Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Ski Goggles of 2022

We tested ski goggles from Smith, Oakley, Julbo, Giro, and others to find the best eyewear for the resort and backcountry
Best Ski Goggles of 2022
Credit: Laredo
Thursday May 19, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Searching for the best ski goggles? Our experts have tested 35+ pairs on snow over the last 8 years. For this update, we bought and assessed 15 top models side by side. Our team spent countless hours skiing at resorts and the backcountry of the Lake Tahoe area to put each contender through its paces. The variable Sierra Nevada weather allows us to test these goggles in a full range of conditions, from blinding bluebird days to whiteout snowstorms and even rain. Our experts evaluated the ventilation systems, optical quality, and comfort while taking laps in the resort and backcountry. Whether you seek exceptional value, all-around performance, or just the trendiest style, our comparative review can help you find the perfect goggles.

Few activities rely on gear as heavily as snow sports, and we are here to help you make the right decision every step of the way. Our in-depth reviews offer user-based recommendations to help you find the best products. Be sure to check out our reviews for ski helmets, backcountry skiing , skiing, and snowboarding.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on May 19, 2022, to add the Oakley Flight Deck M Prizm into our lineup.

Top 15 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 15
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $318.99 at Amazon
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$320 List
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$201.93 at REI
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$269.95 at Amazon
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Overall Score
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75
Star Rating
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Pros High quality optics, easy lens changes, field of visionMagnetic lenses, magnetic facemask, 2 lenses included, great optics, best performance for large facesMagnetic lenses, 2 lenses included, great opticsStunning optics, easy lens change system, large field of viewMagnetic lens for fast swapping, great comfort, clear optics, lower price for higher tech
Cons PriceExpensive, larger fit not for everyoneExpensive, medium fitExpensive, storage bag is smallNot as easy to swap lenses as other models with magnetic lenses
Bottom Line Outstanding and innovative eyewear that is at the top of the heap in almost every categoryIt may be expensive, but they are incredibly user friendly with excellent optics, innovative integration, and a great fitThis model carries on the quality and performance tradition of this popular line of goggles with a new user-friendly magnetic lens interfaceOne of our favorite goggles in the review with impressive optics and streamlined lens changesA frameless goggle with all of the features you'd hope for but at a lower price
Rating Categories Smith 4D Mag Anon M4 Toric Smith I/O Mag Giro Contour Zeal Portal RLS
Lens Quality (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Ventilation and Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Ease of Changing Lenses (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (15%) Sort Icon
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Style (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Smith 4D Mag Anon M4 Toric Smith I/O Mag Giro Contour Zeal Portal RLS
Number of Included Lenses 2 2 2 2 2
Tested Lens Chromapop Sun Red Mirror, Chromapop Storm SONAR Red, SONAR Infared Chromapop Sun Red Mirror, Chromapop Storm Vivid Onyx Persimmon/Sky Blue Mirror
Lens Shape Spherical Toric. Frame is compatible with both Cylindrical and Toric lenses. Spherical Toric Spherical
Frame Size Medium Large Medium Large M/L
Layers of Foam Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer Triple layer
Ventilation AirEvac Full Preimeter Channel venting, Outlast Fog Management Face Fleece Anti-fog treated EVAK Vent Technology Dual vent with anti-fog coating


Best Overall Ski Goggles


Smith 4D Mag


83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Lens Quality 9.0
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Ventilation and Breathability 7.0
  • Ease of Changing Lenses 8.0
  • Durability 9.0
  • Style 7.0
Included Lens(es): 2 | Lens Shape: Spherical
REASONS TO BUY
Easy lens-swapping
Excellent optics
Comfortable and stylish
Frame flexes and conforms to face shape
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Heavy for ski touring

The Smith 4D Mag is an innovative pair of goggles that excels in every way. Smith has been producing eyewear for over 50 years, and their experience is apparent in this goggle. The 4D Mag continues Smith's reputation of innovation with a rounded bottom edge of the lens that increases the user's field of vision, a design feature unique to this model. In addition to the highest quality optics, the 4D Mag has a flexible frame and medium fit that is sure to please most skiers and riders. It's stylish and durable, too.

