Updated November 30th, 2023
There’s nothing worse than skiing with foggy goggles. You can’t see where you’re going, it can be disorienting and it can be dangerous. If you’re sick of having to deal with foggy goggles, then read on. We will tell you why ski goggles fog up and give you some helpful tips for how to keep ski goggles from fogging up.
Why do ski goggles fog up?
Your face is warm and the outside air is cold. Humidity from your face turns into warm water vapor which then condenses on the cold goggle lens material. This is the fundamental reason that fogging occurs on ski goggles. Warm moist air condenses on cold goggle inner lens surface.
How does fogging occur?
There are several ways fogging can occur in your goggles. They all come down to having too much warm humid air inside your goggles. The humidity comes from sweat off your body or it comes from the outside air in the form of snow, rain, or humid air. Here are a few of the most common ways.
Dirt, oil, or grease on the inside lens of your goggle will prevent the anti-fog coating from doing its job. Water vapor can condense easier if it has a particle to condense on. Any dirt or dust on your inner lens gives the vapor something to condense on. Grease or oil from your hands gives dust something to stick to. It also prevents the anti-fog coating on your goggles from working.
You don’t have enough ventilation in the goggles or the vents are clogged. The vents around your goggles transport humid air out of your goggles to prevent fogging. If the vents are clogged by snow or covered by clothes then air doesn’t circulate and hot humid air will find its way onto the lens and fogging happens.
Your goggles don’t fit well and do not have a good seal around the opening. With a good seal all the airflow goes through the vents. The vents circulate the air closest to the goggle lens keeping water vapor and humidity from building up on the lens. If you have loose fitting goggles with a lot of air gaps, air will flow up your nose or other openings where it can bring in snow and rain. It interferes with the airflow from the vents.
You are breathing hot humid air up into your goggles. This can occurr if you wear a facemask or jacket collar that is directing your breath into your goggle vents. This blows hot humid air right onto your goggle lens where it will immediately condense and form fog.
12 tips for how to keep ski goggles from fogging up
So, how do you keep your ski goggles from fogging up? Let’s talk about how to handle your ski goggles to help prevent fogging.
1 – Avoid touching the inner lens surface with your fingers.
Never touch the inside surface of your ski goggle lens with your fingers or anything dirty. Any oil from your skin will contaminate the anti-fog coating and make it ineffective. The more you wipe the inside of your ski goggles to remove fog, the easier it becomes for more fog to form.
2. Make sure the lenses are clean before you put the goggles on.
Water likes to condense on small dust and dirt particles. Clean your goggles off with the microfiber bag that they came with or other microfiber lens cleaning cloth. Don’t use your shirt, hands, paper towels, or tissues. If you scratch or contaminate the anti-fog coating while cleaning your goggles, the lens is as good as junk.
3. Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth while you’re skiing.
Breathing through your nose sends your moist warm breath in a downward direction away from your goggle lens. Breathing through your mouth sends it straight out and it’s easier to deflect up into your goggles.
4. Tuck your face mask or neck gaiter under your goggles.
If you wear a face mask or neck gaiter over your mouth and nose it should tuck up under your ski goggles. If you don’t, the top of the neck gaiter will be right below your goggles. Hot air blowing up from your breath will go straight into the goggle vents and onto the lens. If you tuck it under your goggles it gets blown up onto your face skin away from the lens.
The Naroo Z9H face mask is very warm and has an optional breath deflector to help reduce fogging on very cold days. We have used it ourselves on cold days and it is very effective
5. Dry your goggles out before storing them
Your goggles will fog up much faster if the face foam is saturated with sweat and other moisture. When you are finished skiing, let your goggle dry out completely before putting them back in their bag or case for storage. Don’t “ride hard and put away wet” if you want to stay fog free.
6. Use anti fog spray or coating on the lenses
If your anti-fog coating wears out on your goggle lens, you can repair it by spraying on a new anti fog coating. It won’t work as well as the original and you will need to keep reapplying it as it wears out. The new coating will have surface imperfections where water will condense. Spraying on a new coating will create fogging problems in addition to helping. Cat Crap is one of the most popular and best working brands of anti-fog coating.
Cat Crap Multi-Use Anti-Fog Spray
7. Make sure the vents on your goggles are not blocked by snow or ice.
If it’s snowing out and your vents fill up with snow, moist air will get trapped inside your goggles and stay there. If you fall or are skiing in heavy snow make sure your goggle vents stay clear.
8. Adjust the straps on your goggles so they fit snugly but not too tight around your face.
You want to have a good seal around your face with the face foam. You do not want to have air gaps where wind, rain, or snow can blow up into your goggles. This will also make the vents more effective. The vents are close to your lens and help circulate the air closest to your lens keeping it cool and dry.
9. Lift your goggles up and let them vent for a few minutes
If you are getting a lot of fogging on a really humid day you might have a lot of moisture build up inside your goggles and on your face. Lifting your goggles away from your face and letting them dry out for a minute can help clear out the moisture trapped in the goggles. It can also help clear some moisture away from your face.
10. Get moving
The best way to get fog out of your goggles is to get air moving through them. While you stand around, no air flows through the vents so no moisture escapes. As soon as you start moving, air goes through the vents, and moisture gets transported out. A lot of the time, your goggles will clear up right away as soon as you start moving. Don’t make the mistake of pulling your goggles off and wiping them because they fogged while you were standing around.
11. If your goggles get really saturated with moisture switch to another set
If your goggle face foam is saturated and your sweating a lot, you may be creating more moisture than your goggle vents can keep up with. If you tend to sweat a lot, and fogging is a frequent problem, you might want to bring along an extra set of goggles to switch to. If you have goggles with interchangeable lenses, changing the lens can help. If the foam is soaking wet, changing lenses will only be a very temporary solution before the new lens gets covered in moisture.
12. Invest in a pair of ski goggles with a good anti-fog coating and ventilation and helmet with matching vents
All ski goggles are not created equal when it comes to anti-fog performance. Some have much better anti-fog coatings and ventilation than others. Some have more ventilation than others. Almost all ski goggles have dual pane lenses but some have a much better seal than others. We have found that the goggles from Oakley and Smith work really well at keeping fog away. The Outdoor Master Ultra goggles are a cheaper option that has an improved anti-fog coating that works as well or better than goggles from expensive brands.
Spherical and Toric lens shapes are better for anti-fog performance than cylindrical lenses. The lenses are farther way from your face with spherical lenses. There is more air gap and ventilation to work with. Modern cylindrical lens goggles such as the Oakley Fall Line have very good anti-fog performance.
See our guide to the best anti-fog ski goggles to see the best performing goggles.
Many ski helmets have vents just above the brim that help draw air through your ski goggles. This increases the effectiveness of the goggle’s vents and improves anti-fog performance. These work best if you have matching brand goggle and helmet. A matching goggle and helmet set will have vents that are perfectly aligned for the best performance.
Recommended Anti-Fog Ski Goggles
Our favorite anti-fog ski goggles are the Oakley Flight Deck and Outdoor Master Ultra. We have used both these goggles extensively on some pretty awful wet humid foggy days. They have always stayed clear and fog free.
See our review of the Oakley Flight Deck XM to learn more.
You might also like:
- What To Wear Skiing? Complete Winter Layering Guide
- The Best Ski Goggles Gear Guide – Reviews, Ratings, and More
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Wear a Ski Helmet
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.