Goggles vs Sunglasses on the Slopes

When spending time on the slopes, protective eyewear is a necessity, not only for maximizing your performance but also for your safety. When it comes to protecting your eyes, you have two main options – goggles and sunglasses – but which is better? We explore the advantages of goggles versus sunglasses on the slopes.

The Advantages of Wearing Goggles

Many people will tell you that goggles are a must-have on the slopes. There are many safety advantages to wearing them. Let’s take a look at some of the best arguments put forward.

UV protection

Most goggles offer UV protection and are tinted in a rose or yellowy hue, these contrasting hues allow skiers to see objects and bumps more clearly in the snow. Many people do not realise the full extent of the dangers associated with too much sun exposure while skiing or snowboarding – the sun’s rays are much more powerful when reflected off the snow at a high altitude, and it is too much of this exposure which can lead to painful sunburn of the eyes. Goggles block 100% of these rays.

Overall protection

Goggles cover a larger area of the face, creating a seal against the skin that traps heat and keeps your face warm. This seal also helps keep out ice crystals from getting into your eyes and protects them against any branches or obstructions. Sunglasses can be hazardous if you fall over, whereas ski goggles also come with a strap that keeps them tight against your face, even if you fall down. Although those who are pro-sunglasses may argue that goggles can be bulky, it is actually this robust design that helps to shield the entire upper part of the face from the elements. Ultimately, goggles will protect your eyes from bad weather, snow blindness, snow, ice and debris.

Unobstructed vision

Goggle lenses are farther away from the eyes, meaning that there will be a wider range of vision compared to sunglasses. One of the major advantages to wearing goggles is that they provide unhindered peripheral vision; as skiers travel at high rates of speed, it is essential to keep your vision clear at all times.


Goggles are designed to fit comfortably, and usually still fit well even if you’re wearing a helmet – many helmets have brackets to hold your goggles in place. And regardless of their size, goggles should fit snugly around the eyes, blocking out snow and ice, which is harder to prevent when wearing shades. Goggle frames are made of softer and more flexible materials than traditional sunglass frames – nylon and rubber being the most popular because they hold their shape well. As mentioned earlier, most goggles will also have a large strap designed to keep them in place, no matter how fast you’re going down that mountain!

There are a wide range of goggles out there, many with excellent safety features such as 100% UV protection, anti-fogging and some models even include inserts for prescription lenses that can be made to your individual specifications and placed between the goggle lens and your eyes.

The Advantages of Wearing Sunglasses

As has been discussed there are numerous reasons for wearing goggles, but they are not always everyone’s first choice. We take a look at the best reasons for wearing sunglasses on the slopes.

Ideal for beginners

Sunglasses are ideal for those who are just starting out in snow sports, and are also ideal for skiers who don’t ski too fast. The weight and comfort of sunglasses can be beneficial when navigating the mountain. As sunglasses are typically lighter and more comfortable, it can make the transition from going down a mountain to then walking to your next location easier.


As sunglasses are an item that most people already own, it is convenient to take them to the slopes and it’s also typically easier to find prescription lenses for them than it is for goggles. Some sports eyewear manufacturers now even make adaptable sunglasses with interchangeable sides and straps, as well as detachable foam adaptors to create a more goggle-like fit.


Although functionality is hugely important when it comes to snow sports, fashion also plays a part too – especially around town and during après-ski. As previously mentioned, goggles can be too inconvenient for some who choose to opt for more discreet glasses. The bulkiness of goggles can make them uncomfortable or incompatible with some ski helmets. In addition, if goggles don’t have anti-fog features, they can commonly fog up, especially if they are regularly taken off.

Good weather conditions

Your choice of either goggles or sunglasses will also be influenced by weather conditions. While many prefer goggles in extreme weather conditions, sunglasses may be preferable when the sun is shining. And at least you’ll avoid those panda eyes!

Which do you prefer on the slopes, goggles or sunglasses? Let us know in the comment section!