Tell me if you have experienced this scenario. You are on the slope, the weather is great, and you are enjoying yourself. Suddenly it starts snowing, and you can barely see through your dark ski goggles, so you must take them off.
But you are getting more and more frustrated as the snow is getting into your eyes. Sounds familiar? It surely is an annoying situation, not to mention dangerous.
My name is Kate. I’m a ski enthusiast. Together with Aspen, an NZSIA and APSI certified ski and snowboard instructor with over 10 seasons of teaching experience, she has taught in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and China.
We decided to create a list of goggles you can rely on in every weather, so you won’t have to worry about this ever happening to you.
The Smith I/O Mag is our top pick of all conditions goggles. It is a reliable goggle with an impressive lens, a quick and easy-to-change lens system, and very comfortable.
There are many incredible options out there too and I will provide you with their detailed reviews in this article.
Here are our picks.
- Best Overall: Smith I/O Mag
- Runner Up: Zeal Portal (with Automatic + lens)
- Best Under $100: Bollé Z5 OTG
- Best for Quick Changing of lens: Anon M4 Toric
- Best Visions: Julbo Cyrius
- Best for Women: Oakley Flight Deck XM
The Best Ski Goggles for All Conditions
Here are the detailed reviews of our most recommended ski goggles for all conditions.
- Best: Overall
- Key Features: ChromaPop™, MAG™ lens change system, Three-layer DriWix face foam, Responsive Fit™ frame
- Fits: XL fit, Asian fit, Regular fit (medium)
I/O Mag ski goggles from Smith are a piece of equipment you can count on in every situation. You can choose from a wide range of lenses. Switching between them is quick and easy, thanks to the magnetic lens change system.
In this review, we will focus on a photochromic Rose Flash lens (30-50% VLT).
The lenses have a ChromaPop feature, which means they enhance natural contrast and color to amplify every detail in your view. It allows for better definition and clarity, which come in handy when scouting terrain at high speed.
You can say goodbye to tunnel vision since the goggles are designed to bring an increased field of view. Their responsive frame can adjust to your face for an ideal fit.
To prevent fogging and improve the wearing experience, I/O Mag is designed with a ventilation system that integrates with Smith helmets, an anti-fog inner lens, and a three-layer face foam that wicks away moisture and provides comfort.
The goggles’ main downfall is the hefty price tag. Additionally, the lens-change system is not as easy as some other ones because you have to take off your goggles in order to exchange the lens.
- Runner Up
- Kea Features: Rail Lock System (RLS), Polarized + Photochromic Lens (optional), Everclear Anti-fog, Triple-layer foam, No-Slip Grip
- Fits: XL fit, Asian fit, Regular fit
Zeal Portal is available with different lenses, including three different shades (yellow, grey, or rose bases) of Automatic + Lens. Those lenses are photochromic and polarized; therefore, they adjust to light conditions and reduce glare from the snow.
Their Visual Light Transmission (VLT) is, depending on the exact lens base, somewhere around 18 – 38%.
In addition to top and bottom venting in the frames, the lenses are treated with anti-fog coating, and there is a triple-layer face foam.
These three features reduce condensation to protect goggles from fogging and at the same time protect from wind and increase your comfort during skiing in less ideal weather.
Zeal’s unique Rail Lock System (RLS) combines magnetic and plastic channels designed to ensure your lenses can be swapped easily but are attached firmly and won’t fall off.
The frame itself is impact resistant, and its rimless design doesn’t block skiers’ peripheral vision and creates a sleek and modern look of the glasses.
Zeal Portal is nearly as expensive as Smith, but I/O Mag’s lenses are slightly better quality.
A downside to the RLS is that it can sometimes be challenging to swap lenses. You have to find the right angle to get it locked in the rails.
- Best: Under $100
- Key features: Over the Glasses friendly, Carbo Glas® anti-scratch, Double density foam, Flow-Tech® venting, Anti-fog treatment P80+
- Fits: Regular (fits medium to large)
Bollé Z5 is a very affordable photochromic ski goggle with double-density foam, which allows you to fit glasses underneath if needed.
