Winter is dynamic; there are days of bright, reflective sun followed by dark and snowy days. The strong interplay between light conditions can impact your vision. Armed with poor goggles, you won’t be able to see hazards as they appear, which can lead to serious injuries and accidents.
Ski goggles have gone through some serious changes. Long gone are the days of one size fits all scattershot solutions. Between magnetic lenses, photochromic lenses, and anti-fog technology, there aren’t many conditions that the right ski goggles can’t handle.
In this guide, I’ve gathered the very best ski goggles for every skier, so you can get the most out of your season.
My Review Process
I’m a 25-year ski veteran. Of those twenty-five years, I’ve spent seven as a ski instructor in Colorado and six skiing in the vast backcountry of the Rockies. In that time, I’ve dealt with just about every type of winter weather imaginable.
I’m here to save you from days of rampant sun glare, whiteout conditions, and flat light, so you can always avoid the next obstacle. After an exhaustive hunt, I’m ready to share what makes the options in this guide the best of the best. Protect your eyes, enhance your field of vision, and enjoy your skiing experience with the goggles below.
Smith I/O Chroma Pop are my favorite pair of modern goggles. Smith revolutionized the ski goggle game with the original I/O’s. In the years since, they’ve continually refined the goggles, incorporating magnetic lenses, superior clarity, and a frameless design for one of the widest fields of vision available.
Because of the frameless design, your fingerprint may smudge the top and side of the lenses, so bring a wipe or cloth with you. However, with an anti-fog interior, bonus lens, and a super easy lens-swapping system, it’s hard not to love I/O Chroma Pop goggles.
Another mainstay in the skiing world, Giro made the ultimate magnetic goggles with the Contour. Not only does this pair of ski goggles sport the optically sound toric lens, but changing lenses is a breeze with the intuitive magnetic system.
Like most top-of-the-line goggles, the price is nothing to scoff at. However, you get what you paid for. The Giro Contour provides a huge field of vision and excellent optics. They are also comfortable to wear in most winter conditions.
Oakleys are known for their stylish eyewear, and the Airbrake XL fits right into that category. With two lenses, high-definition optics, and superb ventilation, the Airbrakes are the best anti-fog goggles out there.
Because it's Oakley, a luxury brand, these are higher-priced goggles. The increased ventilation makes them a highly breathable option, but in high winds, allows cold air to seep in and chill your face. Nevertheless, for warmer days, or ski touring adventures, the Oakley Airbrakes are the best anti-fog ski goggles you’ll find on the market.
While all the goggles on this list feature great vision and optics, the Smith 4d Mag takes the cake.
These goggles have one of the widest fields of vision thanks to a great design and rounded bottom. There's minimal distortion in your view. The clarity is also fantastic, providing you with incredible detail.
This pair is a little more expensive than others, but it’s absolutely worth it. With easy lens changing and a comfortable fit, they are perfect for both sunny and stormy days. Identifying hazards just got a whole lot easier with the Smith 4d Mag.
In many cases, ski goggles are unisex, but the Anon WM3 makes a great case for women’s specific goggles. The fit is comfortable, the WM3 has effective anti-fogging properties, and looks great. To seal the deal, they have an easy magnetic lens swap system.
These great features do come at a price. However, at the risk of sounding repetitive, you get what you pay for. With the Anon WM3, you have a high-quality pair of goggles offering a full field of vision and stunning optical clarity. They also come with a bonus lens and should last many seasons.
Julbo has made a few outstanding ski goggles, but the Julbo Aerospace is their best offering.
Not only do you get an adaptable one-lens option, but you can also tilt the lens out about 1cm to get ample venting. This is a must-have for backcountry skiers, but the goggles are also great at resorts.
Because of the photochromic lens, the Julbo Aerospace only comes with one lens. Buying another lens isn't cheap either, which is a shame because this is an expensive pair of goggles. If you can fence the price, the Aerospace will be able to deal with the vast majority of backcountry conditions you encounter.
This solid pair of goggles sits well on larger faces, features a toric-style lens (although you can also get cylindrical), comes with extra lenses, and features fantastic optics. Anon really hit it out of the park with this one; it's also comfortable and easy to swap lenses.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most expensive models on our list. You’ll be shelling out some serious money. But if you can afford it, people with long, wide, or large faces will love the way this one feels.
If affordable prices are what you're after, it’s hard to beat this pair of goggles.
Yes, there are cheaper models, but the Smith Range can hold its own with an increased field of vision and good-quality lens optics. They’re also surprisingly breathable goggles and include anti-fog treatments for those warm spring days.
The downsides to this model include a relatively basic look that won’t win any style points and a one-lens system. You can change the lens, but it’s hard to come across replacement lenses, and the process is involved. Nevertheless, with all-day comfort and a cheap price to boot, the Smith Range is the best budget option around.
The Glade Optics Challengers are a great hybrid pair of ski goggles. While they don't support magnetic lenses, they are super easy to swap and come with proprietary anti-fog features.
The negatives with this pair of goggles are small, but they are a bit more expensive than the Smith Range. The Glade Challengers are also geared specifically for medium to small faces. However, the frameless design sports a best-in-class field of vision, and these are affordable goggles for most skiers.
Best Ski Goggle Brands
Smith is the king of ski goggles. The company has made high-quality snow goggles for years. However, there are other dependable options to consider.
Ski goggles aren’t only used for skiing; they can be critical for backcountry skiing, winter mountaineering, ski mountaineering and climbing. With these activities, you'll be breathing heavily as you struggle up steep mountainsides. Given that, you need something with strong anti-fogging technology, which is where Oakley’s Airbrakes comes in.
