The Best Ski and Snowboard Goggles in 2021

Snow goggles are an important part of your set up and this relatively small piece of equipment needs to pack a lot of tech. Can you really say you had a great day if you were squinting the whole time or if you had to stop every run to de-fog your goggles? These days you can expect to change lenses without ever taking off your ski gloves and with the right fit and a seamless connection to your helmet, you might even forget your goggles are there.

Before you grab your ski boots or snowboard, check out our summary of the pros and cons of some of the best ski and snowboard goggles on the market. You won’t regret it.

oakley line miner goggles
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: traditional snap
  • Frame Size: large
  • Prizm Inferno lens technology
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These goggles offer exceptional peripheral vision! The lenses sit especially close to the face allowing you to enjoy not only a wider field of vision horizontally but vertically as well. Despite the close fit, these goggles are still compatible with most prescription glasses. Better yet, these are Oakley’s first goggles featuring their Prizm Inferno technology: the lens’ heat up at the push of a button instantly causing inner lens fog to dissipate. Even without the extra tech, these goggles are well ventilated.

The frame is relatively wide making these Oakley’s ideal for larger or wider faces. If you are looking for a narrower fit, check out the XM version, though be warned – the smaller version has no Prizm Inferno tech. The triple-layered foam makes for a comfortable fit all day and you can count on excellent lens performance: no glare on the sunny days and great snow definition in flat light.

Pros:
  • awesome peripheral vision
  • great comfort
  • good ventilation
  • great fit
  • great quality and durability
Cons:
  • wide frames may not be ideal for narrower faces
  • tradition snap in/out lens system

Dragon NFX2 Goggles

The Best Snow Goggles for Durability

dragon nfx2 goggles
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: quick change
  • Frame Size: medium
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The choice of many pros, here are goggles that are designed for performance and convenience. The Swiftlock lens changing system involves a quick flick of 2 small levers and just like that, the lenses have been released: flick the levers up and the new lenses are ready for action. The lens technology itself is great, and the various tints are easy on the eyes, filtering the light softly.

A full-width venting panel ensures no inner lens fog. Not only that, but the venting panel is made of hard plastic and gives the goggles great stability and durability: to put it simply, these goggles can take a beating. The frame coating is also designed for lasting performance: it is water repellent and not easy to scratch.

Pros:
  • great peripheral vision
  • compact design
  • medium frame fits most faces well
  • full-width venting panel
  • great durability
Cons:
  • limited lateral vision for wide faces

Anon Men’s M4 Cylindrical Ski/Snowboard Goggle

The Best Goggles for Fast Lens Changes

anon mens m4 cylindrical ski snowboard goggle
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: magnetic quick change
  • Frame Size: large
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These goggles deliver all around. The magnetic lens changing system is so easy to use that you don’t even have to take your goggles off. 18 magnets hold the lens in places and swapping is as simple as tugging on any of the 4 elevated corners of the lens and setting the next ones in place. It is so easy that you could almost throw the next lens onto the frame and have it sucked into place by the magnets. The Anon M4s come with 2 lenses, which provide exceptional optics in all light conditions: even in really flat light there is nearly no distortion.

A facemask can also be integrated into the goggles using the magnet system, which is nice on colder days and triple layer foam provides a comfortable fit. The optical quality is excellent and although these are categorized as cylindrical goggles, the frame fits toric lenses as well. Most notable is the toric Sonar Night Lens, which is undoubtedly one of the best lenses on the market for night skiing, flat light or stormy days.

Pros:
  • excellent optical quality
  • great comfort
  • great durability
  • good ventilation
  • frame accepts cylindrical and toric lenses
Cons:
  • larger fit is not ideal for all faces
  • curved frame is not compatible with all helmets

Smith Squad XL Goggles

The Best Value Ski & Snowboard Goggles

smith squad xl goggles
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: traditional snap
  • Frame Size: large
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These large goggles are lined with triple layer foam and provide a really comfortable fit. The lenses are well tapered and despite the large lens size, there is no noticeable distortion. The Smith Squad XL’s come with ChromaPop lenses, which boost contrast and serve well in a wide range of light conditions reducing the need for lens changes.

