No matter your experience level or budget, there is a great ski goggle waiting to be found. Interchangeable lenses dominate the high end of the market with systems that are getting quicker and easier by the year. In particular, Anon upped their game with the magnetic system on the M3, although Dragon's Swiftlock isn't far behind. Smith continues to innovate with its all-new ChromaPop lenses and Oakley is right in the mix with its Prizm design. And intermediate and beginning skiers can still pick up a great goggle for $100 or less, including some interchangeable options. Below are the best ski goggles for the 2016-2017 season. For more background, see our goggle comparison table and buying advice below the picks.  To complete your kit, check out our articles on the best ski helmets and ski gloves.
 

1. Smith I/O ChromaPop ($210)

Smith IO Chromapop gogglesLens shape: Spherical 
Frame size: Medium 
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: ChromaPop is the real deal, sizing and fit are excellent.  
What we don’t: Lens change could be faster.
Women’s: Smith I/O S ChromaPop

If Smith dominates one area, it’s snow goggles. There are a number of models to choose from at varying price points, but the I/O is our favorite. It was the original interchangeable-lens system and is still at the top with superb optics, two lenses included, an extremely comfortable fit, great ventilation, and premium build quality. Its interchange system is no longer the fastest to use—it has been surpassed by Oakley’s Switchlock and the magnetic designs from Anon and Giro—but the I/O retains its title as the best all-around ski goggle with the addition of new ChromaPop lenses.

Popular on Smith’s sunglasses, ChromaPop offers HD-like color quality that translates to the slopes with fantastic clarity in bright and low-light conditions (depending on the lens). Choosing a ChromaPop lens adds $30 to the $180 baseline, but we think it’s worth the extra cash. Made in three different frame sizes, almost everyone fits an I/O: The I/O S is for small faces, the I/O X has the largest fit, and the standard I/O fits my medium-sized face perfectly.
See the Smith I/O ChromaPop

 

2. Oakley Flight Deck Prizm ($170-$210)

Oakley Flight Deck ski goggleLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Large
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: Massive field of view, quality optics.
What we don’t: Only comes with one lens, old lens change system.

From an optical perspective, the Oakley Flight Deck Prizm stands out. This rimless goggle has one of the largest fields of view on the market and flat out ridiculous peripheral vision. Compared with the Smith I/O above, you see more of the mountain in all directions—up, down, and side-to-side. Combine this with Oakley’s Prizm technology, which we put as a close second to Smith’s ChromaPop, and this is one impressive ski goggle.

The most notable downside is that the Flick Deck only comes with one lens, which is disappointing considering its price (Prizm Flight Deck lenses start at $65). And should you invest in a second lens, the quick-change isn’t exactly quick by most people’s standards and less intuitive than the I/O (we’ll admit to turning to YouTube for a tutorial). But this doesn’t detract from the awesome visibility and what we consider to be the best overall large-frame goggle on the market. And despite the size, we found that the Flight Deck’s still fit most helmets well, including top Smith, Giro, and POC helmets that we tried.
See the Oakley Flight Deck Prizm

 

3. Dragon X2 ($220-$270)

Dragon X2 ski gogglesLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Large
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: Superb interchange system, large fit.
What we don’t: A small step down in lens quality from the options above.

Dragon’s X2 is among the most expensive goggles to make our list but absolutely packed with features. In a nice upgrade from the Oakley Flight Deck above, you get two lenses and a hard-sided case—which easily accounts for the difference in cost—and a superior lens changing system. In fact, outside of the magnetic Anon’s below, this is our favorite lens interchange design. It works by pushing a lever on each side of the frame up to release (just be sure to have your hands in front of you when you open the levers or the lens will just pop out). Re-installing the lens is just as easy and can be accomplished without removing the goggles from your face.

Why aren’t the Dragon X2s ranked higher? The large field of view gives the Flight Decks a run for their money, but the optics are a little duller than both Oakley’s Prizm and Smith’s ChromaPop. It's a close call and the Dragon lenses still offer clear views, but they lack the sharp contrast you get with the latest technology. The plastic frame also feels cheaper than the price tag, but the X2’s still are durable with a thin frame protecting the edges of the lenses.
See the Dragon X2

 

4. Smith I/O 7 ChromaPop ($230)

Smith IO 7 ski goggleLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Medium
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: Great optics, clean design, and excellent fit.
What we don’t: Pricier than the I/O without enough to show for it.

