I’ve got a handful of goggles on the shelf. Some with yellow lenses for low light conditions, some with chrome mirror lenses for bluebird days and others with amber lenses for all-around versatility. I’ve also swapped out the lenses in my myriad of Smith Cascade goggles over the years… it’s a bit of a chore, but I got it done.

Just as Smith changed the sunglass world with the innovative Smith Slider series, they are aiming to change the goggle world with the new Smith I/O goggle. I saw next year’s enviro-friendly version of the I/O Evolve goggle at Outdoor Retailer in January and have since gotten my hands on a pair of new Smith I/O goggles to flog on the slopes.

About the I/O Goggle

The Smith I/O goggle offers all that you’d expect from Smith with the unique addition of the quick-release lens system. Two flip-locks sit on top of the brow of the goggles. A quick twist of both and a couple of seconds later, your lens is out. I/O’s come standard with two spherical lenses utilizing the Porex filter to maintain fog-free vision. Here are the highlights:

  • Two lenses included: Ignitor and Sensor Mirror
  • Spherical lens for true optical clarity
  • Vaporator lens with Porex filter
  • Quick-fit goggle clip
  • Medium-sized design that’s obviously helmet-compatible

Smith I/O Goggle Review - Jason Mitchell

2008 Smith I/O Goggle Review

The first time I used the I/O’s was on a dawn patrol under flat light conditions. Because I knew the light conditions would be dark, I swapped out the Ignitor lens with the Sensor Mirror lens. The lens swap was as painless as it gets. I had swapped out many lenses on other goggle designs (a pain in the butt), but the swapping process on the I/O’s was simple and quick.

The frame itself is much stiffer than other goggle designs to provide a rigid backing with foam that won’t break down after repeated lens changes. The lens itself is completely sealed except for a small Porex filter that keeps the double lens fog-free. I’m a big fan of spherical lens designs because they provide true, distortion-free vision in all directions.

The medium-sized I/O’s fit my face perfectly. I had just decided that all goggles would squeeze my nostrils and block my breathing. These goggles changed that view completely because for the first time I could perfectly breathe through my nose. They also fit great with both the Smith Variant Brim and Leedom Zen helmets.

I skied them all day inbounds at Solitude and on a couple of backcountry tours. I sweat a lot and the I/O’s have stayed relatively fog-free under all conditions. Vision was clear and sharp and these goggles are now the top of the goggle heap when I head out on the hill.

Good I/O

  • Wide range of vision
  • Easy to change lenses (includes two)
  • Doesn’t squeeze my nose like many goggles do
  • Clear, spherical optics

Bad I/O

  • Can fog in warmer, snowy conditions

The Bottom Line on the Smith I/O Goggles

Buy, ’em, flog ’em and enjoy ’em. The I/O’s are stellar goggles with an easy-to-use interchangeable lens system that makes these goggles some of the most versatile on the market. At $169 MSRP, they aren’t cheap, but they are super-versatile and awesome-fitting, which will make them great goggles for years to come.

Buy Now: Find the Latest Smith Goggles at REI

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

8 Comments

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  3. Bought a pair of 2010 IO/S goggles. Not sure what’s changed but they were easily the worst I’ve ever owned. They have a haze (not fog) problem in between the two lenses. Both pair of lenses that were included had the SAME problem. Not a defect but a design issue.

  4. Wayne

    I haven’t heard anything about this issue and the pair I’ve got are clear as a bell. Did you return them to the retailer or directly to Smith? They will take care of you, no problem.

  5. Wayne, finally someone else that had the same problem I did about the fog or hazing between the I/O lenses. I have had 4 lenses, this season alone, that have hazed up, Sensor, 2 Platinums and a Red mirror. When I put my bare hand up to the lens, thus heating the outer lens it reduces the haze. Tough to ski with hand in face. Have recieved replacements but this will be my last attempt before I go to Oakley.

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