Snowboard Goggle Buying & Fit Guide
Snowboard goggles are a critical piece of snowboard equipment that provide comfort and safety on the mountain. If you can't see, you can't shred. All goggles will provide fundamental protection from wind, snow and UV rays, however, there are many other characteristics and features to take into consideration when choosing a new pair of snowboard goggles. This guide will quickly explain everything you need to know to buy the best pair of goggles for you.
Here's what we’ll cover:
- Snowboard Goggle Lens Shape
- Snowboard Goggle Frame Size
- Snowboard Goggle Lens Swap Types
- Snowboard Goggles Lens Color & Tint Guide
- Snowboard Goggle Care
There are two lens shapes when it comes to choosing a new pair of snowboard goggles, cylindrical and spherical.
Cylindrical Snowboard Goggles
Cylindrical lenses curve horizontally from ear-to-ear but remain flat vertically from the nose-to-forehead. The flat profile of these lenses can result in more glare and reduced peripheral vision compared to spherical lenses. Cylindrical lenses provide good performance at a lower price point and are a good choice for those looking for a more low profile, traditional goggle.
Spherical Snowboard Goggles
Spherical lenses curve both vertically and horizontally across the face. These lenses provide better peripheral vision as well as less optical distortion and lens glare. The larger the lens the better peripheral vision you will have. The added optical performance found in spherical lens goggles typically means a larger price tag. It can also mean a larger, higher-profile goggle shape.
Google frames come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and lens swapping options, but all serve to provide two main functions: hold your lens in place and keep your face as comfortable as possible while keeping moisture out.
When it comes to choosing a goggle frame, it is important to note that all goggles will fit differently from brand to brand. Your head size and face shape are two factors that should be taken into consideration before selecting a new pair of goggles. Wearing goggles with a frame that is too small can result in uncomfortable pressure points on your nose and face, while wearing goggles that are too large can result in having more of the goggle frame visible in your field of vision resulting in inadequate fit and functionality.
Small Frame Goggles
Small framed goggles are designed to fit youth, as well as adults with smaller faces.
Medium Frame Goggles
Medium framed goggles will fit most men and women while not feeling overly bulky on the face. They can also be a good choice if you intend to ride with a helmet as their size will allow your helmet to seat properly on your head without getting in the way.
Large Frame Goggles
Large framed goggles provide a wider field of vision with increased peripheral vision for better self-awareness while out on the mountain. They can also be a solid option for riders with larger heads but may not work for small faces and those using a helmet.
Over the Glasses Goggles (OTG)
Goggles that feature OTG or Over The Glasses construction allow users to continue wearing their eyeglasses under their goggles. These types of goggles feature deeper frames to allow prescription eyeglasses to fit beneath them with no discomfort or pressure points. These goggles are a great option for people who prefer glasses over contacts when riding or that do not want to shell out for expensive prescription goggle lenses.
Changing out your goggle lens can be the difference between a day in the lodge and a day out ripping powder. Whether to accommodate changing light conditions or to dry out your lens after a yard sale, being able to easily swap out your lens is a must to keeps the good times rolling.
The task of removing and replacing a lens can sometimes seem like rocket science depending on your goggles lens-to-frame interface. Most goggles can be found in the Standard lens swap category while more advanced designs feature Quick Change lens and come with higher price tags and more on-hill convenience.
Fixed Goggle Lens
Fixed lens goggles utilize a single lens that is permanent and not removable. This type of design can be found in youth and the most budget-friendly models.
Standard Goggle Lens Swap
Most goggles on the market fall under the Standard lens swap category. These goggles can vary in price but all feature lenses that are fully removable. This allows for lenses of various VLT ratings and tints to be swapped in when needed. It is important to make note that removing lenses can be tricky and take some practice. If you are looking for goggles with fast, fool proof lens changing technologies, we recommend checking out our Quick Change category.
Quick Change Goggle Lens Swap
Featuring advanced lens-to-frame technologies, goggles featuring quick-change lenses allow users on-the-fly control and the ability to quickly swap out for the most suitable lens for current conditions. This is great when conditions change in a flash while out on the mountain. Quick Change technologies require minimum effort and will come with a typically higher price tag. Trust us, the added functionality is well worth it.
Weather conditions and visibility on the mountain can change drastically day-to-day and even hour-by-hour. There is nothing worse than having your vision impaired when trying to enjoy your time on the mountain. One moment it's sunny and the next it can be a total whiteout. Having lenses that optimize your vision across a range of different conditions means you can keep shredding when others are headed for the lodge or car.
Lenses come in a variety of colors and tints, all of which carry their own unique Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating. VLT rates how much light a lens allows to pass through and is scaled 0-100%. Goggles and lenses with VLT ratings closer to 0% will block out more light, while lenses closer to 100% will allow more light to pass through for better visibility in low light conditions. Often times, lenses come with versatile VLT ratings which fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum allowing them to provide good visibility in a variety of conditions.
Lighting Conditions by VLT Rating
Sunny/Bright Light: 0-20% VLT
Sunny/Bright lenses provide the best protection from harmful UV rays and are ideal for riding full sun conditions. These types of lenses typically feature darker tints and colors and often have a mirrored reflection on the lens surface.
Cloudy/Variable Light: 21-54% VLT
Cloudy/Variable light lenses provide the widest range of UV protection and visibility of the three lens categories. These lenses feature VLT ratings that cover the middle of the spectrum and make them a great option if you need one lens to perform well in all conditions. Often lenses in this category will feature advanced technology like Smith's Chromapop or Dragon's Lumelens technologies which offer improved visibility throughout a range of lighting conditions.
Night/Low Light: 55-100% VLT
Night/Low light lenses provide the best visibility in conditions with minimal natural light. These lenses feature higher VLT ratings which make dark conditions and surroundings appear brighter with increased clarity for better overall visibility and depth perception. Amber, yellow and clear lenses are a few colors classified within this category for their high performance and increased visibility in dark conditions.
- Never lay the lens of your goggles down on a hard surface. Lenses are fragile and can often scratch easily. Protect your investment and lay them either foam or strap down.
- Never wipe or clean your goggle lens with anything other than a supplied goggle bag, or an eyeglass approved microfiber cloth.
- Store goggles in the supplied goggle bag to ensure the lens stays scratch free when stored away.
- Do not dry or leave your goggles in high heat areas such as a boot dry or on the dash of your car. Heat can cause the lens to become physically distorted and no longer functional.
- Always completely dry out your goggles before storing them or using them another day. Storing wet goggles will likely lead to significant fogging on their next use.
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