Best ski and snowboard goggles 2022: Hit the slopes with the best goggles for beginners, kids and pros

Jade Vincent Jonathan Bray
7 Dec 2021

Hitting the pistes this season? You'll want some quality eyewear to keep you skiing your best

Skiing and snowboarding is an exhilarating pass time but as exciting as zooming down a mountain can be, when the clouds descend, and visibility retreats, you’ll want to continue having fun.

No problem: with the best ski goggles you’ll be ready for any run, whatever the weather. With the latest models coming with cutting-edge anti-fog and photochromic lens technology, the best goggles will guarantee crystal clear vision whether you’re carving turns at supersonic speed or nervously snow-ploughing down the beginner slopes.

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How to buy the best ski and snowboard goggles for you

Why do I need ski and snowboard goggles?

Fundamentally, the main reason you should wear goggles is to protect your eyes from sun damage. At altitude, UV exposure from the sun increases and combined with the glare from the snow, can cause damage to your eyes in a very short amount of time if you don’t wear goggles (or sunglasses).

Beyond that, though, the major factor is simply being able to see clearly no matter the weather or conditions on the mountain. A decent pair of goggles can make all the difference and ensure that, when the weather turns from clear blue skies to cloudy and overcast, or snowy and foggy, you’ll be able to make out the lumps and bumps in approaching terrain and still enjoy your day on the slopes.

A pair of goggles will keep your face warm, too, and the wind and snow out of your eyes. Plus, the best goggles won’t freeze or fog up, ensuring you can keep going when others turn in early or give up entirely.

What features should I look for?

A basic pair of goggles will shield you from the elements, filter out harmful UV light and have an anti-fog ventilation system. While basic goggles are ideal for first-timers or kids, they just won't cut it if you're venturing past the beginner slopes. We'd recommend getting snow goggles with a few extra features to really get the most out of your snow day.

What do the lens category and VLT figures actually mean?

A basic pair of goggles will do all these things. They’ll shield you from the elements, filter out harmful UV light and should keep fogging at bay, too.

While basic goggles are ideal for first-timers or kids, though, they just won’t cut it if you’re venturing if you want to spend more time out higher up the mountain on heavy snow days. We’d recommend getting a pair with decent optics and a few extra features to really get the most out of your alpine pursuits.

The first specification to scrutinise is the lens category and (if available) the VLT rating. All goggles and sunglasses should have a lens category, from 1 to 4, which tells you how much light is blocked by the lens. There also may be a Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating which tells you more precisely how much light is allowed to pass through the lens.

Put simply: dark lenses (category 4 and 10-30% VLT) are ideal for bright, bluebird days because they block the most light. Lighter lenses (category 1 and 50-70% VLT) are perfect for low-light conditions as they allow more light to pass through the lens.

Other features to look out for include helmet compatibility – most modern goggles are designed with helmets in mind but not all of them. Glasses wearers will also want to keep their eyes peeled for OTG (over the glasses) models, which have plenty of space to fit specs underneath.

Whatever you do, however, unless you want your day to be spoiled by fogging lenses or (worse) frost on the inside of your lenses, make sure you purchase a pair with dual-layer lenses. Single-layer lenses may be cheap but they’re not worth bothering with, even learners and kids.

What types of lenses are there?

  • Cylindrical lenses are shaped like a quartered cylinder - they curve horizontally across your face but are flat vertically. They’re the cheapest type of lens to manufacture and also the most flexible which makes them perfect for no-fuss lens changes.
  • Spherical lenses curve vertically and horizontally to mimic the shape of your eye. This gives you better peripheral vision with no blinds-spots or distortion. They’re also less prone to fog up because of their large surface area.
  • Polarised/mirrored lenses have a chemical coating to block the blinding glare that's reflected from the snow. This helps to improve visibility and reduce eye fatigue. But, while ideal for sunny, or slightly overcast days, mirrored and polarised lenses are dark, so they'll impair your vision in low-light conditions.
  • Goggles with interchangeable lenses will equip you for all weather conditions. You simply pop the lenses out of the goggle frame and then firmly press them back into place. The latest magnetised quick-change systems make swapping lenses easier than ever, too.
  • Photochromic lenses have a special chemical coating that transitions colours in seconds to suit changing light conditions. They’re expensive but are the best all-weather option for those who can’t be bothered swapping lenses all the time.

What size should I get?

Whether you’re looking for goggles large enough to cover your tired eyes from apres-ski or want to kit out your kids, there’ll be a size and shape to suit you. Really, choosing the perfect pair comes down to the size of your head and personal preference.

If you can, do try them on with your helmet to make sure they’re fully compatible and that you’ve got the right fit. Failing that, make sure you visit the manufacturer’s website to check the measurements of the goggles before you buy. Most reputable manufacturers will supply these for each model they sell.

But there are still a couple of things you should be aware of when you’re choosing your size. Firstly, over-sized goggles are great for edge-to-edge peripheral vision but they can overwhelm small faces and could be incompatible with your helmet.

