When looking for a new Ski Goggle have you ever asked yourself the following questions:
- What size and shape should I choose? What if I’m wearing prescription glasses
- What lens work for each weather condition? What does VLT (Visual Light Transmission) mean?
- What coatings exist and why? How can I ensure high visibility in difficult weather conditions?
- What features should I look at to avoid the ski goggle to foggy up? What does double lens mean?
- Once I’ve chosen the goggle what should I do to keep it always as good as new?
If yes, here are a few things you may want to consider before purchasing your new pair of goggles.
Ski Goggles Size
The size of a lens is mostly determined by its frame. Usually companies that manufacture ski goggles use the following sizing for their frames: kids, small, medium, large, x-large. If you are an adult you may fit different sizes of frames, from small to x-large, in the end it comes to personal tastes but overall think that once determined the size of your face you can go one size larger or smaller and still have the ski goggle fit you nicely. How can you determine the size of your face? One good way is to think of your helmet. If you are wearingA small size helmet should match a ski goggle that is either small or medium, a medium size helmet a small medium or large ski goggle and so on.
- Small frames -> Fit kids, youth and adults with smaller faces
- Medium frames -> the most common and broadest fit
- Large and x-large frames -> new frames with a wider view, commonly used by free riders and snowboarder, provide wider views and better clarity
OTG - Over the Glass design
A special mention goes to the Over The Glass or simply OTG goggles design. They have specific frames that allow people that use prescription glasses to keep wearing them under the ski goggles. The OTG design is usually obtained through either larger frames or a small cut in the foam or in the frame itself to allow the goggle to sit comfortable on the face and not put to much pressure on the temples. OTG frames usually are deeper to allow for the glasses to go inside of them.
Ski Goggles shape
These types of lenses are usually found on the lower priced goggle range.
These ski goggles usually have a narrower view, and smaller size. Because of the smaller size they tend to foggy up more easily. Their lens is usually obtained through planar lamination, hence they can only sustain light bending. Because of the simplicity of their construct they tend to be cheaper than the cylindrical or spherical lens but offer lower overall performance. Can be good as a backup lens or for beginners.
These types of lenses are usually found on the mid to high priced range. They consist of a lens curved from side to side. These are a great goggle as they have a significantly wider view and don’t distort your vision. Their ample size (usually larger than the traditional ones) combined with specific anti fogging design allow for clear visibility in different weather conditions.
At 6fiftyfive we believe Cylindrical ski goggles offer the best solution for skiers as they have a bigger wide view field than traditional ski goggles but don't present the problems of image distortion the spherical lenses present. Get a better understanding of the value offered by cylindrical ski goggles here
These types of lenses are usually found on the mid to high priced range. They are curved from top to bottom and from side to side providing wider view than the cylindrical ones but with the risk of distorting slightly your vision, they also may present more phantom images due to refraction, specifically with dual lens. On the other side as the goggle lens is spherical it reduces the glare from the sun, having less flat surface for the light to reflect onto.
Ski Goggles lens
Different lens colours block the light of the sun in different ways, so each specific colour can be a good or a bad fit for a specific weather condition.
VLT - Visual Light transmission
The amount of light that each lens allow to pass through the goggle is defined by the Visual Light Transmission, or VLT. VLT is based on a percentage: the lower the VLT percentage the lower the amount of light that the lens will let go through, so the better the lens will be for sunny days, higher VLT percentages will work better on overcast days or night.
Below a quick reference for the colour of the lenses from a night type of lens to a bright and sunny lens.
REVO coating was developed by NASA for their space suits visors technology to enhance contrast. A Revo Coating process consists of several layers of very fine powder baked onto the lens. It is made layer by layer (up to 9 to 11 for full REVO coatings), so it gets a colour that is rich and saturated.
Full REVO lenses reduce the amount of Blue Light that hits the eye, resulting in greater contrast between colours and a more pronounced brightness of objects. This specific coating allows to filter out harmful light while allowing in light that is helpful for vision.
