While not as popularly used as helmets, goggles are also important and useful for mountain biking precisely because they keep your eyes protected. But, if you don’t have biking goggles, but you have your ski goggles lying around in your winter gear, can you use those for mountain biking?
You can use your ski goggles for mountain biking but you won’t have the best visibility on trails because they are designed to be used to repel the reflected light from the snow. For this reason, it is recommended that you use MTB goggles for mountain biking.
What many people don’t understand about different types of gear is that they were designed to be unique depending on what their purposes are. That’s why ski goggles and mountain bike goggles aren’t really too similar such that you can trade one for the other.
Can You Use Snow (Ski or Snowboarding) Goggles for Mountain Biking?
One of the things that mountain bikers need to prioritize is safety, which comes in many different forms. In most cases, the most prescribed safety gear is the helmet, but what most people don’t know is that goggles are just as important when you are riding with speed downhill.
MTB Goggles will protect your eyes from debris and bugs that can impair your vision and make it more difficult for you to pedal while seeing where you are going. Of course, goggles can also protect your eyes from UV rays.
You also have to understand that mountain biking is one of the top sports in terms of eye injuries, that’s why wearing goggles while riding is important.
Then again, one of the things that you probably have stashed in your winter sports equipment is your skiing or snowboarding goggles. So, if you haven’t bought mountain biking goggles yet, can you simply use ski goggles as substitutes?
If you are only concerned about protecting your eyes and keeping debris, bugs, water, and dirt away from your eyes, then ski goggles should already be good enough for you. So, yes, you can use ski goggles when you are mountain biking.
Nevertheless, even though ski goggles can be used for mountain biking, that doesn’t really mean that you should use them as permanent substitutes instead of buying yourself a pair of mountain biking goggles.
It might be true that ski goggles offer a similar kind of protection from dirt, debris, and insects as MTB goggles but because they are designed to be used in an environment with a lot of light reflecting from the snow, they can have a negative impact on your visibility when riding on trails.
The biggest downside of using ski goggles for mountain biking is that they don’t offer you the same visibility as MTB goggles.
I tried a pair of ski goggles from one of my friends and on some parts of the ride they were okay, on the parts will a lot of light but when the trails took me through forests where the light wasn’t bright my visibility was lower than I like.
If you are into downhill or enduro mountain biking I recommend you buy specific mountain biking goggles so that your visibility on the trails is not affected, it is not worth saving up a couple of bucks and exposing yourself to a slightly higher risk of crashing due to a lack of visibility.
Difference Between MTB Goggles and Ski Goggles
You know that ski goggles aren’t the best for mountain goggles. But why is that? How are ski goggles really different from mountain bike goggles?
Ski goggles have a double-walled feature in their lenses so that fogging will be minimized, while this is very useful during winter or freezing conditions, it really isn’t the best for mountain biking because the second glass layer might mess up depth perception and vision.
Ski goggles are also made with lenses that will allow you to have the best visual experience when looking at white snow.
Meanwhile, MTB goggles are usually single-walled because fogging in mountain biking isn’t as big an issue as it is with skiing, the lenses are also designed to allow certain types of light to pass through.
Mountain bike goggles, due to how they only allow a certain light spectrum to pass through the lenses, also help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
2. Helmet compatibility
You also need to understand that ski goggles were meant for ski helmets, which are open-face helmets. On the other hand, even though open-face helmets are also very popular among mountain bikers, there are those who prefer full-face helmets because how they offer more protection especially when descending.
So, in relation to that, some ski goggles are not designed to fit with full-face helmets. They may be able to fit well with open-face mountain bike helmets but you really can’t expect to be able to wear them when you are wearing full-face helmets. As such, if you prefer full-face helmets, you probably should skip using ski goggles.
Ventilation can also be a factor here because the ventilation for ski goggles is meant to keep the cold air out of your eyes and not for airflow because you wouldn’t need airflow during the colder months.
On the other hand, mountain bike goggles are meant to have more ventilation because you want the air to flow freely to keep your eye are kept cool, especially during the warmer months. And because you will be exertion tends to be higher when biking, airflow, and ventilation are important factors that were considered when the goggles were designed.
The reason why ski goggles tend to be more expensive is that the lenses that are used on these goggles tend to be special such that they allow you to have a better optical experience when dealing with white snow.
So, if you don’t own either of these goggles, their prices should convince you that you shouldn’t really choose ski goggles over mountain bike goggles if you are looking for biking goggles.
Are Goggles Good for Mountain Biking?
Goggles are indeed good for mountain biking because how they allow you to keep your eyes protected from all sorts of factors.
Wearing goggles will allow you to keep your eyes shielded from debris, dirt, insects, water splashes, and the sun’s rays. As such, avid mountain bikers should invest in good mountain biking goggles.
But how exactly do goggles square up when compared to mountain biking glasses? For starters, biking glasses are probably more popular for many different bikers out there because they are not as restrictive and as warm as goggles are. But are goggles better than glasses for mountain biking?
It really depends. Trail and cross-country mountain bikers prefer to use glasses because they are lighter and less restrictive.
However, mountain biking goggles are better for downhill or enduro mountain bikers because they add more protection compared to glasses. As you probably already know, face-first crashes are more common in enduro bikers than they are for trail bikers.
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I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.