have. You’ll want warm winter gear, such as coats, socks, gloves, hats and under-layers. You’ll want a helmet and sturdy boots. One of the essential items you’ll need, however, is a reliable pair of goggles.

Whether you’re a passionate skier who tries to get out on the slopes every weekend or a more casual hobbyist who only snowboards once or twice a season, you’ll still need a pair of goggles.

Goggles are crucial not only because they protect your eyes from snow and wind, but they also help you see better, maintaining a clear field of vision even as you hurtle down a hill amidst flying snow and ice. After all, how much funcan you truly have if you can’t even see where you’re going? This type of experience can be both frightening and downright dangerous.

To help you have the safest and most fun experience with your skiing and snowboarding this winter, we will walk you through the process of how to buy ski goggles. We’ll talk about all-important subjects such as what factors you should be considering, different features available and of course, different models you might want to choose.

Getting Started: What Questions Should You Be Asking?

What Questions Should You Ask 

Buying goggles can seem like an intimidating process, especially if you’ve never done it before. After all, a quick Internet search will reveal that there are hundreds of different options out there. How in the world can you be expected to know which one is best?

The simple answer is that there is no one pair that’s “best.” Instead, a more productive question is which pair is best for you. To do that, you’ll need to ask yourself the right questions to narrow down your search. 

With this in mind, here are a few of the questions you should be asking:

1. Do You Wear a Helmet?

This is an excellent question to start with, as different types of goggles are suited to each side of this situation. The design of some goggles fit better with helmets that others do.

It’s worth noting that if you do typically wear a helmet, you’ll want to bring this with you and wear it as you try on goggles. This way, you can be sure that your new goggles will fit well with your favorite helmet. (Side note...we recommend that you wear a helmet!

2. How Often Do You Ski or Ride?

If you only get out once or twice a season, it probably won’t be necessary to buy the most heavy-duty goggles or the models with the most features. If, on the other hand, this is something you do a lot, it will likely be worth the investment to select a slightly more expensive model because of all the extra features and benefits you’ll receive. 

3. Where Do You Primarily Ski or Ride?

Are your slopes of choice in the East, the West or somewhere else? You may find that your needs are slightly different depending on your answer, due to differing weather conditions. 

4. What Time of Day Do You Ski or Ride?

Do you enjoy flying down the slopes during the day? At night? Maybe a bit of both? Depending on how you answer, you may want to look into different types of goggles. While daytime skiers can get away with more standard gear, nighttime riders may want to look into other lens options to help them see better in the dark. 


5. How Much Do You Want to Spend?

If the sky is the limit and you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars, there are certainly options out there at the very top of the line that offer more bells and whistles than you’ll know what to do with. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to keep things inexpensive, this is certainly an option as well. Decide on a rough budget before you begin browsing, and this will help you eliminate multiple possibilities right away. 

6. Do You Wear Glasses When You Ski or Ride?

If you do, you’ll want to look into more specialized options that are designed to fit over glasses. If not, your options are more open. A goggle marked OTG (Over The Glasses) means you should have room for your pair of glasses.

Narrowing Your Options: What Features Do You Want?

Ski Goggle Features 

By asking yourself the previous list of questions, your options should already be starting to narrow. You can likely eliminate many of the possibilities, leaving you with a much more manageable list of models to choose from.

To further reduce the size of this list, it’s time to think about some of the many additional features that are added onto some goggles. As we browse through this list of optional features, ask yourself which ones are absolutely necessary, which ones would be nice and which ones aren’t important to you at all. By prioritizing the different features in this way, you’ll get a better idea of which types of snow goggles might be right for you. 

The following is a list of many of the different features you’ll encounter when trying to figure out how to buy snowboard goggles. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, but does a fair job of representing many of the most popular features out there.

