So now that winter is here (at least in the northern hemisphere), it’s time to talk about ski goggles replacement lenses and interchangeable lenses.
Having the right snow sunglasses or goggles in good condition is a must while doing any winter sports. Lots of people who live in places that don’t get snow are always caught off guard at how strong the sun can be on top of a snowy mountain. So, they usually get a worse sun burn than they would have gotten at the beach at home, and they spend the whole day squinting in the sunlight reflected off the snow.
As you can see, a good pair of ski goggles or at least a decent pair of polarized sunglasses is essential for both personal comfort and safety when skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or whatever it is you like to do when you get a few inches of fresh powder (am I saying that right?).
Speed test: which ski goggles have the fastest lens change?
For those of you who want to go all out with a legit pair of snow goggles, we’ve got a fun speed test for you. This is a breakdown of which ski goggles have the fastest, easiest to use mechanism for switching between lenses.
Now, at Sunglasses Restorer, we don’t sell ski goggles replacement lenses, but we are very deep into the replacement sunglasses lenses industry. And I know that some of our friends from beachier climates might not be eager to spring for a fancy pair of snow goggles that they’ll only wear once before they get lost in the garage somewhere. So after we give you the lowdown on the fastest lens changes for ski goggles, we’ve got a little guide to making your favorite polarized sunglasses hold their own on the mountain.
Let’s get started with the speed test!
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right snow goggles for skiing, snowboarding, or whatever your winter sport of choice is. We ranked the 6 ski goggle models below according to one factor, and one factor only: how fast you can remove one lens and replace it with another lens.
The fastest model isn’t necessarily the best model, but exchanging lenses quickly and easily does come in handy if conditions change unexpectedly. If you’re on the ski lift and the cloudy morning suddenly turns into a bright, sunny afternoon, it’s nice to be able to change to a stronger lens without a lot of hassle.
How we measured speed:
We timed each model from “on” position with the first lens to “on” position with the second lens. So if one model had to be taken off to switch the lenses out, that is accounted for in the time. If another model doesn’t have to be taken off, that is accounted for, too. Basically, this is a simulation under real-life conditions.
Fastest ski goggles for replacing lenses
6. Smith IO7: 48 seconds. These ski goggles have a clip in the back to put the goggles on and take them off, which you think would make it faster, but it still comes in last place. Lining up the new lens to click into place on each side is more challenging compared to the other models, and that is what really makes it so much slower than the other five. But still, less than a minute ain’t bad.
5. Oakley Airbrake XL: 30 seconds. The Oakleys have a switch lock that requires a little bit of precision to insert the new lens into, and they have to be taken off, which slows things down considerably.
4. Spy Doom: 25 seconds. You have to remove these goggles to change out the lens, but they do have a handy little button that you just press with your thumb to click out and click the new lens in. Nice because you don’t get fingerprints on your lens.
3. Electric EG3.5: 23 seconds. The EG3.5 are the fastest of the goggles that have to be taken off for a lens change. And surprisingly, they don’t have any fancy tech to lock the lens into place. You just kind of pop them out and then press around the edges to pop the new one in. Simple. Elegant.
2. Dragon X2: 7 seconds. Like the Anon, you don’t have to take these off. Andthat makes things go a lot faster. There’s a little locking mechanism on the bottom outer sides of the frame for easy click in and click out.
1. Anon M3: 4 seconds. I know that sounds incredible, but it’s true. The secret to the M3 is… magnets! You don’t have to remove the goggles to replace the lens, and the magnets just do all the work for you.
Which sunglasses to wear when you don’t have ski goggles
One of the funny things about being a Florida transplant in Colorado is that I’ve discovered through personal experience that many of my favorite boating and fishing sunglasses worked quite well before I finally splurged on some real ski goggles (those were lean times). The technology used to filter out light while improving image quality in fishing sunglasses is the same used in snow sunglasses and ski goggles.
So if you are on a ski trip from a place where you go fishing on Christmas in shorts and flip flops, here’s a guide to using your normal polarized sunglasses in lieu of snow goggles in a pinch.
Amber/copper lenses on snow sunglasses
The copper/amber lens color was my go-to in Florida: general, all-purpose sunglasses that would hold their own on a fishing trip.
Anyway, before I moved to Colorado and visited my brother for spring break many years ago, I obviously brought my Costas along with me, because they were my main pair of sunglasses. And I must say, they performed admirably as snow sunglasses. (Even when I took a wrong turn and was forced to go down *that* slope – you know, the steep one that’s always out front with hundreds of those mogul thingies? Talk about a thigh workout!).
Green mirror lenses on snow sunglasses
So here was my evolution in both fishing and snow sunglasses. I liked looking through my lenses and seeing that amber color, but I felt like there were times I needed better light protection than what my amber lenses were giving me.
Enter: green mirror lenses. These became my all-time favorite lens color out on the water. And wouldn’t ya know it? They looked suspiciously similar to some of my bro’s snowboard goggles (he swears by these Oakley Airbrake snow goggles, in case you’re wondering). And let me tell you, that green mirror lens made for a very respectable pair of makeshift snow sunglasses when it was extremely sunny. Basically, the encapsulated mirrors block out more light and glare, but they still have that warm amber look that I prefer.
Blue mirror lenses on snow sunglasses
Just like the green mirrors, they are excellent at blocking out reflective glare that is always a problem on open water. I haven’t tried this lens color myself out in Colorado, but I imagine they would perform well as snow sunglasses for the same reason.
The main difference between the blue mirror and the green mirror (other than the color that other people see when you wear them, obviously) is the mirrors are encapsulated in a smoky lens instead of amber. So when you look through the blue mirror lenses, the color sensation is cooler, more of a grey tint than an amber tint.
Yellow lenses on snow sunglasses
Finally, there are yellow lenses (without mirrors), which is a lens color with a very specific purpose, whether it’s on ski goggles or performance sunglasses, and that is for low light conditions. Colorado is a very sunny place (more so than the “sunshine state”, truth be told), but we do have our overcast days. And that’s when the yellow ski goggles come out. Supposedly, the yellow lens improves how well you see while filtering out just the right amount of light for early morning/evening or very cloudy days.
Well, that’s that. Now you know more about ski goggles replacement lenses:
you know which ski goggles have the fastest lens changing mechanisms. And if you aren’t quite ready to spring for some proper snow goggles, now you know how to make your polarized sunglasses work in a variety of conditions, at the beach or on the mountain.
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Happy skiing from Sunglasses Restorer!