Smith I/OS Goggle Review
In 2009, Smith Optics introduced the I/O’s, a rimless and interchangeable goggle. New for 2010, Smith has released the I/OS which have many of the same great features as the I/O goggles, but have a small to medium fit. Both the I/O and I/OS are a part of Smith Optics spherical series, which incorporates their latest and greatest lens and frame technologies.
For starters, I tested out the I/OS with Red Sol X mirror lenses that are geared towards blue bird days with a VLT of 18%. These lenses were great for high glare days because they are polarized and also feature Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology (TLT): TLT works to straighten light rays that have undergone refraction, in order to allow the wearer to have crystal clear images without distortion of terrain or any additional eye fatigue. When wearing the I/OS I sometimes forgot I had goggles on at all. As a contact lens wearer, I know how important it is to have a clear image and found that these goggles were comparable to some of my top end sunglasses.
When the skies are darker, or when the flurries are flying, you can easily swap out your lenses and place the Sensor mirror lens that comes included with your I/OS. The Sensor mirror lens carries a VLT rating of 70% and is perfect for hard to see days. I used these lenses in the back bowls at Vail resorts where finding definition is often difficult amongst the wide open terrain. The Sensor mirror lenses have a rose hue to them and can be snapped in and out thanks to two quick releases levers at the top of the goggles. Once you flip the lever in the up position, you can easily pop out the lens. I found it more difficult to place the new set of lenses in the I/OS than the I/O goggles. The I/OS feature a small circular cut out on the outer aspect of each lens, where the goggle back strap attaches. In order to get these lenses into place, I had to apply some significant pressure to snap them in before closing the top levers. I almost felt like I was going to destroy the lens or the swivel portion of the goggle strap. On the I/O goggles, the side attachment point is much larger and therefore there is no need to put a small circle cut out around the swivel goggle strap post. I am hopeful that the more I swap them in and out the easier it will become.
The Smith I/OS are truly helmet compatible and integrate seamlessly, i.e. no gap, with the Salomon, Giro, and Smith helmets that we have on hand. The goggles are comfortable thanks to dual layer foam that insulates and protects from the elements, while also featuring an easy to adjust strap. I have experienced no fogging up with or without a helmet. The Smith I/OS seem pretty durable as well, despite snapping the lenses in and out for a few weeks I have yet to notice a scratch. Each lens tested has also featured a hydrophobic coating, which I like to call Rain-X for your goggles. This coating has almost eliminated the need for wiping my goggles, even on a relatively wet snow ski day. Overall, I have been extremely impressed with the Smith I/OS and feel that you get a great product for your money. These goggles are also available in 14 different frame colors and allows for some individuality as well. For more information on these goggles and the I/O goggles, please visit SmithOptics.com
Small / Medium Fit
Quick Release Lens System
Spherical, Carbonic-X Lens with TLT Optics
Patented Vaporator Lens Technology with Porex™ Filter
Includes Two Performance Mirror Lenses
Ultra-Wide, Silicone Backed Strap
Quickfit Strap Adjustment System with Clip Buckle
Dual Layer, DriWix Face Foam