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The Best Goggles

To conduct our winter 2017 fixed-lens goggle review, a team of testers used these goggles throughout Colorado at multiple ski areas, as well as in the backcountry. Testing feedback came from several hard-charging, aggressive skiers and snowboarders, several novice skiers and even a few kids aged 10-14 (where goggles fit with smaller faces). Feedback about each of the nine total entries in our review was collected from all of our testers, and then compared side by side in five main categories: field of view, fit and comfort, anti-fog, lens quality and features. The Gear Institute Rating is the combined score across all categories, representing the highest overall level of performance, and the five highest rated goggles made the final cut. As for the others in the top five, we really liked the lens quality of the Bolle Gravity, Optic Nerve Nastek, the Revo Wordsmith and the Spy Raider.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Oakley Flight Deck with Prizm Lens
90
Best in Class
2015
Field of View 9
Fit 8
Anti-Fog Performance 8
Lens Quality 10
Frame 7
Value 8

Revolutionary Prizm lens adjusts to all light conditions

Oversize frame fits smaller faces comfortably

Great field of view

Oversize frame profile stands 2.5 cm off the forehead

High price for a single-lens solution

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
$95.00
Bolle Virtuose
89
Best in Class
2016
Field of View 8
Fit 8
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 8
Frame 8

Quick & easy lens change system

Low-profile frame with great field of view

Comes with hard case for extra lens

Rubber molding can separate from plastic frame

Hard to change lenses without smearing the lens

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
$89.95
Bolle Nova II
88
Field of View 8
Fit 8
Anti-fog Power 8
Lens Quality 8
Frame 7
Value 9

Reactive lens that adjusts to the conditions

Large field of view in a medium-size frame

Triple-layer face foam that is very comfortable without being too thick

Great goggle for a very reasonable price

Only one lens

Flexible, less rigid frame

MSRP
$139.99
BEST DEAL
$79.95
Oakley Flight Deck XM
86
Best in Class
2017
Field of View 8
Fit & Comfort 8
Anti-fog Power 5
Lens Quality 9
Features 6

Plenty of venting and no fogging

Great for variable lighting conditions

Impressive field of view for mid-sized goggle

Pricey

Stiff frame

Lens scratched relatively easily

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
$99.99
evo
Electric EG3
85
Field of View 7
Fit 8
Anti-Fog Performance 7
Lens Quality 8
Frame 8
Value 7

Innovative lens interchange system

Great looking goggle that shows all lens and no frame

Comfy face foam

Unimpressive field of view for an oversize goggle


Hard to change lenses without lots of fingerprints


No protection for the extra lens included with your purchase

MSRP
$220.00
BEST DEAL
$124.99
Optic Nerve Boreas 3.0
85
Field of View 6
Fit 7
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 9
Frame 6

NASA’s NASTEK lens is exceptionally clear

Face foam & flexible frame are comfortable

Lenses are tough & durable

8-point clip-in interchange system is outdated & clunky

Lens easily separates from the frame, letting in snow on a tumble

Only the bright sun lens has the NASTEK technology

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
$89.00
Scott Linx
85
Field of View 6
Fit 8
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 6
Frame 8

Great adjustable frame fit

Easy interchange system

Good venting & no fogging

Less than impressive field of view

Average lens quality

Limited cushion face foam

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
$143.94
Oakley Canopy
83
Field of View 6
Fit 8
Anti-fog Power 8
Lens Quality 8
Frame 7
Value 6

Manageable size for a large-frame goggle

Crystal clear lenses

Great ventilation and no fogging

Many frame color and lens options

Peripheral vision is good on the sides but not on top and bottom

“Low profile” frame actually sits a good inch off the face

Relatively high price for only one lens

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
$79.99
evo
Smith I/OS
83
Field of View 6
Fit 5
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 9
Frame 6

Amazing definition & clarity from ChromaPop lenses

Pivoting outriggers make on and off easy

Second sleeve in goggle bag for extra lens

Lens interchange system is challenging

Face foam is scratchy and uncomfortable

Clip buckle on strap isn’t compatible with some helmets

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
$124.96
Optic Nerve Cortez
83
Field of View 8
Fit & Comfort 4
Anti-fog Power 6
Lens Quality 8
Features 7

Great for low light conditions

Wide nose cut

Great peripheral vision

Semi-soft shell case

Poor in really bright light

Frame too stiff

Flat frame

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Zeal Forecast with Automatic Lens
82
Field of View 9
Fit 7
Anti-fog Power 8
Lens Quality 5
Frame 7
Value 6

Impressive field of view thanks to the low-profile frame

No fogging even thought the lens is close to the face

Lightweight and flexible frame

“Automatic lens” isn’t great in bright or low light

High price for a lens that doesn’t deliver

MSRP
$239.00
BEST DEAL
$259.00
Electric EGX
82
Field of View 7
Fit 7
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 5
Frame 6