While the 4D Mag fits a wide variety of face sizes well, folks with larger faces might find some other options more suitable. We also think the weight and bulk of this goggle may make many backcountry skiers and splitboarders want to look elsewhere for their next pair. Lastly, but most noticeably, these goggles are relatively expensive. That said, when it comes to performance at the ski resort, our testers generally agree that you can't do better than this unique and chart-topping model.

Read review: Smith 4D Mag

best overall ski goggles
We were able to easily swap lenses on the 4D Mag, even while wearing gloves.
Credit: Jason Cronk

Great Price for High Tech Goggles


Zeal Portal RLS


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Lens Quality 8.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Ventilation and Breathability 7.0
  • Ease of Changing Lenses 7.0
  • Durability 8.0
  • Style 8.0
Included Lens(es): 2 | Lens Shape: Spherical
REASONS TO BUY
Magnetic, spherical lenses
Stylish frameless design
Sturdy
Photochromic lenses
REASONS TO AVOID
Not our favorite magnetic system
More expensive than traditional goggles

The Zeal Portal RLS strikes the middle ground in the world of snow goggles. While they're not the least expensive or the most advanced technology out there, they bring a lot to the table. The optical quality of this goggle's two included lenses is among the best in the test. Both are spherical in shape, and the bright light lens is photochromic. In our tests, it adapted well to fluctuating light conditions. Beyond that, you have a multitude of choices in lens colors, tints, and function, including polarized or prescription lenses (at a higher price). These goggles secure the lens with a convenient magnetic system, similar to those found at much higher prices in the ski goggle market. These goggles have an extra sturdy frame that handled over a month of testing with no signs of the abuse we gave it.

We only found a couple of drawbacks during testing. While the magnetic lens system is much easier than traditional goggles regarding lens swapping, these lenses aren't as easily swapped as other magnetic models. The second drawback mentioned by a couple of testers was the two relatively small black tabs at the bottom of the lenses. Some skiers noticed and commented, but they went unnoticed by others. Whether your skiing or boarding days take you to the resorts or deep into the backcountry, these goggles are our top recommendation for high-tech features at a reasonable price point.

Read review: Zeal Portal RLS

ski goggles - great price for high tech goggles
The fit may be a little larger on smaller skiers and boarders, but for most testers, the fit was ideal.
Credit: Jason Cronk

Best Bang for the Buck


Smith Squad ChromaPop


65
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Lens Quality 7.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Ventilation and Breathability 6.0
  • Ease of Changing Lenses 4.0
  • Durability 8.0
  • Style 7.0
Included Lens(es): 2 | Lens Shape: Cylindrical
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Sturdy
Two lenses included
Lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Basic styling
More difficult lens change

The Smith Squad ChromaPop delivers performance-oriented features at an affordable price. The Squad remains a favorite because it comes with two high-quality lenses for bright and low light conditions and outperforms several higher-priced models in this review. Smith's cylindrical lenses, a ChromaPop version for bright light conditions, and a basic yellow lens for lowlight days provide a crisp and clear view of the mountains around you. The Squad is well ventilated and suitable for use everywhere from the resort to the backcountry. We like touring with these goggles, as they are lighter weight and more packable than most of the high-end and heavier models we tested. They have a crowd-pleasing medium to large fit that is comfortable on a vast range of face sizes and shapes, plus they fit great with or without a helmet.

The Squad isn't the flashiest goggle out there, sporting a more classic shape and style with less modern flair than other models. The ChromaPop lens enhances colors while remaining accurate but had limited versatility to be used in lower light conditions. Changing lenses with this model is best done at the house as it is a bit of an arduous task when compared with that of a magnetic system. This is the standard for this price point of goggles, and saving money can help most folks overcome these drawbacks. If the best value is what you seek, then look no further than the Smith Squad.

