It is essential to wear something over your eyes while you are skiing. You may like to wear sunglasses, but there are some days when only a pair of ski goggles will do.
When you take a look at all the different ski goggles people wear, you will see that their lenses are different colors. Skiers sometimes choose the lens color to match their outfit, but different colors work best in specific circumstances.
In this ski goggles color guide, we will go into the details of each color, so you can choose the best lens for you. We will also give you lots of tips for buying a pair of ski goggles.
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- Why Do We Need To Wear Ski Goggles?
- Which Color Ski Goggle Lens Should I Choose?
Tips For Buying Ski Goggles Or Replacement Lenses
- Consider The Most Common Conditions You Ski In
- What Is The VLT Of A Ski Goggle Lens?
- Choosing Ski Goggles With Multiple or Interchangeable Lenses
- Are Ski Goggles With Polarized Lenses Worth Buying?
- Ski Goggles Lens Shapes
- Check Out The Ski Goggle’s Ventilation
- Make Sure Your Ski Goggles Fit
- What If You Wear Glasses?
- Make Sure Your Ski Goggles Are Compatible With Your Helmet
- Oakley Prizm Lenses
- Ski Goggles vs Sunglasses
- Final Thoughts
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The glare from the snow makes it very difficult to see when you are skiing, which is hazardous to you and other slope users. But if you wear a pair of ski goggles with a specialized lens, the glare reduces significantly.
When you wear goggles, you experience less glare, especially when it is a sunny day. Therefore, you don’t have to squint, and you can concentrate on enjoying your favorite ski slopes.
One of the problems with everything being covered in snow is that everything can seem to blend together. On overcast days, both the sky and ground are white, making it very difficult to see where you are going.
However, certain colored ski goggle lenses add contrast. This contrast lets you see the horizon and bumps in the snow, so you can see where you are going and what is coming.
Ski goggles are essential for protecting your eyes, and they do so in several ways. If you ski without goggles, your eyes are subjected to wind, bright sunlight, and glare.
The design of ski goggles gives you much more coverage than sunglasses. They seal around your face, stopping any cold wind from getting in that would make your eyes water.
A ski goggle’s lens also protects your eyes from UV light emitted from the sun, which also reflects off the snow, making it stronger and more harmful. The bright light can damage your eyes and cause snow blindness.
Another hazard you can experience while skiing is snow and debris flying into your eyes. When you wear a pair of ski goggles, this is not a problem, and they also protect your eyes from low branches when you are having fun skiing in the trees.
By wearing ski goggles, you will be able to see properly, which means you can avoid any hazards you may come across. You will also be able to have more fun, as you will spot the best snow.
With all the different lens colors available, deciding which one is best for you can be confusing. There are two primary considerations for the color of the lens in your ski goggles, light transmission, and your personal taste.
When it comes to personal taste, you undoubtedly will prefer some colors more than others. Luckily, there are enough choices between lens color and lens technology to get something you like.
Having said that, light transmission should be your main priority, as different lens colors transmit light differently.
If you use a too dark lens for the light conditions, you will struggle to see details in the terrain ahead. On the other hand, if your lens isn’t dark enough, you will spend all day squinting and potentially get headaches.
Here is a rundown of all the different ski goggle lens colors and what they are suitable for.
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Clear ski goggle lenses have no color to them at all. They are totally transparent, don’t block any light, and are usually used for mountain biking, motocross, or similar sports.
The only time a skier would benefit from a clear goggle lens is for night skiing. The goggles will shield their eyes from the cold wind without compromising their vision.
If you watch nighttime freestyle skiing competitions, you will notice that most competitors wear clear lenses in their goggles.
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Rose ski goggle lenses are suitable for lots of different light levels. This color lets in a fair amount of light, so it is good for days with low to medium light levels. However, a rose lens may not be the best choice for a sunny day.
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Amber, red, and orange ski goggle lenses are excellent for low light days on the mountain. You could wear amber or red goggles on a day with reasonably high levels of light. But, if you ski in bright sunshine most of the time, you should pick a darker lens.
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A yellow ski goggle lens is the best choice when you ski on an overcast day, and everything is white. In these conditions, there are no shadows, making it difficult or impossible to see the irregularities in the snow.
In flat light or low light conditions, a yellow lens will help you to see the imperfections in the snow.
So if you are skiing on varied terrain, a yellow ski goggle lens will mean you can easily pick out moguls and ruts ahead of you.
