Why not just wear sunglasses?
You can, but you also need goggles.
- Sunglasses work well in sun - but not so much in snow, wind and cloud conditions
- They also don’t stop snow getting in your eyes and are more likely to get flung off and damaged in a fall so many people (snowboarders especially) prefer goggles
What to look for?
At a bare minimum any google must have
- 100% UV protection
- Double lens (like double glazing in a house helps stop inside steaming up)
- Size / shape appropriate to your face e.g Womens / Childrens fit.
- Most manufacturers have multiple style and size options. Best way is to try a few pairs on in a shop
Helmet compatibility (assuming you wear one)
- Fits without a ‘punter gap’ showing your forehead off
- Strap with silicone on it to stop it sliding off your helmet (unless you wear straps under your helmet)
- One bright light, one low light (low light yellow/rose tint goggles are better than none or clear as they help bring out contrast on those days when everything just looks white - but none of them use radar, sometimes you just can’t see much!)
- Some people have 2 sets of goggles (or sunnys for nice days and low light set of goggles) but that’s more to carry and faff with.
- Quick change lenses are preferable (either catch or magnetic)
That way if a day looks changeable you can carry the spare lens with you for quick changeover.
- Cheapest decent set with two lens comes in about £80 (but you can find some bargains, but remember a bargain does not just mean cheap!)
- You can spend hundreds though - especially if you start looking at premium brands like Oakley and/or polarized & chromatic lens.
- Be wary of brands popping up that are little more than plastering a logo onto a very cheap set of goggles from Alibaba (site for Chinese contract manufacturers). Some are OK. Some are definitely not.
- Established manufacturers include Oakley, Smith, Dragon, ANON, Julbo, Bolle, Bloc, Bern, Summit, Sun God and others.
If you wear glasses
If you can wear contact lenses this is by far the best solution - if so see the tips above.
If not then you’ve got two choices :-
Over The Glasses (OTG)
Goggles that can fit over the top of most glasses. Its essential that you try them for fit before you go away. You will still likely get problems with fogging on your specs with big temperature changes like going indoors so keep your goggles on your face!
Some high end ones have a tiny fan built in to help stop your specs misting up, anti-fog spray for your specs can also help (the google lens will already have this on).
Lenses that clip into the goggle. Can be more comfortable that OTG and more robust (as there are no arms running outside the goggles and getting squeezed by the frame and strap).
However, they are more expensive and if you’re really blind you may need to take a pair of specs with you for when you’re not wearing your goggles (like nipping inside for a pee) - that’s another thing to carry, loose, fall on and break.
Taking care of them
- Keep them on your face not on your head which is hot and sweaty!
- Keep in bag when not in use - hanging off the back of a chair in the bar they will take more of a hammering than your wallet or liver!
- Keep the bag the right way out so dirt stays on outside.
- Clean with the INSIDE of the bag - that’s the clean side!
- Dry out overnight (outside bag and maybe take lens out/off)
- Don’t rub the inside when wet as this will rub the anti-fog coating off. Instead dab or use a hand-drier (carefully!)
Ellis Brigham - Ski Gogles Buying Guide
Snow and Rock - How to buy Goggles
YouTube - Whitelines - How to choose your goggles
Maverix Snow - Top Tips to avoid goggle issues
See the other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)