Read review: Smith Squad ChromaPop

ski goggles - best bang for the buck
Mixed light conditions with the Chromapop lens, The Wall, Kirkwood CA.
Credit: Robyn Cronk

Best for Large Faces


Anon M4 Toric


82
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Lens Quality 9.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • Ventilation and Breathability 7.0
  • Ease of Changing Lenses 9.0
  • Durability 8.0
  • Style 8.0
Included Lens(es): 2 | Lens Shape: Toric
REASONS TO BUY
Easiest lens swapping
Excellent optics
Best performance for those with large faces
Includes a magnetic buff
REASONS TO AVOID
Price
Not for smaller faces

The Anon M4 goggle is outstanding and the performance scores reflect that. This model is best suited for individuals with a larger facial structure. If you have a rather large mug or typically find goggles to fit a little small on you, we recommend considering the Anon M4. The M4 has the most effortless lens-swapping capabilities of them all, featuring magnetic attachments that are secure while allowing the lenses to be interchanged in seconds. Along with the extra lens, Anon ships these goggles with a face covering that also has magnets inside, allowing it to snap into and stay in place quickly. The lenses are built to last, and their quality leaves nothing to be desired.

The M4 was a contender for the top spot due to its well-rounded performance but its larger frame will fit fewer individuals than most medium-sized goggles. However, the large frame size is an advantage for those who struggle to find a larger frame that fits them. In the end, the Anon M4 is exceptional and our top recommendation for folks looking for a genuinely large goggle.

Read review: Anon M4 Toric

ski goggles - best for large faces
We slashed, we crashed, the Anon M4 goggles are no worse for the wear and appear to be highly durable.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best Ventilation


Julbo Aerospace


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Lens Quality 9.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Ventilation and Breathability 9.0
  • Ease of Changing Lenses 3.0
  • Durability 6.0
  • Style 5.0
Included Lens(es): 1 | Lens Shape: Spherical
REASONS TO BUY
Innovative ventilation design
Gets compliments
Lens adapts to varying light
REASONS TO AVOID
Durability
Only one lens

The Julbo Aerospace brings some fancy new technology to the world of ski goggles. Unique to this model, the lens is capable of extending up to a centimeter away from the frame while remaining attached, and our backcountry skiing testers raved about the ventilation this provides, which makes fogging pretty much impossible. When working hard in the mountains, this proved to be a valuable asset. The photochromic lens adapts to varying light conditions quite well, and the strap was comfortable on our heads all day. And as a bonus, our friends agreed, it looks pretty darn cool in the fresh, light blue model that we tested.

One drawback is that this model only comes with a single lens. To get another lens, Julbo told us we'd have to send the goggles in for the replacement. The single-lens performs well in all but extremely dark or bright conditions, though, so this isn't a massive drawback for most folks. However, we question the durability of the Aerospace, as the moving parts feel somewhat flimsy, specifically the hinges that extend the lens. So, some of the characteristics that make this goggle great can also potentially become drawbacks. That said, our testers loved the innovation on these never-foggy goggles, and we recommend the Aerospace to folks working hard, both up and down in the mountains.

Read review: Julbo Aerospace

ski goggles - focus on the fun, not your foggy goggs, when you don the aerospace.
Focus on the fun, not your foggy goggs, when you don the Aerospace.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Compare Products

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Score Product Price Our Take
83
$320
Editors' Choice Award
The best optics, lens changeability, style, and durability in a medium-fit goggle
82
$320
Top Pick Award
This model knocks our socks off with great optics, user-friendly features, and an excellent fit for large faces
81
$270
With a new magnetic lens system, this is the newest member of a classic and progressive line
81
$270
Incredible optics, unique ventilation, and a fast lens change system make this a standout goggle
78
$207
An overall great goggle that is limited by its value
75
$179
Best Buy Award
Goggles that deliver today's modern technology but at a lower price
75
$200
A very optically correct goggle at a reasonable price point
70
$220
A comfortable everyday goggle with photochromic lens technology and great breathability
69
$260
Top Pick Award
This pair is your best chance at avoiding foggy goggs in nearly any conditions
65
$120
Best Buy Award
This affordable goggle is great for any rider and any conditions
63
$120
A relatively simple but highly functional and comfortable goggle for those on a budget
61
$105
Solidly performing goggles without any trendy bells or whistles
56
$60
A standout value for weekend warriors that will work on sunny or cloudy days
54
$80
A great option for recreational skiers and riders who need a functional and good-looking goggle
49
$130
This pair is OK but lacks the refinement and overall quality found in most of its competition