The Smith I/O 7 was released a couple years ago and follows the mega popular I/O. Not surprisingly, it’s a fantastic goggle and shares the same strongpoints as the I/O: a very comfortable medium-size fit, excellent fog resistance, and now ChromaPop lens options. The I/O 7 has a slightly larger lens than the I/O but visibility is similar between the two, both of which are more than enough unless you’re in the market for a large, frameless design.

Changes from the original I/O include an updated lens swapping system that uses a single pivot (the I/O has two) and outriggers that allow the goggle straps to adjust up and down for a consistently good fit around your head. Price also jumps $20 for a comparable model, and this is the main reason the I/O 7 is fourth in our rankings. Despite the great design, we don’t think the little tweaks justify the higher price tag. The interchange system is a small improvement and still falls short of the simple systems from Oakley or Dragon, and the same goes for the outriggers. In the end, the I/O 7 is a great goggle but the I/O is a slightly better value. You can’t go wrong with either goggle.
See the Smith I/O 7 ChromaPop

 

5. Oakley Airbrake Prizm ($190-$280)

Oakley Airbrake ski goggleLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Medium/large
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: Wide field of view, good ventilation.
What we don’t: Polarizing looks.

Along with the Smith I/O, Oakley’s Airbrake is a long-time favorite. Its wide, thick frame sticks out from a sea of newer frameless designs, and that extra plastic—particularly the large outriggers along the sides—does a nice job protecting the lens. The Airbrake’s are well known for their fog resistance and comfort. In terms of fit, the goggle flexes easily around most face sizes and shapes.

The wide frame on the Airbrake means field of vision on the sides is excellent, but we found it inferior to I/O models when looking down. Its looks also are a little polarizing and feel outdated compared to some of the recent releases. Some may like the large outriggers, but we find them a little bulky, and our white frame gives the Airbrake an uncanny resemblance to a stormtrooper (of course, this could be seen as a positive). One advantage that the Airbrake has over the I/O is its Switchlock lens interchange system, which works by pushing up a single lever. It’s not something you can do without taking the goggles off, but it’s still easy to accomplish on a chairlift ride.
See the Oakley Airbrake Prizm

 

6. Anon M3 MFI ($265-$275)

Anon M3 MFI ski goggleLens type: Cylindrical 
Frame size: Large
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: The fastest lens change on the market, functional facemask.
What we don’t: Pricey and a step down in optics. 

Smith may have pioneered the interchangeable lens system but Anon is mastering it. Much like its predecessor, the Anon M2, the M3’s magnetic lens swapping is best in class. It’s as easy as giving a slight twist to the frame to expose the lens and pulling it away from your face. Anon honed things in even further with a thin frame (the M2 was partially frameless) that protects the lens and two additional magnets to better hold everything in place.

New to the M3 is an included magnetic clip-in facemask, which combines with the goggles to create a great blocker system against driving snow without fogging the lenses (it’s up to you whether you actually wear it or not). And all of the other key components are there, including triple-layer foam and a variety of lens options to cover you from bright to cloudy. The only bad news is that the lenses on the M3 are cylindrical, which has an impact on peripheral vision and distortion relative to the spherical lenses on all of the goggles above. For a similar interchange design but in a spherical lens, go with the Anon M2.
See the Anon M3 MFI

 

7. Giro Contact ($240)

Giro Contact ski goggleLens type: Spherical
Frame size: Large
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: Awesome optics and easy lens change.
What we don’t: Durability issues with the strap.

Sitting atop Giro’s expanding lineup of ski goggles is the Contact EXV (Expansion View Technology). Similar to the Anon M3, the Contact has a quick-change lens system for adapting to shifting light conditions on the slopes. In use, the swap out process is very simple: press a small button at the top right of the frame and pull the lens away from your face. Re-installing is even simpler: the magnets drop the new lens right into place. Compared with the M3’s above, we prefer the Contact’s spherical lenses, which are a touch crisper. So why the 6th place finish? After about a ½ season of use, we did experience some fraying in the strap, and we eventually had to re-sew some stitching that came out. We could chalk it up to a fluke event, but for the price we would’ve preferred a maintenance-free test. Outside of that hiccup, we found the Contact lenses an excellent offering, with top-of-the-line large lenses and consistent ventilation. 
See the Giro Contact

 

8. POC Fovea ($150-$160)

POC Fovea ski goggleLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Medium
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: Good field of vision.
What we don’t: One lens and average ventilation.

