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Best MTB goggles: the best mountain bike goggles available today

MTB Goggles: Oakley
(Image credit: Courtesy)

Eye protection comes in many forms, from the casual sunnies the endur-bros wear from the trailhead to the bar, to the go-fast sunnies lycra-clad XC whippets prefer and those macular degeneration shades that dude who's still riding rim brakes rocks. Then, of course, there are goggles, which offer the most coverage and protection for your peepers. 

The trade-off for the added protection is goggles are quite a bit warmer than sunnies and aren't something you'll want to wear if you have a massive day of climbing ahead.

Best MTB goggles: everything you need to know

1. Price

You get what you pay for, and goggles are no exception. There is a chasm in quality between a cheap set of goggles from a no-name brand and something from a well known optical company. More expensive goggles will feature interchangeable lenses and straps, higher quality foam and venting, and the lenses themselves may also have hydrophobic coatings and contrast improving tints.

With that said, goggles take lots of abuse and lenses are going to get scratched, so it's important to weigh the above against the price.

2. Fit

Goggles that don't interact well with your helmet or plug your nostrils because the nose bridge is too narrow are going to cause more problems than they solve. We recommend trying goggles on before you buy, and bringing your helmet with you to make sure everything works together.

3. Lens

If you ride sunny Southern California, a darker lens will leave you more comfortable, but if your trails snake through the trees with dense overhead canopy, light or even a clear lens will be the go-to.

Lots of companies have their own version of a contrast boosting technology, and they all work to varying degrees.

Depending on the lens, some brands will add hydrophobic and anti-fog coatings to their lenses, and these can be a godsend in wet weather or riding behind your rootsy riding mate. 

4. Spares

Your lenses are going to get scratched, and there is not a whole lot you can do about it. When you're shopping for goggles, have a look at how much spare lenses cost.

5. Field of view

Tunnel vision is the last thing you want bombing down narrow singletrack. When you look through a pair of goggles, take note of if you can see the frame in your peripheral vision.

 Best mountain bike goggles you can buy 

MTB Goggles: Smith

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Smith Squad Chromapop

Breezy MTB specs

Lens: Chromapop, Clear | Price: £85 / $85 / AU$150

Open venting keeps fog at bay
Chromapop lens one of the best
Two lenses included 
Open lattice at the bottom can allow dust and mud to creep in

Smith's Squad MTB goggles put ventilation at a premium, scrapping the thin layer of foam that usually covers the vents on the top and bottom of the goggles for max airflow. With an open lattice design and a wide nose bridge, the frame is soft and malleable to fit a wide variety of faces comfortably. 

Each colourway comes with a tinted Chromapop lens and a clear lens and the swapping process is one of the easiest we have come across — both feature integrated tear-off posts and are treated with Anti-fog. 

The Chromapop technology filters light at two specific wavelengths (blue and green, and green and red) that causes colour confusion. Smith says this allows for better clarity and definition, more natural colour to help you spot trail hazards faster.

MTB Goggles: Leatt

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Leatt Velocity 6.5

Bulletproof MTB goggles

Lens: Mirrored, Ultra Contrast, Clear | Price: £99 / $80 / AU$129

Lens swaps
Over the glasses fit

Leatt claims when you look through the Velocity 6.5's double-pane antifog lens, you have an unobstructed 170-degree field of view. The brand also says the injection moulded lenses are literally bulletproof, meeting the US Military Ballistic Impact Standard for impact, while the double lens keeps mist at bay. 

The lenses themselves are tear-off and roll-off ready, and the pop-in-pop-out lens swaps are painless, but make sure you have a clean goggle bag ready because there will be fingerprints. Leatt also includes a removable nose guard for added protection. 

Wide outriggers help with helmet compatibility, and the frames feature a dual-density compound that improves fit, seal and comfort.

MTB Goggles: Giro

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Giro Blok MTB

No tunnel vision here but still plays nice with most helmets

Lens: Zeiss Vivid, clear | Price: £80 / $80 / AU$100

Simple aesthetic
Zeiss Vivid lens
Antifog
Foam lacks some staying power

Lots of goggles have harsh angles and sharp points that make you look like something out of an 80's futuristic thriller. The Giro Blok, on the other hand, offers a clean aesthetic and a vast range of view. Designed around the brands ‘Expansion View Technology' the frame sits well out of the edges of your vision, and the cylindrical Zeiss Lens is available with the brand's Vivid contrast-enhancing technology.

In the box, you also get a clear lens, both of which have tear-off posts, and Giro even includes a 10-pack to get you started. 

The frame itself is quite big, so if you wear a small helmet, the Blok might be a bit too bug-eyed. The inside of the goggle features triple-layer foam backed with microfleece facing to keep you comfortable for an entire day in the bike park.

MTB Goggles: Oakley

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Oakley Airbrake

Lens: Prizm Trail Torch, Prizm Lowlight | Price: £195 / $210 / AU$270

Fit, optics
Lens changes strap mount wings allows for lots of helmet compatibility
For the money
You can buy multiple pairs of high quality goggles

No matter the product, anything with a big 'O' on the side is going to cost a solid chunk of change, but in our experience, Oakley gear is well worth the money and the Airbrake MX goggles are no exception. 

