Orange is the new grey lens tint

Your friendly neighborhood gear nerd is back! Now pick a colour, any colour, but make sure to pick the right one. But which is the right one for you?​

Bjørn here again. I'm the product designer responsible for ski goggles here at Norrøna, and I'm about to drop some tint knowledge on y'all.

So you’re heading out to slide on snow. Is it full on bluebird, not a cloud in sight? Is it snowing? Foggy? Or perhaps you’re out for a romantic evening shred in the moonlight? Different conditions require lenses with different shades of grey, or pink, or yellow, or perhaps something completely different. And just to make your decision even more complicated, add shapes, coatings, and mirror finishes, and suddenly it makes sense that there cannot be just one goggle to rule them all. One does not simply just wear a sick goggle and shred.

In my last post we looked at all the different components a goggle consists of. This time we’re going to take a closer look at the business end of the goggle; the lens.

Our lofoten goggles have a clear inner lens and a colored outer lens, and it’s the outer lens that does the brunt of the work. It’s made out of a colored polycarbonate sheet that is formed over an incredibly accurate mold to get just the right shape to achieve perfect visual clarity in any direction. And the color of this polycarbonate is probably the most important aspect of any goggle. It’s what gives you the contrast needed to see clearly in any condition. We call this the base tint, and it’s usually only visible when looking at the lens from the inside of the goggle.

On top of this base tint we add a coating and quite often also a mirror finish. This treatment usually adds a color on the outside of the lens, but this color doesn’t really affect your vision. It’s the base tint that counts. So to summarize, the base tint is the actual color of the outer lens, and then on top of that we’ve added several layers of coating and a mirror finish. The coating has a hydrophobic effect, meaning water doesn’t like to stick around. It also makes the lens really scratch resistant. And the mirror finish reduces glare in bright sunlight, and also makes you look really heckin’ cool.

Here’s a little bonus fun-fact for you: We only add strong mirror finishes to lenses with dark tints meant for strong sunlight. This is because a strong mirror finish to a lens with a light tint could result in light getting reflected back from the surface of your eye and face onto the inside of the outer lens and back again, causing glare and impaired vision. Science!

Typical base tints used for snow sport goggles are:

Yellow

Reduces the blue light and helps increasing visual acuity.

Orange

Orange hues allow an improvement of contrasts and consequently a clearer vision, ideal in low-light.

Grey

The best protection against
bright conditions, glare and intense UV rays.

Rose

Delivers the brightest field of vision and works for all flat light conditions.

Brown

Ideal in a variety of bright reflective conditions, brown highlights contrasts and contributes to make your ride safer.

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