What does the manufacturer have to say?
“Smith’s sleek, rimless design matches up nicely with the ease of their interchangeable technology when you wear the I/O Interchangeable Optics Spherical Series Goggle. Oversized spherical lenses curve like the natural shape of your eye to provide optimal visual clarity when you ride. The quick release lens system makes it easy to change out lenses depending on the weather and which lens works best in certain conditions. Smith uses their Vaporator lens technology on the I/O to keep fog off your lenses for crystal clear sight on the mountain.”
Over the past 10 years I have used many different goggles. In that time I’ve liked certain goggles, but I was never blown away by any of them. Some didn’t fit the helmet well, some had mediocre quality lenses and some didn’t live up to how they were advertised.
Smith have certainly come up trumps with the I/O: these are sleek and stylish goggles. The frame-less design has two adjustment straps on the back, allowing the clip to be centred at all times. We found that the goggle fitted seamlessly with the Giro Fuse helmet we were using at the time. Before we even put the goggle on, we were impressed by its case – a microfibre bag, but a nice hard case that not only has venting for the goggle to dry off, but special slots for holding extra lenses. This leads us on to the next aspect of the design that attracted us: the I/O comes with two different lenses. We’ve always liked goggles which have the ability to switch lenses depending on the light conditions, so this was an immediate positive for us.
The first lens we used was the “Sensor”. The day we tried these light conditions were flat, overcast and it was snowing fairly heavily. We found that this lens excelled in these conditions, bringing the flat light to life (as much as possible, at least!) and helping us to identify obstacles on the pistes we were skiing on and any imminent cliff-edges we were about to ski off!!
Switching the lenses was also very easy with the frameless design of the I/O. Two clips on top of the frame flip open and the lens comes out very easily. Replacing the new lens is just as easy and, for those of you who worry about finger prints all over the lens, you needn’t worry – the process is a breeze.
Our second day’s skiing was in complete contrast to the first – a gorgeous sunny, bluebird day – so we tried out the “Ignitor” lens. Whilst it’s true that most regular lenses would do the job on a day like this, we did feel that the Ignitor lens added an extra clarity to our vision. Importantly, as the day grew old and shadows lengthened, our vision wasn’t affected and we were able to spot contrasting patches of ice, hard-packed snow and piles of powder.
Summary: impressive goggles that are both stylish and functional.