Should I Wear Mountain Bike Goggles?

mountain bike goggles

When I was considering a mountain biking trip with some friends in the near future, I started to do some research on the essential supplies that I would need for my first time. After coming across mountain bike goggles on one of the lists, I did some more reading to find out if they are actually necessary for every ride.

Should I wear mountain bike goggles? Mountain bike goggles can be beneficial for a variety of reasons on a mountain biking adventure, from comfort to safety. They serve the purpose of covering the eyes securely from flying debris while sometimes offering sun protection and even improved vision in some circumstances.

The question of whether or not you should wear mountain bike goggles will depend on the situation and your personal preference. In general, goggles will be safer and provide more protection than the average pair of sunglasses, however a lot of mountain bikers can’t get past the way they look.

When it comes to gearing up for a daytime mountain biking adventure, most people would immediately reach for their favorite pair of sunglasses and head out the door. The concept of wearing mountain bike goggles can seem a little bit extra, making the average mountain biker feel self conscious among others on the trial.

Even though goggles are not the most aesthetic option, they can actually be the most beneficial when it comes to protective eyewear during a mountain biking trip. If you are wondering if you will need a pair for your first trip, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these versatile pieces of equipment.

Should I Wear Mountain Bike Goggles?

Whether you are a beginning mountain biker that is preparing for your very first ride, or a more experienced one that would like to expand your collection of gear for a more comfortable experience, you might have considered the possibility of purchasing a pair of mountain bike goggles.

Mountain bike goggles are almost exactly what they sound like. Very similar to the average pair of swimming goggles that children wear in the pool, mountain bike goggles are created for a similar purpose.

If you are able to get past the stigma around wearing mountain bike goggles, you will find that they can be very helpful throughout your journey in comparison to the other options, which we will get into later on in this article.

In this section, however, we will be going over a brief outline of why mountain biking goggles are needed. The items in the list down below, along with the discussion underneath, will give you a general idea of whether or not you should wear mountain bike goggles.

Why Mountain Biking Goggles Are Needed:

  • Protecting the eyes from debris
  • Providing clear and sharp vision

Mountain bike goggles are needed for protecting the eyes from debris, first and foremost. With the protection of a good and sturdy pair of goggles, your eyes will be invincible to dust, dirt, flying rocks, leaves, and anything else that could possibly get in your way.

Those who are experienced in mountain biking, or any kind of biking, can attest to the pain and irritation that is associated with getting something in your eye along the trail. With harsh materials coming in contact with your eyeball, you can end up with a watery and scratchy eye that will irritate you throughout the rest of your journey.

In addition to the pain and discomfort that comes with flying debris hitting and scratching your eye, it can limit your vision and the way that you ride along the path, which can actually become dangerous if you happen to run into anything obstructive on your way.

Mountain biking goggles can also provide clear and sharp vision to the rider, similar to a pair of eyeglasses. If you have ever found that you wanted to see a little better on your most recent mountain biking ride but you didn’t have the means to do so, a good pair of goggles might be the answer for you.

These, of course, are only a few of the reasons why you should wear mountain biking goggles. Throughout the rest of this article, we will be diving into a much more in-depth analysis of why goggles are needed, when you might need to use them, and even a comparison between goggles and sunglasses.

Mountain Biking: Goggles Vs Sunglasses

When it comes to wearing mountain biking goggles, a lot of bikers will normally go with the more seemingly natural choice of sunglasses instead. With the ability to block out the rays of the sun while still helping you to look stylish on your bike, how could a pair of goggles really compare, right?

Well, not exactly. Even though sunglasses are more comfortable to wear as far as looks go for most mountain bikers, there are several advantages that come with choosing a great pair of biking goggles.

In this section, we will be going over a brief comparison of goggles and sunglasses for mountain biking to give you a better idea of whether or not you will need to wear goggles.

You will find lists below that highlight the advantages and disadvantages that come with both mountain biking goggles and sunglasses, along with the general characteristics of each.

While you are trying to decide whether you should ditch your old pair of sunglasses for a new pair of goggles instead, it helps to be able to compare both of these options.


  • Securely strapped on
  • Cover the eyes completely
  • Can protect from both sun and debris


  • Sometimes secured with a strap
  • Protect front part of eyes (mostly sun protection)
  • Can also protect from debris

We will begin this discussion with a brief description and visualization of mountain biking goggles. Contrary to the average pair of sunglasses that are secured with two straps on the sides, goggles are completely secured to the face.

This is achieved with a sturdy elastic strap that is wrapped around the sides and back of the head, as well as suction cups on the inside of the goggle lenses that will keep them securely in place, no matter how much you are moving around.

As a result, the eyes are covered completely with the use of mountain biking goggles, with no gaps left between the lens and the skin of the face. This type of gear can protect the eyes from not only just flying debris that could get into them, but also the sun with tinted lenses.

The traditional pair of sunglasses, on the other hand, can sometimes be secured with a strap, but not in the same way as the goggles are. To be more specific, the straps for sunglasses are more like a necklace that will serve to catch them if they fall off of the face.

However, there is no kind of secure suction that comes with a pair of mountain biking sunglasses that will prevent them from falling off, nor protect the eyes from flying dust and dirt that can enter through the opened bottom portion between the glasses and and the cheekbones.

Sunglasses are mostly for the purpose of protecting the front of the eyes from the bright and damaging rays of the sun, instead of giving an all-around protection against anything that can get through to the eyeballs.

While it is true that sunglasses can block something that is trying to get into the eyes, this will not include objects that come from the top, bottom, or sides of where the glasses are placed.

