Expert Review: Smith I/O Goggles · 2021
This review is my honest opinion of the goggles, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2019.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the goggles, which I purchased with my own money in March of 2019, and then again in October of 2019.
Although Smith changed the goggle game when they first released the I/O quick-change line, the Smith I/O Goggles fail to compete with some of their biggest competitors. With a hefty price tag of over $200 for a non-magnetic goggle, better quality at a better price can be found elsewhere. This review summarizes my opinion of the I/O S (which is no longer in production) and Ski Expert Raphael Alland’s opinion of the standard I/O.
About this gear
- Model: 2019 I/O S and 2020 I/O
- Size: I/O is standard, I/O S is small
- Does it feature lens replacement?: Yes
- Fit: True-to-size
- Helmet: 2019 Giro Era for me, 2020 Giro Jackson for Raph
- Wear glasses with goggles: No
- Experience: 20+ years of skiing for me, 5 years of skiing for him
- When I bought them: March 2019 for me, October 2019 for Raph
- Days used: 25ish days
- Lenses I own: ChromaPop Sun Platinum Mirror, ChromaPop Sun Red Mirror Lens, ChromaPop Storm Rose Flash
- Weather conditions used in: Full sun, partly cloudy, whiteout conditions
- Where I’ve used them: Colorado
- Terrain: All-inbounds resort terrain
How they perform
What I was looking for
We both needed goggles last minute (in March for me, in October for him). We went to our local ski shop, as this was our only last-minute option.
Why I chose this gear
We chose goggles based on face fit, sale price, and color. That’s how I ended up with a small blue pair and Raph bought a regular-sized red/black pair.
What I love about them
- Fit: The fit was nice for both of us. They looked modern without being oversized, and the frame contours well to the face.
- Comfort: The foam in these goggles is very comfortable. We had no problems with it being itchy.
- Visibility: The visibility of these goggles is quite good. Smith makes lenses that really bump up the color and contrast. We’re big fans of their sunglasses for this reason!
- Helmet compatibility: These Smith goggles fit seamlessly with our Giro helmets. No gaper gap here!
Issues I’ve encountered
- Lens replacement: Although it’s advertised as a quick change system, it still took forever to get them to line up properly. They were difficult to snap into place. After a few uses, the lens never aligned with the frame again.
- Ventilation: We both had significant problems with fogging. It seems the anti-fog coating no longer worked after a few uses.
- Face frame: While Raph had no issues with his goggles, I found the I/O S to be angled too far down. I wish the frame had more support on the cheeks.
- Durability: These goggles scratched immediately. Actually, Raph’s even came with a scratch and was on super discount. The silicone on the underside of the straps also wore away quite quickly, leaving a sticky residue on our helmets.
Favorite moment with this gear
If one has read my review of the Giro Lusi Goggles (which I purchased to replace these Smiths), then this story will seem familiar. Raph and I moved to Colorado two months after we got married in October 2018. Every year, there’s a chance that we can ski on our anniversary. We were lucky enough to ski on our very first anniversary at Keystone. It was extra special because that was literally the first time we ever skied together!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Smith I/O Goggles have a hefty price tag for not having magnetic-assist lens changing. The retail price for these goggles is a little over $200 (compared to under $200 for the comparable Lusi goggles from Giro). Although we love Smith sunglasses, their goggles have failed to compete with Giro for both of us. We have had generally negative experiences with our Smith goggles (I/O S for me, I/O and Squad XL for him). In contrast, we have been exceptionally satisfied with our Giro goggles (Lusi and Eave for me, Contour for him).
After our experiences with Smith I/O Goggles, neither of us will be purchasing from them again. We both highly recommend buying goggles from Giro instead.