Are Motocross Goggles the Same as Ski Goggles?

Are Motocross Goggles the Same as Ski Goggles?

Quick answers:

No they are not the same. Here are the 7 differences I’ve found from comparing the two –

1. All quality snow goggles have complete UVA and UVB protection, which is essential for the snow. Some motocross goggles are not fully protected from UVA & UVB.

2. Snow goggles have a dual lens that don’t allow moisture to get into the second lens which is essential for snow use. Motocross goggles have a single lens and don’t work as well in the snow to reduce fogging in extreme cold.

3. Snow goggles have better ventilation to extract the heat away from the face quickly. Motocross goggles also have this but they have a finer ventilation to stop dust.

4. Snow goggles have a much wider view to give you the best peripheral vision possible. Motocross goggles sit inside a helmet with an immediate, direct view which keeps you looking straight ahead.

5. The lens tinting for snow goggles are optimized for pure white to give you the best clarity possible. Motocross lens tinting are designed to give you clarity on a completely different type and color of terrain.

6. Snow goggles don’t have tear off posts for using tear-offs.

7. Motocross goggles don’t fit inside a snow helmet and vice versa.

Can you Wear MX Goggles Snowboarding?

I get asked this question quite a bit and i know that it can be tempting to just buy a cheap pear of MX goggles and be done with it.

Well, the answer is yes you can.

However, keep in mind the following important points –

#1 Goggles UV Protection.

If you wear motocross goggles in the snow that don’t have TOTAL UVA and UVB protection then you will most likely damage your retinas.


The snow has mirror like reflective properties which means that all of the UV rays are bouncing off the snow and being blasted back into your face!

Not only that, but you are closer to the sun in the mountains then you are riding around on a dirt bike close to sea level.

So therefore you are getting hit with more powerful rays in the snow.

are motocross goggles the same as ski goggles

According to, UV radiation increases about 10-12% for every 100 meters you increase your altitude!

This means that if you are snowboarding in Whistler, Canada where the altitude is 700 meters, then the UV rays have increased in intensity by 70%!

What about UVC rays?

According to the World Health Organisation, UVC rays are completely absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer and so UVC protection is not required.

(Saying this, Oakley and SPY also have total UVC protection if you were interested.)

So, if you are going to wear motocross goggles in the snow, check carefully to make sure they are FULLY protected from UVA and UVB rays.

Which Motocross Goggles have TOTAL UV Protection?

Oakley and SPY have total UV protection against UVA, UVB and even UVC on all motocross lenses (including their clear lenses)!

Fox Racing have total UVA and UVB protection on their Lexan lens.

Dragon have total UVA and UVB protection on all their lenses.

Scott have total protection from UVA and UVB rays on all their lenses.

100% do not have total UV protection!!

100% have limited UV protection on their lenses that range from –

category 0 on their clear lens (no UV protection)

category 1 on their mid lenses (okay UV protection)

category 2 on their darkest lenses (good UV protection).

I’m not sure about the other brands so it pays to check the side of the box when you buy a pair to see what you are getting.

#2 Fogging.

We all know that fogging is a real pain in the ass.

Modern motocross goggles have a lot of technology built into them that resists fogging for normal dirt bike conditions.

Snow conditions however are a completely different story!

The extreme cold on the outside of your face mixed with extreme heat from your body heat on the inside of the goggles will mean that motocross goggles will fog up more if you are using them for snow use.

There’s nothing worse than trying to get down a mountain when you have to stop every minute to pull off your goggles and wipe them down.

To combat fogging, snow goggles have a dual lens installed to regulate the condensation (fogging).

“Double-layered lenses are found on virtually all snow goggles since they do not fog as fast as single-layered lenses. Sealed properly, they create a thermal barrier (like storm windows) that is more resistant to fogging.” – Spy Optics.

They still have not got the technology perfect yet as snow goggles still do fog up from time to time, but it’s still much better than a motocross lens for the snow.

#3 Peripheral Vision.

Motocross goggles are designed to sit inside of a helmet and provide a vision that blocks out a wide peripheral view.

This is because when you are riding a  dirt bike it’s best to watch where you are going at high speed so you don’t get distracted and crash.

Snow goggles however are nice and wide and provide a big peripheral view for snowboarders/skiers to have a full view of all obstacles around them as they zig zag down the mountain.

Also, if you wear a helmet when you are snowboarding/skiing, you will find that motocross goggles don’t fit inside snow helmets properly.

#4 Better Clarity.

Many, many millions of dollars have been spent on goggles technology and the amount of research that have gone into lenses is staggering.

Snow goggle manufacturers want to provide the very best option possible to consumers and a big draw card is the right lens tinting.

The right lens tinting should block out all glare and provide perfect clarity and depth perception in the snow and out on the trails.

The problem with motocross goggle lenses is that they have been optimized for ground terrain, not snow.

Snow goggle lenses have been optimized specifically for the pure white glare of snow and ice and motocross goggles have been optimized for dirt bike terrain.

This means that your vision and clarity will be affected negatively if you were to wear motocross goggles for the snow.

Do Motocross Goggles have Better Impact Protection?

The lenses on motocross goggles are super tough. They can take rocks, stones and other flying debris without cracking or smashing.

They have been built to have the highest impact protection to protect your eyes from disaster.

But what about snow goggles? As there is no dangerous debris hitting you in the face when out skiing, are they any less impact resistant?

The answer is no.

Snow goggles have been designed to have the same high standards in impact resistance and meet global standards for impact resistant plastics (as long as they are good quality).

Both snow and motocross goggles have been designed to be super flexible and bend to absorb the impact of debris.

They also do not shatter and are very hard to break into pieces.

Next time you have a worn lens, try breaking it up. It’s harder than it looks.


I know it’s tempting to just buy a pair of motocross goggles for snow use but for the extra money spent on snow goggles, it is really worth the investment.

If you want to give it a try, I suggest making sure the motocross goggles are completely UV protected and make sure you take a bunch of darker mirrored lenses with you so you can choose the best lens on the day.

Have you used motocross goggles in the snow? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this article please give it a share on a social media.

Happy riding!


Read my other articles about motocross goggles:

The Ultimate Guide to Buying & Maintaining Dirt Bike Goggles.

A Motocross Goggle Lens Color Guide for Dirt Bike Riders.

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2 years ago

Your content was much informative than others. It helped me a lot to know more about the difference between different ski and motocross goggles. It also helped me to gain knowledge about different types of them. thanks for sharing such amazing content.

Johnny Rhodes
Johnny Rhodes
2 years ago
Reply to  Yori

Thanks Yori.

1 year ago

Nice! I always questioned myself that. Thanks.

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