The REVO coating results in the outer lens reflecting light in different colours based on the angle you look at the lens itself (from green to orange to blue).
Several low priced lens have a fake REVO coating that simulates the appearance of a REVO lens but without having the specific effect of enhancing contrast. Those low cost lens can be distinguished from the ones having full REVO coating from how the mirror of the outer lens transition from 1 colour to another (smoother and without interruptions in full REVO coated lenses).
6fiftyfive's ski goggles all have a full REVO coating in their lenses, with 11 layers of REVO coating applied to ensure deep and saturated colours. You can explore the whole 6fiftyfive ski goggles collection here
High Contrast lens
Some new lens selectively block some parts of the light range (from UV to IR) to help allowing others to pass through to enhance contrast
Polarized lens have a special filter that cuts out some of the glare coming from reflective surfaces like ice, water, glass. This provides better contrast and clarity,
Double lenses prevent fogging and create a thermal barrier to keep you warm. 99% of good adults ski goggles out there are double lens.
Multi layer lens
Multi layer lens are the latest in terms of technology and bring significant advantage compared to double lenses. They are made of several layers of shatterproof polycarbonate material combined in a single, thicker, multi layer lens. An analogy can be made with the old double windows of the houses in the 80s (the double lens masks) in comparison with the multilayer windows of today (our ski goggles). Because of that a multi layer lens usually brings the following advantages compared to double lenses.
- increased clarity: 5X compared to traditional lenses
- improved anti-fog: 3X compared to traditional lenses
- augmented contrast and extended durability
- increased view field +25% compared to traditional lenses of the same size
- reduced glares: -40% compared to traditional lenses
Ski Goggles frame
The foam on any goggle is always the element with the shortest life expectancy, how you treat your goggle will determine the life of the foam so its important to take just as much care of the foam just as much as you would the rest. The foam on any goggle can be made up of a single layer of foam or several. Professional ski goggles usually have 3 layers of foam, as it provides more comfort and protects more from external extreme conditions.
Additional vents on top and at the bottom of the frame allow the air to circulate freely throughout the goggle and prevent fogging. On higher quality goggles you’ll usually find additional venting over the top, bottom and around the sides of the goggle.
All goggles come with a strap to secure it on your head. These straps usually go on the outside of the helmet if you are wearing one or over your head. The strap its self makes sure that the goggle stays in place on your face and doesn’t start sliding around like an untrained seal. Most straps are made out of a stretchy material that is able to stretch over your head. Professional ski goggles come with straps that have a silicone wave on them to make sure that the goggles don’t go for an extra slide around.
You want the goggle to fit securely around your whole face:
Make sure that there isn’t a gaping gap from the top of the goggle to the bottom of the helmet lip
Make sure that the goggle isn’t pushing down on your nose to much that makes it harder to breathe through your nose or leaving a gap just above your nose.. If you feel like the goggles are pushing too much on your cheekbones, try loosening it a little bit the strap and see if that helps.
Ski Goggles maintenance
Always avoid touching the inside of the lens to prevent damaging the anti fogging coating and use delicate towels to clean its outside to avoid scratching the external coating.
when you are skiing / Snowboarding
A fall can occur and snow can get inside the goggle. In this case it is important to shake as much snow out of the goggle as possible and avoid touching the inside of the lens then head to the rest room to use the hand drier to blow the rest of the moisture out. Once you get home make sure that your goggle dry out really well, leave them on the counter to dry over night (do not put them into the dry room). Make also sure not to leave the goggle face down on the bench or any surface as this could scratch the lens.
when you are at home
It is really important to make sure that you store your goggles in a cool space, so not the garage and not in the shed and wrap them with a micro fibber material or the bag that they come with. Be sure that they aren’t wrapped in plastic. When cleaning the goggle, the micro fibber bag that most goggles come with is a perfect example of what to use. Only use it on the outside and if you rub the side you may rub out the anti fog.
How long do Ski Goggles last?
Goggles can last up to several years, however it all depends on how you look after them