ski goggles - a goggle lineup waiting for action at carson pass, ca.
A goggle lineup waiting for action at Carson Pass, CA.
Credit: Jason Cronk

Why You Should Trust Us


This review is brought to you by a team of gear-hungry testers with several decades of experience researching and testing. Review author Jeremy Benson is a former sponsored big mountain and backcountry ski athlete. He has lived in the Lake Tahoe area for the past 20 winters, where he's skied between 100-150 days each season. Whether riding lifts at the resorts or hiking for turns in the backcountry, Benson spends more time on snow in a season than most people do in a decade, making him acutely aware of the importance of quality eye protection. He has a long history of product testing, including nine years as a ski tester and consulting on design and product development with various sponsors. Jeremy is also the author of Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes: California, published by Mountaineers Books.

Another veteran ski reviewer, Jason Cronk, is an experienced and active athlete. He has been skiing for over 25 years, with experience throughout the Western United States, Canada, and Alaska, as well as the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps, and the southern Alps of New Zealand. Jason is a seasoned medevac flight RN/EMT with experience as a National Ski Patroller and continues to provide emergency medical education to ski patrols in the Lake Tahoe area. Even with the full-time air medical career, he racks up nearly 100 ski days, mostly backcountry, every season and is looking forward to hundreds of more days at his new home right at the base of the Tetons and Grand Targhee in Wyoming.

The third member of our expert team is Isaac Laredo, a mountain athlete and guide based in the Sierra Nevada. He received his bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Outdoor Adventure leadership in Lake Tahoe. He has been snowboarding for the past 10 years across the United States, Canada, and Japan. During the winter, he averages over 100 days a year in his snowboard boots and capitalizes on every possible moment to go riding. Isaac is pursuing his mountain guide certification through the American Mountain Guide Association. His background as a guide, scientist, and avid snowsports athlete brings proficiency in experimental design, a critical eye for detail, and an express understanding of the user needs and product functions to this review.

Related: How We Tested Ski Goggles

Throughout the year, our team scours the internet to stay current on the latest product and technological advances. In the fall, they spend hours researching the best new models we can add to this review to provide the most well-rounded and up-to-date reviews available on the internet. After selecting and buying the best new competitors, our testers took them to the snow. We extensively tested each model and frequently swapped between different pairs for genuine back-to-back comparisons. We also called upon our friends, both men, and women, to check each model's fit and comfort on faces of different shapes and sizes. From the expansive Sierra Nevada and Teton backcountry to the resorts above and around Lake Tahoe, we strived to identify each model's optical accuracy, comfort, and ventilation capacity. This quest has led out into the blaring sun, pouring rain, and dumping snow. Our expert review team got to know each product before providing you with our specific use-based recommendations.

Taking the lens quality assessment seriously with some back-to-back...
Taking the lens quality assessment seriously with some back-to-back comparisons while riding the chairlift on a cloudy, flat light day.
Sunny timeout on Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand
Sunny timeout on Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand
Goggle testing is serious business, fortunately it involves...
Goggle testing is serious business, fortunately it involves significant amounts of time in the field.

Analysis and Test Results


Goggles are a cornerstone piece of gear in any skier and snowboarder's kit. The best goggles help you to see clearly, fit comfortably, look good, and will last you for several seasons if cared for properly. With a dizzying array of new goggles to choose from, we've narrowed it down to the essential characteristics that you should take into account when making your eyewear choice. These include lens quality, ventilation, breathability, comfort, ease of changing lenses, durability, and style. How important each metric is to you depends on your preferences and the intended use. To utilize our in-depth assessments to the fullest, focus on the products that score the best in the performance metrics you care about most.

