15 Different Types of Goggles

A close up of ski goggles.

Goggles are a type of protective eyewear designed to protect athletes from sports injuries or manual workers from their work hazards such as flying debris such as metal, plastic, and concrete.

The Eskimos were the first to wear a pair of goggles that were carved out from wood, shell, and caribou antler. They were curve-shaped designed to fit a user’s face and a groove cut for the nose. The earlier models also had a long slit to let in some light and a cord made of caribou sinew for keeping it in place on the user’s head.

In the early 1900s, drivers and pilots wore goggles to protect their eyes against dust, bugs, and wind.

1. Swimming Goggles

Swimmer wearing a swimming cap and swimming goggles rises out of the water as he breathes in for air.

Swimming goggles are for use in the pool, the ocean, or any other body of water where you intend to go below the surface. While anybody can purchase a pair of goggles and wear them casually, they make up a part of the competitive swimmer’s set of gear.

Those who swim in competition wear goggles to increase their visibility during a race but visibility is really the top reason why anybody wears swimming goggles.

Many people may be able to open their eyes underwater; however, not only will their vision be blurry but their eyes will also be exposed to various irritants, which may include a number of things depending on where you swim. A nice pair of swim goggles protect your eyes while allowing you to see clearly.

2. Scuba Diving Goggles

Scuba diver wearing a scuba diving goggles and suits makes an OK sign underwater.

Scuba diving goggles protect your eyes and help you see as well but they are also different in a number of ways. These goggles are also called masks because they cover over half of your face, including your nose.

Swimming goggles have two separate lenses just the same as a pair of glasses that fit over your eyes but scuba diving goggles have one continuous window that goes across the diver’s eyes and nose.

There are actually two types of diving goggles. There are those that cover just the nose and the eyes but there are others that cover the mouth in addition. Divers typically spend more time underwater so this mask creates a watertight seal that not only protects your eyes but also protects your nose as well.

3. Power Tools Goggles

A construction worker wearing a complete suite of safety uniform including a pair of safety goggles holds a power grinder on his shoulder.

Goggles used for power tools can look differently depending on where you buy them. They are always clear and plastic but some of them more closely resemble a pair of sunglasses, only covering the front of your eyes, whereas other goggles actually have depth and enclose your eyes, similar to the scuba diving goggles but without the nose coverage.

Most power tools goggles are said to be made out of more or less unbreakable materials and they’re supposed to be. They need to be able to protect your eyes from flying metal, wood, or plastic, among other materials. Some of them are heavy-duty and offer ventilation features that prevent the surface of the goggles from fogging.

4. Welding Goggles

A welder at work wearing a pair of welding goggles.

If you are unfamiliar with welding, you might not know that you aren’t supposed to look at the light generated by the welder as the ultraviolet rays can be extremely damaged to your eyes. There is an eye condition called “arc eye” or photokeratitis that is due to insufficiently protected eyes during welding.

With that in mind, eye protection is the most important piece of safety gear to have when welding, and welding goggles are equipped with special filters that allow you to look at what you are welding without worrying about hurting your eyes.

Of course, they will also protect your eyes from the debris and the heat. Some welding goggles are essentially helmets that cover your entire face.

5. Blowtorch Goggles

A young man wearing a pair of blowtorch goggles while working on a blowtorch.

Blowtorch goggles come in many different styles. They may resemble power tools goggles or they may have a distinct look of their own. For example, some blowtorch goggles look similar to larger versions of swimming goggles with big, round, dark lenses that cover your eyes.

They are designed to protect your eyes from glare, heat, and any flying debris.

It’s important to note that some blowtorch goggles may look similar to welding goggles but lack a special filter so if you are looking for welding goggles, you want to make sure that you are buying the right ones. You can always use welding goggles for blowtorch work but it’s important to know when you need a filtered lens.

6. Cold-Weather Goggles

An open suitcase of knitted winter clothes and a winter sports goggles.

Cold-weather goggles can be any goggles that are specifically designed for cold weather and they may come in a variety of different styles. Most modern cold-weather goggles will have two layers of lenses to prevent condensation from building up on the goggles.

The inner lens will be kept warmer than the outer lens so the only way that condensation forms is if water vapor gets in between the layers of lenses.

7. Motorcycle Goggles

Dirty motorcycle helmet with goggles resting on a motorcycle seat.

