Smith I/O Ski Goggle Review


Smith Goggles ReviewSo it was time recently to begin looking around as I needed to buy a new pair of goggles, as my Oakley A Frames, which I was very impressed with were well past their prime. I was extremely happy with them as both the fit and acuity for me were outstanding.

The only time the persimmon tinted A Frames really didn’t work for me was on the bluebird sunny days as they permitted way too much light to pass through. However, these Oakley lens were designed for low to mid bright days, so they were functioning as designed.

My final 3 choices I decided on were Smith’s, Scott’s or another pair of Oakley’s. I liked all three of these brands initially as they’ve all been considered top goggle manufacturer’s and also are well made.

I decided on the Smith Optics I/O goggles as they fit me really well and come with two interchangeable lenses. One lens for low to mid light for overcast and snowy days and another for bright, crystal clear sunny days. This would eliminate my bright day google issue that I had with only having one pair of goggles.

Other factors for choosing the Smith’s were previous experience before I purchased the Oakley’s. I have purchased countless Smith goggles over the years for myself and my family. I have always been pleased with the Smith brand as they proved reliable, even against all of the elements that A-Basin could throw at them. Whether it was gail force winds or blinding snow they held up and were fog free.  Additionally, the numerous wrecks that I had, they survived most of the time.

What solidified my dedication to them was my ski bumming, ski shop rat days when the Smith rep would come into the shop and begin handing out the swag. Not everyone would get a pair, but there was always some bartering going on, so they were still possible to obtain if your number wasn’t called.

Enough of the past, let’s get to the newest Smith Vaporator I/O’s. The Smith’s arrived in their standard box from a purchase on the internet, with the Sol-X lenses on the goggles and with the Red Sensor low light lenses wrapped in a soft bag. I slipped the goggles on and walked outside, where it was a nice sunny day. I immediately had the feeling that I had made a good purchase.

The I/O’s have a good fit for my medium – large face and I was also impressed with their anti-fogging capability. They also come in a smaller frame for small faces, the I/OS. They fit just as I had hoped and the foam felt comfortable and soft. I did notice that the Smith’s, while being a little oversize and giving me some enhanced peripheral vision, did want to compete a little with my K2 helmet for some forehead space. Nothing major, but noticeable every now and then for the first few days. However, now after skiing with them many days now, I do not notice this any longer.

I wasn’t worried since this would eventually be alleviated anyways as I will updating my helmet soon and will make sure I have a better fit. I do see while looking at Smith Helmets, that they are compatible with Smith Goggles.Smith IO Goggle Review

I noticed a big difference in the light allowed through the lens between these Smith’s with Sol-X and my Oakley’s with their persimmon lens. This was one of the reasons I decided to go to a two lens setup. One lens just can’t provide the versatility that I was looking for. One lens I wanted to knock down the light and glare on bluebird sunny days and one for low light storm skiing through the trees.

The SOL-X’s specs say they have a light transmission of 18% and the Red Sensor have 60%. Conversely, the Oakley A Frames allowed 60%  of light. Not surprising then what is coming next in my 2 lenses versus 1 comparison.

Smith GogglesOnce I got out on the slopes, the Sol-X lens’s were dark enough for me in the bright sun and I didn’t have to worry about squinting due to reflections off of the snow. They have a greenish hue to me while looking through them in the bright sun, although the description says they are a sienna brown. Maybe my eyes are a little off??? Peering through the lens, my vision is very acute and I don’t have any eye fatigue while skiing a full day with them.

I did change the lenses when I was at Snowbird and we received 12” of new snow. As much as I liked the Sol-X lens on bright days, I sound out that I liked the rose tinted lens for cloudy days just as much. While some of SteepAnDeep crew were complaining about their lack of visibility in the bowls, I was not having the same issues. Did I have perfect visibility? No, I didn’t. But, I was able pick out the contour and definitions of the snow at a degree in which I still felt comfortable very comfortable and the flat light was not affecting my skiing.

The first time I swapped the lenses, it was a little slow and cumbersome for me as I really didn’t want to break anything, so I was being extra cautious and methodical. I’ve done stupid things like that in the past, so I didn’t want to do that on these brand new I/O’s. All it took was repeating the process twice and now I can change them rather easily in about 45 seconds.

As many skiers do, they carry and extra pair of goggles in their pocket or backpack. Having two lenses will enable you to save a little extra space.

Last week I expected it to be cloudy with some snow showers, so I switched the lenses to the rose tinted low-light lens. It turned out to be partly cloudy and although it was a tad bit on the bright side, I was able to ski all day without much if any eye strain. If it would’ve been all sun, then maybe I would have suffered a little. So all in all, the lenses appear to be a great combination as they can overlap.

Also, depending on what kind of conditions you ski or ride in, you can select different lens combinations that offer more and less light transmission through the lens. The Smith I/O goggle lens options also include polarized or photochromatic lenses as well.

So am I happy with the Smith I/O google purchase? Yes I am and am glad I chose them to buy. Plus, Smith’s are designed and manufactured in the USA.


  • No need to carry a second pair of goggles
  • Comfortable
  • Ready for changing conditions
  • Durable
  • Designed & made in the USA
  • Helmet strap made to go over helmet


  • Oversize frames my not fit nicely with every helmet
  • Cost, a little more expensive than buying a “regular” pair


Buy Smith I/O Goggles:

Christy Sports



Full Disclosure: I bought the Smith I/O goggles for my personal use.

by Lane Lawrence