Minimal lens changes are good because the traditional snap in – snap out lens system is much slower and requires more finger dexterity than many quick-release models. The Fog-X technology consists of micro-etching that helps disperse moisture and therefore prevent fog from forming on the lenses: it works quite well and cannot wear off over time like some anti-fog coatings can. The only downside of these cool, large frames is the lack of pivoting joint where the strap connects to the goggle frame, meaning that in order to move the strap up or down, the entire frame needs to shift with it. There is a smaller Smith Squad version available for narrower faces, although they only feature 2 layers of foam.

Pros:
  • great field of view
  • good ventilation
  • good comfort
  • acceptable optical quality
  • good antifog function via Fog-X
Cons:
  • traditional snap in-out lens system
  • no pivot joint at strap mount

Giro Axis Goggles

The Best Frameless Snow Goggles

giro axis goggles
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: magnetic quick release
  • Frame Size: medium
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These goggles are a perfect match for medium faces with a relatively large nose cut out. They are lighter weight than your average goggle: combine that with the easily adjustable strap and comfortable padding and you could almost forget you are wearing them. They are compatible with most helmets with no goggle gap issues.

The semi-frameless cylindrical design not only looks awesome but also allows the lenses to be changed in less than 15 seconds thanks to the easy snap-and-magnet system. The lens can be simply pulled off, even with mittens, at a small elevation on the left side and the new lens is guided into position by 4 magnets, as soon as the lens is aligned, simply press on the edges to snap it into place. However, the frame is stiffer than average which can compromise comfort depending on the shape of your face.

The goggles come with two lenses, VIVID, which are designed to increase contrast and function well in diverse lighting conditions.

Pros:
  • lightweight
  • great field of view
  • fast lens change system
  • decent anti-fog function
  • good optical quality
Cons:
  • stiff frame

POC Opsin Clarity Goggles

The Best Snow Goggles for Low Light

poc opsin clarity goggles
  • Lens type: cylindrical
  • Lens system: quick release
  • Frame Size: small to medium
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These goggles are simply top of the line in terms of optics featuring POC’s newest high contrast lens technology, which was originally developed for competitive skiers and boarders. The lenses offer exceptional definition in even stormy and flat light conditions. They come with one lens, but 2 additional lenses can be purchased to cover the full range of light conditions. All lenses are treated with both anti-fog and non-scratch coatings. Triple-layered foam and a soft PU frame make for great all-day wearing comfort.

Pros:
  • amazing optical quality
  • good field of vision
  • very comfortable
Cons:
  • anti-fog coating can wear off with time

Smith Virtue Goggles – Women’s

The Best Women’s Ski and Snowboard Goggles

smith virtue goggles womens
  • Lens type: spherical
  • Lens System: Traditional snap in – snap out
  • Frame Size: small
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Anyone looking for a women’s specific goggle will appreciate the narrower construction as well as the shorter height of these frames – ideal for a smaller face. Often smaller glasses make some compromises to save space, but these Smith’s don’t cut any corners with triple layer foam for great comfort and well-hinged pivot straps to truly provide a perfect fit on every face and compatibility with most helmets.

These spherical goggles come with Smith’s ChromoPop lens technology, which aims to provide the ultimate clarity in diverse light conditions. The Smith Virtue’s are designed to only need one lens which covers all light conditions, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on how dark you like your lenses on bright days. Other lenses are available but it takes a little bit more effort to swap lenses with a traditional snap in – snap out system.

Pros:
  • very comfortable
  • narrow women’s specific fit
  • good anti-fog function
  • great optical quality
Cons:
  • single lens goggles
  • lens swapping function is not well integrated

Giro Grade Goggles – Big Kids’

The Best Ski and Snowboard Goggles for Kids

giro grade goggles big kids
  • Lens type: spherical
  • Lens System: Fixed
  • Frame Size: youth size large
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These super cool kids goggles are designed for 6 to 13-year-olds and will keep your little ones focused on having a great time no matter what the weather. Double-layered face foam with a micro-fleece lining makes them comfortable even for long days on the hill and keeps the face protected from the elements at the same time. They provide decent ventilation as well!