With sharp Zeiss lenses and a classic, framed look, the Fovea gives a nod to the past while using thoroughly modern technology. POC has done a nice job with this goggle, which hits a competitive $150-$160 price point. It has excellent field of vision—even edging the Smith I/O at the sides—and we’ve found its triple-layer foam is comparable in comfort to the more expensive goggles above from Smith and Oakley.

Where the Poc Favea falls short for performance-oriented skiers or snowboarders is ventilation. With fewer openings around the goggle, not enough air moves through to dissipate fog quickly if you’re hiking or sweating on the downhill. Its other challenge is competition in this price range: the Fovea is within arms reach of the base $180 Smith I/O, which includes 2 lenses to better adapt to changing conditions. But that’s not to take anything away from the Fovea: its strong lineup of Zeiss lenses, variety of frame colors, and good looks are plenty to earn a spot on our list as a mid-range resort option.
See the POC Fovea

 

9. Giro Balance ($130)

Giro Balance ski gogglesLens shape: Spherical
Frame size: Small/Medium
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: Great price point and performance for the average skier.
What we don’t: Fits pretty small for a medium size.
Women's: Giro Facet

The all-new Giro Balance benefits from some trickle-down technology, offering an impressive field of view in a compact package. The goggle uses the same Expansion View technology (EXV) as the high-end Giro Contact above, which keeps the lens close to the face and results in excellent visibility at the top and bottom. Peripheral vision along the sides isn’t as good—a consequence of its small footprint—but it’s still ample for doing laps at the resort. Ventilation also is impressive, with air moving efficiently through the top and sides of the goggle.

Keep in mind that the Balance’s compact size may not be for everyone—those with large faces should steer clear. On the upside, the goggles fit seamlessly with all Giro helmets as well as a number of mid-range helmets from Anon, Bern, Poc, and Smith. Giro offers a women’s-specific version called the Facet, which has an even smaller fit and different frame colors.
See the Giro Balance

 

10. Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan ($160)

Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan ski goggleLens shape: Cylindrical
Frame size: Large
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: Effectively keeps fogging to a minimum.
What we don’t: Middling performance otherwise.

Anti-fogging technology has improved over the years but still isn’t a perfect science. And for those with persistent fogging issues—including eyeglass wearers—Smith’s Knowledge Turbo Fan is a long-time resort favorite. A small battery along the head strap powers the fan, and its two speeds do a good job pushing away any stagnant or moist air. The noise isn’t invasive and most forget that it’s running.

In paying for the anti-fogging technology, you do compromise on performance elsewhere. The cylindrical lenses aren’t as precise as what you typically get at this price, and the fan does add some weight and bulk. For the right person, however, those are small prices to pay, and the Knowledge Turbo Fan does it all at a reasonable $160.
See the Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan

 

11. Dragon NFX2 ($180-$200)

Dragon Alliance NFX2 ski goggleLens shape: Cylindrical
Frame size: Medium/large
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: Quick changing lenses at a good price.
What we don’t: Cheaper plastics, inferior optics.

Take the fantastic lens interchange technology of the Dragon X2 above, add it to the mid-level NFX goggles, and you get the NFX2. Just as with the X2, it’s easy to swap between lenses without taking off the goggle, and the NFX2 comes with a handy second lens for use on low visibility days. It all adds up really well on paper.

In testing the NFX2, however, we found ourselves torn. The interchange system is without a doubt a great feature and the fleece backer makes the goggle quite comfortable, but it’s hard to justify the rest of the package at $180. The taller profile and cylindrical lens give it a touch of tunnel vision, which isn’t ideal for hard chargers, and the plastics have a lower quality feel. If the ability to swap lenses is a top priority and you want to keep it under $200, the NFX2 is a good choice. But taking the factors mentioned above into consideration, we’d be inclined to spend the extra cash to get the Dragon X2 or magnetic Anon M3 or M2.
See the Dragon NFX2

 

12. Anon Relapse ($120-$130)

Anon Relapse ski gogglesLens type: Cylindrical 
Frame size: Medium/large 
Number of lenses included: 2
What we like: A good goggle with interchangeable lenses at a good price. 
What we don’t: Cylindrical (not spherical) lens.  