Related: How to Choose Ski Goggles

Value


Everyone comes to the goggle market with different needs, and fortunately, this product category can accommodate most budgets.


Of the models we tested, there is a wide range in price. Some, like the Smith Squad ChromaPopor the Giro Roam are low-cost options that meet or exceed the basic needs of a goggle, while models like the top choice Smith 4D Mag feature toric lenses, high-quality optics in all conditions, and come in at a premium price. Less expensive models are completely adequate for most skiers, although they lack newer, high-tech features. More expensive ski goggles are best suited for committed skiers and riders who don't mind spending the extra money for an enhanced optical experience. Striking a middle ground, the Zeal Portal RLS has better photochromic optics and a hybrid magnetic locking system, both of which are features on models that typically cost much more.

ski goggles - our eyewear is a foundational component to allow us to perform our...
Our eyewear is a foundational component to allow us to perform our best in all kinds of lighting conditions.
Credit: Ryland West

Lens Quality


Lens quality and optical accuracy are the most important metric for the majority of skiers and riders. The quality of your goggle lens directly impacts your safety and ability to enjoy marginal lighting conditions. Companies have recognized this as one of the most important aspects of a goggle and now offer high-quality lenses across many price points.


From the most expensive models like the Smith 4D Mag and Anon M4 to the more budget-friendly options like the Anon Helix 2.0 or Smith Squad ChromaPop, today's lenses provide a crisp, clear view with little to no distortion while also protecting our eyes from bright sunlight and UV rays. Beyond that, today's goggles enhance the contrast in low light conditions, which increases skiers' and riders' safety because of added definition on the snow surface.

Lenses come in a variety of shapes these days, like cylindrical, spherical, and toric. As a general rule, spherical and toric lenses provide a more optically correct view, while cylindrical lenses may have the slightest bit of distortion (especially at the lower price points).

Premium goggles will feature a property optical enhancement technology that will improve the visual experience. These types of lens technologies are all intended to do roughly the same thing, increase contrast, enhance definition, and generally make you see the world around you more clearly, especially in challenging light conditions. The Giro Contour and Shred Simplify+ provided excellent visual enhancements that boost the contrast and give you a better view of changes in the terrain and snow quality. We feel these models, along with the Smith 4D Mag, Anon M4 Toric, Smith I/O Mag, and Oakley Flight Deck are optically the best goggles in the review.

Goggle manufacturers also aim to keep lens fogging to a minimum, each with their proprietary anti-fog treatments and venting. Every model in this review is coated with an anti-fog treatment. Their respective fogging performance is largely dictated by the ventilation systems they use, which will be discussed later.

When it comes to lenses, you generally get what you pay for. The higher performance lenses are all slightly different, but each provides a clear, distortion-free view, enhances contrast, and resists fogging and scratching better than the more budget-friendly competition. There's a noticeable difference in the lens and visual quality between these two tiers, and you'll have to decide which features you're looking for.

Some lenses even adapt to your current light conditions by changing tint for varying environments, whether you're skiing in the midday sun or pre-sunset dusk. These photochromic lenses are convenient, as you have to change the lens less frequently. The Julbo Cyrius uses a photochromic lens to adjust to the present lighting conditions. Photochromic lenses have a range of adjustments; they can cover a certain spread of conditions well but not every condition, like going from a fully sunny day to a snowstorm. A dedicated lowlight lens is the best bet for those conditions. Fortunately, most models that come with a photochromic lens also come with a complimentary low light lens for such situations.

ski goggles - many high-quality lenses exist in this review; the smith 4d mag...
Many high-quality lenses exist in this review; The Smith 4D mag (Left) and Oakley Flight Deck (right) are two top performers.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

