Today we wanted to review one of the most popular choices for snow gear on the planet right now, the Smith I/O 7 goggles. As time passes and we see their longevity continue to prove itself (even as “new” goggles come in to play in the market), the entire I/O line by Smith are goggles that give us awesome aesthetics, great vision protection, as well as easy-to-use lens swapping lens technology that really dominates that debate of “should I just buy the newest of the new?” We feel the opposite is true here — buy a proven goggle that’s gained a reputation for reliability through years of user by riders just like you. Let’s get into the details of the Smith I/O 7 snow goggle.
Main features of the Smith I/O 7 goggles
- Medium fit
- Quick release lens change system (single pivot)
- Carbonic-X Lens
- Anti-fog inner lens (5X)
- TLT Lens technology
- Porex filter distortion prevention
- Easy strap adjustment system (with clip buckle)
- DriWix face foam
- Silicone-backed strap
- Outrigger position system (dual-axis)
- In the box: goggles, replacement lens sleeve, two lenses (one for low light and one for bright)
As you can see in the bullet points, this pair of goggles right here has quite a few of that awesome Smith goggle technology, giving these a step up in terms of advanced features. That smith I/O title is one of the most popular in the game. Standing for interchangeable optics, the main focus and highlight is just that — being able to change out your lenses for numerous reasons, whether it’s the overall look, your mood that day, or ultimately and most importantly, to adapt to the current lighting conditions (something all riders face difficulty with). Although they weren’t the ones to actually invent interchangeable goggles, the original I/O goggles became an instant hit, revolutionizing their efficient lens-swapping system. Today we have the 7’s, which is their next model after the I/O were out for numerous years.
The I/O 7 goggle build
When it comes to snow goggles in general, what you first want to look at is what it’s made of. The first highlight we want to mention of the Smith I/O 7 is the spherical design. It gives you a semi-rimless design integrated into your full-frame traditional goggle build. The field of view is what is most important here — since it has a slight bend and curve (hence the spherical term), you have a better look at what’s in front of you. Paired up with their “TLT optics” (stands for Tapered Lens Technology — since light refracts when it goes through a medium like your goggles, it changes its course and can cause some distortion. This tech is known to straighten that light out to give you clarity) and “Porex filter” (a little filter built-in to the lens that helps prevent distortion in the optics which sometimes occurs at elevation changes), you get even more action-packed features to ensure your “vision” is as optimal as it can be.
Aside from the Smith I/O 7‘s lens and frame itself, let’s talk comfort. We all know that pesky goggle pain you can feel on your face after quite a few hours on the runs, right? Well, their DriWix face foam has 3 layers, with the softest going on top (which hits our face), ensuring a snug and comfy fit. Pair this up with the strap made of silicone and if you have some high quality material that starts to justify this snow goggle’s price. If you were concerned with comfort and pain-free riding, we’re good to go here.
Additional goggle features
The “additional” feature we need to keep in mind here is of course their lens swapping technology. Their beloved quick release lens change system (which is why many buy this goggle in the first place) is pretty famous at this point, and although we’ve seen pretty much all goggle brands now start to have some interchangeable lens technologies that are a bit different (some with magnetic lenses and others with air seals), this one still takes the cake in terms of a balance of efficiency and cost-effectiveness (the others, like magnetic, tend to really jack up the price). This I/O system works with a simple switch of a level up top. You then switch out the lens and kind of “pop” in until you feel a snug snap and then turn the lever back to lock it in place. We’d say it takes about 10-15 seconds (what else could you ask for?)
When it comes to that goggle fog we’re all pretty familiar with, these don’t necessarily have a literal fan built-in (like their Turbo Fan goggle), but the 5x anti-fog inner lens works very well with keeping out those clouds. The technology works by making the surface-area micro-etched to absorb moisture for nearly 30-50 seconds at a time (those are the amount of seconds Smith states to have been tested in the lab, at least).
The final word on the Smith I/O 7
How does it hold up vs. competitors? As you saw in our top 10 snow goggles guide, there are quite a few heavy hitters out there in the market right now. Considering this price point, it’s hard to find a true competitor since the other advanced interchangeable high-end goggles are a tad bit more expensive. If you did want a few models to keep in mind to compare and contrast, we think the Oakley Flight Decks and the Anon M3 are models to check out.
All in all, the Smith I/O 7 snow goggles are some of the best in the market right now. Combine the awesome interchangeable lens system, comfortable and safe design, extra features to help with anti-fog and clearer vision, it makes it hard to not own at least one pair of these to have in our bags when we head up to the mountain, wherever you maybe. Not to mention their numerous replacement lenses you can buy for pretty cheap on the side to build up your toolbox and keep with you just in case of a lighting change or even a switch in your aesthetics that day with your outfit.