When you get to around the $100 price range, most goggles are cylindrical instead of spherical. This result is a slightly smaller field of view and some occasional distortion around the edges. Spherical goggles are great for skiers that tackle the hill at speed, but cylindrical goggles will do just fine for beginner to intermediate skiers and those on a budget. Notably, the Anon Relapse has interchangeable lenses with a number of packages to choose from and is OTG (over the glasses) compatible. Ventilation is solidly middle of the pack but you get three-layer foam around the face for comfort. We love the simple yet stylish design, bang for your buck, and reasonable size that doesn’t protrude as much as some other brands. 
See the Anon Relapse

 

13. Smith Scope ($70)

Smith Scope ski gogglesLens shape: Cylindrical
Frame size: Medium
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: A great starter goggle.
What we don't: Entry-level optics and durability.

We all don’t need $200 ski goggles, or even $100 ski goggles for that matter, and most of us remember getting started with something cheap. For beginners and those who tend to lose or break goggles faster than they wear out, the Smith Scope is our favorite budget option. A flexible urethane frame conforms well to just about any face and the Scope is fully helmet compatible. The dual, ventilated lens will keep fog clear most of the time and is mirrored with a tint that is good for most conditions. If you plan on skiing all day every day, the single-layer foam will wear out faster than the options above, although it’s much softer than the truly entry-level Bolle Mojo below. For weekend warriors who need a pair of inexpensive goggles for occasional trips to the mountain, the Smith Scope is your ticket.
See the Smith Scope

 

14. Bolle Mojo ($25)

Bolle Mojo ski gogglesLens shape: Cylindrical
Frame size: Medium/large
Number of lenses included: 1
What we like: Cheap.
What we don’t: Everything about them is cheap.

Bolle’s Mojo is the kind of cheapo goggle that’s perfect for a first-time skier or to keep in your bag as a backup. We should know—our tester hit the ski shop for the Mojo at Washington’s Crystal Mountain after accidentally leaving his regular goggles at home. These goggles are very basic with a thick frame, small field of vision, and dull visibility. They aren’t all that comfortable either, and the straps have to stretch to fit over a bulky helmet. But we’re talking about a $25 goggle here, and all of that is to be expected. For someone that skis frequently but still is on a tight budget, we recommend springing for the slightly more expensive Smith Scope above—they are more comfortable and have a much better lens. If you’re eyeing the Mojo, however, we have one piece of advice: buy them ahead of time to avoid the markup at the resort.
See the Bolle Mojo

 

Ski Goggle Comparison Table

Goggle Price Shape Style Size Lenses OTG
Smith I/O ChromaPop $210 Spherical Frameless Medium 2 Yes (I/O X)
Oakley Flight Deck Prizm $170-$210 Spherical Frameless Large 1 Yes
Dragon X2 $220-$270 Spherical Frameless Large 2 No
Smith I/O 7 ChromaPop $230 Spherical Frameless Medium 2 No
Oakley Airbrake Prizm $190-$280 Spherical Framed Medium/large 2 No
Anon M3 MFI $265-$275 Cylindrical Framed Large 2 Yes
Giro Contact $240 Spherical Frameless Medium/large 2 No
POC Fovea $150-$160 Spherical Framed Medium 1 No
Giro Balance $130 Spherical Framed Small/medium 1 No
Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan $160 Cylindrical Framed Large 1 Yes
Dragon NFX2 $180-$200 Cylindrical Framed Medium 2 No
Anon Relapse $120-$130 Cylindrical Framed Medium/large 2 Yes
Smith Scope $70 Cylindrical Framed Medium 1 No
Bolle Mojo $25 Cylindrical Framed Medium/large 1 No

 

Ski Goggle Buying Advice 

 

Lens Shapes: Spherical vs. Cylindrical

Most entry-level ski goggles are cylindrical, meaning they curve across your face horizontally but are flat vertically. This shape is easier and cheaper to manufacture but often results in less peripheral vision, minor distortion at the top and bottom of the lens, and more glare. The primary reason to opt for a cylindrical lens is cost, but their low profile shape sometimes is a better fit for someone with a flatter face. One cylindrical lens goggle that bucks the trend is the pricey Anon M3. Its large, high-end cylindrical lens is competitive in field of view and clarity with top options from Smith, Dragon, and Oakley.
Ski Goggle Lineup

Once you clear $100, the majority of ski goggles are spherical in shape, meaning the lens curves both horizontally and vertically for superior field of vision and optics. The curve is intended to mimic the shape of your eyeball to give a natural view. In use, we’ve found this to be largely true, although a high-end cylindrical lens can still give a spherical lens a good run for its money. Spherical lenses do give the goggle a taller profile with its bubble-like lens, and while it’s a matter of personal preference, we like the look when it’s paired with a helmet.
 

