What are the best goggles for skiing?
The best brands to look for when buying new ski goggles are Smith, Oakley, Anon & Dragon. These brands are widely regarded as producing top of the range ski goggles, and make some of the best ski goggles on the market. For the high end ski goggles, you can expect a very hefty price tag also.
Ski goggles are one of the essential items for a skiing holiday. Ski goggles are one of the things you cannot do without. As a general rule, the more money you choose to spend on ski goggles (they go all the way up to $250 in price!), the better the goggles will be and the more technical the goggles become. Each ski goggle brand offers their own specifically developed technology to compete with each other and provide the most optimised experience to prevent glare from the sun, prevent steam building up inside the goggles & even to improve visibility in low light conditions.
What ski goggle brands are there?
There are a large variety of ski goggle brands to choose from, some much better than others. The most popular, and in my opinion the best quality ski goggle brands are Smith, Oakley, Anon & Dragon. Ask any skier and they will have a preference for one over the other and will swear by a brand. It really does come down to personal preference and what you are looking for, as they all offer slightly different technologies.
The good thing about the top brands is that they don’t just create top of the range extortionately price ski goggles, they create a range of different models at different price points, so if you don’t feel you need to spend lots of money to get the most recent technology and the best there is, you can still buy excellent quality ski goggles for a more reasonable price.
Below is a review of some of the best ski goggles on the market, and a little bit about what makes each of the different ski googles unique and superior.
Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop
When you are buying ski goggles from a company that specialises in optics, you can rest assured you are purchasing a good quality piece of equipment. Smith have been making eyewear and optical gear for almost 60 years, so if there is a brand whose products, design & technology you should get excited about, its Smith.
The Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop is first and foremost a pair of ski goggles with magnetic lenses. Yes, it may sound a little odd and not very practical, but this has become the most popular design for top end ski goggles in the last few years. The lens is held in by small magnets around the rim of the lenses, and it is worth noting that I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the lens stayed in even after a huge wipe out I had! Smith have struck this balance perfectly in my opinion, by making the lens easy enough to take off for replacing the lens depending on the conditions in the mountains, while making sure the magnets are strong enough that the lenses don’t fall out on their own accord.
On that note, the high-end ski goggles made by Smith will always come with 2 lenses, and the Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop is no exception to that. All the I/O series of ski goggles come with 2 lenses, each suitable for different mountain conditions. There are a variety of different lenses available to pick from so if you are interested in purchasing Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, make sure you double check which lenses the pair you are buying comes with! Have a look at this review of the different Smith ski goggle lenses available. There are lenses available for cloudy conditions, sunny conditions & something in between. Smith have even produced a photochromatic lens which adjusts how much light can pass through based on the conditions you in.
You will notice in the top corner of Smith goggle lenses there is a little rubber dot. This is a very nifty addition to the goggles which helps to adjust the air pressure inside the goggles to prevents the lenses from steaming up. Extremely useful!
If you are interested in finding out more about Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, or are considering purchasing them, have a look at Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop full review.
Oakley Flight Path XL Factory Pilot
With Oakley’s stylish design of the Flight Path XL Factory Pilot, you don’t need to worry about losing any of your peripheral vision, or your sweet style on the slopes. With some of the fanciest looking ski goggles on the market and some of the largest lenses on the market too, Oakley ski goggles offer some of the largest views and best peripheral vision there is as far as ski goggles go. This is especially useful if you need that extra vision for skiing fast or for landing jumps of the big kickers, and that extra mm or 2 of vision makes all the difference. Oakley Flight Path XL Factory Pilot achieve just this with an extra wide lens.
Oakley prides themselves in their fantastic Prizm technology found in the top-end ski goggles designed by Oakley. The purpose of this Prizm technology is to emphasise contrast in colours and depths for the skiers vision. Using Oakley’s intricately designed lens changing featured called Switchlock technology, you can switch out your lenses with ease. As with the Smith goggles, Oakley Flight Path XL Factory Pilot comes with a spare lens as well to make sure you are prepared for any conditions the mountain may throw at you.
If you are interested in finding out more about Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, or are considering purchasing them, have a look at Oakley Flight Path XL Factory Pilot full review.
The X2 ski goggles by Dragon is another model of goggles which delivers on the exceptionally wide lens and great peripheral vision attribute. Another excellent feature of the Dragon X2 ski goggles is the easy mechanism for changing lenses. Called the Swiftlock system, the Dragon goggles have little levers on either side of the lens which can easily be flicked up to remove the lens. This means there is no faffing around trying to fit the lens between little pieces of plastic to hold the lens. The lens changing system had been made a lot smoother! Although there is no denying that Dragon as a ski goggle brand does not have the same reputation or status as the likes of Oakley or Smith, this doesn’t mean the goggle they produce are not top notch and certainly worth considering. Dragon have created their own technology similarly to Chromapop for Smith or Prizm for Oakley, which they call Lumalens. This is an excellent technology for clarifying and amplifying colours and definition through the goggle lens.
If you have a slightly smaller face or would prefer a smaller frame for your goggles, there is the option of the Dragon X2s which contains all the same excellent features as the Dragon X2, but just fits slightly smaller. As with all top of the range ski goggles, the X2 & X2s comes with 2 lenses to suit differing conditions on the mountains.
If you are interested in finding out more about Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, or are considering purchasing them, have a look at Dragon X2 full review.
Oakley Flight Deck XM
Also offering a wide field of view and a spherical lens the Oakley Flight Deck XM is another fantastically made pair of goggles that makes it into my top ski goggle list. With a rimless design (rimless ski goggles really are the thing to have in recent ski seasons) and Prizm technology, these goggles, though not the best goggles I have ever worn or tested out, certainly come close to the top of the pile. The Prizm technology is designed to give you as much clarification on the snow as possible, as well as making the colours stand out as much as possible. While I would say there are other technologies available in ski goggles which are better than Prizm, such as Chromapop found in Smith ski goggles. Im not going to say there was a huge amount in it, and there may be other skiers who prefer the Prizm technology for colour clarification and distinction, but personally I found the Chromapop technology just to be one step above the rest.
With all goggles that contain a double lens system, there is always a risk of steam and moisture building up between the lenses. If you keep you ski goggle in damp places or don’t air them out properly in the evening after a day of skiing, you are going to suffer from a build-up of moisture on the lenses when the temperature drops outside. I found this especially apparent with the Oakley Flight Deck XM goggles. All im saying is that you need to take special note of this and make sure you take the correct steps to prevent moisture build up in your goggles, and you will maximise the potential of these ski goggles.
If you are interested in finding out more about Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, or are considering purchasing them, have a look at Oakley Flight Deck XM full review.
Anon M4 Toric MFI
The Anon M4 Toric MFI is the first ski goggle produced by Anon which features a Toric lens rather than the more typical cylindrical lens found on the majority of Anon ski goggles. This has a number of advantages over cylindrical lenses, to improve vision on the slopes by mimicking the curve of your eye for greater clarity, and to make your skiing experience that bit easier. If you do however prefer to stick with what you know and enjoy using the cylindrical lenses, Anon offers this option with the Anon M4 Toric MFI, so you can take your pick of which two types of lenses – Toric or cylindrical you would like. As with each of the other ski goggle brands, Anon has its own high tech optical technology included in its lenses, in Anons case this is called SONAR by Zeiss lenses. With a magnetic design for lens switching, which makes changing out your lenses for different conditions on the mountains extremely easy and fast.
If you are interested in finding out more about Smith I/O Mag ChromaPop ski goggles, or are considering purchasing them, have a look at Anon M4 Toric MFI full review.