Julbo is another rock-solid option with anti-fog tech and photochromic lenses. These lenses adjust automatically to conditions and alleviate the hassle of changing lenses. Lens swapping is easy on a ski slope but a lot more cumbersome when you’re hanging off the side of a mountain.
If you’re interested in various snow sports, I’d recommend Smith, Oakley, or Julbo. They all make reliable snow goggles with comfort, durability, and functionality in mind. Smith and Julbo also have warranties that cover the entire life of the product.
Ski Goggle Buying Guide
Take a look at the following points before settling on your next pair of ski goggles. Keep in mind that ski goggles can easily be used as snowboard goggles or general snow goggles.
To get good ski goggles, you’ll need to spend around $100 or more. There are occasional deals that push this total down, but below $50 the quality nosedives.
The ideal scenario is a goggle with either chromic lenses or an easy swap lens system and a great fit. Expensive models can cost up to nearly $400.
Lens technology has improved quite a bit over the years. In the past, you got one fixed lens that could handle most conditions but seldom well. These options are still available but usually in the budget category.
Interchangeable lenses were the next iteration. With these, you can opt for two lenses to deal with two extremes: bright sunny days (darker lenses like sunglasses) or stormy low-light conditions and night-skiing (lighter lenses). Spare lenses have helped the advancement of modern ski goggles a lot.
From there, designers took a look at how you swap replacement lenses. The first iterations involved clips or hooks that took time to adjust. Magnetic models fixed that problem with quick-change lens systems that allow you to pull off your lenses and pop on spare lenses without getting your hands cold.
Magnetic lenses aren’t perfect, however. If you fall, there’s a greater chance for lenses to become detached than fixed lenses or lenses with hooks and clips. Many brands claim the use of powerful magnets to lock lenses in but that isn't always true, or apparent until you get into an accident.
Recently, companies have started focusing on photochromic lenses, which change depending on the light conditions. This self-adjusting solution gives you coverage in a range of conditions because the lenses can transition. While useful, they don’t work as well as specific lenses for certain light conditions.
Ski goggle lenses come in three main categories: spherical shapes, cylindrical shapes, and toric shapes. The goggle frame and headband have largely stayed the same, with moldable plastic outlines, magnetic strips to hold magnetic lenses, and adjustable bands.
Spherical lenses curve around both axes (X & Y) for great wraparound coverage and a rounded shape. They also defend well against glare and don’t distort your peripheral vision. Spherical lenses are the most popular type on the slopes and offer great visual quality. The one downside is that you may look like a bug because of the shape.
A cylindrical lens curves more on the X-axis than a spherical lens. Cylindrical lenses are popular because of their retro, throwback appearance. However, by relying heavily on one axis, the cylindrical lens style can distort your peripheral vision and doesn’t protect you as much from sun glare.
Toric lenses are a hybrid that borrows the spherical lens shape and curve on the X-axis while retaining a smaller Y-axis curvature. This means the fog-fighting capabilities are somewhat reduced, but the overall shape most closely mirrors the curves of your face. This yields an optically sound choice with good peripheral vision.
Modern ski goggles come loaded with additional features. You can get flexible frames that will mold to your face or sturdy frames that can handle a ton of abuse. Non-slip grip straps and adjustable straps make the perfect fit even easier to find. Frameless goggles help by giving you the biggest field of vision possible.
In addition to lens type and shape, many goggles put lens coatings on to give the goggles the best visual quality. Some common ones include lens tint, anti-fog coating, mirror coating, wind coating, and anti-scratch coatings.
Venting is another great feature. Poor ventilation can lead to fogged goggles and vision issues. Look for goggles with ventilation systems, circumferential venting, foam over vents, or anti-fogging capabilities. Comfort also plays an important role, features like soft, triple-layer foam padding help reduce itching and irritation.
Pairs of goggles come in a wide range of sizes, but manufacturers are also known for designing goggles that favor certain faces over others.
For example, Anon makes great goggles for wider faces, but they won’t fit a narrower profile. Conversely, the Glade Optics Challenger is great for small to medium faces.
Always check size recommendations before buying. Your goggles should fit snuggly on your face and over your helmet.
For the best overall ski goggles, check out the Smith I/O Chromapop line. If magnetic lenses sound interesting, the Giro Counter is a great buy. If you’re concerned about budget, the Smith Range and Glade Optics Challenger are functional models without the cost.
You want an excellent field of vision, a comfortable fit, and optical clarity. Frequent skiers buffs will prefer a pair of snow goggles with lighter lenses and darker lenses included. If you’re ok spending a bit of money but want something without a lens-change system, photochromic goggles are the way to go.
Yes, not only is it a nice touch, but polarized lenses are also critical. Sunlight reflected off the snow can blind skiers and damage vision. Polarized lenses reduce glare and ramp up clarity.
You need eye protection, but that doesn't mean you need the most expensive pair of goggles with high-tech features. If your budget is a concern, opt for cheaper one-lens options that can handle most light conditions. While expensive, premium goggles give you excellent visibility, clarity, depth, and the widest field of vision.
As mentioned before, the added depth, field of vision, optical qualities, reduced distortion, and UV protection make ski goggles very useful. Goggles also protect your eyes and face from strong wind and precipitation. In warm weather, moisture-wicking foam and increased ventilation matter quite a bit.
Lens color corresponds to the current weather conditions. If it’s dark and stormy (i.e., low-light conditions), you want lighter lenses.
If you have bright conditions, opt for darker lenses. A dark lens color reduces sun glare and UV damage. Photochromic lenses take a shot at adjusting to most conditions but won’t cover every light condition out there.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.