The lens is treated with anti-scratch and anti-fog treatments. Together with Flow-tech ventilation, which is on top and bottom of the lens and thus increases airflow, they bring you comfort and clear vision on the skis.
Overall, Z5 is a simple, well-rounded product, and it serves well in sunny and cloudy conditions alike.
The ski goggles have a firm fit that protects you from the wind but can get slightly uncomfortable if you’re wearing the glasses during long ski sessions.
It would be nice to have an interchangeable lens system and more features, but it is still good value for the money.
- Best: Interchangeable lens system
- Key Features: Triple-layer Face Foam, Hydrophobic, and Oleophobic Coating, Integral Clarity Technology (anti-fog), Outlast® Fog Management face fleece, MAGNA-TECH® quick lens-change, PERCEIVE lens technology
- Fits: Regular fit (medium to large), Asian fit
Anon M4 has an innovative MAGNA-TECH® quick lens-change that uses powerful magnets to allow for quick and easy lens exchanges and provides a seamless and secure lens–to–frame seal.
You can easily change the lens with one hand, even with your gloves on.
You can get multiple lenses (the goggles come with one spare lens) to have one for each light condition, and then these ski goggles won’t let you down no matter the weather.
The PERCEIVE lens technology provides high-contrast vision, amplifies definition and visual clarity.
M4 also has a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating that protects the lens from smudges, scratches and is moisture–repellent.
Of course, these goggles wouldn’t be complete without a good anti-fog treatment. But in M4’s case, it is also accompanied by a fog management face fleece that absorbs and later releases heat to regulate the moisture inside the goggle better.
Anon M4 is quite big and might not fit well if you have a smaller face. These goggles are definitely an investment and won’t be suitable for someone on a budget, especially if you are planning to get multiple different lenses.
- Best: Visions
- Key features: Anti-fog coating, Air Flow, Frameless construction, Overstrap, Dual Density Foam
- Fits: Regular (medium to large)
Julbo Cyrius has an outstanding VLT range of 17-75% (when using the REACTIV Performance 1-3 lens) and offers a wide field of vision thanks to its frameless construction.
No need to carry around other lenses, because this one can handle all kinds of conditions, from sunny to snowy. The lens has an internal anti-fog coating and a red base tint to bring high contrast.
There are two layers of face foam, one of which is soft to the touch for more comfortable contact with skin. On top of that, both of them combined provide shock absorption.
The goggles feature airflow ventilation and an over strap to provide better compatibility with different helmets.
These goggles are well able to keep up with quickly changing conditions and provide comfort and protection no matter the weather.
Julbo Cyrius belong to a category of bigger goggles and may not fit people with a smaller head.
- Best: For Woman
- Key features: Prizm Technology, F3 Anti-fog coating, Mirrored lenses, Ridgelock Lens System, Rimless Frame
- Fits: XM
Oakley didn’t disappoint. These goggles are made with triple-layer face foam and both top and bottom ventilation. They are extremely comfy, stylish, and have an excellent performance.
The soft, flexible frame ensures a perfectly snug fit, and its rimless design increases the visual field.
Their Prizm lens technology serves to boost contrast even in challenging conditions. It highlights snow contours and textures. The goggles’ anti-fog coating eliminates haze.
Ridgelock Lens System allows for quick lens change and at the same time keeps the elements out.
The one thing Flight Deck XM could improve is durability, even though the goggles already have high impact protection. Especially the lens durability could be better. Also, keep in mind these goggles won’t fit well on a face with a small bone structure.
Best Ski Goggles for All Conditions – What to Consider?
There are a few important things you need to keep in mind to find ski goggles you can rely on no matter whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or windy and snowing.
Most important is to get a pair of goggles that fit well and then find the right lenses.
So what exactly should you look for in ski goggles that will suit all conditions?
Your ski goggles are supposed to be comfortable yet fit snuggly. The goggles need to make a seal around your nose. There shouldn’t be any gaps between your face and the foam.
Otherwise, you could have trouble with goggles fogging up or snow getting inside them.
If you ski in bad weather when it’s cold and windy, not having proper fitting goggles could be even more distracting and uncomfortable.
