Best Ski and Best Snowboarding Goggles for 2016-2017
It’s important for every Snowboarder to find the right pair of the best Snowboarding Goggles available to them. While some say people wear goggles to look cool (and trust us, they do!) they are super important to have on you when you’re riding to shield your eyes from the elements; high wind, an over-bright sun, or deep powder. It may seem like it’s the last thing you need on the mountain, but not being able to see due to Mother Nature’s changing whims can often ruin a pleasant snowboarding experience. Don’t get stuck on the mountain unprepared!
Below you will find our staff’s current Top 10 Best Ski and Best Snowboarding Goggles for 2016-17. Much like our Top 10 Best Headlamps for 2016-2017, we reviewed all these goggles with comfort, durability, construction quality and design in mind. These are some of the best Goggles out there, and anytime something better comes along, we will definitely update this list with the latest and greatest snowboarding goggles. Choosing the perfect pair of goggles can be a little overwhelming. But this Top 10 Best Ski and Snowboarding Goggles list is here to help you find the best set of goggles for your needs. Enjoy, and of course. . .safe riding!
Our Top Rated Goggles
Magnets. How do they work? The Burton Anon M2 Pollard Pro make swapping a new lens like magic. There are no notches or levers, just 16 rare-earth magnets in the carrier liner that provides 8 points of contact. It takes just the right amount of finger pressure to release the lens from these stylish frames. And it takes about two seconds to replace them securely as each magnet has the pull force of 2.75 lbs that helps keep the lens perfectly aligned. These goggles are engineered to adapt to all face shapes and sizes and distributes pressure evenly across the face for the best possible comfort and fit with a triple layer of face foam that utilizes moisture-wicking fleece to seal out the elements.
Yet, the one drawback to these, is if you take a pretty serious tumble riding Park, you may lose the lens pretty quickly. The Magnets are strong, but not strong enough to survive you ‘tomahawking’ down the mountain.
The medium-sized Giro Compass is designed to fit with all Giro helmets, such as any of the Giro Helmets found in our Top 10 Snowboarding Helmets for 2016-2017. These goggles come equipped with a Spherical Lens from ZEISS – a global leader in photography and optical technology that mimics the form a human eye to provide superior optics. The unique frame design also allows for unparalleled peripheral vision with a strengthened combination of 3 distinct foam layers that provides an excellent amount of comfort and support around the eyes. If you already have a Giro Ledge Snow Helmet, the Giro Compass will act as a perfect companion piece of equipment.
Oakley makes a damn fine pair of sunglasses. So of course they can make a damn fine pair of Snowboarding Goggles. The Oakley Flight Deck Prizm is inspired by the helmet visors of fighter pilots. This gives these pair of goggles a massive range of peripheral vision with optimal clarity.
But the real story here is the Prizm lens. First, they eliminate the visually useless colors from the spectrum that your eyes are sensitive to, or “bad light”. Second, they optimize “good light”, the colors your eyes see to help see detail. And third, Prizm lenses maximizes contrast in the snow to enhance visibility through a variety of conditions. This in turn reduces the need to switch lenses as often as you would with other goggles.
The Powderheadz.com team thinks that this one of the best snowboarding goggles out there.
This pair of goggles is not too hot and not too cold, they’re just right. The Smith I/O 7 is the improved middle choice in the stellar Smith I/O series (Smith I/Os, Smith I/O or Smith I/O7, and Smith I/OX) designed to fit medium to large sized faces. The lens is super easy to swap out with just a lift and twist of a single metal lever.
Equally important is the dual axis outrigger system – the arms that join up the frame with the strap. The strap is able to pivot both horizontally and vertically relative to the frame. This provides an improved fit over or under your helmet.
And the best part? For people like us who somehow destroy their lenses by the end of the season, the Smith I/O 7 comes with a replacement pair. Depending on which type you choose, it comes with either a bright light or low light performance mirror lens.
Want to make snowboarding in real life feel more like a video game? Then grab Heads-up Display enabled Z3 GPS Live. These goggles are the Rolls Royce of Snowboarding. With Recon SNOW2 Hardware, you’ll have live updates of your speed, elevation, and location as well as Bluetooth connectivity to your friends and music through your phone.
