There is so much advanced technology and bamboozling terminology wrapped up in modern ski goggles, that some of you may be thinking them almost an expensive waste, for what are essentially après-ski forehead-warmers... Well these ski goggles aren’t just for show. When you're at full speed, the ability to spot that last turn clearly could be the difference between skiing the line of your life, and disaster. Here we are looking only at the best of the best ski goggles for 2019 - beginner and intermediate skiers remember, you can still pick up a great pair of functional ski goggles for under £100.
The 5 Best Ski Goggles for 2019
Interchangeable lenses have dominated lists of the best ski goggles for the last few years, but 2019’s best ski goggles introduce new technology which could replace interchangeable lenses entirely...
Reviews of 2019's Best Ski Goggles
5. Shred Amazify NODISTORTION - £140
We love these because we love the retro feel, cool technology, but mostly because we love Ted Ligety. Let him explain.
The latest from US Olympic Gold medallist Ted Ligety’s brand, Shred’s NODISTORTION (patent pending) semi-permeable valve makes sure it doesn’t change shape when the goggles come under pressure at altitude, equalising pressure between the dual sense chamber, and the atmospheric conditions outside the lenses. It also stops water from getting inside the lens and causing fogging - especially important when you’re at and altitude high enough to warp your goggles.
We also have a lot of time for the way Shred use sensible words to describe their tech (e.g. NODISTORTION for lenses which don’t get distorted, and Contrast Boosting Lens for a lens which … boots contrast - read on for the complete opposite of this simplicity).
4. Smith I/O MAG Chromapop - £250
The award for this year's all-round simplest lens change mechanism - whilst having the most complicated terminology.
Many of these ski goggle brands have their own ‘patented’ technologies showcased in their products, and Smith are no different. The MAG lens change system is the name given to the brand’s iconic frameless design with 8 magnets and two locking mechanisms to keep lenses secure. The I/O has more technical features than we can list, but to give a brief overview - AirEvac ventilation, spherical lens for maximum field of vision, hydrophobic lens coating to reduce smudges and increase scratch resistance, and Porex filter which prevents optical distortion during elevation changes - it has it all.
Smith Chromapop goggle lenses give your vision superior detail and colour by filtering 2 wavelengths of light, apparently. The goggle comes with both bright light and low light performance lenses included, with VLT 12% (for bright days) and VLT 50% (for cloudy).
3. Dragon Alliance PXV - £160
Ongosa's Best Looker for 2019 - forget all this talk of what happens at the front of the goggle, that’s the coolest strap we’ve ever seen. And you can look at LOADS of stuff through them.
Dragon’s latest offering boast a 220 degree lens, for not just a wide field of vision, but a ‘wider-than-your-peripheral-vision’ wide field of vision, with the aptly named ‘Panotech’ lens. The Alliance has a toric (rather than cylindrical or spherical) lens curvature. Toric is a combination of the two, which gives different focal lengths depending on whether you are looking out the front or the side of the goggle). Triple layer face foam and Microfleece lining make donning this goggle not unlike pushing your face gently into a soft pillow. And hopefully before long, with these goggles, heading face first into pillows exactly what you’ll be doing.
Bonus replacement lens is included, which seems to be a very prevalent in all this years goggles - nice confirmation that all the lens changing technology isn’t just a gimmick to get you to buy another expensive lens. One size fits all, which of course is "Large", and if that looks too large… well that’s the point.
2. Oakley Fall-Line PRIZM REACT - £180
Basically the most high-tech goggles ever made.
With this Fall-line model Oakley are sticking with a cylindrical lens shape, (rather than spherical as most others mentioned do). This means the lens looks flat from the side, rather than bowled in a fish-eye shape. But there is another feature which makes the Prizm React lens remarkable. First came Oakley’s Prizm lenses - built on decades of ‘colour science research’, which resulted in maximised contrast and therefore enhanced visibility. Next come these.
We see many fancy interchangeable lenses this year which still seem advanced, but almost before changeable lenses have got going, the Oakley Prizm React tech has come along and already made it look old-fashioned to carry around more than one lens. The React allows you to flick between three tints in the same lens - dark, medium and light - by using up/down paddle buttons at the side of the frame, reminiscent of an F1 car changing gear. These paddles shift ions between two lenses inside the goggle and this changes the tint (no we don’t 100% understand the technology involved either, but knowing Oakley, we can trust that is works, and is awesome). The battery for this is charged by USB in around 2 hours, and one recharge can give more than a week’s ski usage. Welcome to the world of “electrochromic” goggles.
1. Zeal Optics Portal RLS Autochromic+ - £240
LITERALLY the most high-tech goggles ever made.
If you think the Prizm React is a cool lens - surprise surprise, lens tech can go one further. The Portal Autochromic+ comes with all of Zeal’s Optimum and Polarized lens features, with all the UV Blocking and anti-fog qualities you would expect, but with the addition of autochromic technology - the ability for the lens to change colour and tint automatically with changing light conditions, transitioning between tints in under 10 seconds.
The Portal still has the RLS (Rail Locking System) of last year’s model, which allows for super easy lens change if needed. This uses rails at the side of the frame which the lens locks into, rather than the magnets favoured by many brands - Zeal say this allows the goggles to twist without the lens popping out. So if you really need a lens for night skiing say, you still have the option to change, but with the autochromic lens, having to stop during your ski day and dig in the bag for a spare lens could soon become a thing of the past.
So with the strides forward made by Oakley and Zeal this season, the upshot seems to be - after this winter, you might never have to change your lenses again. So as nice as the models with changeable lenses are, think twice before rushing into a hefty purchase now, because with the rate of research and development we are seeing in the goggle market, all these brands could well be producing truly single lens goggles for 2020.
All goggle prices on this page are guide prices only.
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