In this guide we’ll look at the best ski goggles for the money.
We’ve compared comfort, lens quality, ventilation and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best Ski Goggles For The Money?
More Detailed Season Ski Goggles Reviews
Smith Optics I/OX Ski Goggles Review
When it comes to Smith Optics, there’s no denying that they should top the list for the best ski goggles. Smith have a wide variety of ski goggles available, so why did we pick the I/OX model? Because not only was it the pioneering goggle when it came to interchangeable lenses, they’re fitted with Chromapop technology and are fairly affordable compared to other ski goggles of a similar caliber.
Despite being the first of their kind for interchangeable lenses however, they no longer offer the quickest lens change due to the introduction of magnetic technologies meaning lens changes now literally take seconds for other brands. We hope to see Smith launch some magnetic lenses soon!
The goggle is a medium size but we found that it tends to fit people more comfortably who have larger faces and noses. The foam padding and level of flexibility in the frame helped to provide comfort for those with a more prominent bridge but if you find it’s a little uncomfortable, a great alternative is the Smith Squad.
Oakley Flight Deck Prizm Ski Googles Review
When it comes to the optics, the Oakley Flight Deck with Prizm technology is up there with the best.
The Prizm technology gives the wearer excellent contrast meaning that you won’t get caught off guard even on the whitest of days when you can barely see in front of you. In my opinion Oakley have the best low-light ski goggles on the market right now, with some of their lenses letting in up to 90% light with immaculate contrast capabilities.
For these goggles to work the best we recommend having an “all-rounder” style lens, such as the Jade or Sapphire Iridium, along with the storm lens which is called Hi-Prizm Pink.
The frame is spherical in shape and the goggles are available in Asian fit too. A highlight of the design is the rimless lens. Not only does this provide true panoramic views of the mountain, with minimal blind spots; the design is modern, fashionable and the lack of rim means you won’t have a huge gap between your helmet and goggle; a bit of a fashion faux pas in the skiing world.
The goggle is classed as large frame and is suitable for both men and women with plenty of comfort around the nose.
Though you may be able to grab yourself a deal and get them at a similar price of some Smith Chromapop goggles, the Oakley goggles didn’t snag the top spot on our list as they don’t come with a spare lens and the extras can be a little pricey.
Dragon Alliance X2 Ski Goggles Review
The Dragon X2 are the goggles that are likely going to cost you the most from this list. Nevertheless, they do make up for it as the goggles come with 2 lenses and a whole host of features.
The lens change isn’t magnetic, but it’s far easier than other non-magnetic versions that made it into this top 5 list. They have Swift lock technology which allows a quick and secure lens change in about 30 seconds.
A minor downside is that the field of view isn’t as great as what you may get on other large lens goggles such as Flight Deck or Anon, this is due to the padding it seems to have around the sides and the nose. However, this does make for a comfortable fit, thus making it a very popular choice on the mountain.
Wildhorn Outfitters Roca Ski Goggles Review
With their extremely appealing price point and stylish design, it was a no brainer putting the Wildhorn Roca’s on our top 5 list. They were designed by a company made up of skiers based in the Wasatch range of Utah, so it’s safe to say these guys are accustomed to the types of conditions you’ll be facing on the mountain.
The goggles feature a large rimless lens with an easy interchangeable lens feature and the anti-fog technology is said to make it one of the best anti-fog goggles in its price range. However, because of this, some of our users felt the ventilation was a little too much, especially on colder days.
What was very impressive about the Rocas was the comfort level and field of view. They have managed to get the perfect balance of padding without giving you tunnel vision on the slopes.
One slight pitfall to the product is that the elastic on the strap can become stretched out easily, however, this is easily solved by tightening it, it takes seconds and has a minimal impact on your day at the slopes.
Overall, this is a good choice for those skiers who are on a budget and just getting started on the mountain. Our best option for cheap ski goggles 100%!
Zionor Lagopus Ski Goggles Review
The team at Zionor have managed to put together a very aesthetically pleasing ski goggle that somewhat resembles the Flight Deck but for a fraction of the cost. Their extra-long strap ensures compatibility with most helmet sizes and they have a great comfort rating and field of view on the mountain.
The best part about the Zionor Lagopus is the magnetic lens change which will literally take you a couple of seconds. Replacement lenses are affordable and come in a range of options to suit all weather conditions.
Our testers said that the ventilation was good and the antifog held up. A great goggle for bargain hunters and newbies on the slope!
Ski Goggles Buying Guide
Ski goggles play a huge role in your on-mountain experience. If you’re a beginner, initially the price of some brands could put you off. However, once you get to know how the goggles work and even after you demo a few of them, you’ll soon see the prices are justified.
Good goggles are invaluable to your skiing experience, there are few worse things than being unable to see the slope correctly. Whether it’s hot and sunny, total whiteout or mixed conditions you need a goggle and lenses that can adapt well to the mountain to ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the slopes.
Here’s what we look out for in a good pair of ski goggles:
The optical quality of your lens if of paramount importance. Generally, regardless of cost, the standard of quality amongst lenses is fairly high. Several factors pertaining to the goggle will also have an impact on the overall optical quality, let’s take a look at these below:
Lenses come in all different shapes and sizes and it’s important that you choose something that fits you well. But it’s not all about appearance! The shape of the lens can affect how you see the mountain. There are three main types of lenses out there; cylindrical, spherical and toric. If you’re looking for a cheap lens, it’s likely you’ll be browsing a lot of cylindrical designs as they’re pretty cheap for companies to make. Though you may find you’ll get a fair bit of glare from such designs and you won’t be able to see as much as you would with a spherical lens.
Spherical lenses are common on high end brands such as Oakley and Smith Optics they curve both vertically and horizontally, just like your eye, so you get a much wider field of view and clearer vision with less glare.