The Giro Grade’s are designed with a little extra space to accommodate prescription glasses and they come in a variety of cool colors. They do their job well at a price that won’t break the bank.

Pros:
  • comfortable
  • good anti-fog function
  • designed to fit over prescription glasses
Cons:
  • anti-fog coating can wear off with time
  • feature a single fixed lens

What to Consider When Buying Ski or Snowboard Goggles

Lens Shape

There are 2 basic lens shapes for goggles: cylindrical and spherical.

Cylindrical lenses are curved only horizontally. They are usually more affordable and modern technology has made them on par with spherical lenses in terms of avoiding distortion and inner lens fog. Cylindrical lenses are able to provide a great field of vision as they sit closest to the face. Lens choice is also a question of style and personal preference: the flat cylindrical lenses have a retro look that is quite popular.

Spherical lenses are curved both horizontally and vertically. For a long time they were the crème-de-la-crème of lenses as the greater air space behind the lens helped prevent fogging and the shape resulted in less glare and less distortion. They still provide better glare defense than cylindrical models as there are no flat surfaces anywhere on the lens. They are also able to provide a great field of vision due to the greater lens surface. The shape is also more accommodating for anyone with prescription glasses. Spherical lenses have that cool, rounded, fishbowl style.

There is also a newer shape on the market, Toric lenses, which feature a very slight vertical curve, possibly the best of both worlds. Whichever lens shape you choose, there are goggles on the market that provide excellent optical quality using all 3 shapes.

Lens Type

Deciding which lens type is best can be a bit tricky since every manufacturer has its own lines of lenses which often feature slightly different technologies which are all aiming to provide the same thing: clear, undistorted, fog-free vision for a given light condition.

The newest lens technology is lenses that provide clarity and contrast in a wide range of light conditions: this reduces the need for lens changes and limits your lens collection down to only 1 or 2 ‘go-to’ lenses. Examples of these versatile lenses are Smith’s ChromaPop, Oakley’s Prizm, Giro’s Vivid and Dragon’s Lumalens: different names, very similar technology.

With so many options to choose from, keep in mind that you won’t need more than 3 lenses to cover all lighting. Visible Light Transmission (VLT) is the amount of light that a given lens lets through: each lens will have a VLT between 0% and 100%. Your lenses for bright conditions are going to have a VLT between 5 and 20% and are most common in grey or silver tints. Medium condition (partly cloudy) lenses will have a VLT anywhere between 20% and 60% and are often tints in the red and orange range. Lenses with a VLT under 60%, and possibly as low as 95%, are designed for flat light and darker conditions: they are most common in yellow, blue-green or even clear tints.

Changing Lenses

Here is an area in which technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past decade. Gone are the days of traditional snap in – snap out lenses. While some goggles still feature the traditional lens system, many feature quick release systems, which operate with magnets and allow for fast and easy lens changes on the fly.

If you are going hard all day or touring in the backcountry, such a quick release system could be a real advantage: lens changes in under 30 seconds and no need to take your gloves off. If you are enjoying a relaxed weekend on the hill, and don’t mind stopping for 2 minutes to swap your lenses, then this feature may not be as important to you.

Anti-Fog

Once again, there are several different technologies that all work well and achieve the same thing: preventing inner lens fog. Often lenses have an anti-fog coating, which works well but has the disadvantage of wearing off with time. Some lenses have micro scratches or tiny grooves that are designed to disperse moisture and prevent fog from forming and yet others rely on good ventilation and airflow. There is no right or wrong here, but do consider that well-ventilated goggles are really great for warmer riding conditions; however, they let more cold air onto your face if you are expecting to be out in extreme temperatures.

Here is a final tip for anyone with prescription glasses – consider looking into prescription goggle inserts which will be much more comfortable and less likely to fog up than wearing your normal glasses under your goggles.

Happy shopping and may you see clearly on your next snow adventure!

About The Author

AthletePath Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts and professional athletes thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to become a better athlete.

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