Photo by Karsten Winegeart from Unsplash
These dark-colored ski goggle lenses are great for skiing in bright light conditions. They provide a high amount of shade, so you don’t have to squint when skiing on sunny days.
If you choose a brown lens for your ski goggles, you will have excellent shading. But, in addition to this, your depth perception will be improved.
Photo by Glade Optics from Unsplash
Another great choice for conditions with a high light level would be a blue, green, or violet ski goggle lens.
A blue lens is excellent at reducing glare while on the slopes. However, a violet lens increases the detail in your vision, thanks to its enhanced contrast in flat light.
A violet lens will help you see moguls and jumps when the light is flat.
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Gray ski goggle lenses are excellent for a multitude of light conditions. The color handles pretty much everything but won’t excel at a particular light condition.
Therefore, if you want a goggle lens that can be worn at any time, go for a grey one.
Photochromic ski goggle lenses change according to the light conditions. They automatically adjust to suit, which makes them great for days with variable weather.
These lenses gradually become darker in bright light but become lighter in low light conditions. Photochromic ski goggle lenses are pricey, but they are versatile, so you don’t need to change your lens.
You can also choose a ski goggle lens with different coatings. For example, Mirrored ski goggle lenses are great for skiing on bright sunny days.
The mirrored coating reflects any excess light, reducing the glare from the snow and the sun’s brightness.
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Now you know about the different ski goggle lens colors, you are on your way to making an informed decision of what you need. However, there is more to goggles than just the lens color. Here is some more information to ensure you buy the right ones for you.
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The information above may suggest that you need a ski goggle lens for nearly every condition. This is not practical or kind on your wallet, so you need to think about the most common conditions you ski in.
You may be a fair-weather skier who only goes out when the conditions are perfect. Therefore, you should only need a dark lens.
However, where you ski makes a difference to your choice. For example, does your regular ski resort spend most of the winter under a blanket of clouds? Or are the conditions variable throughout the season?
If you ski in a resort with variable conditions, you may want to choose a lens that can cope with different light levels. Alternatively, you could buy a pair of goggles that allows you to change the lens and switch them accordingly.
Photo from Pixabay
The VLT is a vital characteristic of a ski goggle lens that you should pay attention to. VLT stands for Visible Light Transmission, and it is a percentage of how much light the lens lets in.
A lens’s VLT is affected by its color, thickness, coating, and material. The VLT will be stated in the lens’s technical specifications. If not, the manufacturer will make it easy by saying what lighting conditions the lens is best for.
If you ski in bright, sunny conditions, you will need a lens with a VLT of less than 25%. These lenses are typically colored platinum, black, or red.
A ski goggle lens with a VLT of 25 to 50% will usually be blue, green, or red. These lenses are suitable for partly cloudy and partly sunny conditions.
On an overcast or cloudy day, you will need a lens with a VLT from 50% and over. These are usually colored yellow, gold/copper, amber, and rose.
You may only want to buy one pair of goggles, which is understandable. Therefore, you need a pair that suits the majority of your skiing.
It makes sense to buy ski goggles with interchangeable lenses. Ski goggle manufacturers make switching lenses very easy with different methods.
Some ski goggle frames are malleable, allowing you to twist the frame and pop the lens out in seconds. Other ski goggle brands attach their lenses to the frames with magnets, making switching lenses even more straightforward.
If you buy new ski goggles, you may want to choose a high-end pair. These often come with an extra lens, suitable for low light conditions.
You will come across polarized ski goggle lenses; these are excellent at reducing glare. We talked about glare earlier, but reducing it allows you to spot patches of ice and imperfections in the snow.
Many ski goggles have 50% polarized lenses. These work very well on bright days, but you may find them too dark to wear on overcast days.
One of the main issues with polarized ski goggle lenses is that they can reduce your depth perception. If you think that this would be a problem for you, you may want to avoid them.
When you try ski goggles on, you will notice that the lens is either spherical or cylindrical.
Spherical lenses curve vertically and across your face. The advantage of this lens shape is that it gives you excellent peripheral vision (especially if they are large) without any distortion while reducing glare.
The disadvantage of spherical lenses is that they increase the price of the ski goggles.
If you want to reduce the cost of your ski goggles, you may want to choose a pair with a cylindrical lens. These lenses curve across your face, but they are flat vertically.
Cylindrical lenses make ski goggles less expensive, and they work very well. However, if you are used to a spherical lens, you may experience decreased peripheral vision and increased glare.
As you ski, you will produce a lot of heat from your body. When this mixes with the cold air, your goggles can fog up. This is caused by condensation forming on the inside of the lens, compromising your vision.
