8 best ski and snowboard goggles
Be prepared for whiteouts on the slopes with some high-performance eyewear
Heading for the mountains this winter? A pair of snowsports goggles are a must. Goggles protect your peepers from wind, cold and blowing snow and are useful in all conditions – they work both to shield your eyes from the harsh glare of sun on the white stuff and to improve visibility in low, flat light or in a whiteout.
The main factor to keep in mind when buying a pair of goggles for skiing or snowboarding is which colour lens to go for. Generally, different coloured lenses are best suited to different conditions. As a rough rule, yellow lenses are good for cloudy days, whilst dark colours and polarised lenses work best on sunny days. Lenses usually come with a VLT (visual light transmission) rating, and the lower the number, the better it’ll be suited to bright sunshine.
For example, a lens with VLT of 40 per cent will be effective for low light, whilst one with 9 per cent VLT is ideal for bright bluebird days. You can also buy goggle frames that allow you to pop in different lenses when conditions change – if you go for these, check that the lenses stay snug and don’t slip out.
Make sure that the lenses you buy offer protection from both UVA and UVB light – most models these days offer 100 per cent protection. Look for goggles constructed with double lenses (this helps avoid fogging up) and lenses treated with anti-fog and anti-scratch technologies to keep them clear. Lenses are easy to scratch – only clean them with the cloth they come with and keep them in a soft bag or hard case when you aren’t wearing them.
There’s a trend for sporting big, wraparound goggles that offer uninterrupted peripheral vision. These spherical lenses tend to be more expensive but we reckon they’re worth an extra spend for the improved vision you end up with, especially if you’re planning long days on the pistes. Check the strap on the model you buy is easy to adjust, and fits snugly over both a beanie hat and your helmet (some helmets have clips you can pop a goggle strap into).
When worn with a helmet, your goggles should sit flush to the helmet lid, so that there’s no gap on your forehead (otherwise you can end up with an oddly placed suntan strip). Try out goggles against your face and check that the foam-clad frame feels light and comfortable around your eyes.
Goggles tend to be unisex, but smaller female-specific fits are good if you find regular models tend to feel enormous on your face. If you need to wear glasses, plump for goggles designed to fit over your frames. We’ve included goggles to fit most budgets, but we would say that you get what you pay for with lenses, they are an investment worth making.
Dragon Alliance PXV Galaxy Goggles: £160, Dragon Alliance
We like a lot of things about the PXV, but then perhaps we should for the upper-end price. It sits beautifully on the face – this is a goggle you’ll quickly forget you’re wearing, thanks to the perfect amount of foam on the frame. The wide lens is anti-fog, even if you’re skiing at speed, due to good vents all around the lens. The lenses are quick to pop in and out if you want to swap to a different hue, and two are included so you’ll be ready for most weather conditions.
Oakley Fall Line: £170, Oakley
Oakleys may not come cheap, but they always offer great performance. The Fall Lines are bulky on the face to due to a very thick foam frame, but the plus side to that is great comfort and breathability, even if you’re out first lift to last lift. The wide straps sport the classic Oakley ‘O’ and are easy to wear and adjust. We tested the Sapphire Iridium lens, a good all-rounder choice for sun and clouds with a VLT light transmission of 13 per cent, and plenty of other colourways are available.
Adidas Progressor Splite Goggles: £175, Adidas Sport Eyewear
Adidas are rightly proud of how light and portable the brand new Splite is – it weighs a touch under 80g and fits easily into a jacket pocket. As a result the lenses look rather alarmingly flimsy and cheap at first glance, but once on they feel great, with a flex that means they fit nicely on the face. The purple-tinted lenses offer great clarity and true-to-life colours, but the range of vision isn’t the biggest.
Mountain Warehouse Polarised Extreme Goggles: £79.99, Mountain Warehouse
One of the best goggles we tested, considering the very decent price, the Polarised Extreme is indeed polarised, cutting the glare from sunshine well and protective from UV rays. The lens has a nice flex but still feels tough and hardy, and the range of vision is decent. Great value for money for beginners or seasonnaires, and they look good on, too – you get a lot of bang for your buck here.
Bollé Nevada Goggles: £74.99, RX Sports
Another nice workhorse goggle for well under £100, the Nevada sports a wide frame that will fit most faces. There’s a good field of vision to the sides, but the chunky foam frame does sit quite high on nose and cheeks. The strap is great, and will stay put on a helmet or hat. This orange lens offers 22 per cent VLT, a good all-rounder for sun and cloud, but if you can afford to, we’d pick Bolle’s Phantom lens which adapts to changing light conditions.
Cébé Fanatic Goggles: £29.06, Outdoor GB
Our pocket-friendly pick of the season, the excellently priced Fanatic is actually better suited to newbies than snowsports fanatics. The lens is on the small side (good for smaller faces) and is anti-fog and anti-scratch, ideal if you’re clumsy. The comfortable foam frame is lined with fleece for comfort, and there’s an easy-to-adjust strap. The Fanatic doesn’t have the most modern looks, but if you’re off for lessons or are on a budget it’s a very decent choice.
Sungod Vanguard Goggles: £110, Sungod
We’ve always rated Sungod’s popular Revolts goggles highly, so we were pleased to try their latest incarnation for winter 2018-19, the Vanguard. It sports a massive lens that looks rather big on the face but offers an excellent field of vision. The strap is comfortable and wide, and the frame felt more durable than others on test. This is a tough all-rounder, ideal for seasonnaires or anyone working in a mountain resort who needs a goggle for reliable, regular use. Plus, they’re covered by a lifetime guarantee, and can be returned for repair from anywhere in the world.
Roxy Rockferry Goggles: £95, Roxy
Our top pick for smaller faces and design fans alike, the good looking Rockferrys are simple, effective goggles. The smaller frame does still offer a good wide field of vision, and there’s a lens colour in the collection to suit any weather. Wide straps, all in bright, eye-catching designs, sit nicely over hats and helmets alike. A good no-fuss option for decent UV protection and plenty of style points.
The Verdict: Best ski and snowboard goggles
The Dragon Alliance PXV is an all-round high performer, and we rate the Adidas Progressor Splice if you like a lightweight goggle. Want to spend under £100? Pick the Mountain Warehouse Polarised Extreme.
Sian Lewis is the editor of thegirloutdoors.com
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