Second, be wary of choosing a pair that’s too small. It’s the ultimate skiing faux pas to have a gap between your goggle and helmet - called a gaper. Naturally, you don’t want your awesome skills to be let down by your poor fashion choices.

How do I look after my ski and snowboard goggles?

Wiping your goggles clean with your sleeve just won't do if you're looking to keep them in prime condition. After all, they're a pricey purchase and deserve to be treated with a little care. Simply wait for the goggles to dry and wipe clean with a soft cloth - even the soft-case that comes with your goggles will do. We'd also recommend keeping your ski goggles in their protective case (not on your head) when you're not using them. This will stop the lenses from getting scratched and the chemical coating getting damaged. Most goggles come with a case, but if not, the Oakley Universal soft goggle case is a great investment to keep your eyewear safe.

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The best ski and snowboard goggles to buy in 2022

1. Giro Roam: Best all-rounders

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

We know what you're thinking – two lenses for a bargain price must mean these goggles are sub-standard. You'd be wrong, though. The Roam goggles perform really well and even have a couple of features from Giro's premium line. They're perfect for general use, or to keep as a spare pair, and the two lenses mean that you're ready to tackle both bright and low-light conditions. The swappable lens system isn't as high-tech as the Anon M3 but that's to be expected for the price.

Giro's taken the classic framed look and given it a new spin with their Expansion View technology. The compact frame maximises your field of vision to give you better visual clarity without the added expense of making rimless goggles. And we like the medium, over the glasses fit and unisex design, too. Overall, you're getting a high-performance goggle with a guilt-free price tag.

Key details – Lens: Sun/all conditionsLens shape: CylindricalSpare lens: Low lightHelmet compatible: Yes

2. Spektrum Ostra: Best premium ski goggles

Price: £120 - £215 | Buy from Cotswold Outdoor

Billed as “sustainable” and produced using largely plant-based and recycled materials, the Norwegian-made Spektrum Ostra is the ultimate ski goggle for the well-heeled, ecologically-aware skier.

That’s not the only thing the Ostra have to recommend them, though. With high-quality, cylindrical Zeiss Sonar exterior lenses, you’re getting 100% UV protection and impressive optical clarity, just as you would with a decent pair of sunglasses and they’re not thin and horribly plasticky either like most “premium goggles”. These are stiff and feel surprisingly robust. Plus, if you pick up a pair with Premium, Black or Photochromic lenses, there’s an inner “Kyohou” anti-fog lens to prevent your goggles fogging on particularly snowy or rainy days.

Best of all, though, you can buy new lenses and swap them out to suit the conditions, so whatever the weather – white-out or extreme sun – you’ll only need one pair. Removal and replacement is easy and the goggles have an ingenious system of small magnets to keep the lens aligned and clips at the side to ensure it doesn’t pop off in the event of a wipeout.

We’d prefer that they came with a semi-hard case to keep them protected in the off-season but that’s the only thing we’d change about the Spektrum Ostra. They’re awesome goggles and if you scout around for a good price, not even all that expensive for what you’re getting.

Key details  Lens: Zeiss Sonar (various colours and photochromic  options available); Lens shape: Cylindrical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes

Buy now from Cotswold Outdoor

3. Oakley Flight Deck: Best rimless ski goggles

Price: £177 | Buy now from Oakley

It's easy to see how Oakley was inspired by the edge-to-edge style of fighter pilot's visors when designing the Flight Deck. For a wide-open view of the mountain, the supersize goggles deliver unrivalled peripheral vision with no distortion. And surprisingly, despite the Flight Deck's size, the goggles are fully helmet-compatible, too.

The Flight Deck is available with plenty of lenses, but which should you choose? We like the Torch Iridium lens - it's got the latest Prizm technology polarisation which fine-tunes colour to give a stronger contrast and stunning visual clarity. And with an 11-20% VLT, it'll have you covered in bright and cloudy conditions. Plus, with Oakley's highest level of permanent F3 anti-fog coating, your vision should stay picture-perfect from dawn till dusk.

You're getting a lot of tech for your money but at this price point, we think a spare lens wouldn't go amiss. We'd advise that you invest in another lens for skiing in overcast conditions should you choose the Oakley Flight Deck.

Key details – Lens: Prizm Torch Iridium; Lens shape: Spherical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes

4. Julbo Aerospace Zebra: Best photochromic ski goggles

Price: £133 | Buy now from TrekInn

If you're after a high-tech, all-in-one goggle, Julbo's Aerospace with the patented photochromic Zebra lens deserves to be your go-to pick. The category 2-4 lens adapts to changing light conditions in seconds to optimise visibility and keep every little detail looking in focus and crisp - plus, the colour vibrancy is brilliant. It's also available in other photochromic variations, like Zebra Light, Snow Tiger, and Chameleon. So we're sure you'll find a lens that suits the terrain you're most exposed to.

And we love the Aerospace's nifty SuperFlow ventilation system which allows you to pull the lens a cm away from the frame for maximum airflow and minimal fogging. This will keep you comfortably steam-free whether you're on the ski lift, bombing down the piste or mountaineering. Our only bugbear is that it's tricky to pull the hinges out, especially when you're halfway down the mountain, but it's easy enough to snap the lens back into place.

