The 5 Best Photochromic Ski Goggles For The Money

Thinking about upgrading your ski kit? Goggles might not be high on your list of priorities… but they should be.

If you’re wondering whether you really have to spend money on “oversized sunglasses” the answer from a pro skier would be an emphatic yes!

Bottom line: ski goggles are every bit as important as ski boots. They keep you comfortable and most importantly protect your eyes from the glare of the snow.

There are several styles of ski goggles available. But if you don’t want to have the hassle of changing your lens according to the changing weather or light, then we recommend opting for photochromic lens goggles. No need to stop and change lenses, photochromic goggles will handle all that for you.

But with so much choice, which are the best?

Let’s find out.

This Year’s Best Photochromic Ski Goggles

Smith Optics IO Mag

smith io mag ski goggles photoAnother great product from a leading brand in ski gear, Smith Optics IO Mag photochromic ski goggles are simply the best in this category, and our top pick. They feature 2 lenses for bright and low light conditions and with the magnetic lens interface; you can switch lenses in seconds.

They’re treated with an anti-fog coating as well incorporating a ventilation system that prevents fogging; Smith Optics IO Mag makes sure that your vision stays clear as day at all times.

A triple layer of face foam makes sure the fit is comfortable. Plus, the quick fit adjustment system on the strap ensures goggle position is fixed throughout the day.

The Smith Optics IO Mag does not disappoint in terms of design, either. Available in more than 20 colors such as Red Rock, Pink, Ink Stratus, and Petrol.

And, scratched lenses be gone! When not in use, you can store them in the microfiber bag securely.

Pros

  • Responsive fit frame design for maximum comfort
  • Wide silicone-backed strap stops the goggles slipping
  • Available in more than 20 colors
  • Life time warranty
  • Scratch, impact-resistant, anti-fog lens

Cons

  • Expensive in comparison to many other brands

Julbo Skydome

jublo skydome Photochromic gogglesWith excellent anti-fog capabilities and external hydrophobic outer layer that prevents smudge marks from fingers or watermarks; Julbo Skydome deserves a spot on our list of the best photochromic ski goggles.

We love the fact that these goggles give a wide panoramic view, which can’t be said for all photochromic ski goggles.

Ideal for dawn to dusk skiing thanks to the REACTIV Zebra Light Red lens, Julbo provides extra high contrast when you need it the most. One of the most important features of these goggles is that the lenses react quickly to the change of light from bright sunlight to skiing into a forested area, when light conditions change fast.

Julbo does not disappoint in terms of comfort, either. They are well-padded so comfortable to wear all-day, thanks to two layers of comfortable face molding foam.

Your purchase will come inclusive of a microfiber bag to keep them safe.

Pros

  • Anti-fog coating on the inner layer of the lens
  • Anatomic frame for more flexibility
  • Life time warranty
  • Quick to adjust to changing light conditions
  • External hydrophobic coating decreases finger marks

Cons

  • High-end, so similar in price to Smith Optics
  • Fragile in comparison to other goggles in this price bracket
  • Specific rather than a generic fit, so some skiers complain they’re uncomfortable.

Julbo Aerospace

Jublo Aerospace Photochromic gogglesThe Julbo Aerospace photochromic ski goggles have something that no other ski goggles on the market have: a movable lens to maximize ventilation. Just pop open the lens 1cm from the frame and you will have great ventilation in any weather condition.

Thanks to this Category 2 to 3 lens, you can feel confident both in good and bad weather. Plus, red tint improves contrast and a low-polarization lens eliminates 50% of glare. You may think that with the moveable parts durability might be a problem, but that’s certainly not the case, Julbo Aerospace goggles are built to last.

There are two layers of foam designed specifically for shock absorption and for optimum comfort. Finally, the goggles come with a full silicone strap which can be adjusted with ease.

Pros

  • Minimalist frame design
  • 13 – 40% light transmission
  • Red tint for improved contrast
  • Different lens options
  • The effects of whiteout and snow surface glare are eliminated.

Cons

  • Only one lens choice available.

Bolle Z5 OTG (Over The Glasses)

bolle z5 photo otg gogglesIf you are wearing glasses and looking for goggles that are specifically designed with an OTG (over the glasses) fit, then Bolle Z5 OTG photochromic ski goggles have got you covered.

The Bolle Z5 goggles has a special ventilation system called ‘Blow Tech’ both at the top and the bottom of the frame that allows clear vision at all times.

Plus, it features anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings, reducing the need to carry spare lenses (and waste a load of cash in the process).

Designed for medium to large size faces, these goggles from Bolle Z5 offer great peripheral vision.

Pros

  • OTG fit
  • Anti-fog and anti-scratch lens
  • ‘Blow Tech’ ventilation reduces moisture build up
  • Fire red photochromic lens
  • Triple layer face foam for comfort and ventilation

Cons

  • Not suitable for those who do not wear glasses
  • The lens isn’t interchangeable.

What To Know Before You Buy Photochromic Ski Goggles

The search for the best photochromic ski goggles is not an easy one. There are certain features that we recommend you check out before deciding on your purchase.

When you are high up a mountain, where the air is thinner and thus UV rays are less filtered, you need good high-quality goggles that will protect you from UV rays.

Let’s tell you that this is a standard requirement for ski goggles and all the photochromic goggles reviewed in this article meet these requirements. It is important to make sure that the goggles block 100% of the rays, otherwise you could seriously damage your eyesight.

Fixed or Interchangeable Lenses?

If you are an avid skier and enjoy skiing in different conditions, then interchangeable lenses are ideal for you. They allow you to choose different photochromic tints so that you are prepared for every kind of weather condition.

When buying the goggles, you need to check how easy it is to swap the lenses, as with your thick ski gloves, this task simple task can turn into a tricky one.

If you are a casual skier and spend most of your time on the same type of ski track, then you should go with fixed lenses. They are usually more economic and if you buy photochromic lenses, they adapt to the changes in conditions, as well.

Level of Polarization

A polarizing filter’s primary function is to reduce glare from sunlight on snow. So, if you are skiing in bright conditions, then you will need lens with a polarized filter.

You need to find the right balance in a lens, otherwise it is going to be too light midday, and too dark in mornings and evenings.

Type of Lens

You should choose your lenses dependent on the weather. One of the most important criteria when it comes to purchasing goggles, lenses should feature the right tint and provide you with the right color definition and contrast. That is why we love photochromic ski goggles so much such a good choice.

They change automatically, so once you’ve picked a lens, you don’t need to be swapping them out throughout the day.

What’s Next?

Thanks for reading our guide to the best photochromic ski goggles.

Like what you’ve read? We’ve got plenty of more gear guides on our website, including this guide to the best ski companies. Check it out, and check back soon, we’re constantly adding new reviews and skiing tips.

 

Grant's a motorcycle geek, outdoor enthusiast & confirmed racing nut. He road tests all the gear he buys, and then gives his feedback here on NoobNorm. He also details any quick fixes he stumbles upon, whether that's to stop brakes on motorcycles sticking, or unusual noises coming from gaming wheels.

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