Expert Review: Smith I/O MAG Goggles · 2022Published on 07/13/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the goggles which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
Bowl shredding with Smith I/O MAG XL. All photos courtesy of Robbie M.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the goggles which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Smith I/O MAG XL are an awesome oversized goggle for any level skier looking for a larger fitting goggle with a big field of view (FOV) and one of the easiest lens change systems available.
About this gear
- Model: 2021 Smith I/O MAG XL
- Size Oversized
- Does it feature lens replacement?: Yes
- Fit: Oversized (for medium to large heads)
- Helmet: 2020 Pret Cynic
- Wear glasses with goggles: No
- Experience: 10 years of skiing
- When I bought them: December 2021
- Days used: 18 days
- Lenses I own: Chromapop Sun Black and Chomapop Storm Rose Flash
- Weather conditions used in: Bluebird sunny day, overcast / flat light, night skiing
- Where I’ve used them: Spirit Mountain (MN), Hyland Hills (MN), Trollhaugen (WI), Grand Targhee (WY), Jackson Hole (WY)
- Terrain: Resort bowls, trees, terrain park, groomers
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was in the market for new goggles and had heard a lot of good things about Smith goggles (used Oakley for 5+ years). I wanted an oversized-goggle to handle bluebird days out West, night skiing in the Midwest, and be easy to change lenses.
Why I chose this gear
I had heard great things about Smith’s Chromapop lens technology and loved the way their Sun Black lenses looked. The main deciding factor for me was the MAG lens change technology.
I considered going with an Oakley goggle such as the Flight Path XL, however I wasn’t a fan of their new Ridgelock technology compared to Smith’s MAG tech. The other things I liked about the Smith’s is they come with two lenses whereas most Oakleys only come with one.
The last few years I have used the Oakley Airbrake XL goggles and enjoyed the FOV and their Switchlock lens changing tech. However, Smith’s MAG change is significantly easier and have loved the way they pair up with my Pret Cynic helmet.
What I love about it
- Fit: For being an oversized goggle, these aren’t the largest on the market. However, they fit my medium-large head perfectly.
- Comfort: I’ve forgotten I’ve even had these goggles on at times; they are very comfortable to wear due to the multiple layers of foam. As they stretch around a helmet, they tend to place less stress on your face, which is a great bonus.
- Lens replacement: Smith’s MAG change tech is one of the best in the industry. It makes it incredibly easy even with gloves to change the lenses. A set of magnets embedded in the lens pair up with a set of magnets in the frame, making swapping lenses a breeze. There’s no fiddling with locks or switches, I just lay the lens on the frame and it’s stuck in place ready to shred. When it’s time to change the lenses, I hold down on the side of the goggle and pull up on the lens.
- Visibility: Smith Chromapop lenses are awesome for contrast in low contrast conditions. The color tints within the lenses allow for maximum contrast even when there’s little natural light to provide the contrast (shadows) in the snow. The low light lenses even do well at night; I’ve used them many nights skiing in Minnesota under the lights and had no issues with glare or not being able to see, even on poorly lit portions of the hill. The field of view is fairly good when compared with most mid-ranged priced goggles, however, it isn’t the best on the market.
- Helmet compatibility: These goggles pair nicely with my Pret Cynic helmet, leaving no trace of a “gorby-gap” (where there’s a noticeable gap from the top of your goggles to the bottom of your helmet, exposing your forehead).
- Durability: I’ve found these goggles have held up very well when kept in the included microfiber bag. Pro tip: store your goggles inside your helmet with layers packed on top (gloves, gaiters, etc) for extra protection.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Ventilation: This year we were still skiing in a COVID world where some resorts required mask wearing; I did find that I could fog the goggles up on the chairlift if I had a gaiter on. However, once I started skiing, I had no issues.
- Strap: One minor issue I ran into with the Smith strap is that it can come apart with a clip that’s in the middle of the back of the strap. This happens to sit right where my helmet’s goggle retainer clip sits, making it unable to close. I found a workaround by having one side of the strap slightly longer than the other to allow the clip to close.
Favorite moment with this gear
One of the best moments I had while wearing the Smith I/O MAG XL goggles was a bluebird day at Jackson Hole. Our group got off the tram and immediately bee-lined it down Rendezvous Bowl with not a cloud in the sky. I was able to see really well and never felt blinded even being surrounded 270 degrees by pure white bowl.
Value for the money vs. other options
These goggles are 100% worth the money when compared to similar options such as the Oakley Flight Deck or Flight Path. With an easier lens changing feature and the inclusion of a second lens, the Smith’s give me the most bang for the buck on the market.
For those in the market for a mid-upper tier goggle loaded with features, such as a second lens and a super easy ability to swap lenses, definitely check out the Smith I/O MAG XL.