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