If you’re looking for a reliable pair of affordable ski goggles, the Smith Squad is a good choice. This pair doesn’t have the advanced features typically seen in pricier options, but the wide field of view, snug fit, and great ventilation make them perfect for those who want a simple pair that will hold up against the snow.
- Where to Buy: Amazon, EVO, REI
- Best For: Skiers who want an inexpensive pair of goggles with great viewing angles.
- Pros: For an affordable pair of goggles, the Smith Squad gives you quite a lot. The construction is comfortable-but-strong and the seal is great. They have a wide field of view that excels in all different conditions. The lenses are strong too.
- Cons: These goggles are quite advanced in terms of features, but the look may be a bit simplistic for some. The changing system also isn’t as intuitive or easy to use as ones in other models.
- Alternatives: Bolle Mojo, Smith I/O, Oakley Airbrake
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I also know quite a few skiers who have worn these goggles, and I have spent ample time researching each and every trait.
The Squad is classic in both its features and design. While not everyone will appreciate the look, the wide-range fit and large peripherals are quite nice for all snowy conditions. There are lenses for every setting as well. All of that then comes at a reasonable price perfect for budget and non-budget skiers alike.
Lens and Lens Change Design
When looking at or testing a goggle, you first need to consider the lenses. Smith gave the Squad a cylindrical carbon lens that actively reduces optical distortion and can stand up to bump, scrapes, and scratches. You also get two right out of the box, one for low light and one for brighter days.
I am a big fan of the Fog-X technology employed here. The special anti-fog inner lens is part of the design rather than a coating. As such, it won’t just wipe off with extended use as can happen with other goggles. The optical quality isn’t top tier, but it’s more than enough for most ski days.
If there’s one weak point here, it’s the change system. Rather than magnetic, Smith uses notches to snap things in and out. It’s functional but also takes some getting used to. It can also be a bit tricky to operate in rougher conditions. The lenses themselves work well, but it would have been nice to get everything a bit more streamlined.
Besides lenses, ventilation is the key aspect I look at when breaking down goggles. This is one area where the Squad shines. It fights fog build-up in a range of different ways, and they all work for just about every snow activity. They even keep your eyesight clear when aggressively skinning uphill.
The way that happens is through the open-cell foam Smith put at the top and bottom of the goggle and the aforementioned Fog-X technology. Both work together to keep any condensation build-up at bay. I also really like the 3-layer Driwix face foam. There’s no venting in the front, but that’s a minor complaint in a solid system.
A Tough Exterior
Smith is a company known to make high-quality products. In terms of durability, the Squad lives up to that standard. This model holds up well in light and rough conditions, no matter how much snow, rain, or wind comes down. Even after months of use, it shows very little wear on typically weak areas like the frame or strap. This is a goggle you’ll be able to use for quite a while.
Comfort and Design
While the Smith Squad will be plenty enough for some skiers, especially beginners just going out for a quick run, not everyone will enjoy their simple design. These goggles are more about functionality than style. If you want something loaded up with features, these probably aren’t for you. However, they come in 13 different color combinations, so there is some room for customization.
When it comes to comfort, this sits firmly in the middle ground. There’s plenty of padding and foam, and both feel great. That being said, these don’t have the extra cushion you’ll find in more expensive goggles. I would have liked a little bit more.
The silicone-backed strap is secure. You won’t find your goggles slipping out of place or causing you any problems whether you go slow or fast. There are also other fit models if you have a narrow or larger face and need something a bit different.
Price and Value
As the Squad is a more affordable goggle, value is one of its best aspects. This item provides you with a lot of impressive features without breaking the bank. You don’t get a few specific characteristics seen in more expensive options (most notably a magnetic quick change system), but it gives you more than enough traits to handle the mountain.
What I Like
There are several areas where the Squad Goggles shine, but I personally love the ventilation and anti-fog coating. The unique Fog-X treatment can’t be wiped away, and the open design cuts down on condensation. The different lenses are also quite useful in numerous conditions in a way that maximizes versatility.
It’s hard not to like the incredible peripheral vision as well. You get a wide field of view that allows you to see in all directions easily. The tapered lens design, which corrects light refraction in a way that actively reduces eye fatigue, is also worth mentioning as a big plus.
What I Dislike
There’s no doubt that the Squad Goggles are great, but they aren’t perfect. The foam creates a nice seal, but I would have liked something with a bit more cushion. You’re likely going to have to depend on your helmet for extra comfort.
The lens change system also could have been better. The Smith Squad’s notch design, while useful, feels a bit outdated. You’ll get the hang of it with a little work, but it’s not anywhere close to as intuitive as the many magnetic systems noted in other brands. On top of that, the plain design feels like it could have a bit more going for it.
The Smith Squad is a great goggle at an affordable price, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option for dedicated skiers. If you don’t mind paying more for extra features, or if you’re looking for something a bit more advanced, check out these models:
- Bolle Mojo – While a bit different from the Squad in design, these goggles also give you plenty of features at a competitive price. They are fog-free, extremely clear, and have an innovative double lens. They don’t quite match the Squad’s cushion, but they still are some of the cheapest and most reliable goggles around.
- Smith I/O – If you’re looking for a Smith model that has a similar appearance to the Squad but a completely different functionality, the I/O is your best bet. This model utilizes a fantastic magnetic lens system rather than the notch-based one. It will cost you more, but for some the extra versatility is worth it.
- Oakley Airbrake – If you want a look that’s similar to the Squad Goggles but like more features, these are a good pick. Their lens change system is one of the best on the market, and the tough exoskeleton is incredibly sturdy. As they come from one of the best-known eyewear companies around, the optics are also excellent.
What lenses do you get with these goggles?
These come with two different lenses. One for light conditions and one for dark environments.
Do these lenses have a magnetic lens change system?
No. The Smith Squad utilizes a traditional system with notched cutouts.
Does this goggle work in different types of light?
Yes, the Smith Squad Goggle comes with multiple lenses to help you see in a range of different conditions.
Do these goggles fit over glasses?
The Smith Squad Goggles are not made to work with glasses. You need a traditional OTG option for that functionality.
The Smith Squad is a goggle that gives you exactly what you pay for. It’s not going to blow your mind with unique options and it lacks in a few areas, but if you want to save some money, it’s hard to complain about the fit, feel, or durability. It’s well made and will hold up in both freezing and sub-freezing conditions.
This is an item that all skiers of all levels can use. That versatility alone is more than worth it to a lot of skiers. You might want to try to get another model if you want some serious cushion, but there’s truly no part of this model that’s lacking.