Eyewear is a crucial piece of equipment for every outdoor activity. Protecting your eyes from the sun will allow you to continue recreating for many years without developing eye problems. In a sport like mountain biking, you might want eyewear that is a little more sturdy to protect your eyes from rocks and other items your wheels may kick up. Mountain bike goggles (or MTB goggles for short) offer great protection, and a snug fit to stay on even the gnarliest of trails.
With outdoor recreation being an extremely popular pastime, there are so many different kinds of goggles you can invest in. Like other kinds of outdoor gear, it can be daunting to start researching what to look for before you buy. We wanted to help out a little bit with that and outline a few things that you need to keep in mind when you start shopping for goggles.
We will review the strengths and weaknesses of each goggle for you and follow it up with a buyers guide to help you learn what to look for when making your purchase.
Best MTB Goggles:
These goggles offer a nearly unobstructed field of view with their frameless construction. Originally a popular goggle for snow sports, this new design for mountain biking adds magnets to the lenses to secure them in place. Even the rockiest trail won’t be able to knock the lens out of these goggles. You can buy spare lenses in a variety of reflective and clear finishes. Each lens is double-paned, combine this with full ventilation around the lens and you have a goggle that is extremely hard to fog up.
- Easy to change, magnetic lens
- Wide field of view
- Open Ventilation
- Expensive replacement lens
Smith Squad Chromapop
The Smith Squad Chromapop set out to solve the problem of underventilated goggles. Not only are the lenses treated with antifog, but a lattice of air vents around the frame allows for maximum airflow while you are riding. Each pair of goggles comes with a color-tinted pair and a clear pair, and trading them out is super simple. The chromapop lenses filter light via two different wavelengths to ensure you have the best visual clarity while out on the trail.
- Open ventilation
- Comes with two lenses
- No barrier on vents to keep debris out
- Restricted field of view
Melon Parker MTB MX
The Melon Parker goggles are perhaps the most customizable pair you can currently buy. You can choose the lens, strap, and frame colors you want with no limitation, all options are interchangeable. This also means that spare parts are incredibly easy to come by. You can have a different goggle set up every week if you wanted! Fogging is not an issue with the 360-degree venting design.
- 360-degree venting
- Thousands of custom combinations
- Most affordable goggles on the list
- Materials not as high quality as other competitors
The 100% Racecraft combines stylish designs with rugged construction to give you a goggle equipped for the elements. You have the option to buy either a clear or color-tinted lens on every model, and each pair comes with a stack of tear-offs to keep your goggles clean even on the muddiest of courses. Replacement lenses are easy and cheap to come by, making this an affordable pair of goggles to maintain.
- Many color options
- Removable nose guard
- Tear offs included
- Restricted field of view
Giro Blok MTB
The Giro Blok MTB goggle offers a very tall frame. This gives a great field of view when you are out on the trail. Make sure that they fit with your helmet though, sometimes these goggles can be too tall The strap is made with double silicone so you won’t have to keep retightening your goggles throughout your ride. Antifog coating helps fight against a build-up of condensation inside the lens, but these goggles do tend to fog up more than their competitors.
- Unobstructed field of view
- Secure strap
- Poor Ventilation
- Expensive Replacement Lenses
The Scott Prospect goggle boasts a light-sensitive lens that adjusts to the level of sunlight hitting it. This means you won’t need to swap out lenses during your ride, freeing you up to just tear up the trails. Because of this feature, however, when you do want to change your lens, the process is not that simple. A wide nose bridge adds comfort for all face shapes, and an unobstructed field of view allows you to bike safely while being aware of your surroundings.
- Unobstructed field of view
- Light-sensitive lens
- Tricky lens changes
The Fox Vue goggle takes the field of view very seriously. Outfitted with a pre-curved polycarbonate lens, your goggles will be completely distortion-free. These lenses are also particularly tough and will protect your eyes from large pieces of debris that may get kicked up at you. 360-degree venting will keep your face cool and lens clear throughout your ride. The front of the straps double as a locking system for the lens, making this goggle look extra sleek without extra hardware to hold the lens in place. While this looks great, it can be tricky to figure out how to do and takes longer than other locking methods.
- Tear offs included
- 360-degree ventilation
- The locking system can be tricky to use
- One of the most expensive goggles on the list
While this pair of goggles tops out as the most expensive on the list, Oakley is known for making extremely high-quality products. The lenses are made from Oakley’s signature Plutonite material, guaranteeing a distortion-free field of view. And their Switch Lock lens changing technology makes for a simple transition between tints depending on the day’s weather. The well-constructed frame fits snuggly on most helmets, and a wide nose bridge allows for comfort for any nose shape you can think of. When it comes down to it, the main drawback of these goggles is the hefty price tag. if you can get past that, you’ve got a fantastic pair of goggles.
- Extreme optical clarity
- The most expensive goggle on the list
When investing in a pair of goggles, you need to know how much you are willing to spend. As with most outdoor gear, you get what you pay for. Cheaper goggles will not last nearly as long as their more expensive counterparts, but if you are just testing the waters with MTB goggles it might be worth it to buy a cheaper pair in case you decide you don’t like them.
Shape and Fit
Not every pair of goggles will be the same size! While online shopping is all the rage today, this is a product you will want to at least try on before you buy it. If it’s too small for your face, cuts off your field of view, or makes it hard to breathe, you won’t have any fun biking in them. Make sure your goggles don’t cut off your peripheral vision, you want to be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when you are flying down a hill. Additionally, you may fall in love with a pair of goggles, but find that they don’t fit quite right with your lucky helmet. This is something you will want to know before you swipe your credit card, so get out of your pajamas and go try them on before making a decision.
Lenses and Spares
Unless you bike in a place with very consistent weather, you are going to want to be able to change out your lens. Darker lenses are great for sunny rides, while light lenses will be preferred when it is cloudy or you are biking through dense trees. Often your initial goggle purchase will come with several different lenses. If it doesn’t, take the price of spares into account when comparing options. It is also worth noting that your lenses will likely get scratched and you will need to replace them for that reason as well. Additionally, more expensive double-paned lenses will be harder to fog up, allowing you to keep them on for more of your ride.
That wraps up our list of the best MTB goggles currently on the market. With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find a great piece of gear that fits nicely in your price point. In our opinion, the most important things to splurge on in this area are a good field of view goggles with good ventilation. With a bare minimum of these two factors, you will be able to ride with clear sight and protected eyes all day long.