[this post is sponsored by evo.com]
– Quick Interchangeability
– Porex Filter
– 5x Anti-Fog Inner Lens
– Patented Vaporator Lens Gasket
– Dual Axis Outrigger System
– Tapered Lens
– Air Evac Integration Tech
***Pick up a pair of Smith I/O7 goggles at evo.com: Smith I/O7 Goggles
Smith Optics has been making snow goggles for over 50 years. In 2007 they released the world’s first rimless interchangeable goggle, the I/O. Seven years later, they re-designed it once more, giving birth I/O7. The idea behind I/O7 was to make a high quality, easy to use, and reliable goggle. It employs an efficient minimalist design that reduces weight and moving parts.
Size and Fit:
The I/O7 is a medium/large fit, filling the gap between the smaller I/O and the larger I/OX. Even though I have a smaller face, I found the I/O7 more comfortable than the I/O because it has less curvature. Another thing to note is that the goggles come up high, which reduces gaper gap, increases the vertical field of vision, and make the goggles look good with most helmets. I was not too impressed with the peripheral field of vision on these goggles; I could see the outrigger tabs while wearing the goggles. It wasn’t really bothersome, but I thought the I/O had a wider view.
The IO/7 has an interesting dual axis outrigger system, which ensures a good seal whether you’re wearing them high or low on your head. Good for changing up over the helmet to under the helmet.
Smith is good at making you look like you know what you’re doing with helmets that are aesthetically and functionally compatible with their goggles. Smith helmets have a channel that passively (without a motor) ventilates your goggles by letting the hot air rise upwards. Although I think you should always buy goggles and a helmet from the same brand because they were designed to work together, the I/O7 works well with most helmets out there because of it’s higher profile.
Changing the Lens:
I have to agree with Smith’s slogan “change is easy” here. Although you still have to jam the bottom tabs of the lens into the frame’s slots like in previous models, you no longer have to stretch the frame over the top of the lens, which saves you precious time finking with your lens in the cold. You simply put the lens against the frame and turn a tab, easy.
Smith offers a variety of twelve different replacement lenses for the I/O7, ranging from clear to blackout and everything in between. Like all of Smith’s replaceable lens goggles, the I/O7 comes stock with both low light and sunny day lens and a sturdy lens case so you can carry a spare and still tomahawk with confidence. Personally, I’m not a fan of changing lenses because I’m forgetful and end up skiing storm days in a blackout lens so I’ve come to live and die by the Ignitor Mirror lens, which is my go-to for both the brightest and the flattest of light.
Like most high-end goggles, the I/O7 uses a spherical lens that mimics the curvature of your eye, maximizing the field of view. Smith also tapers theirs lens to minimize refraction (pencil in water effect) allowing you to see with 100% accuracy.
I’m impressed with the I/O7 resistance to fogging. In an attempt to compare my I/O7 to other goggles, I did my best to get these to fog. I hiked in them, sweated nervously on hot days, (unintentionally) packed them with snow, skied wet bell-to-bell days after leaving them in my pack overnight, and have yet to experience fogging. That’s not to say you should stop taking good care of your gear, but rather a vote of confidence that these will most likely last longer than your legs on that next sierra cement storm day.
I was also wearing a Smith Maze helmet, which has an integrated airflow system where air is passively ventilated through channels in the helmet, contributing to the goggle’s fog resistance.
Smith hit it out of the park with the I/O7. These goggles fit well, perform well, and look good. With their lack of temperament, it’s easy to forget just how miserable malfunctioning goggles can be. I would be confident in taking these goggles on long touring trips and deep into the wilderness.
Yes, they are expensive and as a ski bum on a busser’s “salary,” I know a thing or two about pinching pennies. But then again, you did not spend four hours in traffic to frantically hold your goggles under a hand dryer in the bathroom while your friends are getting faceshots.