Ski goggles can be outrageously expensive, yet they're really not an optional piece of equipment — when you're gliding downhill at break-neck speeds, being able to see is a requirement. Fortunately, there are some budget options out there. When shopping for the best ski goggles under $100, you'll want to keep the following elements in mind:
- Visual Clarity: This refers to how well the lens brings out the colors and textures in the snow, as well as your surroundings. High quality optics will help you avoid obstacles and spot rough patches ahead.
- Lens Tint: The tint of your lens determines how much light is coming in and which colors are getting through. When it's bright and sunny, you'll want a darker lens; when it's foggy or snowing, you'll want a lighter lens. Conditions change often on the mountain, so carry a spare lens when possible.
- Ventilation: It doesn't matter how great the optical quality is if your goggles are fogged up. Features such as layered foam, anti-fog coating, and air vents all help equalize air temperature and prevent this from occurring. (Also, don't put them on your head, hat, or helmet — that makes it worse).
- Field of Vision: This has to do with how wide or narrow the frame is and how much peripheral vision you have. A wide field of vision will help you see better and avoid collisions.
- Fit: Your goggles need to fit properly to create a tight seal on your face. If they're loose, you'll get wind, snow, and other elements coming inside. Some goggles are designed to fit certain face sizes and shapes, so keep an eye out as you shop. You may also want to make sure they are helmet-compatible.
Beyond those, there are a few additional features to look out for. For example, some lenses are more durable and built with anti-scratch coating. Others offer built in UV protection or photochromic qualities to adapt to changing light. Mirrored or polarized lenses help reduce the glare on the snow, and some goggles have special mechanisms that let you change lenses quickly. You'll find many of these features in my list of the best ski goggles for under $100.
1. The Best Overall
Spy Optic Raider Snow Goggles
Built with patented Happy Lens technology, these innovative ski goggles offer great ventilation and stunning visual clarity at an awesome price. The idea behind the "happy" optics is that they filter out short-wave blue light while still allowing long-wave blue light to get in, thus boosting your mood while making you more alert and responsive. The lens also offers 100 percent UV protection. The frame is constructed from sturdy polyurethane, and a silicone-ribbed strap keeps the goggles snug on your face. On top of that, they showcase a trio of anti-fogging technology: giant Scoop vents, triple-layer Isotron face foam, and sweat-wicking Dri-Force fleece. The goggles come with a bonus low-light lens for foggy days to compliment the pre-installed sunny-day lens.
2. The Runner-Up
Smith Optics Scope Goggles
With excellent ventilation and fantastic anti-fog features, these optics scope goggles from Smith are another great bargain. They don’t feature fancy technology like the Spy pair, but they do offer crisp visual clarity, along with high-quality, compression-molded face foam that feels soft against your skin. With an extra wide silicone strap for a comfortable fit, these also come with a microfiber goggle bag for safekeeping. "I wore these throughout the day in multiple light conditions cloudy, sunny, snowy, overcast, and blinding sun never had a problem," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "No fog at all, great breathability." When placing your order, note that the "color" is actually the frame — to choose your lens tint, select from the dropdown menu.
3. The Best Budget Option
Traverse Varia Ski Goggles
If you don't ski that often and just want something decent to get you down the hill, these ultra-budget ski goggles are a great choice. The technology isn’t as outstanding as some of the more premium models, but for the astonishingly low price, they do a superb job. The frame is made from strong polyurethane with triple face-foam that’s soft and ventilating all in one. The anti-scratch, dual-layered lens has anti-fog coating and 100 percent UV protection. The goggles are available in a citrine tint option that's mirrored for extra shadow contrast, as well as a clear lens option perfect for skiing at night. "I'm really happy with these especially for the price," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "They fit well, look cool and didn't fog up. They give you an extremely wide field of view and the optics of the lenses were fantastic on both."
4. The Best Frameless Goggles
Dragon Alliance X1S Ski Goggles
These top-grade spherical ski goggles are a phenomenal steal for 90 bucks. They're made with patented technology that removes the frame completely so it won't bang up your forehead when you fall, and there's nothing narrowing your view. The lens itself is made with full UV protection and an anti-fog treatment on the inner layer. There's triple-layer foam with micro-fleece lining to let airflow in while being soft and comfortable, too. The strap is snug yet flexible, and the shape is fully helmet-compatible.
5. The Best If You Wear Glasses
Giro Index OTG Goggle
Engineered specifically for people who wear glasses when they ski or snowboard, these Giro Index OTG goggles are perfect if you don’t want to hassle with contacts on the slopes. On top of the extra volume, they boast small indentations on each side to allow your glasses to fit properly without compromising the seal or causing chafing at your ears. They’re constructed with a well-made thermoformed lens and anti-fog coating. A row of vents above the gasket line lets sweat and warm air escape; paired with the double-layered face foam, the combo ensures the goggles don’t fog up. "These goggles are large enough to fit comfortably over my glasses without pressing on the frames," wrote one reviewer. "That helps avoid headaches after a long day of skiing."
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