Impressive field of view for mid-sized goggle

Plenty of venting & no fogging

“Press seal” doesn’t create a good seal

Impossible to change lenses without smudging

No sleeve or case for second lens

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
$76.99
Bolle Gravity with Modulator Light Control Lens
82
Field of View 7
Fit & Comfort 6
Anti-fog Power 4
Lens Quality 9
Features 6

Great lens in versatile lighting conditions

Good lens durability

Good lens tint

Face foam too wide

Average field of view

Lens too far from face

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
REVO Wordsmith
82
Field of View 7
Fit & Comfort 5
Anti-fog Power 6
Lens Quality 8
Features 6

Great lenses in changing conditions

Good peripheral vision

Good anti-fog

Pricey

Nose cut pinched a bit

Stiff frame-no flex at all

Lenses scratched easily

MSRP
$229.00
BEST DEAL
$229.00
Spy Raider
82
Field of View 8
Fit & Comfort 7
Anti-fog Power 4
Lens Quality 7
Features 6

Good fit

Great peripheral vision

Good lens in versatile lighting conditions

Super-flexible frame

Lenses scratched easily

Lenses fogged easily

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$89.95
evo
Spy Ace
81
Field of View 7
Fit 6
Anti-fog 7
Lens Quality 6
Frame 5

Lower price point for an interchangeable lens goggle

Good field of view for a mid-sized frame

Two-sleeved bag for carrying the extra lens

Impossible interchange system

Lens does not form a good seal on the frame

Rigid frame has little flex

MSRP
$130.00
BEST DEAL
$59.99
evo
Smith I/O 7
80
Field of View 7
Fit 8
Anti-Fog Performance 8
Lens Quality 7
Frame 5
Value 5

Versatile, fits well with different helmets

Extra lens includes hard carrying case

Choice of many mirrored lenses

Complex lens change function

Poorly placed clip-buckle

Expensive

MSRP
$225.00
BEST DEAL
$200.00
Marker 3D+ OTIS
79
Field of View 7
Fit 6
Anti-fog Power 8
Lens Quality 6
Frame 5
Value 7

Sturdy frame

Great view through spherical “bionomic curve” lenses

Nice packaging with microfiber bag, extra lens sleeve, and vented neoprene carrying box

Lens interchange system is overly complex and clunky

“NMT OPTICS” technology is supposed to protect the lens but didn’t have a noticeable effect in testing

Bulky, hard-plastic frame sits far off the face

Impact-protection foam is not comfortable on the face

MSRP
$198.00
BEST DEAL
$98.42
Oakley Flight Deck XM

The Oakley Flight Deck XM has a large fit and impressive peripheral vision. The frame was relatively stiff, but curved around tester’s faces well. The nose cut was nice and large and the lens did not fog due to the dual vents. It worked great in a variety of lighting and weather conditions. Though, we’d like to see a little better glare protection for low, late in the day light.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at evo

Optic Nerve Cortez

The Optic Nerve Cortez with Nastek Saturn lens is a great goggle for low light. In cloudy/mildly overcast conditions the tint of the lens was perfect, but when the sun came out we had to squint a little, and were wishing that the lens was a bit darker. Also, the oversized frame did not fit small or medium faces well—it left large gaps near the temples.

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Bolle Gravity with Modulator Light Control Lens

The Bolle Gravity with Modular Light Control lens was one of the better lenses for a wide range of lighting circumstances. The frame is lightweight, has comfortable face foam, and good venting. Because the lens sits a little far from the face, testers could see their reflection in bright sunlight. However, this works well for wearing prescription glasses under the goggles. 

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REVO Wordsmith

The REVO Wordsmith was a great technical goggle, albeit a touch pricey. The lenses adapted very well to all light conditions but were more susceptible to scratching that others in the test. They felt a bit boxy on some medium-sized faces but sealed all the way around. 

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Cabela's

Spy Raider

The Spy Raider is a great goggle—the frame and lens are both very flexible so they will conform to virtually any shape face. They fogged relatively easily, and scratched easier than most. The frame size has great field of view, and they did not pinch the nose, and they sealed well with most of the helmets used.

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Review Results

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Field of View 

Here we are looking for the best degree of vision through the goggles. The Oakley Flight Deck, the Optic Nerve Nastek and the Spy Raider goggles all tied for the top contenders in the Field of View category. All three had a similar 170-degree view, with only a slight obstruction from the nose cut while looking down. The Bolle and REVO were rated not far behind in the Field of View category.

Fit & Comfort

The Oakley Flight Deck XM was the leader in the Fit & Comfort category, with the Spy Raider coming in as a close second. The combination of Oakley’s large nose cutout and the aggressive curvature of the Flight Deck made a perfect match for medium-sized faces. They did not slip around at all, making them overall the best fitting and most comfortable of all the goggles tested. The foam was nice and soft but durable, and the strap was easy to adjust. We paired them with five different helmets and found no major issues with a goggle gap. There are discreet frame notches at the temples for compatibility with most prescription glasses. Alternatively, the Raider’s soft rubber frame was extremely flexible and fit most, but not all, of the testers’ faces.

