You can't do without ski goggles, they're super important but they can also be incredibly frustrating. Constantly steaming lenses are an absolute pain out on the slopes as are lenses that are the wrong tint for the kind of light you'll encounter on the day. Which is why we hammer home the importance of interchangeable lenses in our reviews. It's not enough just to buy goggles based on which colour you like best, those tints are really important for how much of the mountain and the piste, or indeed the powder in front of you you can actually see!
If you're interested in finding out more about goggle and lens choices head down to the bottom of the page for our buyer's guide. Otherwise continue reading for our pick of the best goggles of 2020.
If you want goggles with excellent peripheral vision and great looks then the Agent (and women's Eave) are excellent options. The magnetic snap fit lenses are some of the quickest and easiest to change when the weather turns, and the lenses themselves are excellent quality Zeiss units offering true-to-life colours and and great clarity. Massive vents across the top and good volume inside help prevent fogging, and triple layer foam with plush fleece facing forms the goggles to your face and adds comfort. Available in a range of colours.
Smith 4D Mag
Smith's all-new 4D Mag offer a much-improved lens system that combines magnetic snap closure with clip retention - this stops the lenses falling out if you take a tumble, and it's also super easy to use. Although the lenses aren't huge, you still get excellent peripheral vision. Chromapop technology has been put to use for excellent clarity on the mountain and is available in a variety of tints (two lenses are included). The three-layer face foam is comfortable but doesn't fit narrower faces, a minor imperfection in what is otherwise a cracking pair of goggles.
Sungod's Vanguards are fully customisable, allowing you to choose from six lens tints and loads of frame and strap colours. Your finished masterpiece sports a massive lens that looks rather large but offers an excellent field of vision, and swapping between lenses is quick and simple. The strap is comfortable and wide, and the frame felt more durable than others on test. This is a tough all-rounder, ideal for seasonnaires or anyone working in resort who needs eyewear for reliable, regular use. And if you do use and abuse the Vanguards, they’re covered by a lifetime guarantee.
Adidas Progressor Splite
Adidas are rightly proud of how light and portable the Progressor Splite goggle is – it weighs a touch under 80g and fits easily into a jacket pocket. As a result the lenses look rather alarmingly flimsy and cheap at first glance, but once you're wearing them they feel great, and are so light you'll quickly forget about them even if you're out from first to last lift. The frames are also very flexible, with a nice close fit to the face with no bulk. The purple-tinted lenses offer good clarity and true-to-life colours, but the range of vision isn’t the biggest. A decent featherweight, and at a featherweight price, too.
Decathlon WedZe G500
Our top pick on a budget are the pocket-friendly G500s from Decathlon's own-brand label, WedZe. Decathlon do functional goggles starting from just £8.99 but we reckon this model is the pick of the pack, with a built-in yellow-tinted lens for bad weather and an extra brown lens you can easily pull on and off to cut glare if the sun comes out. They're compatible with glasses and have comfortable, if rather bulky foam around the frame. These may not be the highest-performing goggles in the world, but if you're new to skiing they'll do you proud while you learn the ropes.
You may not know much about Spektrum but their Ostra goggles won outdoor industry expo ISPO’s Gold Award in 2020. That’s a great accolade, but what’s even more pleasing is that they use Zeiss lens technology, which is the best of the best. The Ostra goggles come with low light and bright options which snap on and off with a magnetic fit system, and the design and colours look awesome.
Dragon make absolutely fantastic goggles, but often in an oversized silhouette which can look, and feel rubbish on anything but a massive noggin. These X2s are built for the more pea-headed among us who still want to sport the most spiffing of ski eyewear. The X2s come with a main and bonus lens so you can have the best chances of seeing in all light conditions, field of view and peripheral vision is excellent.
Oakley Flight Deck XM
A classic that’s been sold by Oakley year after year for good reason. Superb peripheral vision and comfort is what you get with the Flight Decks, as well as a great lens which gives clear vision in a range of light conditions from variable to sunny. This new XM version is for narrower heads and a generally less in your face look. Literally. Size aside, it still offers everything that made the original great.
Last year we reviewed the Vanguards, this year it’s the turn of the Revolts. These are customisable with loads of lens/strap/frame combos to get the look and vision you want. The Lenses are interchangeable quickly and easily, but you only get one in the pack and another will set you back £45. However, even with another lens in the basket, these beat the competition on price.
Wed’ze G 900
There’s a lot to be said for budget ski clobber when you only visit the Alps once a year and the holiday already requires a second mortgage to afford, and that’s where our favourite budget outfitters, Decathlon come in. You could pick a pair of their quite frankly ridiculous £7.99 goggles but trust us, you would be much better off investing a little more in these G 900’s which look and feel the part.
Ski goggles buyer's guide: What to look for
Anti fog, anti smudge and anti glare - all boxes that need to be ticked in a decent pair of ski goggles. Beyond that top brands tend to have all singing, all dancing optics that they claim is better than the next, for instance Giro use Zeiss, Smith have Chromapop etc. These technologies all claim to give you HD vision, we wouldn't go that far but some of the lenses on offer are definitely of a better quality than their lower priced competitors, increasing contrast in the snow, allowing you to see more undulations in terrain.
Probably the most important factor in being able to see properly when you're skiing. In fact you're much better off with a cheap pair of goggles with the right lens than a fancy pair with the wrong lens. To demonstrate this simply put on a pair of dark sunglasses on a bleak overcast winter's day and see how long you last before tripping over something or walking into a lamppost.
Where to start? Generally a yellow tint is for low light days and darker brown and black tints are for brighter days. This isn't always the case so consult each manufacturers lens chart before committing. Look for the VLT or Visible Light Transmission rating, the more light the goggle lets through the better it will be on an overcast day, the less light it lets through the better it will be on a sunny day (to a point).
Having said that, you can't predict the weather so the safest option is to buy a pair of goggles with two lenses, one for bright days and one for overcast days. Alternatively a pair of goggles with photochromic lenses that automatically adjust to the prevailing conditions are a good option.
Vents are important to stop your goggles fogging but as an average Joe you aren't going to be able to assess the potential for the vents to be effective by just looking at them. Just make sure that the tops of the frame are lined with vents and you should be good to go.
Face foam and fit
Only you will be able to tell if a particular pair of goggles suits the unique contours of your face. Some manufacturers list a fit appropriateness on their products pages i.e. narrow, medium and wide face which gives you a good guide. All of the goggles on test have comfortable face foam, in fact you'd have to go pretty bargain basement to get a pair of goggles that didn't have comfortable face foam but they do differ in levels of contour over the bridge of the nose.
Good peripheral vision is vital. The best goggles have spherical lenses which are curved horizontally and vertically, giving a bigger overall surface area and better peripheral vision as well as less glare compared to flat goggle lenses. The aim is to find a pair that suits your face shape, giving uninterrupted contact with the face but not a lot of frame in view.
Similar to face foam goggle manufacturers have pretty much nailed straps. Just make sure there are two to three rows of silicone gripper tape and that the adjusters aren't too bulky. Some are now offering trick interchangeable straps if you're a fan of customising your look.