So far, I have been an outspoken advocate against the bug-eyed goggle trend. Something rubs me the wrong way about skiers and snowboarders flying all over the mountain looking like dragonflies. Call me a traditionalist, but I have had the same Dragon goggles with the thick frame and amber lenses for half a decade.
Maybe, just maybe, I was too quick to judge this trend. The Smith I/OX goggles take everything about this movement to the extreme and, under most circumstances, outperform my old Dragons. Smith set out to create the buggiest of the buggy goggles and have the largest spherical lens on the market, which creates a field of vision that is like looking out the front window of the Death Star. Even the tiny skier flipping head over heels next to you shows up in these!
So I decided to take these out to Squaw and to a few comps to see how these “uber popular googles held up :
Smith I/OX Review
Their Carbonic-X lens is so crisp I could spot rollovers and divots even through dense fog, and is easy to change out for a lighter lens during a snack break.
Though I try to avoid being a nerd while riding and leave my glasses at home, the I/OX are perfect for those who don’t have that luxury. The large lens and the massive foam membrane create more than enough room for folks with spectacles, except the hipsters with their giant frames.
With the double layer of Porex filter and foam, it is akin to wearing a pillow for goggles and they breathe well enough that to not fog up, which is a bonus when the snow is blowing hard while hiking. Even though the size is a plus for riders with glasses, I am not blessed with a large face, and these goggles swallow my narrow mug. Smith definitely built these with the normal to large adult face in mind.
I fully support creating goggles that breathe well even for people who wear glasses, but the inch of foam between the lens and my face creates a wonderful avenue for wind. At high speeds, particularly on groomers, my face and eyes get freezing in these goggles.
Overall, I think I am sold on the spherical lens trend, even though my eyes get all teary if it’s too cold outside because, face it, no one should choose their goggles based on how well they do while riding groomers.
These might be the most badass snowboard goggles yet, and opened up a whole new mountain to this grouchy traditionalist.