Optical Quality: ChromaPop and Prizm

Advancements in quick-change technology are exciting, but we prioritize optical quality above all else. It’s the reason we rank the Smith I/O at the top of our list even if it takes a little longer to swap from a low light to bright light lens. Smith’s new ChromaPop is that good. It’s the best we’ve used for richness of color and contrast and definitely worth the extra $30 over the standard I/O lens.

The ChromaPop surely is not alone in high quality optics. Oakley’s premium competitor is their Prizm lens and it does a great job in making details stand out, although it’s a little less HD-like than the ChromaPop. Giro and POC have turned to Zeiss, a proven camera lens manufacturer for their lenses, and we’ve been impressed with the clarity for a mid-range goggle on anything from the POC Fovea to all-new Giro Balance. Anon and Dragon keep their lens development in-house and offer competitive detailing, although they too fall a little short of the truly impressive ChromaPop.
Ski Goggle (mountain)

Mirrored, Polarized, and Photochromic Lenses

Moving beyond families of lenses like Prizm or ChromaPop, there are specific lens technologies designed for harsh or variable conditions. For bright, sunny days, mirrored lenses work really well. The lens has a reflective coating on the outermost layer that softens the glare by allowing less light to enter. You’ll find mirrored lens options across the board designed for use in the brightest conditions.

Polarized lenses were originally designed for use on the water, but they also reduce eye fatigue on a bright day by blocking strong bursts of horizontal light. The technology doesn’t translate perfectly to snow when you may want to see the glare of an icy patch, and their biggest downside is cost—a single replacement polarized lens for the Smith I/O costs $115, which is $20 more than a ChromaPop option.

The final technology is photochromic lenses, which adjust automatically to lighting conditions based on the intensity of light. This gives them a very wide VLT range (more on that below) and they are great if you don’t want to have to swap lenses. We prefer bringing two lenses, however, which allows us to better match a lens to the conditions, rather than trying to get an all-in-one solution. And it’s pretty clear based on the market that the momentum is behind quick-change systems. Photochromic lenses for snow goggles are increasingly rare and that technology mostly is saved for sunglasses.
 

Visible Light Transmission (VLT) and Lens Color

VLT is the amount of light, measured from 0% to 100%, that is allowed to pass through a lens. In the brightest sun, you may want a lens with as little as 10% VLT. For night skiing, a “clear” goggle is around 90% VLT. There is some variation between manufacturers, but lenses generally are 15-40% VLT for bright to normal conditions, and 40-70% VLT for cloudy and snowy days. Other factors matter like polarization and lens color, but these are the general parameters. 

You’ll often see a product page for a popular snow goggle showing a huge range of lens color options. The choice comes down to 1) VLT; and 2) Your tint preference (i.e., how you want to see the ski world around you). At the low end of the VLT spectrum are blacks, grays, and blues, which are designed to block out the most light and therefore are the darkest. Toward the middle for partly cloudy days are purples, reds, and greens, which, as you can imagine, color how the snow and mountains look significantly. For overcast and gray days, you’ll find lenses that are much clearer than the first two categories and come in very light shades of yellow and blue. For a cool way to see how certain lens colors and VLTs look on the slopes, check out Anon’s Lens Visualizer.
 

Interchangeable Lenses

Nearly every goggle made has the option to change out the lenses, although the difficulty varies by manufacturer. The traditional process involved pulling (and sometimes tearing) the frame away from the old lens and sliding in the new one. Frameless lenses like Smith I/O series have become popular over the last few years, and a big emphasis has been placed on the ease of swapping out a lens.
Dragon Quick Lens Change

The leader in this technology is Anon. They utilize a magnetic system on their M-series goggles, which allows you to pull the lens away from the frame and snap a new lens into place without taking the goggles off your head. It’s amazingly simple (we’ve timed ourselves swapping out a lens in just 5 seconds) and the powerful magnets do a great job of keeping the lenses from falling out in a crash. Giro has a similar design, although you’re required to push a button along the top of the goggle to release the lens, which we’ve found is slightly less convenient. Our least favorite quick change designs are the Smith I/O models and Oakley Airbrake. Having to fit the lens into small slats at the nose bridge is a pain and adds time to the process. That being said, we can still get both swapped out in just over a minute.

