The Squad is a classic goggle and has been a staple in Smith's Snow Goggle line for several years now. After skiing and snowboarding with this model in every imaginable weather condition, it's easy to see why. With a wide-ranging fit and an assortment of lenses for every setting, the Squad is a top performer that rivals the performance of our other test goggles like the Smith I/O Mag, Oakley Airbrake XL, and our Editors' Choice Anon M4.
The Squad's cylindrical carbon lens gives users a crisp, clear view with minimal distortion, with good impact and scratch resistance. Smith includes both a high and low light lens with the Squad. Like other models in Smith's collection, the Squad's lenses utilize TLT lens technology with a Fox-X anti-fog inner lens. Due to the flatter profile of the lens, optical quality isn't quite as high as that found with other goggles like the Anon M4 or the Oakley Airbrake XL, although it is still quite good with minimal distortion. After days of use and abuse, the Squad's lenses looked as good as the day we unboxed them. A microfiber storage sack is included and makes cleaning the lenses easy and has a sleeve to store the extra lens.
The frame of the Squad does have a small lip that extends beyond the surface of the lens along the top and the bottom, allowing some moisture buildup to occur. Most of the time this didn't matter, however, we did experience some wet snow buildup on a particularly snowy day. As the snow began to stick, we experienced some minor fogging at the lower edge of the goggle. As was the case with the other top quality lenses in our test, there was some good crossover in lens capabilities and we found the bright light Chromapop lens kept things in view when the lighting level was lower and vice versa with the low-light yellow lens.
At home at the resort too.
The Squad is a comfortable, albeit not as plush as others, goggle with its two-layer DriWix foam padding. The comfort factor was slightly higher when worn with a helmet versus beanie, as riders can maintain a snug fit with a little less strap tension. These aren't as cushy as the Dragon NFX or Anon M4. The strap is a silicone-backed model which helped keep things in place and comfy on the backs of our heads while out for long days on the hill.
The Squad has a bit less breathability than some of our test goggles like the drafty Oakley Airbrake, likely due to the solid front of the goggle. Models like the Oakley Airbrake have integrated venting in the front of the goggle which keeps skiers and boarders a little more cool and comfortable, while the Squad does not. For riders in colder climates, this won't be an issue. The fit of the Squad is a nice happy medium and fit all of our testers comfortably. It also comes in an Asian Fit and Smith makes a model called the Squad XL which has a larger fit.
Bright light Chromapop lens on a low light day.
Low light yellow lens where it belongs on a snowy day.
Ventilation and Breathability
The Squad has adequate ventilation and breathability with open-cell foam at the top and bottom of the goggle. For the majority of skiing and riding, we didn't have any issues with fogging and our lenses stayed nice and clear. Gear reviewers like us like to push things to really test performance, and we found we were able to get our Squad lenses to fog up slightly, especially on the periphery of the lens, with aggressive skinning uphill. This wasn't surprising at all, as most goggles can't handle this, and the fogging didn't materialize until several minutes after we built up a heavy sweat.
As a breathability and ventilation test, skinning uphill combined with our heavy breathing on a windless day virtually assured some fogging would occur with almost any goggle. For skiers and boarders who like to wear their goggles uphill, the Julbo Aerospace has the utmost ventilation with its unique push out lens system. And although the Squad has less breathability than some of our test goggles, it does possess more breathability than the Dragon NFX.
Comfortable with a hat or a helmet.
Ease of Changing Lenses
While the ease of lens swapping is far more difficult than the Anon M4 or the Smith IO Mag, it is comparable to many of the other models in the test. On the Squad, Smith uses a relatively traditional lens attachment system like that found on the Giro Blok and Zeal Nomad.
This system has notched cutouts on the edge of the lens that snap onto posts or into slots on the inside lip of the frame. The frame of the squad only overlaps the lens on the top and the bottom, and it is frameless on the sides. On the sides, the lens clips onto the top and bottom of the strap attachment point. One can easily become proficient at swapping these lenses out with a little practice, but it is far easier to swap out the magnetic style lenses, as well as the Switchlock lenses on the Oakley Airbrake XL.
The Squad has a standard notched lens that snaps into the lip of the frame.
We had high hopes for the durability of this stout goggle when we began testing and after a couple months of use and maybe a little abuse, the Squad lived up to our expectations. We didn't see any signs of wear or tear on the frame or strap at all, with the strap maintaining full elasticity even after heavy usage. As was the case with all of our test goggles, the question of lens durability was at the forefront when we began testing.
Even though the Squad's cost is friendlier to the ski bum budget, its durability was on par with a higher priced model like the Oakley Airbrake. The Squad is in for the long haul.
Good breathability even while hiking.
The Squad is a pretty bare-bones goggle; it's functional, but it has a more classic and basic style than some of the more flashy modern competition. Lower profile than our Editors' Choice Anon M4 and the Oakley Airbrake XL, the Squad has a semi-frameless design.
Depending on the skier or boarder, this more classic and minimalistic style may be more appealing than the flashier goggles in our test like the Dragon NFX, especially for the backcountry ski and splitboard world where function generally reigns over fashion. The Squad is also available in 13 color combinations so you can be sure to match to your kit if you so choose.
Mixed light conditions with the Chromapop lens, The Wall, Kirkwood CA.
The Squad is a great option for virtually any skier or snowboarder whether you ski at the resort, in the backcountry or both. This is a versatile goggle that can do it all.
At a retail price of $100, the Squad is a very impressive value considering the fact that they come with 2 lenses. They may not be the flashiest goggles out there, nor do they boast spherical or toric lenses, but they are a quality goggle with good optics and a great fit. The equally priced Giro Blok gives the Squad a run for its money with a very similar level of comfort, fit, and performance, although the Blok can't quite match the value of the Squad with 2 lenses included.
The Squad is a reasonably priced goggle option that competes with goggles that cost 2-3 times as much. It has more classic styling and fit than the new space-age looking competition, but the Squad still looks great and has quality optics and an awesome fit. If you're on a budget, or even if you're not, this is an exceptional value for a performance set of goggles that come with two lenses.
Protection is high on a blustery windy day.
Other Versions and Accessories
is offered in the standard/medium fit we tested, as well as in an Asian Fit. They also make the Squad XL which has a large fit.
The Squad comes in 13 different frame/strap color options, and there are 13 replacement lenses available that range in price from $20-$70 depending on the color and technology. The Squad can be purchased as tested with a Chromapop lens for $100, or without a Chromapop lens for $85.