Ask A Snowmama: How to Buy Goggles

Posted by Kristen on March 13, 2013

 Goggles for Everyone!

What type of goggles should I buy for my children and me; when researching online the choices seemed endless!  Thanks! 

-Asked by Karen, February 12, 2013

Dear Karen,  

Thank you for submitting your question to "Ask A Snowmama"! 

Goggles are an absolute necessity when heading out skiing and snowboarding, but we agree, the choices are endless!  The price varies greatly, there are different sizes and styles, and the lens color and type can completely have you lost! 

Unless you know exactly which pair of goggles you are looking for, it is best to not shop online. Although it may cost a bit more in a retail store, the fit and the lenses can vary so much it is worth your while to ask an experienced salesperson.  

There are several factors to consider such as:

  • Where will you be skiing most often? The sun can be stronger out West at higher elevations than in the East. The sun exposure is important to choose the right lens. 
  • Do you or the kids wear glasses? Do the goggles need to fit over the glasses?  Look for the OTG code, also known as Over the Glasses for a good fit. 
  • Do your eyes have the most difficulty in the sun or shade? For example, my eyes are more sensitive on overcast days. 
  • Lens color does matter!  Try to find a lens which is good in both sun and flat light. 
  • If you plan to wear them with a helmet (we hope you are!), bring the helmet to try on with it to get the best fit. Keep in mind many ski schools require helmets, and the day will be much better if everything fits comfortably. 

The price range for goggles can vary tremendously, from $20 up to $200+.  The reason for the difference is mostly in the lens technology.  The more expensive goggles will be flexible in varying light conditions, or may come with a spare or interchangeable lens.  For kids, the selection is not as broad, nor will they be as expensive, so it will be easier to find a pair. Young children will also outgrow them, and not necessarily take perfect care of them, so you don't need to spend a lot.

For adults, you don't need the most expensive pair, but it is wise to invest in goggles with a good anti-fog lens that adapts to different light conditions.  With proper care, the goggles can last for years and years.  With that said, if you are not a family that skis often, you can always start out with an inexpensive pair (I have even been able to find decent ones at Costco in cold weather climates). If they aren't just right, keep them as a spare or backup pair if you decide to upgrade later.  

I would suggest a brand such as Smith which have a good selection at various price points, and have a good line of Junior goggles. Smith goggles are easy to find in both speciality ski stores as well as stores such as The Sports Authority, and have a good selection of goggles that fit with glasses. Use their lens selector on the website to get to know what color lens is right for you.  Other highly regarded brands are Oakley, POC, Bolle and Anon, to name a few.  

Remember that the lenses are delicate - they can scratch easily so it is best to cover them after use so you can use them for years to come!

Good luck with goggle shopping, and let us know if you have any other questions. The Snowmamas are here to help!

Snowmama Kristen



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Comment posted by J.D. Cronin on March 13, 2013 8:37 AM MDT

Good advice I am total Goggle disciple. I wear them in all conditions. The ability of a good set of goggles to disperse the light on sunny days and provide needed contrast on snowy days has really elevated my skiing and my comfort in skiing.

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