That is why ski goggles come in many fits.
You can find XL fit for large faces and noses, and women fit that is generally narrower than a regular fit, or a so-called Asian fit, which is ideal for anyone who has a flat nose bridge. That way, the person won’t have a gap between their nose and the foam of the goggles.
Interchangeable Lenses System
Each lens was designed for a particular light and weather. For the best performance, the lenses need to be swapped depending on the conditions. To be prepared for all situations, you will need a good interchangeable lens system.
Many big brands came up with their own lens-change systems, from different magnetic ones to a combination of magnetic and rail systems.
There are a few things to look out for. Check if the lens is attached firmly and securely so it doesn’t fall off while you’re skiing.
It is best to buy from renowned ski goggle brands because they have already worked on perfecting their lens-change systems, and so you can count on them to work correctly.
Also, the system must be quick and straightforward, something that will not stall you on a slope.
If you don’t fancy bringing extra lenses with you and changing them out in the terrain, the alternative is to opt for photochromic lenses.
They have a special chemical coating that allows them to adjust to current conditions and transition colors when the light changes.
That way, you can wear your ski goggles with confidence, knowing the lenses will automatically change to suit all weather.
These kinds of lenses usually have a specific range of Visual light transmission (VLT). It shows how much they can change and what light conditions they can adapt to.
The smaller the VLT percentage, the less light the lenses let through. Therefore, a VLT of 15% is ideal for a sunny day, while for a dark snowy day, you need even more than 50%. And for night skiing.
Not all photochromic lenses are made equal. Most often, they have a VLT range from somewhere around 17% up to about 45%, but you can find some with a more extensive range.
You can’t judge goggles solely based on their VLT because factors like polarization or mirrored lenses also affect how clearly you see in different light conditions.
However, 17% – 40% is pretty versatile since it can take you through sunny as well as overcast days.
The disadvantage of photochromic lenses is that they tend to be more expensive. The higher their VLT range and quality, the higher the price.
You don’t want your lenses to fog or scratch easily. Ski goggles for all conditions should make your life easier in less preferable weather and help extend your stay on the mountain.
The solution is to look for cool features. Some of them are anti-fog coating and good ventilation as they can reduce fogging.
While polarized lenses are great to prevent reflections and glare caused by bright sunlight, mirrored lenses can reflect the glare. Both of them can be combined, and they serve the same purpose, and that is to protect your eyes.
A wide field of view is ideal for someone who skis on crowded slopes or between trees and would appreciate the better peripheral vision.
Here are some most commonly asked questions when it comes to purchasing the best ski goggles for all conditions.
How long do ski goggles last?
Usually, a good pair of ski goggles can last for at least one season. If you take good care of it (make sure of accessories like goggle covers to protect your lens, keep them away from the heater or fire, air dry the goggles every time after used, it can last for an even longer time.
I have a 5 years old ski goggle and it still works really fine.
Can you wear sunglasses instead of goggles for skiing?
It depends. If you ski on a warm, sunny day with no wind, sunglasses are a great option because ski goggles may be too hot and cause you to sweat. Once you have sweat on your face, it’s pretty easy for your goggles to fog up.
You may find your eyes hurt if you are skiing at a relatively higher speed.
Are polarized ski goggles worth it?
Compared with non-polarized ski goggles, polarized ski goggles can improve your clarity and reduce glare. However, it also comes with a problem: more expensive and poor performance under low light conditions.
As a ski instructor, I suggest you get at least polarized ski goggles because they offer your eyes much better protection against harmful UV lights.
I would also ask you to go for high contrast lenses instead of polarized lenses because they can improve your vision, especially in harsh conditions, like cloudy, foggy, and for sure, low light conditions. It’s a bit more expensive than polarized lenses, but it’s worth it.
I believe Smith I/O Mag is a ski goggle that can protect you against all conditions. Its comfortable, good-looking, brings you super-sharp visions, and comes with many lens color options.
Their service quality is excellent, and I have been using Smith goggles for over seven years now. It’s a rock star when it comes to ski goggles!
Stay safe out there and have lots of fun!