1. Interchangeable Lens Systems

Maybe you ride in a variety of different weather conditions. Maybe you sometimes ride at night, sometimes during the day. Maybe you're going on a trip and are expect snowy days and overcast days. Whatever your situation, there may be times when you need a different lens than you would ordinarily use. For those times, it’s handy to have a pair of goggles that allows for an interchangeable lens.


2. Mirrored or Non-Mirrored Lens

This feature has to do with how much light is allowed through the goggles. Typically, a mirrored lens is coated, keeping more light out and letting you see well even when the sun is exceptionally bright. On the other hand, a non-mirrored lens is not coated, thus allowing more light in. This is more appropriate for lower-light conditions. 

3. Glasses Compatibility

If you wear glasses on the slopes, this is a feature that you’ll likely want to take advantage of. Certain types of goggle frames are engineered to be larger than ordinary, allowing them to fit over your glasses. This lets you keep your prescription lens on and also experience the benefits of regular goggles, without having to sacrifice one for the other. 

4. Cylindrical or Spherical Lenses

Generally speaking, cylindrical lenses cost a bit less and usually work just fine. However, a spherical lens tends to be better at reducing distortion and also at giving you more peripheral vision. The trade-off, however, is that they ordinarily cost a bit more. Decide which is more important to you and make your purchase accordingly. 

5. Photochromatic Lenses

Do you tend to spend all day on the slopes, starting early in the morning and ending late at night? Or do you simply prefer heading out in the evenings? If so, then you may want to consider photochromatic lenses. These are lenses that are designed to automatically adjust and let in different amounts of light as the weather conditions change and the sun grows either brighter or dimmer. 

Beginning to Shop: Snowboard Goggle Lens Guide

Beginning to Shop for Snow Goggles 

Between the questions to ask yourself and the potentially available features, you should start to have a clearer idea of what it is you’re looking for. At the very least, you should be more aware of the things you aren’t looking for. This leaves you with a much smaller number of options to sort through in the meantime.

As you begin to shop in earnest, remember to try your goggles on before you buy them. Even better, try them on with your helmet. Make sure they’re comfortable and aren’t poking you or digging in anywhere. There’s nothing worse than buying a pair and discovering too late that they don’t fit well.



Here are a few categories to narrow your choices even further:

1. Basic Goggles

If you’re a skier or boarder who only gets out a few times a year, you might want to consider a cylindrical lens that works well in most normal conditions. A few specific options to consider include: 

  • Oakley O Frame w/Persimmon LensThe special persimmon lenses in these goggles offer excellent depth perception, even in low lighting. Additionally, the wide shape of these goggles is designed to give you a broad field of vision.
  • Smith Range or Driftw/RC36 LensThese no-nonsense goggles has everything you need to get you started without breaking your budget on extra features. Enjoy clear vision, anti-fogging features and a thick strap that will keep these goggles secured on your head with or without a helmet.
  • Spy Woot w/Persimmon LensAt $52.00, these are some of the best ski goggles for almost $50. The goggles are designed to fit comfortably and securely around your head so that no matter how crazy your ride gets, you won't have to worry about losing them.
  • Bolle Nova II w/Vermillion LensThese are one of the best pairs of goggles you’ll find under $100. This model offers an updated twist on a classic pair of goggles, providing a wider field of vision and a more comfortable fit.

2. Mid-Range Goggles

The next level up, if you ride perhaps a bit more, would be goggles with a cylindrical lens and a few additional features. Your goggles might even offer multiple lenses, depending on the style you choose. A few models at this level are: 

  • Smith Squad XL w/2 Chromopop Lenses (Sunny/Overcast)These handy goggles come with two different lenses so that whether it’s sunny or overcast out, your lenses will be equipped to handle the situation and give you the best view possible.
  • Smith Squad w/1 Chromopop and 1 Yellow LensOffering a great price without sacrificing on functionality, these goggles offer one Chromopop lens and another secondary lens for lower light conditions. This makes it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-light ski goggles lens.
  • Oakley Line Miner w/Prizm LensIf you’re looking for the ultimate in peripheral vision, look no further than the Oakley Line Miner. The sharp, cylindrical design of these goggles lets them rest closer to your face than ever, effectively widening your field of vision by an unprecedented margin.
  • Spy Raider w/1 Happy Bronze and 1 Persimmon LensAnother design that offers interchangeable lenses for different conditions, the Spy Raider packs great value at an affordable price.
  • Bolle Nova II w/Modulator LensFeaturing a close-fitting design, a wide field of vision and effective UV protection, the Bolle Nova II gets even better with the Modulator Lens.

