The past couple of seasons has seen something of a leap in ski and snowboard goggle technology, led by the arrival of Oakley’s “PRIZM” technology.
Prizm – as well as the inevitable rivals that followed such as Lumalens (Dragon), Chromapop (Smith), Vivid (Giro) and SONAR (Anon) – works by filtering out certain light wavelengths in order to optimize the available spectrum for the mountain environment. In layman’s terms, you can expect greater contrast and clarity when gazing at shadowy powder chutes or freshly groomed pistes.
The Whitelines Test Team has put all these new lenses through their paces in a variety of conditions throughout the winter. We’ve also tried a bunch of classic tints, and just about every conceivable frame shape, to bring you this list of the best snowboard goggles for 2018/19.
When choosing your next pair, consider first the kind of conditions you’re likely to encounter. It’s no use buying a reflective lens meant for bright sunshine, only to travel out in January and encounter a week of thick cloud. Of course many goggles these days come with a spare low light lens (usually rose or yellow) for those ‘greybird’ days in the trees, but if you can only take one then an all-round shade like bronze is usually a better bet.
“When choosing your next pair, consider first the kind of conditions you’re likely to encounter”
Speaking of spare lenses, there are now some awesome quick-release systems for switching them out, using anything from magnets to levers. If the ability to adapt to the conditions (or just pop in a fresh lens after a stack) is important to you, then there’s really no excuse to be fiddling with awkward notches and rubbery seams any more.
Oakley have even released a brand new system that does away with lens changing altogether. Oakley PRIZM React uses battery-powered technology to alter the strength of tint at the push of a button.
Aside from cutting edge lens tech, the best snowboard goggles will offer superior peripheral vision and comfort – though bear in mind that your face shape will suit some models more than others, so it pays to try a few on. Venting, too, will always be crucial. Gone are the days when every lens had a line of holes drilled through them, but look for plenty of breathable zones above and below, and robust construction that won’t break or clog easily.
Style, of course, is subjective. Framed or frameless, spherical or cylindrical, it’s up to you. Just bear in mind that frameless lenses are a little more exposed – so look after them when you set them down at lunch – and that spherical lenses claim to suffer less from distortion.
Scroll down to view all the best snowboard goggles, or skip to a particular brand using the links below