For our annual list of the best ski goggles in 2017, we only chose goggles with a high optical quality, interchangeable lens systems for maximum usability. Helmet compatible straps and high quality, layered foam for all day face comfort were also critical deciding factors.
As a result, our #1 pick is the Smith IO 7 goggle which boast large spherical lenses, easy lens interchange, and a highly adjustable strap compatible with most helmets. To that end, Smith offers tons of lens and color options for this particular goggle including a photochromic option, which automatically adjusts to the brightness of the sun. Also, did we mention that Smith offers a lifetime craftsmanship warranty?
Best Ski Goggles 2018
How We Choose
In the five years of teaching skiing full time, I’ve figured out how to separates the okay goggles from the legendary ones, and how to avoid some of the most common mistakes in goggle buying.
How do we choose the best of the best? We’re looking for goggles with advanced spherical lenses, that offer great peripheral views, UV protection, and stylish color options. Our choices must be helmet compatible too, as more and more skiers wise up to the benefits of protecting their heads. We’re also only including lenses with interchangeable lens systems – an important factor for swapping lenses on bright or cloudy days.
All of the goggles we have chosen are offered by recognized manufacturers in ski industry with proven track record, and we’ve avoided budget and up-and-coming brands to bring you only the most refined ski goggles available today.
Why You Should Buy New Ski Goggles
Goggles have evolved greatly over the last handful of years to meet two main needs. First, skiers are demanding more flashy colors and styles, and second, skiers are almost universally wearing helmets today which older goggles cannot fit over anymore.
Helmet use is on the rise, and we really expect to soon see every skier wearing a helmet. This means old goggles with small straps are out. You need a goggle with enough adjustability to be worn with or without a helmet and that’s exactly what we’ve chosen here. Our goggles feature highly adjustable headbands and wider attachment points at the goggle to accommodate that new helmet.
While fashion may not be the most critical upgrade factor, flashy new lenses do offer a few real upgrades over older lenses. First, newer goggles and lenses are beginning to incorporate wide lenses with a greater peripheral view. This helps with safety, allowing you to see more of what (and who) is around you at all times. Second, these newer lenses are using reflective coated technology to help shed harmful UV light before it reaches your eyes. Because crisp visibility and wide viewing angles are an important part of skiing at your best level and avoiding potential dangers, we feel there’s a strong case to be made for an upgrade.
Your goggles may be the unsung hero of your skiing gear. Without a good goggle you’ll be left skiing in poor, flat lighting which makes skiing difficult and unsafe. Choosing the right goggle and lens combo will revolutionize the way you see the snow you’re skiing…literally.
Smith IO 7
Price: $160 | Style: Interchange | Included Lenses: 2
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Refined simple design with large spherical lens for perfect viewing.
Designed around a “less is more” concept, these interchangeable goggles come with two lenses (on most models). You can swap out your lenses with one simple turn of the release lever, and lock the new ones back in within seconds. All around the best ski goggle we have reviewed on our list.
Triple layer foam on the IO 7 surrounds your face with moisture wicking synthetic fibers for a dry, cool fit all day, no matter how hard you’re hucking it. One of many reasons this goggle earns our top rating is for the almost limitless variations available. Buy your goggles in one of more than a dozen frame and strap colors, and you can buy just about any color reflective lens to match your style. Highly customizable, reliable, and crystal clear viewing make the Smith IO 7 our editor’s pick for best ski goggle this season.
Read: Best Ski Boots
Quick release strap and silicone bands around the entire strap help to make sure that once the goggles are on, they won’t be coming back off easily. Wide pivot strap hinges are designed with helmets in mind and we know this goggle will perform like a dream with your favorite helmet. I recommend the photochromic lens – it adjusts the darkness of the lenses automatically based on the brightness of the day. Sunny day? You lens will automatically become darker. Cloudy day? You lens will lighten up for better viewing and safer skiing!
Price: $99 | Style: Interchange | Included Lenses: 2
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: At a lower price tag this great wide lens goggle is compatible with glasses (OTG)!
I’ve been rocking the Smith IOX goggles for years since they first hit the market and I can say that with over 300 days in these goggles, they don’t back down and never fog up.
The Smith IOX are also one of the best ski goggles for wearing over the glasses (OTG). Roomy, comfortable, and featuring a cutout on the sides for your glasses to sit gently on your temples without being smashed by the goggle. Without a doubt, the IOX goggles earn the best OTG goggle pick on our list.
Changing lenses on these goggles isn’t as easy as the newer IO 7 goggles, but it’s still quite simple. The quick release strap is durable and reliable, fitting any helmet with ease and style. Our main concern is that the IOX goggle offers slightly less peripheral view compared to the IO 7’s. These are great, reliable goggles with all the performance of the IO 7’s at a fraction of the price.
Oakley Flight Deck
Price: $174 | Style: Interchange | Included Lenses: 1
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Massive lens will keep you looking like the best skier on the mountain (even taking diggers on the bunny hill).
Oakley has been making solidly-built optics for years, and ski goggles are no exception. The Oakley Flight Deck ski goggles are based around an oversize spherical lens and a low profile look. The may not be not as slick as Maverick’s gold rimmed aviators from that 1986 classic, but it’s as close as you’re going to get without an F-14. Without a doubt, the best ski goggles for style and fashion.
