There are a wide variety of goggle styles on the market nowadays, but they mainly fall into the categories of spherical and cylindrical lenses. As well as this, many brands sell both edgeless and regular lenses. Below is a brief rundown of the two types of goggles.
Cylindrical (Flat) Lenses
These goggle lenses curve horizontally while staying flat vertically. They cost less to make, so are cheaper to buy.
Spherical (Rounded) Goggles
Spherical goggles curve both horizontally and vertically, shaping to the contour of your face. These goggles have greater enhancements compared to cylindrical lenses but come at a price. Here are the advantages:
Peripheral Vision
With a greater lens surface area, spherical goggles allow you to see more above and below you, as well as to the sides.
Anti-glare modifications have been made to many cylindrical goggles, however, geometrically cylindrical goggles will always have more surface points where the sun’s rays hit the goggle, which creates blind spots. Spherical goggles, on the other hand, have strategically planned curves to reduce glare.
The flat edges of a cylindrical lens can cause visual distortion at certain angles, while the shape of a spherical lens allows for better optics. Most manufacturers injection mold spherical lenses, which allows for lens tapering (where the plastic is thinner the further from the center of the lens it is) all the way around the lens. Manufacturers have developed technologies to help reduce image distortion in cylindrical lenses, but spherical is still your best bet for distortion-free vision at the border of the lens.
There is more volume between your face and the cold outside with a spherical lens, which means better insulation and air flow. This gives a reduced chance of fogging.

*Please remember that these are only small differences, sometimes unnoticeable. This does not mean cylindrical lenses are not suitable.

Goggle lenses can come in a range of different colours and tints, all of which are for different weather conditions. There’s nothing worse than wearing clear sunny lenses in whiteout conditions. Manufacturers categorise their lenses by VLT (Visible Light Transmission) which is scaled from 0–100%, 0% being no sunlight let through to 100% being all sunlight let through. Here at Snow Exchange, we categorise our VLT in percentage blocks to make it easier for you. Below is a brief guide to the best VLT rating for each weather condition.


*For the most accurate VLT measurement on lenses, visit the manufacturer’s website.

BLUEBIRD (CLEAR & SUNNY) – 6–29% VLT: Allows 6–29% of the sun’s light through the lens to your eye, providing optimal vision on sunny days.

PARTLY CLOUDY – 30–54% VLT: Allows 30–54% of the sun’s light through the lens to your eye, providing optimal vision on partly cloudy days.

GREYBIRD (WHITEOUT) – 55–85% VLT: Allows 55–85% of the sun’s light through the lens to your eye, providing optimal vision on cloudy/gray days.

Goggles come in 5 different sizes: Small, Medium, Large, OTG (Over The Glasses) and Alternate Fit. The size of goggles usually correlates to the size of your head. The general rule is whatever size helmet you would use should be the size goggles you buy. Here is a description of each size:


For kids and youth, as well as adults with small faces.


Medium-sized frames will usually fit most adults.


Offer a bigger surface area and therefore better peripheral vision, but are a larger frame and will not fit everyone.

OTG (Over the Glasses)
These goggles are for users who wear prescription glasses. They are deeper than regular goggles and have channels to allow for the arms of your glasses. This is a much cheaper option than goggles with custom prescription lenses.
Alternate Fit
Controversially named ‘Asian Fit’, these goggles are designed for those with a shallow bridge across the nose and/or higher cheekbones.

Note: Most goggles are unisex, apart from some colour schemes and women-specific shaped goggles.

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