Goggle Review: Smith I/OS

10 Aug, 2011

Intended Purpose: Designed for smaller faces, the Smith I/OS is based off of the popular I/O model and features an easy interchangeable design so you can switch out lenses easily.

Location: I rode these goggles most of the winter at Mammoth Mountain with some days at June Mountain and Sugarbowl.

Conditions: Since these goggles came with two lenses (sensor and sol-x mirror), I’ve worn them in a variety of conditions during this winter: snowing, windy, icy, overcast (though not rainy), bluebird, flat light.

Color: I bought the I/OS in the Heritage Green Tartan colorway, I like the mix of blue/green plaid on the goggles and I couldn’t get my first pick of the crazy aqua colorway so I went with my second pick.  I think the lens colors really go with the goggle design so that’s why I liked it.

Lens: The I/OS comes with two lenses which is perfect for a interchangeability of the goggle.  I got it with the Sensor Mirror lens and the Sol-X Mirror.  In the California sunshine, the Sol-X got a lot of time on the mountain and it is built for sunny bluebird conditions.  The Sensor Mirror lens was the lens of choice for any overcast or snowy conditions.  Quality of the lens was good, the Sol-X got more time on the mountain and a huge scrape so I replaced it halfway during the season with the same lens.  The Sensor Mirror has gone through the entire season just fine.

Fit: The goggles are designed for smaller faces so definitely suitable for female riders.  I found the fit comfortable around the face with a minor gap between the foam and my nose (common since the bridge of my nose isn’t much).  Even with the minor gap there, I barely noticed it and I rode most of the year on these goggles.

Helmet Compatibility: I spent the majority of the season with the I/OS goggle and Bern Muse helmet combo.   They were snug and good on the fit, there was some space between the top of the goggle and the helmet but the helmet fur inner liner made it so there was no gaper gap and any snow that got in, didn’t go to my head.  The strap on the goggle is silicone backed so it stays on your helmet where you put it.

Visibility: Decent peripheral on the I/OS.  It’s enough to see out of the corner of your eye but not the widest peripheral range I’ve encountered on a goggle.  For a smaller face model, it’s good for the range you get.  I like that there’s no frame so you have a much broader top to bottom view with no frame blocking your vision.

Features: The Smith I/OS goggles feature a small/medium fit with a quick release lens system.  The I/OS are interchangeable optics, you flip the top switches, pop out the lens and replace it with the new one.  It comes with a goggle case which I used this winter to hold the lens while I was replacing them.  The I/OS are a spherical, carbonic X-lens with TLT Optics for optimum scratch and impact resistance, increased visual acuity and enhanced contrast sensitivity.  The patented vaporator lens technology with the porex filter helps decrease lens fogging on the mountain.  The strap is ultra wide, silicone backed with a quickfit strap adjustment system with clip buckle.  The foam around the face is a dual layer, driwix face foam.  It’s helmet compatible.  It also comes with two performance mirror lenses.  My favorite feature is the multiple lenses and the interchangeability system, it’s quick and fast for the days when you need to switch out lenses in a hurry.

Durability: I ended up riding the I/OS goggles close to 100 days this winter and the strap is in nearly perfect condition.  Of the two lenses, the Sol-X mirrors got a scratch halfway through the winter so I replaced them with a new lens.  The Sensor Mirror lens are still in riding condition with no major scratches.  I’m pretty happy with the goggles lasting as long as they have without major problems.

Thoughts: I ended up getting these goggles after a recommendation from Chopper at Smith.  I was looking at getting the Heiress goggles again and was told I needed to ride and test the I/OS goggles instead.  With the pro deal I ended up getting the I/OS just in time for mid-December riding.  I ended up riding these about 99% of the time this winter, the interchangeable lens came in handy for the winter conditions.  I was able to switch the lenses out quickly for the right conditions and it made me happier with the goggles overall.

For my face, I have barely a bridge on my nose and these goggles are designed for a smaller face with all the I/O perks.  There is still some space between the foam and the nose but it’s so minor that I’m fine with it.  During the on-snow demo, I took these goggles with me to Colorado and the -20 temperatures were rough on them.  I made the mistake of breathing into the goggle for a split second and the moisture ended up freezing on the inside of the lens (see the pic below).  That was the only time this winter that I encountered an issue with them and it was user error.   I was surprised the lenses needed replacing halfway through the season with the scratch but the cost of replacing them wasn’t much so it was easy to get new ones.

Overall they’ve treated me great over the season and definitely a quality worth every penny goggle, 100 days no problem.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Smith I/OS or shop their full line of Smith goggles

On-snow photos
SIA On-Snow Demo (Goggles froze up in -20 temps with moisture in them)
On-Snow Video (powder + bluebird conditions)

Shay shreds Mammoth from Shayboarder on Vimeo.

Smith I/OS Goggle Description

Review Disclosure: I bought this goggle from Smith with a proform card.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. jpink
    August 10, 2011

    Hey Shay,

    Have you ever tried any of the Oakley “Asian Fit” goggles? They’re made with Asian features in mind, so there’s more padding around the nose to accommodate the typical lack of a prominent nose bridge and plug the fit gap of traditional goggles. I found out about them accidentally while looking for a new pair of goggles last season, and apparently Dragon, Smith and Anon also make “Asian Fit” goggles. I never actually got a pair, but maybe they might work for you. Looking forward (hopefully) to a review!

  2. Jarka Dvorakova
    August 15, 2011

    Great review, as alway. I just want to comment on the googles. I got them last season, and rode with them about 70 days in all kinds of conditions at Whistler and Lake Louise, Canada. My face is super small, and these goggles are the best fit of all goggles I have ever had. They are not cheap (at least not in Canada), but they are worth every penny. I wish they made them a bit smaller to be perfect instead of just near perfect.

  3. Jarka Dvorakova
    August 15, 2011

    Hi Shay,

    I want to post some additional thoughts on the topic of small goggles. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wish the Smith I/OS was made in a size smaller than “Small”.
    Before I bought the I/OS, I tried all kinds of kiddie goggles. My god, they were all terrible! No periferal vision, bad fit, cheap trashy materials, design that sucks at the first sight, let alone on the closer inspection…I am wondering why the goggle industry treats kids like trash. There is such a huge market potential. Yes, kids don’t have money, but the parents do. And there are lots of women with tiny faces who are willing to pay top dollar not to have that little gap on the bridge of their nose.

    The snowboard industry makes high quality snowboards for the kids. Good examle is Burton with their Custom V Rocker and TWC. So, why do these kids on the top notch snowboards have to put up with such crapy goggles? And the women with tiny face like myself?
    I think that the googgle manufacturers should take notice and read sites like shayboarder.com to get a clue what is going on in the goggle market.