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Smith I/OX Goggle

Smith I/OX, Blister Gear ReviewProduct: Smith I/OX Goggle

Specs:

Test Locations: Alta Ski Area; Taos Ski Valley; Las Leñas Ski Resort

Days Tested: ~35

Smith Optics has a new goggle out this season, and they are pretty excited about it (buckle up: this is an eXtreme!!! product description):

“The biggest, baddest weapon in Smith’s Interchangeable goggle arsenal. In the arms race for superior fog prevention and peripheral vision, the I/OX truly is the nuclear solution. Never before has a goggle provided this level of peripheral vision, interchangeability, fog-free performance and seamless helmet integration in one package. In the game of Global Thermonuclear War, the I/OX isn’t playing around.”

So if you’re planning to invade a small country, dismantle a bomb, or play the very serious-sounding game of “Global Thermonuclear War,” then apparently, this is your goggle. (I’m actually in a co-ed Global Thermonuclear War city league—we play every Tuesday evening at that field over by the middle school—so obviously, these goggles have been perfect for that.)

But on the outside chance that some of you might occasionally use these goggles for non-bellicose purposes—might just go ski or ride for an afternoon rather than battle the Red Skull—I figured I’d evaluate some of Smith’s other claims.

“The biggest [style] in Smith’s Interchangeable goggle [lineup].”

This is true. It’s the biggest. If the smaller Smith Phenom fits you perfectly, it’s doubtful that the I/OX will work just as well for you. And if the Smith I/O goggle is borderline too big, then the I/OX will almost certainly be too big.

The Smith Phenom was my go-to goggle for years, and I still really like that frame. But when the Smith I/O came out, it became my go-to goggle because it allowed me to more easily switch out lenses.

The I/O fits me well, so if your powers of deduction are sharp right now, you’ll have figured out that the I/OX is pretty big on me. It works, and I like the look of the I/OX a lot, but it’s pretty big. Smith’s biggest. Smith was right.

“…superior fog prevention…”

Actually, this appears to be true, too. The only thing is that I never have any fog problems with my I/Os. It seems that the little Porex Filter dot thing that Smith puts on their lenses actually works.

Smith claims that the I/OX incorporates “a 5X Anti-Fog Inner Lens, the most advanced anti-fog lens ever created. Constructed of a hydrophilic, micro-etched surface to absorb moisture and disperse it over a wide surface area to prevent fogging, the new 5X Anti-Fog inner lens has been engineered to provide over five times the absorptive properties of anything on the market.”

Holding up an I/O lens to an I/OX lens, the micro-etched surface of the latter isn’t obvious. But Smith is doing something that for me, at least, has been very effective. So if you have had issues with fogging in the I/O, I would love for you to try the I/OX goggles and report back. I seriously can’t get them to fog.

Note: if you regularly ski in a rain forest or something, Smith offers both the I/O and the I/OX with a built in fan. And if you’re still fogging up, even with a built in fan…maybe you should just take up croquet instead.

“…and peripheral vision…”

The peripheral vision of the I/OX is eXtremely good. I can see everything, all around. Only thing is, I feel like the peripheral vision in my I/O goggles is really good, too, and my I/O goggles aren’t so big that the nose piece sits not on the bridge of my nose but just above my nostrils, acting a little bit like a nose plug for swimmers.

Of course, your face isn’t my face, so this might be a non-issue. But if your face is smaller than mine, you’ll probably want to wage war against the forces of darkness (or go ski) in something not quite so big.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Smith I/OX, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the I/OX, Las Leñas Ski Resort.

Furthermore, I never felt that the peripheral vision of my Phenom goggles was lacking, either. In fact, in a back-to-back-to-back comparison of the Phenom, the I/O, and the I/OX, I had no issue with any of the three. In my experience, Smith has been doing peripheral vision well for a while now.

14 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Hannes September 25, 2012 Reply

    Where did you park your F15?

  2. Brent November 29, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan what size Vantage helmet do you wear, I just ordered a pair of I/O and I/OX one for me and one for my brother for x-mas, I was going to use the I/O but now I cant seem to decide but don’t want to open them up.

  3. Brent November 29, 2012 Reply

    Which goggle felt like it fit the helmet better the I/O or the I/OX?

  4. azaeal December 22, 2012 Reply

    I have major fog issues with my i/ox. Sometimes they fog slightly which I can live with but other times they fog right up and between the lens. I have tried using balacavas to redirect my breath. I think next year I will have to get the ones with the fan. I also noted that the bead of silicone they use to seal the lenses to the frame left many gaps. Not too happy with these but they have performed slightly better then previous Google’s.

    • Author

      Huh. I still haven’t had any fogging issues – ever – with this frame, or any of the three lenses I use with it. I almost never use a balaclava, but I do some days ski with a neck gaiter, and still no issues. Only problem I’ve had is when I’ve paired the I/Ox with a helmet other than a Smith. (See comment below.) So it does sound like the fan might be the best way to go. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Dylan December 28, 2012 Reply

    How do they fit with a Sandbox Classic L/XL? Just wondering because I’m thinking of picking the I/ox’s up but don’t wanna look like I just came out of a mental hospital. With the sandbox would the I/o’s work better or not?

    • Author

      I’ve not tried them with the Sandbox, Dylan, so can’t say. I did, however, ski the other day with the I/OX and a Pro-Tec Riot helmet…and that combination didn’t work out well. The large lens of the I/OX didn’t sync with the brim of the Riot, and the Sandbox & Riot design at least look to be somewhat similar. And, FWIW, I have had zero problems syncing the Riot helmet and the I/O goggles – that combo works very well.)

  6. Nick February 27, 2014 Reply

    I know this question isn’t specifically about the lenses, but since you have had both the Phenom and the I/O, I was wondering if you have had a chance to try and compare those with the newer Vice and how that fits in between the other two size-wise? If the visual field of the I/O is actually bigger than the Phenom, is the Vice more like the Phenom size-wise but just with easier lens change? Or is the Vice the same size as I/O but with a different style? I don’t get a feel for the difference on the Smith website.
    Thanks.

  7. Steve Taylor January 11, 2016 Reply

    People, like me, who wear glasses have serious fog problems. Having a person who never has fog problems review these goggles is like having an Olympic swimmer review life jackets. Isn’t there someone on your staff who wears specs?

    • Keith January 20, 2017 Reply

      Im with Steve, I wear glasses and have been helplessly searching for a ski goggle that i can put on and my (glasses) will not fog up. See for me, the goggles always do just fine, but my glasses fog up… The turbo fan got pretty bad reviews about the fan just randomly stopping … nobody wants to ski around with a dead fan in their goggles.

  8. Justin Alpert January 13, 2016 Reply

    I noticed you are wearing the Green Sol X mirror lens on a snowy day. How does it perform in partly cloudy/ snowy conditions?

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