Interchangeable lenses are fantastic: they give you arguably more flexibility than photochromic lenses as long as you are willing to carry an extra lens in your pack or keep in your locker. Many gear sites sell interchangeable goggles with two lenses: one for sun and the other for cloudier conditions. You can really hone in your lens choices based on your location, and then easily swap out a low-VLT lens for a high-VLT lens or vice versa depending on the day and time of day.  
Giro's magnetic interchange system

Field of View

With the growth of large-frame goggles came a noticeable jump in field of view (also referred to as “field of vision”). Wide and tall lenses and thin or rimless frame designs don’t impede your view, enhancing peripheral vision and avoiding the tunnel-like feeling that was inherent with older goggles. More visibility makes for a safer day on the mountain, so we’re completely on board with this trend. Premium goggles offer the best fields of view, and a large-size frame like the Oakley Flight Deck Prizm is almost as good as not wearing a goggle at all. For smaller faces, Giro’s Expansion View technology (found on the Giro Balance) does a nice job of retaining good visibility with a low profile design and spherical lens.
 

Ventilation and Fogging 

If your goggles are all fogged up, it doesn’t really matter what kind of lenses you are using. To start, make sure you choose a double lens. These are much less prone to fogging up than a cheap single lens. Ventilation comes from the sides, top, and bottom of snow goggles, and the more air that moves through, the less fogging will occur. The specific size and shape of the vents is goggle-specific, so make sure to inspect the pair that you are considering. If possible, try it on while wearing your ski helmet to ensure the latter doesn’t block your venting. Other tips to avoid fogging include not overdressing (this will cause your face and head to sweat more) and keeping your goggles on as much as possible during your ski day. Moving goggles to your forehead will cause the heat and moisture emanating there to fog up.  

The majority of ski goggles have an anti-fog coating on the inside of the lenses. It’s important to avoid continuously wiping fog off the inside of your goggles as this can eventually degrade the treatment. If you need to wipe them clean, make sure to use the included soft-sided carry case included with your goggles, because that material won’t scratch the lens. Air-drying is the best solution or you can bring an extra pair of goggles in your pack if you need them in a hurry. For those with persistent fogging issues, Smith has the Knowledge Turbo Fan with small electric fans to help keep you fog free. Most skiers don't need to go to such extreme lengths, but the technology is there for those who want it.  
 

Going Frameless

Frameless or rimless goggles ditch the plastic around the edges of the lens on a traditional goggle, giving them a distinctive, oversized look. The most common argument in support of these designs is their improved field of vision. And a frameless goggle like the Oakley Flight Deck admittedly does have expansive views. However, the majority of the credit should be given to its large spherical lens and low profile design. Frameless goggles also can make it easier to remove the lenses, although again, the more important factor is its interchange technology. For example, the difference between the frameless Anon M2 and framed Anon M3 is basically nil—with the M3, the extra effort required is a slight twist to expose a corner of the lens from the frame. In the end, the disparities in performance between a framed and non-framed goggle are pretty negligible. Just pick the style you like best. 
Frame vs. Frameless

Foam Padding and Comfort

As with many types of outdoor gear like ski helmets and backpacks, the quality of padding differs significantly on ski goggles and gets markedly better the more you spend. On basic models, the padding is simple single-layer foam that isn’t as comfortable around your face as pricier models and won’t fit as snug. It also will retain more smell and break down quicker. When the price tag gets to the $100 to $200 price range, you’ll find multi-layered foams that are impressively contoured to the shape of the face. If you only plan on skiing a few weekends each year, going with a cheaper ski goggle is a perfectly rational choice. But those who spend a lot of time on the slopes will appreciate the comfort and fit of a higher-end goggle with superior padding.  
Ski goggle foam comparison

Fit and Sizing 

Sizing is one of the most important—and sometimes confusing—parts of the goggle buying process. First and foremost, ski goggles come in three general sizes: small, medium and large. You will find some women’s-specific models in more “feminine” colorways and with a slightly narrower frame, but goggles really are a unisex piece of gear. 

