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Smith Squad XL MTB goggles review

MTB-specific goggles with massive vents to reduce fogging

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £90.00 RRP | USD $85.00 | EUR €100.00
Smith Squad XL MTB goggles

Our review

The open vents are a blessing and a serious flaw
Pros: Comfortable padding; stable over bumps; great optics
Cons: Vents let moisture drip down the inside of the lens; hard to change lenses
Skip to view product specifications

The Smith Squad XL MTB goggles have been designed specifically for mountain bike use thanks to their open ventilation ports, and are designed to work with Smith’s helmets, including its all-mountain Session.

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Smith Squad XL MTB goggles details

The stock Everyday Red Mirror lens and spare clear lens are pre-curved to improve optics, while a ChromaPop anti-fog lens is also supplied and is claimed to increase contrast and natural colours while improving details. Spare lenses retail from £27.

The frame has open ventilation ports around its entire circumference. Normally the vents are covered by foam or mesh material, but the Smith’s are open. This is claimed to eliminate fog by increasing air flow.

Smith Squad XL MTB goggles
They’re designed around Smith’s own Session helmet.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

The wide strap has a silicone band to help it grip to helmets, while the three-layer face foam is fleece backed to improve comfort and shaped around the nose.

The Squad XLs don’t have tear-off posts or roll-off compatibility.

Smith Squad XL MTB goggles performance

I found the face foam particularly comfortable against my skin, feeling soft even once it got wet and saturated with sweat.

Thanks to the soft, flexible padding, cut-out in the foam for the nose and the frame’s fairly flat shape, I found they didn’t restrict breathing or feel too tight or constrictive on my face. They didn’t bounce around or move when riding over rough terrain, either.

True to the XL moniker, they provided a great field of vision and didn’t encroach into my peripheral vision. The frame didn’t create any reflections or shadows on the lens, and thanks to the curved pre-shaping of the lens, the optics were great.

The clear lens, which I used when I was testing the goggles in the depths of winter, had a pink hue that helped improve contrast on the trail and made the limited number of colours in winter riding conditions pop.

The tinted ChromaPop Everyday Red lens also had a pink hue that increased the vividness of colours and contrast, however, because it also reduced light transmission in very dark woods, the clear lens was better. I used the ChromaPop lens in overcast conditions, but found it worked well on sunny days, too.

Front on view of the Smith Squad XL MTB goggles being worn by a mountain biker
The ventilation ports allowed moisture to drip down the inside of the lens.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

The Squad XLs fitted well in my Giro Switchblade test lid but felt a little small in a Bell Full 9 full-face lid. They were comfortable in open face lids too, such as Troy Lee’s A1, and didn’t interfere with fit.

Venting was brilliant and even though they still steamed up slightly after not moving for several minutes, the fog wasn’t thick and didn’t turn into condensation. Once on the move they cleared pretty much instantly, too.

Unfortunately, the open design of the vents meant that sweat, water, condensation and rain dripping from the helmet and its pads got inside the goggles and, in extreme cases when water drips ran down the inside of the lens, totally obscured vision.

Once this had happened it wasn’t possible to continue riding until the lens was cleaned. Despite the open vents, no mud or debris flicked up through to my eyes.

The lens was also tricky to change, requiring care and plenty of manipulation of the frame. Fortunately, the frame is flexible, but the lens is rigid and the locating tabs are hook-shaped. This meant the frame needed stretching around the hooks to get the lens to seat correctly.

Smith Squad XL MTB goggles bottom line

It’s a shame the vents allowed moisture to drip downwards over the lens because the Squad XL MTB goggles were comfortable, light and looked good.

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I’d recommend using them on hot summer days rather than rainy autumnal or winter missions because the amount of ventilation will be welcome.

How we tested

We pitted six pairs of goggles against each other in some of the toughest conditions to find out which one we think is worth your time and money.

Also tested

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €100.00GBP £90.00USD $85.00
Weight 121g – as tested
Brand Smith optics

Features

Features Features: Pre-curved lens, open ventilation
Included: Microfibre carry bag, spare clear lens
Lens: ChromaPop Everyday Red Mirror lens (with 25 per cent light transmission)

Available options
Frames: Sage/Red Rock, Get Wild, AC/Rocky Mountain Enduro, Black
Lens: ChromaPop Everyday Red Mirror lens (with 25 per cent light transmission), Clear Anti-Fog (84%), ChromaPop Everyday Green Mirror (23%), ChromaPop Sun Black (12%), ChromaPop Contrast Rose Flash (50%) - Prices vary depending on options