Motorcycle goggles are goggles that are designed for motorcycle riding and other open-air activities. As with most goggles, these goggles can have different looks. Some of them are made of separate round lenses while others are more of a mask with a continuous window for the eyes.

Since the rider is going against the wind, these goggles will be fairly snug on the face.

Not only do motorcycle goggles protect you from the wind but they also protect you from bugs, dirt, and other debris that can hurt your visibility during your drive. By wearing a pair of goggles, you don’t have to squint or wipe at your eyes for any reason.

8. Laboratory Goggles

A medical researcher wearing a pair of laboratory goggles, a safety mask, and hair net holds a tube with luminous liquid light.

Laboratory safety goggles are often reminiscent of power tools or shop goggles. They are typically clear plastic and simply serve the purpose of protecting your eyes from chemicals and other dangerous materials while making sure that you have excellent visibility. They are impact-resistant and have side shields that are tight on your face. Some of them even have laser-protective features.

9. Racquetball Goggles

A pair of racquetball goggles.

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Racquetball goggles are another type of goggles with a fairly simple design. Racquetball players wear them to protect their eyes from basically everything in the room, namely balls, racquets, or players’ bodies. Racquetball goggles are clear and some have colorful rims.

Some of them simply rest on your face while others will have a strap that wraps around your head. Other goggles are enclosed and sealed to protect your eyes from sweat. You may even see racquetball goggles will little nose guards to protect your nose from the impact of swinging racquets.

10. Winter Sports Goggles

A young skier with a ski board on her shoulders.

Winter sports goggles are essentially cold-weather goggles but all of them will have a sporty look to them. There are tons of different brands making winter sports goggles; for winter athletes, goggles are extremely valuable.

Winter athletes may be competing in high-level races or doing complex tricks while skiing, snowboarding, or some other activity. The goggles ensure that they have maximum visibility during competition and that they can do their job without visual interruption. The goggles mostly protect from water and flying snow or ice.

11. Dark Adaptor Goggles

Dark Adaptor Goggles

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Dark adaptor goggles are used in the meteorology and astronomy fields and they do exactly what the name suggests. They help astronomers adapt to the dark before going in to observe something at night. They also help meteorologists identify clouds when the sun is too bright.

Dark adaptor goggles are made with red-tinted plastic that is used for the lenses. If you are observing the night sky, you would put these on several minutes prior to going outside. The lens will help your eyes adjust to the darkness.

If you are looking at clouds, you wouldn’t put these on before going outside. Once outside, the goggles will protect your eyes and your view from the glare of the sun.

12. Basketball Goggles

West Virginia Mountaineers forward Devin Williams wearing a pair of basketball goggles.

Basketball goggles aren’t super common but they have been worn by several notable players including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Horace Grant. They have a simple design, which includes a strap that wraps tightly around your head to keep the goggles in place.

They are designed not to be bulky or disrupt gameplay but rather protect the players’ eyes from accidental scratching and poking from the other players. These aren’t very common occurrences and most players start wearing goggles after they have already suffered an eye injury of some kind.

13. Aviation Goggles

A handsome retro style aviator.

Aviation goggles were worn by early pilots who flew open cockpit aircraft but they are still in use today. Pilots wore them to protect their eyes from the wind so they serve a similar purpose as motorcycle goggles. Compared to other goggles, aviator goggles can be pretty bulky but they are usually tight with a lot of cushioning around the eye parts.

14. Virtual Reality

A man and a woman wearing virtual reality goggles and motioning as if driving a car.

Virtual reality headsets are often referred to as “goggles” because they are worn where every other pair of goggles is worn and they are even similar in shape to some goggles. However, they serve an entirely different purpose. Virtual reality goggles aren’t used for protection and they completely cut off your visibility of the outside world to better enhance your virtual reality experience.

The goggles completely wrap around your eyes so that you are completely immersed in the computer-generated environment. What you will be seeing are three-dimensional representations of real-world environments.

15. Drunkenness Simulation Goggles

A woman trying on a pair of drunkenness simulation goggles.

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Drunkenness goggles are another type of goggles that aren’t used for wearer protection. Rather, they are designed to simulate your vision when you are drunk. They are mostly used for educational purposes and schools have had events where they have students wear the goggles and try to walk, drive a toy car, or something similar.

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