At $85 USD, Smith’s top-of-the-line Squad MTB Goggle is not an insignificant investment. If you’re going to lay down that kind of money, you want to be sure you’re buying a quality goggle that will not only effectively protect your eyes, but also fit nicely with your helmet, and not become a complete pain in the backside in winter conditions. The Smith Squad MTB Goggle is available in two sizes; regular and XL for an ultrawide fit. We tested the regular option in all weather conditions. Here’s how we got on.
Review: Smith Squad MTB Goggles
When done right, MTB goggles can become an indispensable piece of kit in many conditions. They protect your eyes from debris thrown up from the trail, keeping your vision focused on the task at hand; riding fast. They also round out a full face helmet and body armour outfit, which can look a little silly without them.
Done wrong, they’re an unnecessary distraction. A badly designed pair of goggles can fog up your vision, make the skin on your face itch, or close your nostrils making you an obligatory mouth breather. Some are impressive, and will do all of these things at the same time.
At their worst (or best, depending on how cheesed off you are) they can ping off into the aether if the strap slips up or down your helmet. Good riddance…
I’m pleased to say that the Smith Squad is an example of MTB Goggles done right.
The Fit: Smith Squad Mountain Biking Goggle
The fit of a set of MTB Goggles depends on two things; the helmet and the rider’s facial features. I have a small and rounder-than-most face (thanks, Dad). I’ve also a rather petite nose. More often than not, MTB Goggles sit so low on my face that the foam around the nose-piece puts pressure on my nostrils, closing them almost completely. This is not ideal.
I tried the Smith Squad goggles with several helmets; the MET Parachute MCR, the Giro Montaro, the Fox Speedframe Pro and the Bell Super 3R 2018, all in size small. Each of these helmets is fully compatible with the goggles. That means their shape is compatible at the forehead region, and they’ll fit comfortably up underneath the visor.
If I had to pick, I’d say the best compatibility goes to the Fox Speedframe Pro. Why? It doesn’t sit so low on my forehead, allowing the goggles to sit higher, therefore putting less pressure on the top of my nose. That said, none of the combinations resulted in closed nostrils. Winner.
I’ve taken the liberty of measuring the important dimensions of the Smith Squad. That way, you can make your own informed decision as to whether it will be compatible with your helmet and facial features. The frame measures 170mm across, at its widest point. From the top of the frame down to the beginning of the nose piece, the frame measures 67mm.
The foam is the bit that touches your face. Its size in relation to the frame size and how far down your forehead your helmet reaches, is important in predicting whether the nose piece will be compatible with your features.
From edge-to-edge, measuring from the top of the foam to the start of the nose-piece, the foam measures 62mm. From here, the foam opens up to provide space for your nose. Its widest point measures at 37mm.
Length of the 43mm-wide strap is adjustable from ~34cm out to ~58cm. It features a 13mm silicone strip on the inside, running the full length of the strap. This secures the strap in place at the back of your helmet.
This means your helmet can be rounded at the back but still hold the strap firmly in place. Some helmets like the Fox Speedframe Pro have a lip at the rear to stop a goggle strap slipping off.
Do they sit comfortably on your face?
Perfectly. The foam is a Sweat-X F.A.T. 3-layer face foam designed for sweat management. It doesn’t crush against your face and feel like a scuba diving mask. It sits soft against your skin.
Do Smith Squad Goggles fog up?
Yes, but name me a mountain biking goggle that doesn’t fog up on a cold and dank day in the middle of a Scottish Winter. Of course, given optimal conditions, the lens does fog up to some degree but I have to say, in this department, it outperforms any goggle I’ve previously tested*.
Smith Optics have gone to great lengths to minimize fogging. The lens is treated with an anti-fog coating but this alone doesn’t go very far. Ventilation is key. The more air that is allowed to pass over the inside of the lens, the less likely it is to fog up. Riding faster is a great way to prevent fogging.
The frame of the Smith Squad goggle offers 360° ventilation, maximising the volume of air that can be exchanged while riding. They only really fogged up if I was stopped for a longer period of time. Pro Tip: DO NOT wipe the inside surface of the lens. You’ll smear it with your greasy fingers leaving the situation utterly unsalvageable.
*Full disclosure: I’ve tried just four goggles over the course of my MTB career. They include the Smith Squad, the Leatt Velocity 4.5, Giro Tempo and a nameless ultra cheap set.
The Bottom Line: Smith Squad
Overall, the Smith Squad is a well-fitting, high-performing goggle that offers a wide view of the trail ahead. It is everything it needs to be and nothing it doesn’t. I am 100% happy to recommend it, particularly for those with a small face. An XL version of the Smith Squad is available for those who need a wider fit.
Just the one. Unfortunately, there’s no way to remove the strap for washing. You just have to remove the lens and wash the frame and strap together.
Pricing & Availability
Smith Optics offer the Squad MTB Goggle in no fewer than 10 colorways, 11 if you count the Smith x EWS limited edition run. $85 will get you your choice of goggle with a ChromaPop vented cylindrical carbonic-x lens with anti-fog treatment, in addition to a clear anti-fog lens. The ChromaPop lenses are available in Contrast Rose Flash, Everyday Green Mirror, Everyday Red Mirror and Sun Black. They also come with a wee silk drawstring bag that keeps them clean while you hang them off the end of the bar on climbs.