Ski goggle manufacturers realize this, so they take various measures to combat your lens fogging up.
The first way to prevent condensation from building up is with excellent ventilation. Goggle manufacturers place vents in the top and bottom sections of the goggle frame.
The vents allow air to pass through the goggles, so larger vents work better than smaller ones. The downside of vents is that they can make your face chilly in freezing temperatures. But they are fine the rest of the time.
The next method goggle manufacturers use to prevent fogged-up lenses is to cover them with a special coating. Pretty much every ski goggle lens will have an anti-fog coating, except very cheap or old ones.
If you have budget or old ski goggles, you can buy various anti-fog products to stop the condensation from forming.
Most ski goggles have double-layered lenses, as they don’t fog as quickly as single-layer lenses. The two lenses need to be sealed properly to stop them from fogging, so if condensation builds up between the layers, there may be an issue with the seal.
You may come across ski goggles that are fitted with small fans. These fans are battery-powered and keep air flowing through the goggles preventing condensation from building up.
The fans often have different settings to suit different circumstances. For example, you can make the fan spin faster when you are standing still and slow it down when you are skiing.
You will find fans on a few high-end ski goggles, but they are not common.
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It is essential that your ski goggles fit your face. They should feel snug but not too tight, and they should have no gaps letting wind in.
You should try on ski goggles before you buy them, as different models fit differently. Some are suitable for small faces, while others fit large faces better.
Most ski goggles manufacturers make their frames from polyurethane due to its flexibility. The frames need to be flexible to make switching lenses easier and to cope with the cold temperatures.
Pay attention to how adjustable the goggle strap is, as you may want to wear the strap inside or outside of your helmet. You will notice that most goggles have a single strap with a sliding clip that allows you to adjust the goggle’s fit.
Other goggles have a buckle that you can clip or unclip and have sliding adjusters so you can fine-tune their fit. However, it is worth noting that not all kid’s goggles are adjustable.
To make the goggles fit your face better and to be comfortable, manufacturers fit them with foam padding. The foam stops the goggles from pinching your face and prevents gaps.
The foam should be thick enough to provide cushioning, but not too thick, as this may cause your goggles to fog. Goggles at the top end of the market have two or three layers of foam to help with ventilation.
Skiers who wear prescription glasses should look for OTG goggles. OTG stands for over the glasses, and these goggles have a deeper profile to make space for your glasses.
OTG goggles are shaped to prevent pressure on your face, temples, and nose. If you wear glasses, you may want to treat the lenses with an anti-fog product to keep them clear.
One of the things that are often overlooked is how your goggles fit with your ski helmet. You can see this in every lift queue with people’s foreheads exposed between their goggles and helmet.
When you try on a new pair of ski goggles, it is a good idea to wear your helmet. This will ensure that they work well together, fit snuggly, and don’t interfere with each other.
During your search for the best ski goggles, you will no doubt come across Oakley Prizm lenses. These are high-end and expensive lenses that are worth talking about, but are they worth the money?
The Prizm lens is the product of 15 years of research. Oakley’s goal was to increase the contrast you get in sunglasses.
Prizm lenses accentuate the colors the human eye is most receptive to. The result increases contrast levels while giving you enhanced depth perception.
These characteristics are excellent for skiing as skiers can see details of snow cover that they would usually miss. They also get superior clarity and exceptional sharpness.
The primary benefit skiers get from wearing ski goggles with an Oakley Prizm lens is enhanced performance and faster reactions, as they are more aware of their environment.
Without a doubt, Oakley Prizm lenses are excellent. Their increased clarity and contrast enhance your mountain time.
If you can afford to pay the extra for a pair of Oakley Prizm goggles, we recommend that you do so.
Photo from Pixabay
The lenses in sunglasses use similar technology to ski goggles, but goggles are much better. Sunglasses are fine if you are not skiing fast on a good weather day, but as soon as you start to pick up speed, the cold wind gets behind them, making your eyes water.
You may want to carry a pair of sunglasses in your ski jacket pocket. They are handy to have if the temperature heats up, or you want to sit on a sunny terrace for après without getting a goggles tan.
Ski goggles provide much more coverage, give you a wider field of view and better visibility. The only downside is that ski goggles can get pretty hot on a warm day.
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Now you are armed with all the necessary information to buy the perfect pair of ski goggles.
The main things you need to take away from this are the different ski goggle lens colors, how they fit, and the different lens technology available.