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Smith I/OS Goggle

Smith I/OS Goggle, Blister Gear ReviewSmith I/OS Goggle

Specs:

  • 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
  • Helmet Compatible
  • Includes Microfiber Goggle Bag with Replacement Lens Sleeve

Days Used: 20

The Smith I/OS is the smaller version of the popular Smith I/O goggle and is intended for people with narrower faces, like myself. Will Brown speaks highly in his review of the Smith I/O goggle, and I have found the Smith I/OS to be an equally awesome goggle.

The I/OS allows impressive peripheral vision despite its smaller size, which can be attributed to a different frame design than the I/O. Instead of having a plastic frame along the sides of the goggle where the strap attaches, the I/OS’s lens extends over the frame to the edge of the goggle, for a virtually rimless effect.

While this design allows for the best possible vision, the I/OS does have some slight alterations from the I/O’s simple design. The strap and frame are attached by an external, elevated outrigger, which the lens fits into. In order to unlock and remove the lens, you have to rotate the outrigger down 90°. This actually took me some time to figure out. Looking at Smith’s Quick Release diagram, I couldn’t tell that the side outrigger was rotated. Although I was able to switch the lenses much faster once I figured this out (and the process was certainly faster than with all the other goggles I have used) it is an additional step.

Smith Goggle's Quick Release Lens System

Smith Quick Release Lens System

The lack of almost any external frame over the lens (only found in the V of the nose) made the I/OS more prone to scratching. Because there is nothing in front to absorb any initial impact or deflect an incoming tree branch, the lens receives the full blow. I am not sure whether they are anti-scratch treated, but in 20 days I have more large scratches than I did after a season with the POC Iris X. Granted, I was skiing through trees in Niseko most of the days I wore them.

Julia Van Raalte, Smith IO/S goggle, Niseko Japan

Julia Van Raalte, G7, Niseko Annupuri.

Despite the susceptibility of the lens to scratching, the plastic of the frame is really strong despite its thin design. It held up fine under my attempts to remove the lens while they were still locked to the frame—a difficult task. Although the goggles feel sturdy, they are still pliable.

I haven’t experienced too many fogging issues with the I/OS. The only time they fogged was on colder days when I pulled my neck warmer up to the bottom of the goggles, and even then they cleared quickly. The I/OS has vents that wrap all the way around the frame that are covered by a thin layer of foam, as well as lenses with a Porex Filter, all to increase airflow.

The I/OS has two layers of foam, plus a soft layer of fabric that rests against the face. They are very comfortable and insulated, but are still breathable enough to keep on while hiking.

I don’t use a goggle retaining clip on the back of my helmet, so a sticky strap is a must. While there is a thick silicone band on the back of the I/OS, it stops at the adjustable section, which leaves about half of the strap without silicone. I found that tightening the strap compensated for the lack of stickiness, but they still moved around a bit more than I would have liked.

The strap is adjustable from both sides because of the clip on the back of the goggle straps, which makes it really easy to loosen or tighten, even with my gloves on. The strap clip is also a nice feature that enabled me to take the goggles off quickly.

The I/OS comes with two lenses, typically a low light lens and a bright light lens. My white foundation goggles came with the Ignitor Mirror lens (35% Visible Light Transmission) and the Sensor Mirror lens (70% VLT). I have actually used only the Ignitor Mirror lens, which is described as an all-around lens, and found that it worked extremely well in all conditions. Even on the snowiest days in Niseko, I didn’t feel that I needed to switch out to the Sensor Mirror lens.

I was amazed at how seamlessly the Smith I/OS goggles fit with my POC Receptor Bug helmet. In fact, they almost fit my POC helmet better than my POC Iris X goggles did, though it’s important to note that my size large Iris X goggles are a little big. I was able to try on the I/OS goggles with the Smith Allure helmet, and they also fit perfectly. (I imagine that they will be very compatible with most of Smith’s other helmets, too.

The Smith I/OS goggles are not only well-built, but have a cool rimless design. They have quickly become my new go-to goggle, especially given how easy it is to switch out the lenses. I think the I/OS is the perfect option for those who like the look of the I/O, but want a slightly slimmer fit.

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