While most normal ski goggles cannot handle shifting light conditions, photochromic options do so with ease. The lenses automatically adapt to changing light in a way that always enhances your visibility.
I’m Christine, and I’ve experienced nearly every light and weather condition you can imagine during my skiing career. I’ve used photochromic lenses to help me out, and I know what to look for in the best goggles with this functional feature.
The Julbo Aerospace is my pick for the best photochromic ski goggles of the season. This high-quality model features a wide field of view and a REACTIV photochromic lens to let you easily adjust to changing light conditions.
This year, there are several other good photochromic ski goggles available, and I’ll show you all of the best options in this post. If you want to make sure you can see clearly in every condition on the mountain, these goggles will surely help.
Let’s get rolling.
Who Should Get This
Photochromic goggles are the perfect eyewear for any skier who often finds themselves in inclement conditions. Seeing clearly in changing weather conditions is incredibly important for such situations, especially when you don’t know how the light will shift.
Skiers who constantly move around the mountain, or those who do their skiing in different places, will also love photochromic models. Advanced skiers who ski off-piste can significantly benefit from using these types of lenses.
Cross-country skiers can also utilize the technology, as it helps them stay on top of their surroundings as they move from location to location.
Do photochromic ski goggles work?
Yes, photochromic ski goggles do work. They can help you see in many different lighting conditions while you are skiing, which makes them an excellent option for any skier who wants to stay alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.
Are photochromic lenses good for skiing?
Photochromic lenses are a good choice for skiing. You never know what type of light you’ll experience on the mountain, and even slight changes can leave you struggling to see if you don’t have good lenses. Photochromic options can help with this.
How long do photochromic lenses last?
Photochromic lenses can last for years, and they will generally be good for the lifetime of your ski goggles. These lenses do wear out after time, especially with regular use – but I still think you can easily get 2-3 years of use out of them.
Are photochromic ski goggles worth it?
If you aren’t on a budget and don’t want to change lenses or goggles to adjust to lighting conditions, then photochromic ski goggles are worth it. If you don’t want to spend extra money or have multiple lenses, you can get by without them.
Best Photochromic Ski Goggles: Top Picks
Here are all of my top picks for the best photochromic ski goggles of the season. Every option you see here will give you the ability to see in changing light conditions easily.
1. Julbo Aerospace
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: REACTIV Photochromic lens, wide field of view, comfortable, excellent ventilation
- Lenses: REACTIV Spherical with Anti-Fog
- Ventilation: SuperFlow System
- Cost: $$$
The Julbo Aerospace sits on the top of the list for the best photochromic ski goggles of the season.
This is a solid option for experienced skiers who want exceptional clarity in all types of weather and lighting conditions.
The REACTIV photochromic spherical double lens gives you adaptive tinting, and they are coated with a highly effective anti-fog treatment for added clarity.
These are a bit bulky and somewhat expensive, but the lenses are great.
2. Smith I/O MAG Photochromic
- Best for: Performance
- Key features: High-end option, excellent overall performance, durable construction, ChromaPop lens tech
- Lenses: Spherical Carbonic-X
- Ventilation: AirEvac
- Cost: $$$
If you want an extremely high-quality option with adaptive lenses, they don’t get much better than the Smith I/O MAG Photochromic.
These are some of the best ski goggles you can get your hands on, and when you choose the Photochromic lenses, you’ll be able to see through nearly anything.
Other features include a 5X anti-fog inner lens that effectively reduces moisture and ChromaPop lens technology that filters wavelengths for added definition.
These are available in many different lens styles, so double-check that you choose the photochromic option when buying.
3. Bollé Z5
- Best for: Budget Option
- Key features: Affordable photochromic option, anti-fog and anti-scratch coated, comfortable
- Lenses: Cylindrical
- Ventilation: Flow-Tech
- Cost: $$
The Bolle Z5 is one of the more affordable photochromic ski goggles currently available.
These are also very durable, thanks to a P80+ coating that makes the lens resistant to scratching while reducing fog. A Flow-Tech ventilation system also helps keep the windows clean.
The cylindrical lenses also make these a good OTG model, and they have a little extra space to accommodate prescription eyewear.
Although these are a budget option for photochromic goggles, they still aren’t super cheap.
4. Julbo Skydome
- Best for: Field of View
- Key features: Frameless design, wide view, good ventilation, comfortable
- Lenses: REACTIV Photochromic with Anti-Fog
- Ventilation: AirFlow
- Cost: $$$
The Julbo Skydome has the best field of view out of any photochromic ski goggles that I’ve seen.
These have a frameless design that increases the surface area of the photochromic lenses to give you excellent peripheral vision.
They also have a very capable anti-fog coating to help reduce moisture and comfortable foam that molds around your face for an easy fit.
The Skydome is pretty bulky, so you’ll want to double-check that the goggles fit with your helmet before purchasing. That’s a downside to having a wider field of view.
Best Photochromic Ski Goggles: What to Consider
Here are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for the best photochromic ski goggles.
When choosing goggles, getting caught up in aspects like tint, color, and field of view is easy. While all of those are undoubtedly important, do not overlook durability. Your goggles, regardless of where you ski, are going to take a beating out on the slopes.
Always favor brands that use high-end materials, as well as models that have reinforced lenses or sturdy frames. Most brands that offer photochromic lenses are well-known for having quality construction that will last for a long time.
Goggles need to let you see. While field of view and light sensitivity are both critical, it is also vital to pay attention to anti-fog technology. Premium goggles have a range of ways to let extra moisture out of the goggles, and they are all essential.
Such attributes are not just important, they are critical in helping you see as you ride. The benefit of photochromic lenses slips away if your lenses fog up and you can’t see out of them. You need to make sure this doesn’t happen by having adequate ventilation.
Photochromic ski goggles are typically more expensive than the average pair of goggles you might be used to. This is a premium feature, and you’ll pay a premium price to get these lenses.
While the cost might not be a big deal to anyone who understands the benefit of these lenses on the mountain, don’t be surprised to see the price of your goggles go up considerably if you select a photochromic lens option.
Goggles are clothing items when it’s all said and done. As such, you want them to look good. Though many brands utilize similar models or styles, there are differences between each company.
Color, fit, and look are all things to keep in mind when choosing your goggles. Though this should never be your number one priority (features always come first), do not be afraid to choose the better looking of two similar models.
Useful Tips & Resources
Photochromic lenses are often beneficial on the mountain, but they can be a bit tricky to understand. If you want more information, this quick article from Smith sheds more light on the technology. It’s a good read if you’re interested.
Those using photochromic goggles likely ski in a wide range of conditions. But different lens tints will also help you with this. Check out the video below to learn how to use different goggle tints when you ski.
The Julbo Aerospace is my pick for the best overall photochromic ski goggles of the year. These are an excellent option for any skier looking for reliable clarity and vision to tackle any weather or conditions all season long.
Photochromic lenses are an innovative way to improve your vision while you ski. They simplify the process of adapting to changing light, and all the goggles listed here will provide you with a boost of clarity when it’s needed.