The Polarized Automatic lens is also handcrafted in Japan, giving it superior optical clarity and tint-changing technology. Basically, it means that you’ll never need to carry a spare lens for Snowboarding or any other extreme sport such as Mountain Biking or Skydiving. Careful, though. The Zeal Optics Z3 GPS Live can convince you to go harder and faster than you would normally go. Check out our full review here.
If you’re ever undecided about how a goggle should fit on your face, a pair of Scott Linx Snowboarding Goggles is perfect for those who are a little bit finicky. The Scott Linx Goggles are equipped with the Scott FIT system. The system allows adjustment of the lower face flange with 4mm range of motion in 4 directions, allowing the user to create the perfect goggle fit and seal.
Also, these goggles have more great things going for it. Especially how it handles ventilation and fogging. Ventilation is handled by including air intake vents on the goggle lens and outtake vents on the bottom of the goggle. It also comes with Integrated RAM Air – a patented frame ventilation system that directs airflow in a controlled top to bottom direction which prevents swirling air and reduces fogging.
Fogging is also controlled through 3 layers of foam that rests comfortably on the face. The first two layers provide moisture-wicking properties to help keep you dry. Additionally, the third layer (made of a plush flock material) helps seal the goggles comfortably on your face.
The only cylindrical lenses on this list, the Dragon Alliance NFX2 features a clean, almost frameless design that offers a decent amount of visibility. The NFX2’s also come with the Dragon’s brand ‘Swiftlock’ feature, which allows the user to flick the levers on each side of the frames to quickly switch between lenses (around 20 to choose from). This keeps the lenses extremely secure so you never have to worry about them popping out.
And each lens is backed by Super AntiFog technology and 100% UV Protection. The Dragon Alliance NFX2 is a great pair of goggles that marries a classic cylindrical design with a modern, frame-less aesthetic.
The ultimate example of a Frameless, Spherical goggle, the Electric California EG3 is an evolution from the previous but still popular Electric California EG2.
These pair of goggles are a perfect marriage of style and substance, especially with the lens. The dual spherical polycarbonate creates a sealed environment with a one-way pressure valve and has an anti-fog coating on the lens that makes fogging almost impossible. It also has an additional hard coating on the exterior of the lens to help keep scratches from forming.
The lens is also very easy to replace with a rubber channel forming around the whole frame that lines up perfectly with the ridge encircling the back of the lens. Swapping out the lens is pretty quick, too. You can just grab and pull the lens away from the frame and then press a new lens into place.
Similar to its cousin the Dragon Alliance NFX2, the Dragon Alliance X2 is the Spherical Lens version that shares all the stellar features that the NFX2 offers. Both have a flexible yet durable frame for all temperatures. They both also have the ‘Swiftlock‘ feature which allows you to swap lenses without ever having to take the pair of goggles off your head or helmet. Perfect on those extremely cold days where you don’t want to take your gloves off.
And you won’t realize how awesome this feature is until you actually do it. After that, you’ll never want to go back. And the best part? It comes with 3 lenses.
Electric EG2 Goggles are considered the standard bearers of the over-sized goggle that offers an unparalleled field of view. With a pair of these on, you can see EVERYTHING. The Dual spherical polycarbonate lens make fogging less likely and the directional valve between the two releases the pressure in the air pocket between the two.
Another important feature is that the frame is made with a very flexible thermoplastic urethane, meaning that it will survive the bumps associated with riding hard or being clumsy without breaking. And the flexibility allows the Electric EG2 Goggles to fit almost any helmet, so you won’t be left stranded with the choice of whether to protect your head or your eyes. The answer is always both!
This is our current Top 10 Best Ski Goggles and Best Snowboarding Goggles of the 2016-17 Season. However, there are tons more of snowboarding goggles out there and we will be updating this list often with the most current information. Think we missed a pair of Ski Goggles or there’s one that deserves a spot on the Top 10 Best Snowboarding Goggles List? Let us know! E-mail us at info (at) powderheadz.com. Need more tips? Look below for a thorough guide on how to determine which pair of goggles is right for you. As always, happy riding!
