4 things to consider when buying ski and snowboard goggles

Goggles are undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of equipment for the ski and snowboard season. Some might even argue that the right goggles are just as important as finding the right jacket and pants. There is hardly anything worse than having a blinded view on your way down the piste, right? That's why it's important to choose a set of ski or snowboard goggles that suits the environment and the weather conditions where you are going to ski or snowboard.

The goggles-talk can get geeky very fast. Cylindrical vs. spherical lenses, OTG, VLT, and visual distortion are just some of the terms, that you might meet in your search for a pair of goggles. In this article, we have found 4 things to consider when you are buying new ski or snowboard goggles.

1) The shape of the lens

Many of the ski and snowboard goggle brands have different terms for the same specs. This can make it difficult to navigate if you are not a term expert. However, it’s common for all manufacturers to divide the lenses on ski and snowboard glasses into two categories.


Ski and snowboard goggles with cylindrical lenses have a curved shape that follows the horizontal shape of the head as if the lens was cut out of a cylinder. The lens is flat and goggles with cylindrical lenses are usually a bit cheaper than those with a spherical lens. Goggles with a cylindrical lens are often very flexible, and some pros prefer them since the flexibility provides an optimal fit around the face.


A spherical lens is curved across the lens both horizontally and vertically as if the lens was cut out of a sphere. This results in a wider field of vision than a cylindrical lens. The shape also reduces visual distortion and gives a more precise view of the world.

2) The color of the lens

There are countless tones and colors of the lenses, and the brands have many different names for these. One thing that they all state in the specifications is the VLT - Visible Light Transmission. VLT indicates how much light the lenses allows to pass through to the eye. It’s basically a term for how many percent of the natural light that reaches the eye. So instead of only looking at the color, you should take a look at the VLT-value.

If you only ski in bright sunshine in the middle of the day, you should go for a lens, with a VLT between 5-20%. Lenses with 60-90% VLT typically have good abilities in fog, snow, twilight or in artificial light from light-projectors in the evening or inside.

A good all-around lens is located in the broad center of light intake - 30-60% VLT. These lenses can be used regardless of weather and lighting conditions. The color of such a lens will typically be brown or orange.

3) The size of the goggles

Small is reserved for children, young people or in some cases, adults with minor head sizes.

Medium fits most adults - both men and women. Virtually all frames for goggles are made as unisex, and when a manufacturer says that a set of goggles is a female model, it’s primarily due to the color combination.

Size means a lot when it comes to ski and snowboard goggles, and many manufacturers make oversized glasses to achieve a wider peripheral view. So, large and oversized goggles are not necessarily reserved for people with big heads. However, keep in mind that oversize goggles must leave a gap to your helmet at the top, otherwise, you won't get the right ventilation and this might cause fogging.

OTG is also a term when it comes to size. OTG is short for Over The Glasses and goes on well with the fact that one can wear glasses along with the goggles. In addition to being roomier inside than ordinary ski and snowboard glasses, OTG glasses are also designed with grooves in the frame that fits the temple bar from conventional glasses.

4) The design and look

In recent years it’s almost raining with new models and brands that claim that their goggles are the absolute best. But if you choose high-end goggles you will get a pair of long-lasting goggles. Therefore it basically comes down to personal preference of what model you should choose. You should choose a pair of goggles with a design and look that you like and feel comfortable about wearing.

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