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.