Any experienced snowboarder will tell you that a good pair of snow goggles are essential. Unlike sunglasses, which only offer a modest degree of sun protection and often don’t deliver peripheral coverage, the modern goggle protects you from the elements — UV rays, as well as all variety of winter weather. But they also employ some of the latest in visual tech to filter out “bad” light to enhance contrast and boost clarity to help you pick out subtle shifts in the terrain that’ll help you survive your gravity-fed exploits, whether that’s in the park, on groomers or deep in the backcountry. They also have smart anti-fog features to keep things as Visine-clear, and often boast wicking fabric faces on multi-layer foam where they contact the skin to provide day-long comfort.
Most new goggles also come with a back-up lens suitable for low-light, flat conditions or night snowboarding, and all of the goggles on this list have lens-swapping systems as well as other lens options to fill out your... snowboarding quiver. They’re all helmet-compatible, and are designed to fit different head shapes and sizes, including femme-specific models that take a woman’s smaller head frame into account. Park or half-pipe rats should consider rimless frames as they typically deliver a wider field of vision, including more peripheral angles, while rimmed models are more suitable to those who prefer to ski in bounds. Backcountry boarders want breathable lenses that never fog, and probably all riders want polarization, which reduces the sun’s glare and offers contrast in variable light. A handful are compatible with prescription glasses, and most major manufacturers (including Smith, Oakley, Dragon, Zeal, Electric, and Spy) offer prescription lenses for an additional fee.
That's a lot of information to digest and look for when buying snowboard goggles. So if you still want some advice, take a look below to find the best snowboard goggles to purchase today.
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Smith Optics has channeled all the knowledge gleaned in more than 50 years of making premium eyewear into their I/O7 Goggles, and it shows. The spherical carbonic-x lens delivers a seriously clear field of vision without distortion, and Smith’s proprietary ChromaPop filters out two specific wavelengths of light that can cause color confusion to deliver greater definition, more contrast, and better color contrast. No gimmick, either. ChromaPop works, both on bluebird days and in flat light. The three-layer Driwix foam allows for day-long comfort and wicks sweat so it can easily evaporate, which helps prevent fogging, though, with the 5x anti-fog inner lens, your lens should never get cloudy. The helmet-compatible goggles come with a quick-to-adjust elastic strap backed by silicone, so they stay put, and a clip buckle makes them easy to remove quickly. Bonus: They come with a stellar low-light lens, which can be swapped out when conditions go south via a single-pivot release change... system. Available in polarized and non-polarized models in a variety of colors.
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Founded by Gold Medal alpine skier Ted Ligety, Shred prides itself on making high-quality products at approachable prices that don’t sacrifice function. Their Amazify Goggles have been built to amplify your peripheral vision and maximize your field of vision, with an anatomically-shaped frame for superior comfort bolstered by multi-layer face foam and a moisture-wicking fleece lining. They also layer in the tech, including their Contrast Boosting Lens to improve visibility in variable conditions, a hydrophobic vent and a porous cellulose structure to reduce fog, as well as a semi-permeable valve to equalize the pressure between the dual lens chambers and the outside conditions (great for when you rapidly gain or lose elevation). Park City, Utah-based Shred is equally committed to giving back whenever possible. They pioneered the use of recycled epoxy for most lenses, and are members of One Percent for the Planet, which donates one percent of all sales to environmental initiatives.
03 of 08
Long the king of the slopes, Oakley continues to push the envelope in goggle technology. Their Fall Line provides some of the best peripheral vision on the market thanks to its deeply wrapped lens and frameless engineering. You also benefit from Oakley’s Prizm technology, which automatically controls the light transmission by tweaking the colors you see to max out contrast and improve visibility. Thanks to cutaways at the temple, you can comfortably wear prescription glasses underneath the goggles, and their Ridgelock lens-swapping system lets you swap out lenses without sacrificing the tight fit you need to keep out wind and moisture. Anti-fog treatments are also top notch. The Fall Line comes in a variety of lens tints, including Hi Pink Iridium for snowy or overcast conditions, Snow Jade Iridium for days that proffer both sun and clouds and Black Iridium for when the sun is blazing.