Toric lenses give you all the visual benefits of a spherical lens but they aren’t so “in your face”. Many spherical lenses are quite round and stick out like a bubble. Toric lenses however, perform just as well as spherical lenses so this one is purely an aesthetic decision to consider.
The color of your lens is more than just aesthetic. The color is usually associated with how much light they let in; also known as the visible light transmission (VLT).
You’re likely to see a lot of rose, yellow and pale pink lenses on a stormy day. These are the ones that tend to let in more light, some skiers may even opt for completely clear lenses. Other shades such as blues and greens tend to be for bright sun or sun and cloud kind of days. When picking your goggles, it’s important to check that they have a wide variety of lens colors available to cover the different levels of light you’ll encounter on the mountain.
It’s important to check the VLT before purchasing to make sure you have the right lens for what you’ll be skiing in. Typically, lenses for bright sunny days have a VLT of around 5-7%, variable lenses for sunshine and clouds is around 12-17% and some ski goggles go as high as 81% for low light days.
Speaking of light, the quality of your lens and goggles will be put to the test on a low light day. Some manufacturers have invented their own lens technology which helps to increase the contrast in such environments. Think Prizm technology in Oakley and Chromapop in Smith goggles. They pick up even the slightest lumps and bumps in the snow so you can control your skis much better.
Mirrored, polarized and photochromic lenses
Having a polarized lens is essential for the slopes. They filter the vertical light which helps reduce glare, this can be particularly helpful on a very sunny day or if you’re night skiing and there’re huge floodlights on the runs.
Mirrored lenses are ideal for sunny days as they reflect the sun back out meaning that there’s less glare.
Photochromic lenses are the holy grail, they adapt to the varying shifts in brightness and UV transmission meaning that you won’t need to change your lenses if it the light conditions change suddenly. This year, Oakley released a photochromic lens as part of their Prizm collection.
Interchangeable lenses have become a bit of a necessity nowadays unless you are using photochromatic lenses. Even then, having that extra storm lens for a whiteout day is extremely convenient.
Having lenses that change quickly and easily will save you a lot of stress, especially if you’re heading to multiple resorts with varying conditions. Magnetic lenses are the easiest to change, they literally just snap on and snap off.
Some goggles don’t have the capacity to change lenses without sending them back to the manufacturer. Avoid these if you can. It’s a time-consuming endeavor and unnecessary when there’re so many interchangeable lens options out there.
Ventilation and Fogging
Purchasing goggles that don’t have the correct ventilation and antifog properties can be a costly mistake.
Fogging happens due to improper ventilation meaning the heat from your face makes the glasses steam up. Make sure the goggles you purchase have plenty of vents and don’t block them with your helmet. You can also air the goggles out when riding the chairlift.
It’s also important that after purchasing and removing the protective sleeve from the interior that you don’t touch the inside of the goggle as this can affect the antifog and render your goggles useless.
Comfort is a topic that’s difficult to rate, because we all have various face shapes and sizes. What one person may find comfortable the next person won’t. When assessing comfort levels, we recommend taking into account your face shape, the size of your nose and the lens and frame shape of the goggle. Even if you plan on purchasing goggles online, it’s good practice to try on a few different styles the next time you’re at a resort. Some bigger brands such as Smith and Oakley even have their reps attend on-mountain events where you can demo them and see what works best for you.
The foam padding is intended to provide an extra layer of comfort and insulation in your goggles. Look for padding that sits well with the curvature of the goggle and your face for the most optimal fit.
Fit and sizing
The fit and size of your goggle will make all the difference on the mountain. You need to ensure that they sit comfortably and fairly tight so that no snow gets in, but not to the point where they’re cutting off circulation and leaving goggle shaped marks perfectly around your face.
Purchasing goggles that are adjustable are great, make sure there’s room for them to go around the outside of your helmet too!
A major factor when trying to find the right ski goggles is how they rest on your nose and sinuses. When I was shopping for goggles, I was constantly battling between needing a small fit due to the size of my face but having something that was a little wider on my nose. I found the Oakley Fall Line was a great compromise between the two, though the lens is definitely large.
Field of view
The field of view makes a world of difference when you are skiing. If you don’t have great peripheral vision it’s hard to see who’s passing by you on the mountain. Frameless ski goggles are great for opening up your field of view as you’re not tunneled out by a large rim.
Over the Glasses (OTG) goggles are exactly that. They’re designed to fit over the top of your regular glasses so that you can see clearly on the mountain. Unsurprisingly, many goggles already come with this feature without you even realizing. The best OTG ski goggles are the likes of the Flight Deck by Oakley, because they’re quite bulbous. However, most goggles with a spherical lens will suffice.
Having goggles that fit well with your helmet insures correct ventilation as well as comfort. It can also help you to avoid injury if you fall on to your face. Make sure that there isn’t a gap between your helmet and goggles and that your vents aren’t blocked up.
Many goggle brands manufacture helmets too and they design their helmets to fit with their own ski goggles so if you’re in doubt, match your brands for a great fit!
We hoped you found this guide useful in helping you buy ski goggles, whether you’re a beginner or expert, there are a lot of factors out there to consider when finding what the best ski goggles are for you.
Remember, the key features you shouldn’t compromise on are: interchangeable lens capability, correct comfort and fit, and appropriate ventilation so that the goggle performs as intended. If your main concern is cost, the best budget ski goggle for you is going to be the Zionor Lagopus. But if you’re looking for a solid brand, great price and excellent features our favorite ski goggle has to be the Smith Optics I/OX.
If you’ve seen a particular pair of goggles not on this list that you’re interested in purchasing, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to review them and help you find a pair of goggles that you love.