The included lenses are designed to be 100% protective to UV light for prolonged high altitude exposure to sunlight. We all know how bright a cloudless day can be on fresh snow pack at 12,000 feet – keep yourself protected! Our only real complaint is the high price and single lens included with the goggle.
Dragon Alliance X2
Price: $129 | Style: Interchange| Included Lenses: 2
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Thin frame design makes the lens view unobstructed and completely immersive for great skiing.
If you’re looking for a serious goggle with a lens view that won’t compromise, then the X2 is for you! Dragon Alliance created this goggle around a frame-less design, which maximizes real estate and minimizes any obstruction of view.
For their reasonable price it seems Dragon Alliance has been able to create an awesome goggle at a killer budget price. Don’t forget the goggles come with two lenses right out of the box. We think this is a great deal at a great price.
Dragon Alliance has really been the sole maker of “frameless” goggles up until recently. You can be assured these goggles make a statement and won’t be mistaken on the hill. While gaining popularity, they’re still much less common than the Oakley and Smith goggles. Dragon Alliance X2’s earn best frame-less goggle design.
POC Lobe Goggle
Price: $77 | Style: Interchange | Included Lenses: 1
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Economy based pricing with a wide lens view and great fitment.
If you’re in the market for a great wide lens goggle with helmet compatibility at a reasonable price, then the POC Lobe might be just the ticket. Unfortunately the interchange system is a little clunky compared to other goggles on our list but the lower price might just make up for it.
Relatively narrow outriggers for the goggle straps mean you may have a tight fit over larger helmets, but the strap its self is plenty adjustable to meet your needs with or without a helmet. Unfortunately lenses will cost as much or more than a whole new set of these goggles, so choose your color options wisely when purchasing.
These goggles stand out on the hill with a unique, simple aesthetic that’s recognizable from a distance. With uniform color throughout the goggle, the POC Lobes earn the best ski goggle choice for the skier looking to match colors. They look great with a sleek, matching color helmet too!
Key Factors and Features of a Good Ski Goggle
- View: Never compromise on view. One part of having great clarity and contrast through a goggle is a high visibility lens for overcast days. I highly recommend an interchangeable lens system for this reason. Spend the extra money on a good pair of wide view goggles too, and your skiing will improve dramatically.
- Price: Price is a big deal to many skiers. A new pair of skis and boots are expensive, so it can be tempting to try and save a little money on the goggles, but don’t do it! Investing in good goggles is critical to avoid fogging, clarity issues, and low light contrast issues. It’s scary trying to ski moguls in low light with a foggy lens. Avoid that by investing in a good goggle system.
- Helmet Fit: Most goggles these days are designed to be worn with a helmet. Wide hinge points for strap attachment and silicone bands on the strap help keep everything in place. Make sure your goggles and straps are wide enough to fit around your helmet – all of our recommendations are!
- Lens Types: Buying a goggle with a wide assortment of available lenses is a huge bonus. On super dark and snowy days a clear (or near clear) lens is great to improve visibility. For bright bluebird skiing a reflective lens helps protect your eyes from solar radiation, and also gives a good increase to your overall “radness” level in style.
- Included Lenses: If you’re spending good money on a new goggle system, look for one that includes more than one lens with your purchase. The Smith IO7 goggles we reviewed, for example, usually come with two lenses – a dark and a light lens to accommodate different weather patterns throughout the day.
Mistakes to Avoid
Going Too Big: With the big goggle trend at an all time high, some skiers may buy the coolest goggles only to find out they’re actually too big to fit with their helmet. Yeah, that’s a thing. Check reviews to make sure the goggles you’re ordering aren’t too big to fit your riding setup.
Skimping on Price: Many skiers will say their skis or ski boots are the most important piece of gear. I would urge you to think differently – your goggles are the most important piece of gear. Without a good, crisp image to see while you’re skiing, it’s impossible to avoid dangers and injury. Fog, flat lighting, and overly dark lenses are all common issues. Spend the extra dough on your goggles – you’ll be happy you did.
Which Ski Goggle is Right For Me
With so many options on the market, we’ve narrowed it down to reputable brands with goggles that outperform and are feature rich. We recommend you stick with high quality ski goggles to get the most out of your day on the mountain.
Glasses can be difficult to wear when skiing so if you’re looking for an over the glasses (OTG) goggle solution, go with our #2 pick, the Smith IOX goggle. Interchange lenses, high performance, and OTG fitment make this goggle a clear winner. If you want only the best all-around goggle system today, we recommend the Smith IO 7’s with quick interchange lenses, triple layer foam for all day comfort, and many choices of advanced lens technology. We also think they beat the competition with helmet compatibility and adjustability.
For the newest and sleekest frameless goggle look on the mountain, it’s tough to top the Dragon Alliance X2’s upgraded from previous models. Huge lenses, tons of color options, and reworked design make them a total winner. Ultimately all of the ski goggles we’ve chosen have a place on the mountain, and all that’s left for you to do is choose a goggle based on your needs and budget.