When trying on a goggle, you want the fit to be snug but not tight enough to cause discomfort. Additionally, pay attention to your field of vision. A goggle that is too small will impact your vision side-to-side. Common pressure points are the nose and around the eyes, which can be relieved by making adjustments either with the sliding clip or buckle system around back. If the goggle still feels tight after loosening, it’s time to move up in size. As we cover below, trying goggles on with your ski helmet (or at least a similar ski helmet in the store) will give you the most accurate picture of how everything will feel on the mountain.
 

OTG (Over the Glasses) Goggles

We have good news for wearers of prescription glasses: there are a number of over the glasses (OTG) goggles on the market. OTG goggles are defined by the large opening between the lens and face to fit a pair of average-sized spectacles. The extra volume also creates enough space for air to flow to keep both your eyeglasses and the goggle lenses free from fog. Smith, Giro, Bolle, and others have models that are specifically designated as OTG (it’s often called out right in their name), but a number of large-framed goggles work just as well. From our list, the Oakley Flight Deck, Anon M3, Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan, Anon Relapse, and the large Smith I/O X work well with most eyeglasses. If you’re in doubt about how a how a specific model might fit, it’s best to head to your local retailer and try on the goggles over your glasses. Better yet, bring your ski helmet too and test out the whole set-up.
 

Helmet Compatibility

Finding a suitable helmet to pair with your ski goggles that doesn’t result in the dreaded gaper gap (a large opening between the goggle and helmet) or worse, doesn’t fit at all, used to be a challenge. Nowadays, most helmets and goggles work pretty well together.
Helmet compatibility

One exception is tall, large-framed goggles like the Anon M3 or Dragon X2. Those require a helmet with an accommodating brim, such as the Giro Range MIPS. Overall, we’ve found that premium helmets are the most compatible with a wide range of goggle sizes, but keep an eye out for features like a baseball hat-like bill that could interfere with the goggles. The large, angled brim on the Bern Watts is one of the worst offenders and limits its compatibility to mostly medium-sized goggles. And if you’re somehow still not wearing a helmet, it’s time to change that: check out our article on the best ski helmets. 

Skiing 2015-2016

Ski Gear Reviews

If your ski gear is even a few years old, there’s new technology out there that will help make good days on the snow even better. There are important considerations when making a purchase...
Ski Helmet

Best Ski Helmets of 2016-2017

No matter your ability level, picking up a ski helmet for skiing or snowboarding is a no-brainer. If you’ve been putting off replacing a helmet that’s years old or are new to the sport, recent advancements have made them lighter and even safer...
Ski Gloves

Best Ski Gloves of 2016-2017

Monday, August 24, 2015
Nothing can kill a great ski day like cold fingers, so make sure to choose a quality glove that fits the type of skiing you do most. The options range from gauntlet-style synthetic nylon gloves to undercuff leather gloves from powerhouses...
Ski Jackets

Best Ski Jackets of 2016-2017

From cold to snow to wind to sweat, choosing a ski jacket is all about managing the conditions that you might encounter on the mountain. The right ski jacket for you depends on the specific kinds of skiing you enjoy most—skinning up a sunny ridgeline...
All-Mountain Skis

Best All-Mountain Skis of 2016-2017

If you're searching for that elusive one-ski quiver, this is the category to find it. The definition of “all-mountain” varies by manufacturer and retailer, but generally includes skis from 85mm to 105mm...
Ski pants

Best Ski Pants of 2016-2017

Ski pants are a critical barrier between you and the elements, and there’s a pair to fit every type of skier and budget. Recreational skiers, especially in drier places like Colorado or Utah, can get away with less waterproofing technology...
Arc'teryx Alpha SV hardshell jacket

Review: Arc'teryx Alpha SV

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets, and long has been a go-to option for protection from harsh weather. For the 2016-2017 season, they’ve updated their bomber Alpha SV with sturdier Gore-Tex, an innovative new zipper design, and...
Ski Boots 2016-2017

Best Downhill Ski Boots of 2016-2017

No matter your ability level, a comfortable boot is an absolute necessity. Nothing ruins a good powder day faster than cold or painful feet, and ill-fitting boots also run the risk of not properly transferring energy...
Ski Bindings

Best Ski Bindings of 2016-2017

Bindings are often the last piece of ski gear you choose, but remain a very important one. As the connection between boot and ski, they play a fundamental role in power transfer, responsiveness and safety. We’ve separated the best bindings of 2016...