In the past few years, the snow goggle industry has made huge strides with regard to accommodating different face dimensions and shapes. Many goggles are now available not only in different sizes, but also Asian Fit or Low Bridge options, which feature an extra layer of foam lining to sit on the face more securely and comfortably.
Now, with Smith's new I/O Mag Imprint 3D goggle, an even more personalized, made-for-you fit is just an app and a few finger taps away. I got a chance to beta test the technology — which Smith just announced this week — and came away pretty impressed.
How does it work? First, you download Smith’s custom app to your iPhone or iPad. You then use your selfie lens to scan your face, documenting its every curve and contour, and upload it. The process takes just a few minutes. Smith then uses that data to 3D-print a customized frame, hand-assemble it into a Smith I/O MAG goggle and deliver it to you within two weeks.
So that is exactly what I did in late October, and just last week, the goggles showed up right on time. At first glance, they looked much like your typical (awesome) pair of I/O MAGs. But upon closer inspection, I noticed that the frame is not totally symmetrical. At first I thought this was a mistake, until I realized, hey, neither is my face. In places, the foam is oriented just so to accommodate the unique, ahem, character of my visage.
The real difference came when I tried them on. They do indeed fit perfectly. I am lucky that most goggles seem to fit my face pretty well. But these were noticeably comfy, and I imagine that for people who struggle to find a good fit, they really could be a game changer.
What’s most impressive to me is how simple the process is. You don’t have to go into a store and get fitted or anything. You don’t even have to bust out a tape measure at home. Apple’s Face ID and Smith’s tech do all the work. You just have to pick the strap and lenses you want and use the app to scan your ugly mug. Then you sit back and wait for your custom-made goggles — complete with two ChromaPop lenses, a Smith x gogglesoc lens protector, protective hardcase and microfiber bag — to arrive.
Two important notes: While the frame is custom, it fits the standard I/O MAG lens, so it’s easy to get more of them or replace a damaged one. And yes, this customization process does come at a premium price. A regular I/O MAG goggle costs $270 to $300. The I/O MAG Imprint 3D goes for $450.
If finding properly fitting goggles has been a lifelong hassle, however, this new process just might be priceless.