All in all, mountain biking goggles are basically capable of carrying out the same exact functions as sunglasses, only with even more protection from all angles.

Now that you understand the overall features of mountain biking goggles, as well as how this type of equipment will compare to the average pair of sunglasses, you can learn more about whether or not you need mountain bike goggles within the next section.

When Should I Wear Mountain Biking Goggles?

As you can see from the previous sections, mountain biking goggles can be very beneficial to a mountain biker who is looking for increased eye protection with a convenient and comfortable application.

While it is true that mountain biking goggles can help you out in a wide variety of situations, you still might not be convinced of whether or not you will actually require them for your own individual needs.

In this section, we will be diving deeper into the topic of the necessity of mountain biking goggles. By the time you are done reading through the contents, you should be able to decide if this type of equipment will be ideal for the credentials that you are looking for in your mountain biking eyewear collection.

Take a look at the list down below to find some of the credentials that you might be looking for in this aspect, with a more detailed discussion immediately following.

When To Wear Mountain Biking Goggles (instead of sunglasses):

  • Comfort
  • More protection
  • Clearer vision
  • Ease of use
  • Advanced features

The first and most important thing that you might be looking for in your mountain biking eyewear is comfort. When you are wearing a pair of sunglasses all day, the area around your ears might start to get very red and uncomfortable.

When it comes to wearing mountain biking goggles instead, you won’t experience the same issue. As long as the strap of your goggles is adjusted to the correct size of your head, you should have no problem with comfort during your ride.

Along with the comfort of wearing this type of eyewear equipment during your mountain biking adventure, you will be able to enjoy more protection with goggles over glasses.

This is due to the fact that goggles seal around the areas of the eyes in order to protect them from any kind of external objects that could come in direct contact and cause damage or discomfort.

When you are wearing sunglasses, you always run the risk of being negatively affected by something that is able to penetrate the gaps between the frames and the face.

While sunglasses can technically provide similar protection to the goggles at a slightly lower extent, clearer vision is something that most of them are lacking. When you purchase a good pair of mountain bike goggles, you will notice that you will have sharper vision in the distance.

This is increasingly helpful during a mountain biking trip, especially on those long and narrow trails where you need all the help that you can get when it comes to your vision.

If you are looking for any kind of advanced features within your mountain biking eyewear that your current pair of sunglasses are just not providing for you, goggles might be the right choice.

Depending on the specific type of goggles that you choose, you might be able to obtain the special features that were mentioned earlier in this section, from improved vision to sun protection and more.

In addition to the particular features that you might be looking for, convenience is also a major reason why you should purchase a pair of mountain biking goggles over sunglasses.

With a secure strap that will hold the goggles up to your face with little to no effort on your part, there will be no need to make adjustments or try to use other reinforcements to hold them in place.

Instead of worrying about how your goggles are sitting on your face and protecting your eyes, you can focus on the trail ahead of you, resting assured that you will not need to take any other action as far as your protective eyewear.

How To Find The Right Mountain Biking Goggles

So, now that you have learned all about what mountain biking goggles are used for as well as when or why you might need to use them, you might be leaning toward beginning the process of purchasing a pair for yourself.

This is certainly a smart decision to make when it comes to protecting your eyes during a mountain biking trip. However, before you can locate the best pair of goggles for you, there are a few tips that you can follow that will lead you right to them.

Take a look at the list below, where you will find some characteristics of a functional pair of mountain biking goggles.

Tips For Finding Mountain Biking Goggles:

  • Find lenses that can be switched out
  • Look for roll off technology
  • Comfort and security

First of all, you should look for a pair of mountain biking goggles that has interchangeable lenses. When you purchase such a versatile piece of equipment, you can use a wide range of specific lenses within the same pari that you pay for one time.

This can be done by popping out the lenses and snapping them into place as you desire, depending on what you will need them for during each individual trip.

Another factor that you should search for in your mountain biking goggles is roll-off technology. This is great for trails that are wet and muddy, because anything that comes in contact with the surface of your goggles will slide off smoothly.

With a regular pair of glasses or goggles, a piece of mud might stick to the outside of the lens, causing a problem when you have to stop down the road to clean them off.

Lastly, and most importantly, you should look for the most comfort and security in the mountain biking goggles that you choose to purchase. Regardless of the advanced features that they might offer, the most vital factor is how they will protect your eyes and how easy they will be to use.

The Top 5 Mountain Biking Goggles Of All Time

To help you out in your search of the perfect pair of mountain biking goggles, I have compiled a list of the top 5 mountain biking goggles of all time. Take a look at the outline below to find a solid starting point where you can begin your research.

Top 5 Mountain Biking Goggles Of All Time:

  • Smith Squad MTB ChromaPop ($85)
  • 100% Racecraft ($65)
  • Scott Prospect ($90)
  • Fox Air Defence ($105)
  • TSG Presto ($81)

The list of top mountain biking goggles above consist of a wide variety of options, from higher price points to the lower ones. When you are completing your research to make your final decision on a pair of mountain biking goggles, you should keep in mind the factors that were mentioned in the previous section.

While considering how comfortable, protective, and easy to use each of the above pairs of goggles are, you will be able to locate the perfect pair that will suit all of your needs, from sun shade to clear vision and roll-off technology.

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that come with wearing mountain biking goggles over the traditional pair of sunglasses. While they are not necessary for riding per se, you will be able to enjoy increased protection and convenience when you choose to purchase them.

Mike Rausa

I'm a 42 year old married father of 3 that fell in love with mountain biking late in life. Mountain biking quickly became my go to fitness activity. I created this blog to help beginners to advanced riders with tips and strategies to improve your riding experience. More About Me...

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