3. Premium Goggleswhat

At the third level up, your goggles will begin to get more sophisticated. Here, you’ll find some of the best snow goggles for low-visibility, as well as spherical-shaped lenses for less distortion and clearer views all around. While the prices certainly reflect these more advanced upgrades, the cost is well worth it, especially if you ride or ski frequently during the winter. A few models to consider at this level include: 

  • Oakley Airbrake XL w/2 Prizm LensesThis pair of goggles is all about helping you experience the benefits of both a larger size lens and interchangeable lenses. Enjoy anti-fog coating, lenses with different levels of tinting for different conditions and a large, comfortable fit.
  • Smith I/0 Series w/2 Chromopop LensesExperience the difference with this close-fitting spherical lens, two different Chromopop lens for maximum definition and clarity and the very highest levels of anti-fogging technology.
  • Oakley Flight Deck w/Prizm LensThese goggles are designed to fit snugly under most helmets, while also allowing for fast, easy and convenient lens changing so that you can spend less time fiddling with your goggles and more time tearing up the slopes.
  • Spy Bravo w/2 Happy LensesThis streamlined and enhanced design allows for the greatest ease in changing your lens while also securing them from accidental bumping or jarring. Enjoy 100 percent UV protection, compatibility with almost every helmet imaginable and a free premium bonus lens.

4. Goggles for Glasses-Wearers

Do you usually wear your glasses while you enjoy a long day of winter sports? If so, you’ll want to shop for goggles that have been specifically designed to fit over the top of glasses. A few of the models that we recommend include: 

  • Smith I/OX GoggleThe larger and wider fit of these goggles makes them ideal for fitting over your everyday glasses.
  • Oakley Flight DeckThe way these goggles effectively conform to the shape of your face helps them to fit over your glasses comfortably.
  • Smith Knowledge OTG w/RC 36 LensA great option at a lower price, these goggles will also shield your glasses from the snow and ice.
  • Giro Index w/Mirrored LensAnother option that won’t break the bank, these goggles have been engineered specifically with glasses-wearers in mind, and designed to fit neatly in place over your glasses.

5. High-Tech Goggles

If you’re interested in the latest technological developments, you might be interested in trying out goggles that can adjust their tinting automatically, lightening or darkening at the simple touch of a button. For this type of technology, try a few of these models on for size: 

  • Oakley Fall Line XLDon’t let the price tag on these goggles scare you away. If you’re an avid skier or rider, the cost is well worth it for the sheer convenience and ease of operation.
  • Spy Ace EC DigitalA slightly less expensive option than the Fall Line, these goggles make a middle-of-the-road choice regarding this specific technology.
  • Line Miner Inferno: The most affordable option in this category, these are a great choice if you’re looking to try this technology, but aren’t willing to invest quite so much money into it.

Shop Snow Goggles Today

With this guide under your belt, you’re all ready to start shopping. Keep all these questions and tips in your mind as you browse our selection of skiing and snowboarding goggles here at Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops. Whether you’re looking for top-of-the-line options, or just something inexpensive for a one-time trip, we’ve got something for you.

Show off your newfound knowledge of snow goggles and get busy shopping our full catalog today.

 Shop Snow Goggles

Categories: Ski equipment  |  Snowboard Equipment  |  Top Winter Brands  |  Ski & Snowboard Apparel

Tagged: ski, snowboard, ski and snowboard equipment, goggles

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