How-To: Buy Goggles
Goggles are one of the most important pieces of equipment a Snowboarder can buy. Any Snowboarder can tell you that not being able to see can ruin your day faster than a really cold or wet day. All the best snowboarding goggles will offer some protection from the elements, but beyond that, there are some key features to consider:
Goggles Lens’ come in two shapes, Cylindrical and Spherical:
Cylindrical Lenses curve horizontally across the face. Cylindrical Snowboarding Goggles are usually cheaper and are adequate, but the general flatness of the lenses can slightly reduce peripheral vision and cause more glare.
Spherical Lenses curve across your face both horizontally and vertically. Spherical Snowboarding Goggles are generally more expensive but they give better peripheral vision (larger lenses will give better lines of sight), less distortion, and less glare.
Lens Color / Tint:
Snowboarding Goggle Lenses are often measured by VLT (Visible Light Transmission); it’s the amount of light that can pass through the lens (ranging from 0% to 100%). Lens Color is an important feature that serves to filter light differently and offers advantages in certain weather and/or light conditions. There are dozens of lens colors to choose from that vary from brand to brand, but lenses can be broken up into a few categories:
Lighter – Lighter Colors such as Pink, Yellow, Amber, all have a higher VLT (60% – 90%) and make excellent choices for low-light, foggy, or snowy days.
Mid-Range – Mid-Range Colors such as Gold, Green, Rose, and Red (30% – 60%) perform well in both conditions and are great choices if you experience changing light conditions throughout the day.
Darker – Darker Colors such as Dark Brown, Black, Grey, or Mirrored have lower VLT (5% – 30%) and excel on sunny/bluebird days because they let less light in.
Clear – These lenses have no colors on them and are best used for Night Skiing.
Nearly all high-quality goggles have some form of venting to prevent fogging; this happens when warm air from your body meets the cold air from outside. To prevent fogging, Goggles will have some combination of double-layered lenses, anti-fog coatings, and/or vents. Be sure to compare your goggle shape with your helmet to prevent the vents from being blocked.
Double-layered lens – Found on nearly all Snowboarding goggles because they do not fog as quickly as single-layered lenses. If you’ve ever looked through an airplane window, you get the idea.
Anti-fog coating – Many high-end goggle lenses have special coating to help prevent fogging. You can also apply anti-fog products such as Zooke Z-Wax defogger to low-end and older snowboard goggles to help prevent fogging.
Vents – Usually placed in the top, bottom, and sides of the front of the goggle frames, vents help control fogging at the expense of a lower temperature, especially in frigid climates. Most goggles will have frames that can open / close vents according to the person’s preference.
Frame and Fit:
Goggles frames come in the usual sizes of small, medium, and large. Some manufacturers will also have OTG (Over The Glasses) Style frames that are designed to be worn over your glasses. These types of goggles have the space to fit glasses while avoiding pressure on your face from the nose piece and temples.
Many adults will often choose medium-sized goggles while children will choose small-sized goggles. However, before you purchase your goggles its best to compare them with the helmet you plan on using. Most goggles will also have an adjustable strap with a single sliding clip or an open/close buckle with sliding clips on the side.
Also keep in mind the type and amount of foam padding on the back of the goggles. The foam should be thick enough to cushion your face but not too thick that fogging occurs.
Interchangeability – Ideally, you want to find a pair of goggles that will allow you to replace the lenses. If you plan on going for a long trip or know there will be variable conditions on the mountain you’ll be riding, you’ll want the option to swap out your lenses instead of bringing to pairs of goggles.
UV protection – Nearly all goggles offer 100% UV Protection from all 3 types (UVA, UVB, and UVC).
Photochromic lenses – Usually found on the most expensive goggles, Photochromic Lenses change their tint level based on conditions and/or UV intensity. Sunny means a darker lens while snowing or overcast days means a lighter lens.
Mirrored lenses – These lenses reflect light and allows between 10 to 50% less light in than non mirrored lenses.
Digital Display – Found on the most expensive goggles such as the Zeal Z3 Live GPS Goggle, a digital display is often Bluetooth-enabled that provides Smartphone feedback within the goggles in real-time.
This is our current Top 10 Best Ski Goggles and Best Snowboarding Goggles of the 2016-17 Season. However, there are tons more of Snowboard goggles out there and we will be updating this list often with the most current information. Think we missed a pair of Ski Goggles or there’s one that deserves a spot on the Top 10 Best Snowboarding Goggles List? Let us know! E-mail us at info (at) powderheadz.com. As always, happy riding!