During testing, particularly when swapping lenses, we put a lot of fingerprints, sunscreen, sweat, and even food residue on our test subjects. We found that all of our test goggles cleaned up quickly with water and the included storage sacks. Today's ski goggles, and more specifically their lenses, are easier than ever to keep clean.

ski goggles - testing the low light capabilities of the chromapop storm lens of...
Testing the low light capabilities of the Chromapop Storm lens of the Smith I/O Mag while skiing in a cloud.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Comfort


Comfort is one of the test criteria that proves more difficult due to its subjective nature. Several factors come into play here: goggle shape and size in relation to the wearer's facial size, structure, and nose shape. A goggle's frame material and flexibility, padding material, and quantity, as well as strap comfort, are also important considerations when making your goggle selection. Additionally, keep in mind whether you will primarily use your ski goggles while wearing a helmet or simply while wearing a beanie.


The overall dimensions of a snow goggle are the foundation of fit and comfort. Some goggles, like the Smith 4D Mag, have a medium fit that can provide a comfortable fit for a wider variety of skiers and boarders. These goggles also have a very flexible, responsive frame that molds well to the skier's face.

ski goggles - the 4d mag was a favorite when it came to fit and comfort no matter...
The 4D Mag was a favorite when it came to fit and comfort no matter the size or shape of the tester's facial anatomy.
Credit: Jason Cronk

Some of our test goggles had excellent crossover appeal, and skiers and boarders with medium face sizes were comfortable in models at both ends of the size spectrum. Not everyone falls into this medium-sized category, and other models have a broader construction that will allow for skiers and snowboarders with larger faces to find a good fit. Conversely, goggles with a narrower construction provide a more comfortable fit for riders with smaller facial structures. We found that smaller models were prone to creating pressure points, primarily on the reviewer's cheekbones and bridges of their noses. Larger goggles caused issues with gapping around the frame on smaller users' faces. Testers with smaller faces preferred the Smith goggles in general, while larger testers enjoyed the fit and comfort of the Anon M4. The Giro Contour and Oakley Flight Deck are offered in smaller and larger frame sizes to fit the needs of different users.

ski goggles - comfort is key, and the anon m4 is one of the most comfortable...
Comfort is key, and the Anon M4 is one of the most comfortable goggles in the test, especially for people with large facial structures.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Another factor influencing comfort is the style of padding and its materials. Except for the Smith Squad and Anon Helix 2.0, all of the models in our test lineup are constructed with three layers of moisture-wicking face foam. The outermost layer (closest to the frame) is the densest, providing a buffer between the relatively hard plastic of the eyewear's frame and the softer layers that contact the skier's or snowboarder's face. The middle layer in the foam sandwich is a bit more porous than the outer portion, providing an intermediate connection point for the materials at either end of the spectrum. Finally, all of our test ski goggles have an innermost layer with a thinner, softer, brushed feel that contacts the skin.

Strap comfort is also important, and thankfully, all of our test model's straps contained some form of integrated silicone, which means the strap stays where you put it. Without this technology, there is a tendency to over-tighten a goggle's strap to keep them in place. While this tightening may not sound like a significant issue, this part of overall comfort becomes more significant after a day on the slopes with an overly tight strap. A comfortable no-slip strap prevents those deep red grooves that become imprinted around your eyes. While trying on ski goggles, keep in mind that a seemingly minor issue, like cheekbone pressure, or pressure to the bridge of your nose, can quickly become more and more annoying throughout a long day on the slopes.

ski goggles - an uncomfortable goggle can migrate around, or cause unnecessary...
An uncomfortable goggle can migrate around, or cause unnecessary pressure resulting in a headache.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

Ventilation and Breathability


Ventilation systems are critical to combat and prevent goggle fogging. Fogging will generally also occur as a result of poor ventilation or moisture in between the lenses stemming from poor ventilation. The moisture that exists in the warm air we are creating within the goggles needs somewhere to go; it condensates on the next available cooler surface. It is similar to the condensation that builds up on glass doors or the windshield of your car. If the ventilation system is marginal, even the best anti-fog coating will fail.