Key details – Lens: Zebra; Lens shape: Spherical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes.

5. Anon M3 MFI: Best ski goggles with interchangeable lenses

Price: £132 | Buy now from Burton

For a quick-change lens system, the Anon M3 goggle's Magna technology is tough to beat. Using eighteen rare earth magnets across nine connection points, the lenses instantly snap into place on the frame. So they're surprisingly easy to change - even with gloves on. Reassuringly, they're also built to withstand brutal wipeouts and won't pop off if you have a tumble. They've also used the same Magna tech to attach a face mask, which will keep your face toasty warm and shielded from the icy elements should you need it.

Anon's "Integral Clarity Technology" keeps fog at bay and Zeiss Sonar lenses ensure optimal visual clarity. Plus, you'll be carving in comfort with the ultra-plush triple density face foam. They may be pricey but considering they come with a spare lens for low-light conditions and a face mask, they're actually pretty good value.

Key details – Lens: Dark Smoke; Lens shape: Cylindrical; Spare lens: Graybird; Helmet compatible: Yes

6. Dragon Rogue: Best ski goggles for flat light and whiteouts

Price: £110 | Buy now from Ellis Brigham

These Rogue snow goggles from Dragon are sure to keep you on the slopes no matter the weather. The pink-tinted lenses have a 60% VLT, which is suited to heavily overcast conditions, with a hydrophobic hard coating that repels water should you find yourself in a snowstorm. To counteract low visibility, the lenses also have an ionised finish that works hard to reduce glare, increase contrast and make colours appear much more vibrant.

The medium-sized goggles have a snug triple-layer face foam, lens venting and an anti-fog coating with an adjustable strap for a custom fit over your helmet. A spherical style helps to eradicate distortion and give a better field of vision, while the spare lens, in Dark Smoke with a 20% VLT, is ideal for storing in your backpack should the weather clear up. Not only is the Dragon Rogue goggles great for flat light, but with a spare lens, you’ll be set for whatever the mountain throws your way.

Key specs - Lens: Lumalens Pink Ionised; Lens shape: Spherical; Spare lens: Dark Smoke; Helmet compatible: Yes

7. Bolle Volt Plus: Best children's ski goggles 

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Unless your kid is a skiing prodigy that's mastered the toughest runs in all weather conditions, the Bolle Volt Plus goggles are ideal for kids. They're suited for ages 6 and up and are fully helmet-compatible. Their category 2 lenses, available in either pink vermillion or blue emerald, improve visual clarity in sunny and overcast conditions while the mirrored finish reduces some glare. They come in some funky designs, too, which we're sure will get your kids hyped to wear them.

Built for tumbles and falls, the goggles have an anti-scratch Carbo-Glas lens that won't shatter on impact. And with the P8 anti-fog coating and flow-tech venting, there'll be little chance of a steamy decline. The dual-density foam is soft and gentle, too, so you shouldn't get many complaints about the goggles pinching or being uncomfy. Overall, the best children's ski goggles at a decent price.

Key details – Lens: Choice; Lens shape: Cylindrical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes

8. Smith i/O ChromaPop: Best ski goggles for wearing over glasses

Price: £206 | Buy now from Amazon

Skiing without crystal-clear vision is a disaster waiting to happen. So if you weren't blessed with 20-20 eyesight, over-the-glasses goggles are a necessity. And we think Smith's i/OX ChromaPop goggles are top of the class. Thanks to their large, rimless design there's plenty of space for your specs and you'll have better peripheral vision. The spherical Carbonic-X lens with the 5X anti-fog inner coating gets rid of all fog, so you won't have to worry about both pairs of eyewear steaming up.

We admit that they're expensive goggles but we think all the extra features make the price tag a little easier to swallow. After all, they do a great job at blocking glare and thanks to the ChromaPop polarisation, clarity is optimised and colours appear much more vibrant.

Key details – Lens: Rise ChromaPop; Lens shape: Spherical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes

9. Bolle Nova II: Best ski goggles for beginners

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

If you're a skiing novice then there's no need to spend a fortune on high-tech goggles. You'll probably be sticking to the beginner slopes and won't encounter many tough conditions. So, for a reasonably priced, all-purpose goggle we'd recommend the Bolle Nova II. The flow-tech venting system banishes all fog thanks to its directional airflow over the inside of the lens. Better still, the double lens creates a thermal barrier to keep the cold out.

Naturally, the goggles lack the subtle design details found on up-market models but they can still hold their own considering the price. They have a silicone backed head strap to keep the goggles in place and there's a selection of different coloured lenses, too. For general use, we recommend the category Grey Vermillon Gun lens. It performs well in bright and slightly cloudy conditions and the mirrored finish helps to reduce some glare.

Key details – Lens: Grey Vermillion Gun; Lens shape: Cylindrical; Spare lens: No; Helmet compatible: Yes

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