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- Best Overall: Smith Optics I/OX at Amazon "The technology filters two specific wavelengths of light to avoid color confusion."
- Best Value: Zeal Optics Level at Amazon "The large-format goggles provide some of the best peripheral vision on the market."
- Best for All Conditions: Spy Ace EC at Amazon "Includes 100-percent U/V protection, and anti-fog-injected duel-lenses with anti-scratch protection."
- Best Fit: Bolle Explorer OTG at Amazon "The Explorer OTG comes with full U/V protection and a premium anti-fog layer."
- Best Clarity at Any Elevation: Shred Amazify Bigshow at Amazon "Uses a semi-permeable valve that equalizes the pressure between the dual-lens chamber and the atmospheric conditions outside."
- Best for Women: Oakley Airbrake XL at Amazon "The lens tints include Black, Snow Torch, Sapphire, and Jade."
- Best Retro Flair: Giro Balance at Amazon "The over-the-glasses friendly goggles come with a full-frame design which features a triple-layer of face foam."
- Best Field of Vision: Atomic Count 360 Degree Stereo at Atomic "Lab testing proved that the goggle's anti-fog properties will withstand clouding for more than 240 seconds."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Smith Optics I/OX
Smith Optics introduced their Chroma Pop lens technology a few seasons back, and the goggles (and sunglasses) quickly became the go-to option for serious skiers and riders. The technology filters two specific wavelengths of light — the overlaps between green and red light, and green and blue light — to avoid color confusion. The result? Clarity and detail beyond normal capabilities, which provides greater definition and more natural color. But the I/OX doesn’t just have ChormaPop. These are the Cadillacs of Smith’s goggle line, with an extra-large spherical lens for solid peripheral vision and room enough to accommodate a pair of eyeglasses.
The Smith Optics I/OX utilizes “5X” anti-fogging to keep things perpetually clear, with three-layer DriWix face foam for day-long comfort. A patented “Porex” filter prevents distortion during elevation changes — and it works wonderfully. The helmet-compatible goggles come with bright- and low-light performance lenses right out of the box, and the quick-release change system makes it easy to swap them out on the slopes. Choose from nine different colorways, from the sleek Blackout model to the Tallboy, which boasts a green mirrored bright-light lens and a fun retro Smith graphic on the wide strap.
Best Value: Zeal Optics Level
The metal mirror lenses on the Zeal Optics Level goggles utilize a rose base tint to boost contrast and reduce glare, providing 100-percent U/V protection and “Everclear” anti-fog technology. The large-format goggles provide some of the best peripheral vision on the market, and they sit on a comfy triple-layer of foam that’s stacked enough let you wear a trim pair of eyeglasses without worry. The Level goggles also look fantastic, with an impact-resistant frame wrapping around the face of the goggles, and color options that include the very striking-yet-subdued Made Denim blue to the screaming Foxfire, which includes a bold orange/red frame and a wild patchwork pattern on the strap. What you don’t get at this often-discounted price, however, is the ability to swap out lenses.
Best for All Conditions: Spy Ace EC
If you love to layer on the tech and don’t want to deal with juggling multiple lenses while on the mountain, the Spy Ace EC delivers one-goggle-fits-all simplicity. It utilizes a revolutionary electrochromatic feature that lets you cycle through three different tints with the press of a button on the right side of the goggle strap, shifting from bright to partly cloudy to stormy. The control unit runs on a Lithium-ion battery, insulated for six hours of reliable use in the coldest of conditions, with a recharge time of a reasonable two hours. An LED light indicates the charge level, and the unit vibrates whenever the lens tint changes.
The Ace EC also delivers other must-have goggle features, including 100-percent U/V protection, anti-fog-injected duel-lenses with anti-scratch protection, and a triple-layer face foam with moisture-wicking fleece. As with all goggles on this list, the Ace EC works with most helmets — but if you wear a larger pair of eyeglasses, things might get a bit crowded.
