Smith has long been the market-leader in ski goggles. Their simple goggle designs have been classics for years. In fact, the Smith Cascade is likely the most popular goggle of all time–I happen to have three pairs in my closet. You likely have or have had a pair or two in your lifetime. They are great goggles for the money.
Over time, Smith has developed more progressive goggle designs to provide better vision, ventilation and overall fit with helmets. The popularity of helmets and widespread adoption by most skiers and boarders has created some challenges for some goggle manufacturers. The aforementioned Smith Cascade goggles worked perfectly with most helmets because the goggle design had been used by motocross riders for years.
Not satisfied with a pretty good goggle/helmet interface, Smith decided to develop their own helmet line to provide the most optimal interface possible that would maximize vision and airflow. The Smith Phenom is a great example of this Wonder Twin combination.
About the Smith Phenom Goggle
The tested pair of goggles were the Smith Phenom Special Edition 3M Black Boutique with the Platinum Mirror spherical lens. Try saying that with a mouthful of granola… you’ll likely be spewing raisins and nuts like Old Faithful. To go along with that long name is a host of features and technology–all with the goal of helping you see better in all conditions.
Tops on the list is the spherical Carbonic-X lens with Smith’s patented Vaporator lens and Porex filter. Nothing is worse than fogged goggles and all this jargon and technology ensures fog-free, distortion-free vision. On top of that, you get a medium-fit goggle design with outrigger strap hinges and a quick-clip for easy on/off.
Phenom Goggle Review
I’ve gone through a lot of goggles in my day. Mostly because I am the fog machine. I don’t know what it is about where or how much I sweat, but I can instantly fog up goggles on a quick bootpack or in sloppy/wet conditions. Many times, I’ll carry a spare pair of goggles in my pack just for such occasions.
I did get some slight fogging with the Phenom goggles (which can never be eliminated) but, the best thing is that within a couple of turns, the fog cleared. No doubt all the ventilation technology and optimized helmet interface (I’m using the Smith Variant Brim helmet) play a huge factor in clearing goggle fog. I took a head-first digger at Deer Valley under Lady Morgan Express and got plenty of snow packed into the vents. A quick wipe and a few turns later and the instant fog was gone–awesome.
The Platinum Mirror lens provides spot-on vision under a variety of light conditions–from puking storms at Brighton to overcast backcountry conditions in Big Cottonwood Canyon and then to bluebird powder at Deer Valley. Even in the trees, I never felt the lens to be too dark and even in bright sunlight I didn’t feel as if the lenses were too light. I dig spherical lenses in general and these were no exception… flat lenses will distort your vision at extreme angles, so if you can, always opt for spherical lenses.
The overall comfort and fit is great and they look solid. And, if you’re into pimping your goggles, Smith provides “Hop-up Kits” to further customize the look of your goggles–because you can’t look like the next guy.
The Bottom Line on the Smith Phenom Goggles
Nope… they’re not the cheapest goggles on the market at $149.95, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better looking and better performing goggle at any price. Smith knows how to make top-shelf goggles and the Smith Phenom Goggles are some of the best goggles I’ve worn.