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Rather than “shrinking and pinking” a pair of their men’s goggles, Giro designed the Ella for women from the ground up, taking into account that most femme snowboards have heads — and helmets — that are smaller than men. The result? A top-of-the-line goggle with optimal fit, reinforced by triple-layer face foam with a wicking fleece face. Its quick-change lens system is also one of the best on the market. It uses four self-locating magnets to help align the lens with the goggles’ four snap pins, which securely lock the lens in pace. The goggles also come with two of the best lenses on the market (one for low light, one for variable conditions), both with ZEISS optics treated with Giro’s Vivid tech to cut out flat light and boost definition and expose the subtleties you’re likely to encounter on the slopes. The goggles also simply look good and come in a variety of color options and different lens tints to help narrow your choices to the conditions typical to your local mountain.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Serious snowboarders know that conditions can change quickly — and that especially rings true for those who venture into the side- and backcountry. And while most modern goggles come with the ability to swap lenses on the fly, Zeal Optic’s Portal may have the best lens-swapping tech out right now. It uses their Rail Lock System, which lets you guide, slide and lock your lens in place via integrated magnets in one quick, fluid motion no matter where you are on the mountain. The frameless, helmet-compatible design comes with a durable perma-shield hard coat and an impact-resistant frame, with dual-strap adjustment with a no-slip grip. Available out of the box with either Automatic+, polarized and photochromatic or Optimum lenses, each one offers 100 percent UV protection for clear visibility and a solid peripheral exposure. And each model comes with a choice of one main lens as well as a lighter one for snowy days and night boarding. You can choose additional lenses that range in... price (and features) from $50 to $150.
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The largest goggles on this round-up, the Doom delivers a maximum field of view for those with bigger heads. It also boasts Spy’s legacy Happy Lens technology, which amplifies long-wave blue light that’s been shown to stimulate the production of serotonin to improve your mood, increase alertness and promote a healthy circadian rhythm while simultaneously increasing color and contrast and enhancing clarity. The push-button, lens- swapping system allows for fingerprint-free transition from your main lens to the included low-light lens, both of which come with a fog-resistant, 5.5-base, ARC dual construction with anti-scratch, impact-resistant protection and 100 percent UV coverage. The triple-layer face foam is lined with Dri-Force fleece to wick away sweat for all-day comfort and to further prevent fog, and it’s compatible with most helmets on the market.
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The EGV’s wide frame carries a cool retro look and, thanks to its mold-injected thermoplastic urethane construction, can take some serious beating. If you’re the type of boarder to toss your goggles in your pack and then hit après, this is the pair for you. But it doesn’t sacrifice on other features. Electric’s ergonomic frame design and contoured triple-layer face foam deliver enough comfort to wear the goggles while sipping a post-ride pint on the sun deck, with a wide peripheral vision that’s fairly atypical for a goggle with such a chunky frame. The dual cylindrical thermo-formed lens boasts an anti-fog, anti-scratch hard coating, and a 40mm helmet-compatible strap can be easily adjusted for a no-slip fit. As with most framed designs, the lens swapping isn’t as fluid, but it’s easy to execute with a bit of practice, and Electric offers a 50 percent discount off a backup lens to help widen your gear closet.
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The optical brand for Burton, Anon excels at making top-quality snowboard goggles, which is what you’d expect from the folks that created the sport. The Youth Relapse Jr employs the same cylindrical lens tech found in their adult frames, providing wall-to-wall vision resting on comfortable dual-layer face foam. The thermoplastic poly frame comes with an 88-mm height, making it compatible with prescription glasses, and integral clarity tech delivers a clear field of vision. You also get a facemask outfitted with Anon’s exclusive MFI (Magnetic Facemask Integration) technology, which secures the mask to the lower section of the goggles to provide seamless warmth over the ears, across the face and down to the lower part of your neck (back and front). The gaiter, a great wind and weather barrier, can also be worn without the goggles.
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