The Smith Squad was actually my favorite goggle for most days last season despite being one of the lowest priced goggles I own. It’s really important to not associate low cost with cheap. The Smith Squad is from a cheap goggle. They have interchangeable lenses, TLT Optics, and the same fog free tech as some of their higher end goggles. Best of all it has the shape and design that works well with my face. If you want a great goggle that won’t break the bank, definitely check out the Smith Squad.
Optics: The Smith Squad has a cylindrical lens that I actually prefer over the spherical lens of the I/O. I’m not sure I’d say this for all cylindrical goggles, but for some reason the Squads give me great vision. I think part of it is due to the semi-frameless design of the Squads. I don’t feel like my vision is restricted by the frame. Sure spherical give you a big field of view, but its more vertically than horizontally. I don’t need to see what’s above me any better than I already do. I think it will really come down to a preference thing over performance. Does cylindrical feel better, or spherical? I think a lot of people have gone to spherical simply because of the look, but I don’t find that they are much more superior to the Squad in performance. Ok, enough about the cylindrical vs. spherical talk. The Squad does have TLT optics (same as I/O) that do produce very clear and natural sight. The Squad also has a good number of interchangeable lenses that are actually pretty easy to change out with the semi-frameless design. Sure the I/O is going to have more options of lenses, but how many do you really need? I feel for a budget friendly goggle these have excellent optics.
Fit: The Smith Squad fit my face fantastic. They are a medium fit, and just seem to curve around my face really nice. They also work perfect with my Smith and Giro helmets, and I actually prefer these over the I/O. They don’t get pushed down on my nose quite as much as the I/O, but they are slightly wider. I actually like the wider feel and view, but others may find them to be a bit too wide.
Ventilation: Ventilation is good, and I’ve never really had any trouble with fogging. They do have a pretty good Fog-X coating that is actually on par with some of the higher end Smiths. I did have a few days in the I/O that fogged up on me, but to be fair I have not taken these goggles in the same conditions the I/O’s fogged up on me. I think you’d be fine for 90% of the time. If it’s really warm and wet, you may have issues. If it’s dry and cold, then you’ll have no worries at all.
Final Thoughts: The Smith Squad is a GREAT goggle for the price. Yes they are cylindrical, and yes they aren’t as cool looking as the I/O (although I don’t mind the look). However, they hav a very comfortable semi-frameless design, the same TLT optics as the I/O and interchangeable lenses. Some someone on a budget, you really can’t go wrong with the Smith Squad.