We found a hit last year with Smith’s Forefront trail helmet and now their Squad goggles have also found a spot at the top of our list.
When it comes to kit, we get through plenty here at Dirt and more often than not we reach for our favourites time after time. The good stuff rises to the top and often stays there, until the benchmark is re-set. And so it is with goggles. Whether for DH use, enduro racing or a wet day of uplifting, a pair of well-fitting googles is an essential piece of protection.
The construction of the Squad goggles is top quality. As with their helmets, the finish and materials are up there with the best. There are plenty of budget goggle options out there but pick up a pair of Squads and they ooze class. The triple-density foam, premium frame materials and lack of rough edges are all small details that add up. You’ll want a pair in your kit bag, no question.
‘Fit and comfort is impressive. The flexible nature of the frame, the wide nose area and great shape all add up here’
A well-shaped frame with a wide field of view is the aim here and Smith certainly deliver. The ‘semi-rimless’ frame is made from a material that is both tough, yet flexible. The Squad’s frame is ventilated all round, with a lattice weave vent pattern giving huge air flow and circulation with little or no chance of steaming up in all but the most testing humid conditions. Smith have removed the foam from these vents and along with the four slots in the top of the lens increases airflow further. Sure, in dusty conditions this may be an issue but it’s yet to prove a problem for us. A triple layer of quality foam sits well against the face, sealing out the muck. A wide silicone backed strap with dual sliders stays adjusted well and keeps the goggles in place.
The lens is the real winner though, a real highlight for us and with plenty of technology going. It’s a curved (rather than flat) lens, which gives great clarity and is easily switched in and out of the frame. Two lenses are supplied in the package (one tinted, one clear) both being roll-off compatible. New this year from Smith is their proprietary ChromaPop lens technology – designed to enhance clarity and natural colour to bring out more detail. This gives you an added advantage, with really clearly defined vision off the track ahead. Steve Jones used these for racing The Master DH Champs in Europe last year and was very impressed.
The UK is a good testing ground for goggles and the Squad has proven their worth. Rain, low light, bright sunshine can all be mixed up into one ride. Throw in diving in and out of dense tree cover with rapidly changing light levels and you’re asking a lot. These Smith goggles are perfect in these situations and we’ve rarely switched to a clear lens or had any steaming up issues.
High quality construction, a great fit, easy lens switching and unbeatable optics all add up to an instant favourite. A class act.
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