The most breathable goggles we tested were the Julbo Aerospace which has a drafty feel with more airflow than most. The Anon M4 and all the Smith models are all well ventilated, although they don't feel drafty around the eyes. Other models tended to breathe less, which can keep more heat and moisture in, although we didn't experience any significant fogging issues during testing. The types of conditions you're likely to experience, as well as how aggressively you ski or board, will likely dictate the importance of ventilation.

ski goggles - working up a sweat to test the ventilation and breathability of the...
Working up a sweat to test the ventilation and breathability of the goggles in our test fleet. We don't always hike uphill in goggles, but it's an effective test technique.
Credit: Steven Tata

Skiers who gravitate to the backcountry and tour in stormier or windier environments may end up hiking uphill in their ski goggles, which makes a more breathable option the right choice. And when it comes to maximizing breathability and ventilation, no model matches the Julbo Aerospace. By extending the lens away from the frame (which you can do while wearing gloves), air exchange is massively amplified. The spherical shape of the 4D Mag also encourages airflow through the actual rounded shape of the lens. The foam padding of both models also breathes well, and these models are worth considering if you tend to fog up on the ups or even on hard-charging downs.

ski goggles - the aerospace lens in open/extended position. the moving parts...
The Aerospace lens in open/extended position. The moving parts create greater potential for failure down the road, although we never experienced any problems in the test period.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

On the other hand, skiers and boarders who stick to the resort or tour in drier environments may not care about the breathability to the degree that their wetter conditions compadres do. Keep in mind that some breathability is a good thing, but breathability is different from being drafty or having a poor fit.

The Giro Contour uses a durable and weather-resistant combination of foam and mesh to prevent moisture from getting inside your goggle while maintaining good ventilation. This minimizes the chances of the ski goggles fogging.

ski goggles - circumferential venting using open cell foam on the smith mag 4d...
Circumferential venting using open cell foam on the Smith Mag 4D, compared to the Ventilation system on the Giro Contour that uses weather-resistant mesh and foam combination helps reduce the chances of fogging up.
Credit: Laredo

Ease of Changing Lenses


Matching a lens to your current light conditions is also crucial, and most goggles have interchangeable lenses just for this purpose. Most of the models in this test include two lenses for different light conditions, both bright and low light. How easy it is to change the lenses on your goggles is often overlooked, but if you only own one pair or live where the weather and light conditions may change rapidly, it can make a world of difference. Goggle manufacturers have continuously been improving lens attachment systems, making it easier and more user-friendly than ever to swap out the lenses.


We found the most natural lenses to change in the test are the quick swapping lenses of the Anon M4. Their "Magna-Tech" lenses are attached to the frame with several small but powerful magnets, and removing the lens is as simple as pulling it straight off. It takes only seconds to do and is the most simple lens change we've ever experienced. You can even change lenses while wearing the goggles and with gloves on.

ski goggles - with the anon m4, changing lenses has never been easier.
With the Anon M4, changing lenses has never been easier.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

The Smith 4D Mag and Smith I/O Mag are the other easiest changing models of this new breed of magnetic lens goggles, with lenses that are nearly as easy to change as the M4. The difference is quite small. Zeal's Portal RLS is a hybrid lens system that uses mechanical grooves in conjunction with a magnetic lock. This type of system is not the smoothest, but it's far easier than traditionally designed goggles. The Giro Contour uses a magnetic assisted system to provide incredibly easy lens changes with great lens security. It uses strong magnets that are positioned in the middle of the frame and work great to position the lens before pressing the pegs located at each corner into the frame.

If you want to continue skiing no matter the weather and light...
If you want to continue skiing no matter the weather and light conditions, getting a pair of goggles with two lenses that are easy to swap in and out will add a lot of convenience.
After removing the lens, just reverse the process: move the lens to...
After removing the lens, just reverse the process: move the lens to the frame, let the magnets do their magic, and pivot the small levers on either side back forward...and done!

