Whether you ski or ride, goggles are a critical piece of gear that provide comfort and safety on the mountain. Goggles can determine the difference between a good day and a bad on the slopes – if you can’t see, you can’t shred!
All goggles provide fundamental protection from wind, snow, and UV rays. However, there’s much more to it than picking a pair of goggles that matches your jacket. What about matching your face? With so many brands, shapes, sizes, colors, and styles on the market today, choosing the right ski/snowboard goggles to fit your face properly can be overwhelming. Let our experts at Christy Sports help you find that perfect goggle fit with these tips below.
The basic function of any pair of ski/snowboard goggles is to enhance your vision on the slopes by protecting your eyes from wind, snow, and cold, as well as compensating for variable lighting conditions. The first and foremost factor to consider is lens shape. Goggle lenses come in two primary shapes: cylindrical (flat) and spherical.
- Cylindrical Lenses: The lens on these goggles curves left-to-right, from ear to ear across your eyes and face, while the lens surface is vertically flat between your nose and forehead. This flat profile can result in more glare and reduced peripheral vision compared to spherical lenses. Cylindrical lenses, however, provide good performance at a lower price point, and are a good choice for those looking for a more low profile, traditional goggle.
- Spherical Lenses: This goggle lens also curves across your eyes and face, but it curves vertically as well. Curved spherical lenses offer better peripheral vision, less distortion, and less glare. The larger the lens, the better your peripheral vision becomes. The added optical performance found in spherical lens goggles typically means a larger price tag, but is often well worth the money, offering a larger, higher-profile goggle shape.
After enhancing vision, a goggle’s second basic function is to protect your face from wind and weather. This has more to do with the frame than the lens, so selecting the correct frame size is crucial to getting a good fit that offers the best protection.
When it comes to choosing a goggle frame, keep in mind all goggles fit differently from brand to brand. Your head size and face shape are two factors to consider when selecting a new pair of goggles. They should fit snug – but not tight – and comfortable.
Wearing goggles with a frame that is too small can result in uncomfortable pressure points on your nose and face. Wearing goggles that are too large can result in having more of the goggle frame visible in your field of vision, resulting in inadequate fit and functionality. Most frames are made of polyurethane because it allows for some flexibility.
TIP: In general, a more flexible frame is best for colder temperatures.
- Small Frame Goggles: Aside from styling, small frame goggles are designed to fit youth, women, and other adults with smaller faces. Both Smith and Giro have great options for kids while Smith’s Skyline and Velvet lines are perfect for women.
- Medium Frame Goggles: Medium frame goggles are tailored to fit those with “medium” or average size faces. They fit most adult men and women while not feeling overly bulky on the face.
- Large Frame Goggles: Large frame goggles are a solid option for skiers/riders with larger heads. They also provide a wider field of vision with increased peripheral vision for better self-awareness while out on the mountain.
TIP: In a nutshell, medium or larger-sized faces should go with larger frames, while those with smaller faces, like women or children, should get smaller frames.
Over the Glass Goggles – OTG
If you wear prescription glasses, then OTG – Over the Glass – frames may be for you. These specialized frames are designed to fit over your glasses, allowing enough space to accommodate glasses while avoiding pressure on your face from the temples and nosepiece. OTG goggles are a great option for people who prefer glasses over contacts when skiing or riding, or prefer not to shell out for expensive prescription goggle lenses.
TIP: You can use an anti-fog treatment on both your eyeglasses and goggles to help them from fogging up.
Proper Goggle Fit
Besides choosing the appropriate lens shape and frame size, another top priority in making your goggle selection is fit. If your goggles don’t fit comfortably, you will not be able to fully enjoy all of the awesome features of your goggles, not to mention your day on the slopes.
First, consider why your goggles don’t feel right by asking yourself these questions:
- Is there pressure on the outer eye socket? If you feel this, the goggle is too narrow and you need to find a model with a wider frame.
- Do your goggles pinch you on the bridge of your nose? First try to tighten the strap so it secures the goggle a little higher up on your face. If that doesn’t work, then try a goggle with a smaller fit or one with a different bridge contour.
- Is there a gap on the bridge of your nose? The first thing you should do is try to loosen the strap a little and see if you can secure it a little lower down on your face. If this doesn’t work, you should find a goggle with a larger bridge.
- Do your goggles pinch your temple? You should try to loosen the strap a little and see if that relieves the tension. Otherwise, you’ll need to try and find a wider pair of goggles.
Helmets, Straps, & Padding
- Helmet Compatibility: When checking your goggle fit, make sure they work with your helmet and/or beanie, both for performance and aesthetics. Your goggles should fit smoothly on your face with the strap around the helmet. If they don’t fit tightly to your face or deform when the strap is tight, try another model. Some goggles have arms that extend out from the frame to better position the strap outside of a helmet. Most goggles are helmet-compatible, but some of the larger spherical goggles may have compatibility issues. A goggle that’s too small may leave gaps. This is known as “goggle” or “gaper” gap, which is sometimes considered “uncool” in the ski/snowboard world.
- Strap Adjustments: Most goggles have a single, sliding clip to make adjustments. Others may have an open/close buckle with sliding clips on each side for adjustments. You should be able to tighten or loosen the strap so you get the right fit on your head. If you can tighten your strap all the way and it’s still too loose, it will not work for you. When wearing a beanie, a clip or buckle shouldn’t jab into the back of your head. Keep in mind, wider straps are much easier to adjust and tend to stay put much better.
When it comes to children’s goggles, some styles don’t have adjustable straps, so it’s important to check for this feature to allow room for the kiddos to grow.
- Padding: Face foam keeps your goggles from pinching your face. Foam should be thick enough to cushion your face, but not so thick that it promotes fogging. High-end goggles may use triple-layer foam to enhance venting. This extra padding around the edge of the goggle creates a full seal around your face that prevents any cold air from getting into the goggle.
For example, Asian Fit goggles provide thicker foam around the cheek bone and nose bridge area to help fill in any gaps. They are designed for those wo may have shallower nose bridges and higher cheeks. Top brands providing perfect Asian fit goggles include Smith, Oakley, and Anon.
With all goggles, make sure the foam follows the curvature of your face without pressure points. Again, there shouldn’t be any gaps between the foam and your face for wind or snow to flow through. You want a consistent, snug fit all around the perimeter of the goggle. If the goggles pinch your face or feel uncomfortable, they probably aren’t for you.
There you have it, the top tips and tricks to finding the perfect pair of goggles to fit your face – and your jacket! Our professional staff at Christy Sports is ready to ensure you have the most comfortable, best looking, no gaper gap goggles on the slopes this winter. See you out there!