What are Motorcycle Goggles?

Britt Archer

Motorcycle goggles are often regarded as a fashion statement, but they serve a much more important purpose than that: protection. When driving at 60 miles per hour (96.56 kilometers per hour) down a highway, even the smallest particles of dust or debris can cause serious damage to a person's eyes. Motorcycle goggles serve as a protective barrier between that dust and debris and the motorcycle rider's eyes.

There are motorcycle goggles made for night riding.
There are motorcycle goggles made for night riding.

Both the lenses and encasement for motorcycle goggles have a variety of stylistic and material options. The traditional encasement for motorcycle goggle lenses is leather, although high performance synthetic fibers are now commonplace. The traditional lens material is glass, but this has been slowly falling out of favor for more resilient synthetic materials that can be manipulated in a variety of ways through tinting and optimization for the rider's comfort.

By wearing goggles, motorcycle drivers can protect their eyes if they don't have a full-face helmet.
By wearing goggles, motorcycle drivers can protect their eyes if they don't have a full-face helmet.

One such improvement is the advent of prescription motorcycle goggles. They eliminate the need to wear corrective lenses beneath the goggles, allowing a more snug fit and ensuring a safer ride. Goggles have also been made in a style that accommodates prescription glasses. Often these are made from a synthetic material treated to be fog- and scratch-resistant.

Other optimizations that have been made to motorcycle glasses/goggles include the ability to adjust the tint on the glasses. These goggles afford not only protection from flying debris, but also the harmful UV rays of sunlight. There also are motorcycle goggles made for night riding, as well as riding in less than optimal weather conditions.

All the stylistic and functional features will mean nothing if protective goggles are improperly fitted. Motorcyclists should ensure that the strap on the goggles is firm enough to stay on, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. They also should be aware that the goggles must always form a protective barrier around all angles of a person's eyes. If they do not do so, a different style or size may be necessary. In addition, goggles should not interfere with the choice of protective headgear that a rider chooses.

Motorcycle helmet goggles make accommodations in their size and shape to allow the rider to safely wear both a helmet and goggles. Unlike stylistic aviator motorcycle goggles, which tend to be large and cumbersome, most goggles styled for use with a helmet are smaller and less obtrusive. Different helmets are shaped differently, and it is wise for the rider to bring her helmet with her when purchasing a new pair of motorcycle goggles from a store.

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Discussion Comments


@ddljohn-- That's a great idea, thanks for sharing that. I mostly ride during the day, so I haven't needed clear goggles but I'm sure I will in the future. I mostly care about UV protection and anti-fog when it comes to motorcycle goggles.


@stoneMason-- Actually, many shops sell sets of motorcycle goggles in different shades. There are even goggles with removable glasses that come with glasses of different tints such as clear, yellow or smoke. So one can easily remove one and attach the other. Of course, I don't know about the quality. That will probably depend on the brand and the materials. You should look at motorcycle goggles online. There are more choices so you can get a better idea of what's right for you.


Motorcycle goggles are not a fashion statement, they're definitely a necessity. Take a two day motorcycle trip without them and you'll know what I mean!

I'm shopping for a good pair of motorcycle goggles. The one I had was okay, but after wearing it for a few hours, I would get a pinched mark on my nose which looked funny. The other issue was that they were tinted, which was good during the day, but I couldn't wear them in the evening or at night.

I'm not sure what type of goggles I should get now. I think I may have to get two, one tinted for daytime and one clear for night.

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