The Shred Simplify+ is an intermediate option between magnetics and the traditional style. It uses straight-line attachments at the top and nose of the goggle and then can be pressed into the remaining contours. It requires more effort and time than magnetic-based models but less than the traditional notched lens style.

For skiers and riders who aren't interested in spending a ton, the remaining models in our test have a more traditional lens attachment style with notched cut-outs on the edge of the lens that snaps into place within the lip of the frame. These lens styles still allow for changing of lenses; it's just not quite as quick or straightforward as those mentioned above. Goggles like the Smith Squad, Giro Roam, Giro Blok , and Anon Helix 2.0 all share this style of lens attachment and are notably more challenging to switch out. After swapping lenses on these more traditional systems, we invariably had to clean the fingerprints from the lenses too. Depending on your preferences, this may or may not be a big deal.

ski goggles - the classic notched lens attachment of the giro blok; not super...
The classic notched lens attachment of the Giro Blok; not super difficult to change lenses, just not nearly as easy as magnetic models.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Durability


A high-functioning contender also needs to have a decent level of durability. After spending your hard-earned money on fancy new ski goggles, imagine them falling apart. Long-term durability is challenging to evaluate, but we can look for distinct weak spots, like scratched lenses or strap elasticity loss. A reliable pair of ski goggles need to be able to stand up to repeated use and abuse in all weather conditions and environments.


A potential frustration, expense, and hazard is lens scratching. Like the anti-fog treatments available from each manufacturer, modern goggle lenses utilize a proprietary anti-scratch coating to keep the lenses as scratch-free as possible. Lens scratches can grow increasingly frustrating and potentially dangerous, especially as conditions become more monochromatic like when an afternoon storm rolls in to wash out the light but deposit new snow. Smith uses a carbonic coating on the lenses which provides some of the best scratch resistance in the industry.

Another factor that some of you globe-trotting skiers may want to consider is travel. The repeated packing and unpacking of your ski luggage isn't as glamorous as ripping powder turns on a bluebird powder morning, but it's still an important consideration. How well these models can withstand the bumps and bruises of travel will have an impact on their long-term wear and durability.

After months of extensive and sometimes abusive testing, we inspected all of our test subjects, checking the lenses, straps, and padding for signs of wear or damage that may have happened on the way. A durability standout is the Zeal Portal RLS with its stout construction, although all of our test goggles fared surprisingly well and showed almost no wear even at the end of our testing. One particularly aggressive crash while wearing the Julbo Aerospace did result in a scratched lens, but we attribute this damage to user error more than an inferior quality product.

ski goggles - most goggles from reputable manufacturers should last for multiple...
Most goggles from reputable manufacturers should last for multiple seasons with good care which takes consistent discipline.
Credit: Isaac Laredo

Style


Goggle style is a subjective criterion and a matter of personal taste. It's also constantly changing. We get a good chuckle looking at photos of goggles we tested only five years ago — most of them already look entirely outdated. While we can objectively check things like breathability and ease of changing lenses, as of today, there is no test for style. Some of our test goggles had a more classic look, like the Smith Squad and the Giro Blok, while others had a more modern or even futuristic appearance like the Zeal Portal RLS.


Among our testers and friends, our style opinions gravitated toward the Smith 4D Mag, Anon M4, Giro Contour, Shred Simplify+, and the Oakley Flight Deck. Their high level of design is apparent, which positively affects their looks. In the end, style points are best awarded by you (and maybe your partner).

ski goggles - choose a pair of goggles that makes you feel good out on the slopes.
Choose a pair of goggles that makes you feel good out on the slopes.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


In the world of snow sports like skiing and snowboarding, equipment costs can quickly add up to a small fortune. A good ski goggle can dramatically improve a skier's or rider's experience, performance, fun factor, and even safety for a relatively low cost. A performance snow goggle with excellent fit, comfort, breathability, optical quality, and durability can increase your enjoyment, whether you play or work in the snow.

ski goggles - happy testers!
Happy testers!
Credit: Steven Tata

Jeremy Benson, Jason Cronk, and Isaac Laredo


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