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How to Buy Snowboard Goggles

Published on 11/28/2023 · 6 min readFind your perfect snowboard goggles with our guide on buying tips. Explore key features, lens options, and style considerations for your next winter adventure!
Sean Corliss, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Sean Corliss

Photo by niktalena

Embarking on a thrilling snowboarding adventure requires more than just skill and enthusiasm—it demands the right gear, including a pair of quality snowboard goggles. There are lots of brands out on the market (i.e. Oakley, Giro, Spy, Dragon, Scott), and it can be difficult to know what factors are important to focus on when there are an overwhelming amount of choices to pick from. In this guide, we'll explore key factors to consider when purchasing snowboard goggles, with a focus on finding the right balance between features and budget.

With over 15 years of experience as a snowboarder and a decade of prior expertise in skiing, I have witnessed the evolution of snowboard goggles and have learned the importance of selecting the right pair for optimal performance. My passion for snowboarding goes beyond the thrill of conquering slopes—it extends to helping fellow enthusiasts navigate the often overwhelming world of gear choices.Whether you're a seasoned rider or a novice hitting the slopes for the first time, I’m here guide you through the process of choosing the ideal snowboard goggles to enhance your winter sports experience.

What to Consider When Buying Snowboard Goggles

When embarking on the quest for the perfect snowboard goggles, several key considerations can make all the difference in your on-mountain experience:

  • Fit: Start by ensuring the goggles fit securely to your face, providing a snug yet comfortable seal to prevent discomfort and fogging.
  • Frame technology: Look for flexible and durable materials that conform to your face over time.
  • Lens tint: Lens tint plays a pivotal role in visibility, so choose one that suits the prevailing weather conditions on your favorite slopes.
  • Budget: Consider your budget, as there are high-quality options available across various price ranges.
  • Compatibility: Helmet compatibility is essential for safety, comfort, and proper ventilation. And if you wear glasses, opt for goggles with an over-the-glass (OTG) design, accommodating your prescription eyewear without compromising on performance.

By addressing these factors—size, frames, lens tint, price, helmet compatibility, and glasses compatibility—you can make an informed decision and gear up for a seamless and enjoyable snowboarding experience.

Features to Look Out for When Buying Snowboard Goggles

Size

Photo by Oksana Trautwein

Begin your goggle quest by ensuring the right fit. An appropriate size guarantees comfort, prevents fogging, and optimizes peripheral vision. While high-end goggles may offer cutting-edge technology, budget-friendly options can provide a snug fit without compromising on these essential aspects. Look for brands that prioritize comfort, and fit within your budget constraints.

Lens Tint

Snowboard expert and author Sean Corliss wearing dark lenses for a bright day on the slopes of Sunday River, ME. Photo by Sean Corliss, Snowboard Expert and author

Navigating the lens tint dilemma involves understanding your local slopes' typical weather conditions, and the amount of light you anticipate getting from the sun. While premium goggles may offer a variety of interchangeable lenses or photochromic options, budget-friendly alternatives often come with fixed lens tints.

Consider your primary weather conditions, whether it's predominantly sunny or overcast, and choose a lens tint that caters to your specific needs without breaking the bank. A darker lens color, such a black or amber, should be chosen if you anticipate brighter conditions (like bluebird days, when you would wear sunglasses if you were at the beach). Conversely, clear, yellow, rose, and lighter-tinted lenses should be chosen if you anticipate low light conditions (think overcast, snowy, shadows, etc). Ideally, the lens type you choose should provide you with the maximum amount of clarity for the light conditions you will be riding or skiing in.

Ventilation

The holes at the top of the goggles offer great ventilation. Photo by InFocus

Proper ventilation is a must for fog-free rides, and fortunately, most goggles (both budget-friendly and high-end) come equipped with effective ventilation systems that allow for optimal airflow. Look for models that strike a balance between affordability and functionality. Goggles with anti-fog coatings or double lenses can be found within a reasonable price range, ensuring your vision remains clear during your snowboarding escapades.

Another good tip to keep in mind is to try your goggles on with your helmet, and verify that they fit together. Ideally, the top vents on your goggles will feed into the ventilation system of your helmet. This will ensure a smooth ventilation system that allows air to flow through the bottom of your goggles, out through the top, and into your helmet where it is expelled. Poor helmet compatibility can mean big-time goggle fogging!

Anti-Scratch and Anti-Glare Coatings

Photo by AS Kom

Protecting your investment is crucial, and most budget-friendly goggles include anti-scratch coatings to ensure longevity. Prioritize goggles with scratch-resistant materials to maintain clear vision and durability without stretching your budget.

Frame Technology

Snowboard Expert Sean Corliss and friends showcasing the many frame shapes and styles you may see when shopping. Photo by Sean Corliss

Flexible frame materials and innovative technologies are not exclusive to high-end goggles. Budget-friendly options often incorporate comfortable and durable materials, like polyurethane. Look for features like triple-layer foam for enhanced comfort and moisture-wicking, ensuring a snug fit without compromising on quality. Alternatively, you can buy frameless goggles for a sleek and athletic look on the slopes. Frameless goggles are typically paired with mag tech lens (which I will cover later in this article!).

Peripheral Vision

Photo by Oleksandr Rzhanitsyn

A wide field of vision is crucial, and many budget-friendly goggles offer impressive peripheral visibility. Opt for goggles with spherical or cylindrical lenses to maximize your field of view without straining your budget. Remember, if you can’t see, you’re increasing your chances of missing a bump, or colliding with another skier/boarder—so make sure you are choosing a goggle that doesn’t impede your vision. Try to find a pair that feels like you don’t have anything at all in front of your face, other than the mountain.

Glasses Compatibility

Photo by Sun Ok

If you wear prescription glasses, finding the right snow goggles can be an extra daunting experience. Wearing goggles that do not fit over your glasses properly can result in foggy lenses, both on your snow goggles and glasses. Many eyeglass-specific goggles can be found with small cut-outs that fit over the temple/ear pieces of your glasses, creating a snug fit that keeps the airflow and ventilation working properly. Alternatively, you can look into prescription snow goggles, eliminating the need for wearing your glasses while on the slopes.

Accessories

Photo by Aleksandra Suzi

Accessories like colorful goggle straps and mag lenses can be a fun addition. Picking a strap that fits your personality and style can be important to riders who love to express themselves through their gear. Mag lenses allow you to change out lenses quickly on the slopes incase they get foggy, wet, or if the light conditions have changed and you need a darker/brighter lens.

Find the Best Snowboard Goggles for You

Snowboard expert and author Sean Corliss wearing low light goggles on a snowy day while his friend does the same. Photo by Sean Corliss, Snowboard Expert and author

Selecting the right snowboard goggles is about finding the perfect balance between features and cost. With careful consideration of size, lens tint, ventilation, and other essential factors, you can embark on your snowboarding adventures equipped with goggles that not only fit your face but also your budget. Remember, a fulfilling ride doesn't always require the most expensive gear—practicality and affordability can go hand in hand. When in doubt, consult an expert to hear what they have to say. You can chat with a Curated Winter Sports Expert for free, personalized advice on finding the best goggles for your needs.

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Sean Corliss, Snowboarding Expert
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Sean Corliss
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