Which snowboard goggles are best?
Just like a helmet, gloves or winter jacket, snowboard goggles are an essential piece of safety equipment. While they look great, the main function of snowboard goggles is to protect your face and skin from the elements while preserving, and in some cases, increasing your visibility. Looking straight ahead when it’s snowing is hard enough, let alone doing it when you’re travelling with no protection at high speed.
If you’re in the market for a pair of high-end ski goggles with all the latest technology, check out the Smith Optics 4D Mag snowboard goggles.
What to know before you buy snowboard goggles
There are two types of lenses available: cylindrical and spherical. Cylindrical lenses curve left-to-right and are ideal for anyone on a budget. Spherical lenses, although more expensive, curve horizontally and vertically, which increases your field of vision while also decreasing glare.
Frame size and fit
Generally, larger frames are seen as better since they increase peripheral vision, but many people don’t like the look of larger frames. If your face or head are slightly smaller or narrower than average, large frames won’t be the best option. A general rule of thumb is that medium goggle frames are suitable for most men and women who want a larger goggle.
Lens tint and visible light transmission
Snowboard goggles have tinted lenses, and the level of tint refers to the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens. Lenses with a category 0 tint let in 80%-100% of light, and are great for extremely low-light conditions. Category 2 lenses have a VLT of 18%-15%, and are ideal for bright days. Category 4 lenses, which are the darkest, have a VLT of 3%-7% and are generally reserved for higher altitude snowboarding, where light reflection is stronger.
What to look for in quality snowboard goggles
Field of vision
Quality snowboard goggles will have a wide field of vision without necessarily having a bug-eyed lens shape. By modifying frame design, industry leaders such as Smith Optics have managed to create snowboard goggles with stunningly wide peripheral vision while retaining normal lens dimensions.
Good snowboard goggles allow you to switch lenses as quickly as the weather changes. Mountains can be formidable, and having the ability to quickly swap out your lenses can be the difference between an enjoyable descent and one riddled with anxiety about running into someone or something.
Premium lens technology
Quality goggles at all budgets should offer anti-fog coatings. If you’re shopping for higher-end goggles, be on the lookout for added features such as polarization, patented clarity enhancements such as Oakley’s PRISM technology and anti-scratch coatings.
How much you can expect to spend on snowboard goggles
While you can get quality snowboard goggles for $40, premium goggles with advanced technology from well-known brands can cost upward of $150.
Snowboard goggles FAQ
Should you wear your goggles on or under your helmet?
A. Many boarders sacrifice mobility and choose to wear their goggles below their helmets because it can provide a tighter face-fit. Strapping them onto your helmet allows you to easily remove them for a fog-break, although they may not mold to your facial structure as well.
How many lenses do you need?
A. The number of lenses you need depends on the amount you snowboard and the variability of the conditions where you do it. If you are not a frequent snowboarder and avoid adverse weather, you likely won’t need more than one all-purpose lens. On the other hand, if you plan on hitting the slopes on big mountains you should always have a low-light lens handy.
What’s the best pair of snowboard goggles to buy?
Top snowboard goggles
What you need to know: This complete kit from Smith Optics features their flagship snowboard goggle, as well as all the premium accessories you need.
What you’ll love: Featuring its patented Chromapop technology, which filters specific wavelengths of light to increase color contrast and reduce visual muddying, as well as convenient magnetic lens-changing technology, the 4D Mag is fit for a pro. To top it all off, this kit includes both a bright and low-light lens, an attachable and retractable microfiber cloth for on-the-slopes cleaning, a universal helmet helper and hard-shell carrying case.
What you should consider: With a price tag of over $300, these goggles are quite expensive.
Top snowboard goggles for the money
What you need to know: These goggles offer durable construction and high-end visibility features for an incredibly low price.
What you’ll love: The Retrospec G1 snowboard goggles have a flexible yet sturdy thermoplastic construction, as well as anti-slip silicone reinforcements to keep them snug to your head with or without a helmet. The G1 snowboard goggles have both anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings.
What you should consider: Although these goggles have a thick, dual-layer foam pad, some wearers still found them too uncomfortable for all-day wear.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The Flight Deck goggles provide premium technology in an easy-to-use package for users of all levels.
What you’ll love: Boasting PRISM, Oakley’s proprietary lens technology, the Flight Deck goggles increase color contrast and reduce glare to provide maximum visibility in an array of light conditions. The Flight Deck goggles also feature an extra-wide frame and lens, which ensures that there will be no pesky gaps between your helmet and goggles for air to sneak in. As expected, they’re also packed with all of Oakley’s innovative anti-fog, anti-scratch and polarization technology.
What you should consider: Although these aren’t the most expensive goggles on the list, the price tag is still steep compared to non-brand name options.
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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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