The O-matter frame is high quality and features a broad nose bridge that should suit schnozzes ranging from honkers down to the button variety. The Airbrake also features a nifty version of the brands SwitchLock which allows for fingerprint-free lens changes. 

Available in the Prizm Trail Torch, Prizm Low Light tints, the lenses are made from Oakley's Plutonite which offers distortion-free vision.

MTB Goggles: 100 Percent

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100% Racecraft

Best for those who are hard on lenses

Lens: Clear, Mirror, Vented Dual Pane | Price: £70 / $75 / AU$120

Replacement lens affordable
Play nice with helmets
Narrow field of view
Related

(Image credit: GoPro)

The 100% Racecraft goggles are actually motocross goggles, but other than staving off shotgun blasts of roost propelled by a 400cc engine, MX and MTB goggles need to perform basically the same task.

With outriggers connected to the strap and a flexible co-moulded urethane frame, the Racecraft work with a wide variety of helmets and faces. Looking through the goggles the field of view isn't quite as large as some of the Racecraft's competitors, and the tear-off tabs can sneak into your peripheral vision. 

100% offers lenses for the Racecraft in 20-tints, which are surprisingly affordable at starting at £9 / $10 / AU$20 and you get a removable nose protector too.

MTB Goggles: O'Neal

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O'Neal Blur B50

Magnetic lens swaps

Lens: Mirror, Iridium, Clear | Price: £80 / $90 / AU$128

Easy lens swaps
Massive field of view
Replacement lenses are pricey

The near frameless goggle with a magnetic-based lens change system is extremely popular for ski and snowboard goggles, with at least a dozen brands offering a nearly identical version with their logo on the strap. O'Neal has traded cold smoke for brown pow and brought this design to the dirt with the B-50. 

Instead of the lenses being secured to the frame with notches cut in the edge of the lens, the B-50 sees magnets on both pieces which allow the lens to snap into place. O'Neal makes the lenses in six tints, ranging from a Red reflective to clear. 

Beyond the easy lens swaps, the other reason this design is so popular in the snowsports arena is it allows for a near-180-degree field of view completely unobstructed by the frame.

MTB Goggles: Melon

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Melon Optics Parker

Best value for money goggles on the market

Lens: Chrome tint | Price: £40 / $50 (approx) / AU$72 (approx)

Value for money
Customisable
Spares available
Optical clarity not quite as sharp as competitors

At the top, we said you get what you pay for when it comes to goggles, but there are exceptions to every rule, and in this case, that's the Melon Optics Parker. With the ability to customise the colour and design of the frame, strap and lens, the Parker MTB goggles can be tailored to suit your personal tastes, but also means spare parts are readily available.

The materials used aren't quite as premium as the likes of Oakley or Smith, but in practice, they hold their own with goggles double the price. For how closed the frames look, the ventilation is superb, fogging is a non-issue, and the field of view is pretty well unobstructed.

MTB Goggles: POC

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POC Ora

Supremely comfortable MTB goggles

Lens: Clarity | Price: £60 / $70 / AU$140

Flexible frame
Foam-free version for trail and enduro
Not many tints available

POC's Ora Goggles are designed to interface with its helmets with no gaps or pinching around the edge, and the frame offers plenty of flex to conform to your face.

The Ora's actually come in two specs, a DH version complete with pins for tear-offs, and a trail and enduro version with no pins or foam over the vents for max airflow — POC sells replacement lenses with the pins. The Ora is also available with POC’s Clarity contrast increasing lens. 

The foam is a microfiber backed three-layer foam which is soft against the skin and hugs your face to offer a wide range of view.

MTB Goggles: Scott

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Scott Prospect

Obstruction free vision

Lens: Tinted and Clear | Price: £75 / $90 / AU$TBC

Huge range of view
Articulating outriggers 
Lens changes aren't easy

Scott has been making goggles for nearly half a century, and this experience shows with its latest Prospect Goggles. First and foremost, they are huge, measuring 50mm taller than their predecessor the Hustle.

The strap comes lined with silicon, and the articulating outriggers should make them compatible with just about any helmet out there, both full and open face. Scott has also opted for a wide nose bridge with generous padding which makes for a comfortable fit for noses big and small.

In addition to increasing the thickness of the lens, Scott has also updated its Lens Lock system, which uses four locking pins which go through the lens to prevent it from popping out in a crash. Unfortunately, this system works a little too well, and lens swaps aren't easy.

Born and bred in Colorado, and now based in Australia, Colin comes from a ski racing background and started riding as a way to stay fit through the summer months. His father, a former European pro, convinced him to join the Colorado State University collegiate cycling team, and he hasn't stopped since. It's not often he pins on a number nowadays, and you'll likely find him in search of flowy singletrack, gravel roads and hairpin corners. Colin has worked at BikeRadar.com and is a regular contributor to Australian Mountain Bike and Cyclist magazines. Rides: BMC Team Machine SLR01 Trek Top Fuel 9 Ibis Ripley