How To Buy Snowboard and Ski Goggles

A good pair of goggles is a pretty essential part of your kit. When picking out a new pair of goggles it’s good to remember this is one of those products where you get what you pay for... If you’re going to use them a lot it’s worth investing in a good set.

And, if you’re going to get out there in all conditions, you should consider either getting a spare low light lens for your goggles, or even better, getting a second set with a low light lense. It's a good idea to keep a pair of goggles that will help you see when the vis isn't good in your pocket for those days where the weather comes in while your over in a far bowl away from the lodge or your car.

In the last few seasons it's great to see brands offering 2 lenses off the shelf with their goggles. This covers you in all conditions and works out cheaper than buying a goggle and spare lens. We've put all the goggles that come with two lenses together. But be sure to read the rest of this guide first!

We have kept kept our lens tint guide separate as there is a lot of info to take in. Have a read of it after. 

Choose a Google That Fits Your Face.....obviously

Ski and snowboard goggles come in a wide variety of sizes; it’s important to pick a goggle that matches the size of your face. For a goggle to work properly they need to fit snuggly on your face without any gaps. This way you will get a temperature seal that will help prevent the lens from fogging up. (Note: All our goggles have a size in the goggle specs, but these are only a guide.)

Choose a Google Lens That Suits Your Riding Needs

Once you have picked a goggle that matches your face size, you need to pick a lens.  Think about the conditions you spend most of your time skiing or boarding in:

  • If you only go out when it’s sunny then you should go for a darker mirrored lens made for bright light conditions.
  • If you only put goggles on when the weather turns bad then you should look at low light lens options to help with visibility and contrast in poor light conditions.
  • If you’re going to go out in all conditions there will be some compromise in lens performance at either end of the light spectrum as there’s no lens that works perfectly from super bright light to really low light.
  • And if you need to make do with one goggle go for an Ignitor, Saphire, Torch, Jade or RC36 lens.
  • See our Guide to Snowboard Goggle Lens Tint Choices for detail information on lens choices that suitable particular conditions.

As we say, ideally, if you ride in all conditions you should have a 2 lens or 2 goggle set up.

Some of the Jargon Explained - 

Spherical lenses curve both vertically and horizontally to create a ‘bubbled’ look. As a result, these lenses enhance peripheral vision in comparison to a flat lens. This creates less distortion and less glare than with a flat lens, while also allowing you to see more with the greater lens surface area. 

Cylindrical lenses are flatter and have a lower profile than spherical lenses. Otherwise known as ‘flat’ lenses, they curve around the vertical axis, meaning that you can experience more glare and a slightly more distorted view than with the pricer spherical designs. Therefore, these lenses are often found in lower price point models.

UV Protection:

An invisible form of radiation, UV rays pelt your retinas at 186,000 miles per second. Eye damage linked to UV includes cataract, photokeratitis and pterygium. UV damage builds up over time. You generally don’t feel UV rays, so there is no natural warning that damage is being done. And although clouds reduce the level of UV reaching your eyes, clouds don’t block UV completely — which means your eyes can be exposed to UV rays even on overcast days.

Smith Interchangable Lens Tech:

As seen in the I/O



Oakley Switchlock Frame as used in the Airbrake and Airbrake XL allows you to adapt to changing light conditions with the flip of a switch. Oakley Switchlock Technology provides optimal convenience with innovations that make lens changing quick and hassle-free. It offers the ability to adapt to any environment and keep up with changing light and weather conditions. Adapt your vision. Elevate your performance.




Smith Porex Filter Technology

Changes in elevation bring changes in atmospheric pressure. These forces have the potential to diminish the optics of thermal lens systems. Smith’s patented Porex™ filter solves this issue by allowing the air pressure within the sealed lens chamber to equalize with the ambient atmospheric pressure ensuring class 1 optical standards. 

Smith TLT Optics (Tapered Lens Technology)

When light passes through a medium it refracts, i.e. changes course. If left uncorrected, this refraction can cause visual distortion and eye fatigue. Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology straightens out the incoming light rays by progressively tapering the lens from the optical center toward the peripheral view. What this means for you is that you see with 100% accuracy and maximum comfort.