Anti-Fog Power

Anti-Fog Power is an important category when it comes to goggle features. The testers measured this not only on the mountains of Colorado, but performed an in-home test in a steam room as well. The Optic Nerve and the REVO goggles had the best anti-fog lenses of the goggles tested. No fogging occurred in the either lenses while tested in the relatively dry climate of Colorado. The Bolle and Spy Raider goggles scored the lowest of the goggles in the test.

Lens Quality 

All of the goggles had very high quality lens, with Oakley and Bolle tied for the highest score mainly due to performing better than the others in many different lighting conditions. The Oakley Flight Deck lenses performed well even in flat light, helping define the texture of the snow better than any other goggle tested, and there was no distortion around the edges. Testers did experience a small amount of glare that was not cut by the lens on bright days when the sun was low in the sky. Also, a scratch managed to appear despite careful handling. The Bolle Gravity also had some of the best lenses in the class. The tint was just right, and they adapted to all light conditions. Most of the days we tested them, the weather went from sunny to cloudy to blizzard and back to sunny again.

Features

The Optic Nerve Nastek Saturn glasses scored highest in the additional features category. The strap was easy to adjust and it stayed in place on and off helmet due to the three lines gummy silicon that go all the way around the inside of the strap. The strap is one continuous piece, and the elastic was just stretchy enough for moving them from face to forehead without issue. It comes with a lightweight bag and a semi-hard shell case, which the testers loved. On the down side, the Optic Nerve goggles do not come with other lens options.

 Review Conclusion

As for future trends in the goggle category, we really like seeing the improvements in the lens quality. Over the years we’ve seen goggles go from a thin piece of plastic that was merely designed to prevent your eyes from watering too much (the 70’s and 80’s), to neon and florescent goggles that were more fashion statements than function (the 90’s), to where they are today: trusty assistants to make sure you see those unexpected “ghost” moguls in the middle of the run and don’t get knocked down – or worse, into another skier, boarder or tree.

The other trend we see (and this is partially credited to helmet manufacturers) is that most goggles really do fit most helmets, and you rarely see that centimeter band of “cold forehead” between the two.

We are also starting to see helmets with goggles that are permanently integrated (i.e., they slide up into the helmet/slide down over the eyes). We are undecided as to whether or not this is a good idea – we like the fact that when you take the helmet off, you just slide the lens up and it is completely protected. But we don’t like the fact that the lens you bring with you in the morning might be too dark (or light) and you might want to change it mid-day – especially if the weather goes from cloudless blue skies to blizzard (note that no lens we tested adequately covered the entire spectrum of weather with 100 percent perfection). We also don’t want to faceplant and not have the protective foam layer all the way around the lens, thereby possibly injuring your face more than if you had worn regular goggles. So we are excited to watch them iron out these kinks, and see just where the industry goes.

Test Methods

Over the course of a few weeks, our testers (of varying skill and age) used the goggles at multiple ski areas and backcountry of Colorado. There were also several at-home tests performed in a more controlled environment. They aim to test under a variety of different conditions and terrains.

Each tester of the wear-test team individually evaluates each model on five different criteria: (1) field of view, (2) fit and comfort, (3) anti-fog power, (4) lens quality and (5) additional features of the goggles.

The Team Lead collects the feedback into a combined review that highlights areas of agreement and disagreement. Individual assessment of each category is scored on a scale of 1-10, and the individual scores are tallied into an overall Gear Institute Rating. The ratings are meant to measure how the product will hold up in a variety of conditions. The goggle with the highest aggregate Gear Institute Rating based on all five criteria is awarded Best in Category for that round of testing.

What is a Fixed-Lens Goggle?

The fixed-lens goggle is a necessity when it comes to skiing and snowboarding in different conditions. When evaluating a fixed-lens goggle, meaning the lenses are not interchangeable, it is important to be sure the lens quality is high and can handle a variety of conditions. Another type of goggle to consider would be one with an interchangeable lens for a more customizable experience.

One trend in the fixed-lens goggle category is the improvement of tinting so the rider can depend on a single pair of goggles without having to buy multiple pairs or worry about switching out lenses to match changing conditions. Another trend from manufacturers is a focus on fitting goggles to a variety of face sizes and a variety of helmets.

The price range for the goggles we tested ran between $90-$225. The lowest rated goggle was also the lowest priced, however it was still a top contender compared to the larger group. The “best in class” goggle was on the upper end of the price spectrum, but was not the most expensive. As trends shift and technology expands, we foresee quality fixed-lens goggles becoming even more affordable.