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(Photo: Inga Hendrickson and Kevin Zansler)
2022 Winter Buyer’s Guide

The Best Ski and Snowboard Goggles of 2022

Lenses and frames built for superior vision

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Have you heard of the new color-popping sunglass lenses that make grass greener and roses redder? Lately, that light-filtering technology has also infused the goggle market. Every brand now has some buzzword for “tuned” lenses, but the benefit is the same: enhanced contrast. On the hill, this means you can see nuances of terrain and snowpack better, especially on overcast days or when the sun dips behind a cloud. To really put this crop to the test, we ran every pair on a broad range of days, from full sun to cloudy, throughout a western Montana winter.

Giro Contour RS ($270)

(Photo: Courtesy Giro)

The Contour RS is one of the most fully featured goggles we’ve ever tried, but we’re awarding it Gear of the Year status for its lens. For starters, it’s toric, i.e., slightly convex, to mimic the shape of the human cornea and thus reduce distortion. It also boasts Giro’s proprietary spherical curvature, which allows for enhanced peripheral vision, so you can be more aware of the skier approaching from behind your left shoulder. On top of that, proprietary light filtering technology boosts contrast, meaning it’s easier to discern features in shadows or poor light. This is especially noticeable—and vital—when you’re moving from a sunny face to a shady gully at 25 miles per hour. Combined with a compact frame, all those features offer a sharp but massive field of view to people with smaller than average faces. (Those with big heads should look to the Contour, which sports the same features in a regular-size frame, for an equal price.) Still, the Contour RS fits over all but the chunkiest prescription glasses. We also love the magnetic lens-change system, which is reinforced with self-locking tabs for quick and secure swaps, and the proprietary foam along the top of the frame, which allows moist air to escape while still keeping snow out. Even ski touring in a sleet storm, we couldn’t get the goggles to fog up.

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Anon WM3 Perceive ($235)

(Photo: Courtesy Anon)

Best Lens-Swap System

The WM3 (and the men’s M3) is one of the better-performing magnetic lens-change goggles we’ve tried. Its lens is specifically tuned for more contrast under gray skies, and is coated with a water- and grease-shedding treatment, which adds durability and impressive exterior smudge resistance. We were able to swap tints on a chairlift in three seconds without leaving fingerprints. Because the magnetic lens sits snugly inside the frame instead of resting on top of it, the connection was always secure. The frame is ideal for small to medium faces (the men’s version is designed for medium to large faces). Like the Radium Pro Signa, the WM3 also features cutaways for prescription eyeglasses.

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Glade Challenger ($94)

(Photo: Courtesy Glade)

Best Value

When we review goggles, we tend to look for the latest technology. That often means top-shelf pricing. But Glade proves you don’t need to drop more than $200 to have a high-quality experience. The Challenger doesn’t have a fan, a digital display, a magnetic lens-change system, or photochromic lenses. It’s just a simple goggle. But then it only costs $93. What you will find are essential features like comfy three-layer face foam, silicone anti-slip strips on the band, and a crisp, cylindrical lens with loads of peripheral vision. (Cylindrical-lens goggles wrap faces well for big fields of view.) The Challenger also resists fogging as well as any modern goggle without a fan or defroster. For optics, a gray lens is treated with a purple mirror coating to reduce glare. I was so happy with its versatility that the Challenger became my default goggle. I kept waiting to see when it would disappoint me. It never did.

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POC Zonula Clarity Comp ($250)

(Photo: Courtesy POC)

Best Large Frame

POC built the Zonula Clarity to provide an extra-large field of view, but it’s also great for people with bigger faces. The frame incorporates plastic wings that extend beyond the sides of the lens like outriggers to help distribute pressure from the strap, thus creating a uniform fit. This detail is particularly notable since the Clarity Comp is fairly rigid, which can offer a bit more protection in a crash but often compromises comfort. The competition-oriented Zeiss Clarity Comp violet lens is tuned for POC’s highest contrast on snow in a mix of clouds and sun. Sure, the old-school lens-change system is a bit cumbersome and best implemented indoors (instead of using magnets or levers, you press the lens into dovetail joints on the frame). But once we had the lens in, we had zero issues with it coming loose or letting in wind. Bonus: an impressive 47 percent of the frame material comes from substances derived from all-natural castor and corn oils. 

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Salomon Radium Pro Sigma ($180)

(Photo: Courtesy Salomon)

Best All-Arounder

Sigma is Salomon’s new tuning technology that enhances contrast. This matters when you’re going fast while trying to read the snow and upcoming features at the same time. The spherical lens is sharp, with almost no internal mirroring, and the soothing rose-tint lens we tested was ideal for gray days and partial sun. But the real beauty of the Radium Pro is what Salomon calls Custom ID Fit. The three-layer foam and the frame material work together like a hinge to naturally contour to the shape of your face. How? Four smart little slices in the frame and foam near the cheekbones and brows—barely perceptible unless you look—let the goggle seat without pressure points. Subtle cutaways at the temples also allow for compatibility with prescription glasses. The end result: best-in-class comfort. 

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From Winter 2022 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson and Kevin Zansler

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