What Color Lens is Best for Ski Goggles? (Best Tint For The Conditions)
I remember when I first started snowboarding I was so confused by the huge variety of gear available. One thing I failed to grasp is the importance of the color of the lenses in your goggles for different conditions. Let me help you avoid making that mistake.
Different goggles have different strong suits. Gray and photochromic lenses will be the best all-rounders. For lower light and overcast conditions, choose a warmer tone like orange or yellow. For high sunlight, the best choice would be a dark color like green or black.
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Different Types of Conditions
You’ll find a range of different conditions when you decide to go out onto the slopes on different days. These weather conditions play a huge role in how you should prepare for the day’s activities. This is true from outerwear to goggles.
In the case of ski goggles, different colors definitely work better in different conditions. The most important of these conditions is the amount of sunlight and its intensity.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll break the weather conditions into three main types, being very sunny, very overcast or blizzard conditions, as well as more neutral conditions. The neutral category typically consists of moderate sunshine and moderate overcast.
Picking the Right VLT Rating
Visible light transmission or VLT is the amount of light that your goggles will pass through the lens and into your eyes. This rating is usually listed as a percentage rating on goggles.
As the VLT rating is measured as a percentage, it makes sense to think the higher the percentage, the better the goggles will be at letting bright light through your eyes.
This is important to note because it shows that while some lens colors can be better for certain conditions, the VLT rating also plays an important role.
|Prescribed VLT Rating
|Typical Lens Color
|Very bright and sunny
|Less than 25 %
|Dark red, platinum, black
|Partly cloudy, moderate sunshine
|25 to 50 %
|Red, blue, green
|Very overcast, blizzard, or low-light
|More than 50 %
|Rose, amber, yellow, gold, copper
These ratings can definitely help, but be sure to always check the goggles you are looking at before you based your decision on their color alone.
Different Types of Color Tints
Now let’s go over the different colors you will typically find for ski goggles. These are the most common colors I’ve seen, but there are still others out there. If you don’t see a color on this list, try looking for the nearest color or use its VLT as a guide.
Clear ski goggles offer no protection from sunlight or glare coming off of the snow, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own purpose. Clear goggles still offer protection for your eyes from wind and other debris as you’re skiing.
The best time to use clear goggles is on heavily overcast days or nighttime when sunlight is low.
Yellow or Orange
Yellow and lighter orange lenses are useful colors for low light situations because they can actually aid in vision.
Both of these hues will be good options for low light conditions, particularly nighttime skiing. As seen in the table above, yellow and orange typically have higher VTL ratings.
Pink or Red
These warmer colors are also useful in lower light conditions. That being said, both pink and red are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of conditions. These conditions are usually between low and moderate sunlight.
Blue, Green, or Purple
The ski goggle's darker lens colors are usually great for sunny and bluebird skiing. Because dark colors naturally have lower VTL ratings, they will keep your eyes protected from a large amount of sunlight and snow glare.
These darker colors are definitely what you want if you are planning to encounter lots of sunlight and snow glare. Just be sure you do not choose a pair that is too dark for your liking, even in bright sunlight.
Black, Brown, or Metallic
It is no surprise that the darkest colors will have the lowest VTL ratings and block out the greatest amount of light.
This means they are suitable for the sunniest of days on the slopes. Unlike some of the other lens colors that could be used in a variety of scenarios, it is recommended that these very dark colors are reserved for only the brightest days.
Gray and Photochromic
Gray is one of the most versatile colors you can choose for your ski goggles. Their somewhat neutral hue makes them great for both lower and higher light conditions. That being said, they will never be the best at either extreme.
On the other hand, photochromic lenses are some of the best out there. They do come at a premium cost, but they are generally worth it. They react to varying light levels, providing good protection for high light and good visibility in low light conditions.
Mirror coatings are an extra level of protection if you are planning on skiing in very bright conditions often. The extra mirror layer helps to reflect incoming light, aiding in reducing the VTL.
Which Color of Goggles is Best?
Which color is best depends entirely on your specific needs? If you live or ski in an area that is almost always sunny, like Alpe d’Huez, Banff Sunshine Village, or Mammoth Mountain, the best goggle color for you would definitely be a darker shade like blue or green.
For more overcast conditions, you will want something that can let you see details in the slopes better. These are typically warmer colors like reds and yellows. For the most overcast conditions, clear lenses could be what you need.
For the best of both worlds, gray is a great choice. Gray lenses won’t perform the best at the extreme ends of the spectrum, but that is a sacrifice for its versatility.
Photochromic lenses might be the best goggles overall, but they do come at a higher cost.
What Color Lens is Best for Overcast Days Skiing?
Overcast ski days typically feature moderate to low light conditions. This can also be the case during periods of snow or blizzards.
In these conditions, visibility takes priority over protection from glare and sunshine. That means lighter color lenses will be the best option. These are usually the warmer shades like orange and yellow. Clear is also a great option for heavy snow days.
What Lens Color is Best for Bright Days?
High sunlight days mean you need to protect your eyes from both the sun and the glare from the snow.
Dark shades of blue and green are great for these days. Violet can help reduce glare and increase the level of detail you see on the slopes, which is helpful. Black or dark grey is undoubtedly the best for very bright days because of their very low VTL rating.
There are plenty of options out there for goggles. The best way to choose the right lens color for you is to know the conditions you will likely face on your adventures. VTL ratings are also very helpful to know which lens color will work well.
For low light conditions, go for warmer, lighter colors. Dark colors will protect your eyes well in bright conditions. Gray offers the best of both worlds.