Best Fit: Bolle Explorer OTG
Skeptics may note the $30 retail price of the Explorer OTG goggles and question if that low cost reflects a lack of technologies. While yes, these goggles may not have some of the bells and whistles found in the higher-end goggles on this list, Bolle does know what they’re doing. The Explorer OTG comes with full U/V protection and a premium anti-fog layer on the inner lens of the dual-lens architecture, while the outer has been treated with a high-performance anti-scratch protective armor for seasons of reliable, clear-eyed use. Unlike any other goggle on this round-up, they’re also specifically designed to pair with almost all models of prescription glasses (OTG stands for over-the-glasses), with a super-wide fit and plenty of room between your face and the lenses. Tint options include citrus, vermillion, and vermillion gun (the latter is best suited for most conditions) as well as six frame colors.
Best Clarity at Any Elevation: Shred Amazify Bigshow
As any skier or snowboarder will tell you, conditions at the base seldom match conditions at the bottom, a variant that can easily fog out sub-par goggles. Shred— a relative new-comer founded by pro skier Ted Ligety — developed a proprietary solution to the issue of elevation change by using a semi-permeable valve that equalizes the pressure between the dual-lens chamber and the atmospheric conditions outside, with a hydrophobic vent foam and anti-fog treatments to make fogging out practically impossible.
The Amazify Bigshow's architecture also delivers 360-degree peripheral vision, with a cylindrical-style design that matches the natural curve of your face. Larger notches than most goggles make swapping out lenses pretty painless, while their contrast-boosting lens tech provides better visibility in a variety of snow surfaces and light conditions. All that at a price point that’s about $100 less than some comparable models.
Best for Women: Oakley Airbrake XL
Not only do you get a pair of goggles with a super-wide lens for optimal peripheral vision, but the Airbrake XLs are roomy enough to accommodate a pair of eyeglasses without any strain on your face. As you’d expect from Oakley — one of the pioneers in lens technology — you get some serious vision enhancement thanks to the Prizm Snow Lenses, which control light transmission by tweaking the colors to display everything with max contrast. The lens tints include Black, Snow Torch, Sapphire, and Jade, and their online guide will help you find the right one for the conditions you ski or ride most — you get two lenses out of the box, and can always opt for more; the switch lock feature makes it easy to swap them out on the fly.
Best Retro Flair: Giro Balance
If you want to benefit from all the latest/greatest in goggle technology, wear your eyeglasses underneath them, and give an aesthetic nod to the rich heritage of the sport, go for the Giro Balance — specifically the '60s-styled, midnight/red throwback model. That said, even if you want a more modern look, all variations of the Balance deliver.
The over-the-glasses friendly goggles come with a full-frame design which features a triple-layer of face foam that lets the lens rest comfortably on your face. You get anti-fog coating, naturally, as well as a wicking micro-fleece facing and seamless compatibility with all Giro helmets (as well as other leading brands). Optical clarity is remarkable thanks to the ZEISS Toric VIVID lens, which uses a silver mirror treatment to enhance contrast while limiting color peaks that can distort, trigger eye fatigue, and slow reaction time due to sun glare. The polycarbonate lens tint options are almost overwhelming, with a variety of tints for days that proffer full sun, mixed clouds, overcast or storm conditions, or night skiing. Each one filters out 100 percent of harmful U/V, with durable coatings to fight off fog and scratches. The only potential drawback is that you can’t swap out different lenses, though users report enthusiastically that they still work well, especially in flat light.
Best Field of Vision: Atomic Count 360 Degree Stereo
Unlike other models on this list, which utilize a thin layer of foam between the inner and outer lens, the Count 360 Degree Stereo’s “Spherical Fusion Double Lens” construction allowed Atomic to laminate the two lenses together, which increases the field of vision by 20 percent and fights off refractions, reflections, and fogging commonly to other two-lens models. Pair that with “HD” tech, which uses crystals in the lens to create incredible visibility in all light conditions, and you should be able to see everything as you race down the slopes or navigate through the glades during a heavy storm.
Lab testing proved that the goggle's anti-fog properties will withstand clouding for more than 240 seconds (compared to their former standard of only 30 seconds). One caveat for those with thicker glass frames, however: the ultra-thin frame is constructed to sit closer to your face than other goggles, which amps your peripheral vision but might prove to be too crowded for some acetate eyeglass-wearers. But if they fit, you’ll benefit from the goggles’ nine layers of high-end mirror coating which fends off glare. The goggles accommodate lens-swapping, with tints designed specifically for sun, a mix of sun and clouds, and cloudy conditions.