When gliding down a steep ski slope, visibility is crucial both for your safety and overall enjoyment. Snow and sun in your eyes can ruin a perfectly good day on the slopes just as fast as a suspicious hot dog sandwich from the lodge. That’s why any experienced snowboarder will tell you that good goggles are one of the most important pieces of snowboarding equipment.
But what are the best snowboard goggles? Well, there’s no straight answer as it’s all a matter of personal preference. Here are some helpful tips to help you discover the right snowboard goggle for you.
The colour of the lenses is perhaps the most noticeable feature of a pair of a snowboard goggle. The right colour of lens will ensure crisp vision, improve your depth perception and provide a better view of the terrain in front of you. So, instead of simply picking the colour you’re most attracted to, consider the weather conditions you’re likely to face.
For instance, if it’s snowy, cloudy or foggy, a lens with a lighter colour is recommended. You can choose from yellow, amber, rose, green or blue. On the other hand, if it’s sunny, turn to lenses with a darker colour. Brown, grey, black and dark copper are great options for limiting the amount of light getting through the lens. You can also choose polarized lenses that reduce any glare reflecting from the snow. There are also lenses with mirror coating which offer excellent clarity in very bright conditions.
Lenses are available in two shapes: spherical and cylindrical. Spherical lenses curve horizontally and vertically to match the shape of the eye and offer a more natural view. They provide excellent peripheral vision, less glare and less distortion. However, they also cost more. The larger the lens, the better the peripheral vision and the higher the price.
On the other hand, cylindrical lenses only curve left-to-right and their surface is flat. They work fine, however, their flat surface may be prone to glare and can reduce your peripheral vision.
While the colour of the lens helps to keep uncomfortable UV rays out from your eyes, the foam lining surrounding the goggles on the inside helps prevent any snow and other debris from getting in. Additionally, the foam also softens the impact of the goggles on your skin, thus making them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Considering this, you want to pay close attention to the foam lining when choosing a pair of goggles. Goggles that have one layer of foam-lined with another layer of soft fleece that will be next to the skin provide a weather-tight seal and improve comfort and fit.
Ventilation & Other Anti-fog Features
While foam is important, you don’t want the goggles to have an air-tight seal. Some air should circulate inside the goggles so that they don’t steam up. So, make sure that the goggles have small vents on the frame or the lens. The more venting, the less foggy your goggles will get.
However, if you’re going to be snowboarding in extremely cold weather, the ventilation can make your face feel colder. In this case, you may want to look for a model that instead of vents features a lens with anti-fog coating. There are also lens coatings that repel water and dirt to keep the lenses clean for longer. However, these types of goggles tend to cost more than basic models.
The Right Fit
It’s crucial that the goggles fit you snugly so that there’s no risk that any debris flies into your eyes. However, you also don’t want them to fit too tight or they will be uncomfortable to wear. Goggles with adjustable straps will allow you to precisely adjust your goggles for a comfortable and secure fit. Most models come with a single sliding clip for adjusting. However, others are more flexible and feature straps on each side. If you have already bought your snowboarding helmet, you will need to make sure that the goggles are compatible with it. The goggles need to fit smoothly around the helmet in order to stay in place. Luckily, all major helmet manufacturers also produce a line of compatible goggles.
The Right Size
There are different sizes of snowboards, helmets and boots, so obviously, there are going to be different sizes of goggles as well. Most snowboard goggles are manufactured in the standard size (M). This fits most adult individuals. However, teenagers and kids that use smaller helmets will need goggles that are a smaller size (S). There are also large size goggles (L) with wider and taller frames to suit larger faces.
How to Clean Snowboard Goggles?
All snowboard goggles offer 100% of UVA and UVB protection. This means that the lenses are lined with special coatings. To avoid scratching or damaging these coatings, it’s recommended to clean your goggles with a special lens cloth. Some goggles come in a goggle bag that can also be used as a cleaning cloth. Additionally, if you purchase goggles with anti-fog coating, be extra careful when cleaning them as rubbing can damage it. It’s often best to let your goggles dry naturally then to rub them clean. If you do need to clean them, use dabbing motions instead of rubbing.