8 best ski goggles for 2019/20 that block harmful rays and glare
Invest in a pair with changeable frames so you’re covered for all weather conditions
Busy booking your next ski holiday? Make sure you pack a great pair of ski goggles before you leave for the pistes.
Snowsport-specific goggles will protect your eyes from snow and wind in the mountains and help you see clearly come sun or snowstorms.
Different lens colours work in various winter weather conditions. As a rule, yellow and pink lenses are best on cloudy days, while darker colours and polarised lenses work well on sunny days.
If in doubt, look for the lens’ visible light transmission (VLT) percentage – the lower the number, the better suited it is to bright sunshine.
A VLT of 38 per cent is best for low light and cloudy conditions, while a VLT of nine per cent is ideal for sunny days out on the snow and a 21 per cent would make a good all-rounder. To deal with fast-changing weather conditions, skiers usually either carry two pairs of goggles or one pair with a removable lens, so you can pop a differently tinted lens in quickly if needed. If you’re only investing in one pair of goggles, it’s definitely worth choosing a pair with changeable lenses.
A problem with cheaper goggles is that they can easily fog up, immediately clouding your vision. Look for goggles with double lenses that are treated with anti-fog and anti-scratch technology to keep them clear and scratch-free. Good lenses usually offer 100 per cent protection from UVA and UBV light, but do make sure that the pair you pick protects your peepers from both.
Try your new goggles on before you head to the mountains, to check they fit your face well. Goggles are usually unisex, but smaller or female-specific goggles are a good choice if you have a narrow face, or when buying goggles for teenagers. Check the goggles you buy sit flush with your face, and that the strap feels comfortable on your head and doesn’t slip down when you move. The foam between the goggle frame and your skin should not impede your vision. If you wear glasses, look for goggles that are labelled as glasses-compatible.
Ski goggles are expensive, so make sure you care for yours so that they last for many winter seasons to come. It’s easy to scratch lenses – only clean them with a lens cloth, and keep your goggles in a soft goggle bag (usually included) when you aren’t wearing them, rather than just chucking them in a backpack or a jacket pocket. Never wipe the inside of your lens, as this can remove the anti-fog coating.
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Sungod vanguard goggles: £110, Sungod
Sungod’s vanguards are fully customisable when you order them online, allowing you to pick a lens tint from eight options ranging from nine per cent to 38 per cent VLT. You can then play around to find your favourite frame and strap colours. The lenses are also fully interchangeable, clipping in and out of the frame quickly and easily. These lenses are on the larger side, but this offers a great field of vision. The strap is comfortable and stays put on both a helmet and a bobble hat. The vanguards are also covered by a lifetime guarantee against breakage, and can be returned for repair from anywhere in the world.
Salomon four seven sigma white goggles: £110, Salomon
Salomon’s four seven sigma range comes in a variety of colours and lens tint incarnations. We tested out the sigma white, with a rose pink lens designed to excel in low light conditions – and excel it does, offering excellent fog-free vision when the skies darken. Salomon is also proud of its “custom ID” fit, which does indeed fit very naturally on the face. If you find most goggles uncomfortable, you might well like how light and cushioned these feel to wear. These are also compatible with glasses and the smaller frame of these goggles makes them best suited to people with slimmer faces. The lenses are interchangeable, and bought alone are £55.
Decathlon WedZe G500 goggles: £44.99, Decathlon
Our top pick if you’re really on a budget are the pocket-friendly G500s from Decathlon’s own-brand label, WedZe. Decathlon do functional ski goggles starting from just £8.99, but we reckon this model is the pick of the pack, with a built-in yellow-tinted lens for bad weather and an extra brown lens you can easily pull on and off if the sun comes out. They’re compatible with glasses and have comfortable, if rather bulky, foam around the frame. If you’re new to skiing they’ll do you proud for a week of lessons, and they also make a good spare pair of goggles.
Dragon Alliance DX3 OTG goggles: £55, Dragon Alliance
We reckon these are the comfiest goggle we tested, thanks to a delightfully soft fleecy finish to the thick foam that lines its frame. The frame itself isn’t the biggest we tried out, and there’s some compromise on the field of vision here, but nevertheless this is a decent goggle, with good anti-fog technology and a double lens to keep everything clear even if you’re working up a sweat. Despite being on the small side the lens fits nicely over glasses. We tested the pink ionised lens, which at 54 per cent VLT is brilliant in flat or low light, and there are plenty of other versions of the DX3 OTG starting from just £45.
Bolle Maddox goggles: £86, Snow + Rock
Bolle’s smart-looking Maddox is the brand’s bestselling model, and for good reason. It offers an excellent fit, with comfortable foam that sits in just the right place on the face. The wide lens is treated with both anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings, and wide vents help to further keep the lens fog-free on warm days. The Maddox’s flattering and rather slick looks also punch above its price range. We tested the phantom fire red lens, which is a good all-rounder suitable for changeable days on the pistes.
Cebe versus goggles: £67, Sunglasses Shop
The goggles pack in a lot for the price, coming in at well under £100. The oversized double lens offers good vision and is treated with high-performing anti-fog and anti-scratch technology, so you can get on with hitting the slopes. The fit is also great, if best suited to narrower or teen faces, with a nice wide strap and cushiony foam that keeps the goggles flush to the face. We tested the dark brown lens, which is best used in bright sunshine. These are great value for money.
Oakley fall line goggles: £170, Oakley
Oakley’s fall line goggles are one of the most expensive options we tested, but also one of the best. Oakley offer three size versions of these unisex goggles, which include XS, XM and XL, so you can pick a size that suits your face perfectly. Once you’ve found the right fit, there’s plenty more to admire here. That good-looking wide lens offers a great field of vision, is interchangeable (extra lenses costs £90) and proved totally fog-free on test. The strap is also seriously comfortable even when worn all day. If you pick just one lens colour here, we recommend the 13 per cent green snow jade iridium lens: an excellent all-rounder that can deal with both sunny and cloudy conditions.
Smith squad goggles: £100, Ellis Brigham
For an even £100 you get a very good pair of goggles here, not least because it comes with a spare lens, so you’re sorted for most weather conditions straight out of the gate. We recommend this version, which includes a versatile 23 per cent VLT violet mirror lens that’s ideal for most conditions as well as a 69 per cent VLT yellow lens to swap in in heavy snowfall. The semi-rimless lens design offers an excellent field of vision, with no bulky frame in the way. The squad comes in male or female versions, with the only difference being that the latter is slightly smaller.
The verdict: Ski goggles
We rate Sungod’s vanguard ski goggles as the best on test this year, because of the easy, interchangeable lenses and the wide field of vision. Smith’s squad goggles is another high-performing and versatile choice, and if you’re on a budget we recommend the very comfortable Dragon Alliance’s DX3 OTG pair.
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