More Info: Free Smith Optics Stickers!
In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. For over 50 years, SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.
They vast heritage of product innovation has formed who they are as a brand today. SMITH first revolutionized the outdoor experience through the introduction of the first interchangeable lens system for sunglasses and snow goggles then quickly took fog-free goggle technology to the next level with the launch of two new ventilation systems for seamless goggle/helmet integration. Over the next few years, SMITH developed the world’s largest eco-friendly sunglass collection in the world. Most recently they created the most scientifically advanced polarized lens technology, ChromaPop, while simultaneously creating a dramatically new approach to ventilation and protection in snow and bike helmets through the use of Aerocore technology.
Taking 50 years of heritage to inform the next 50 years of innovation, SMITH is dedicated to making products that authentically empower thrill seekers and modern explorers in snow, bike, fish, surf, peak performance outdoor adventure and more.
From sand to snow, SMITH continues to blend clean style into products tuned for thrilling experiences, while maintaining an inclusive and vibrant personality. To them it is ALL about friends on powder days. The experience is everything. Here’s to one hell of a good time for the next 50 years.
Originating from Sun Valley, Idaho, Smith was founded in 1965 with the invention of the first snow goggle featuring a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam. With 50 years of innovation and design experience, Smith is widely known today as an industry leader that pioneers advanced eyewear and helmets that incorporate dynamic technologies, optimized performance and clean styling to fuel fun beyond walls. Smith seeks to power thrilling experiences in snow, surf, bike, fish and peak performance outdoor adventures with a comprehensive collection that exudes modern style and vibrant personality. To Smith, the experience is everything. Smith is part of Safilo Group. Additional information is available at smithoptics.com.
Words: John Stifter!
If you think your goggles fog too much now, you should have been a skier before 1965. That’s when an orthodontist named Dr. Bob Smith created the first double-pane goggle with a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam, which dramatically reduced foggy goggles on the slopes.
The innovative founder of Smith Optics, Smith died on Wednesday, April 18, in Palm Desert, California. His wife, Jean, of 48 years was at his bedside. The 78 year old had a pacemaker implanted a few days earlier to combat a slow heartbeat. Complications ensued and he did not survive, according to his son, Drew Smith.
In an exclusive interview that appeared in the December 1981 issue of POWDER, Dr. Bob, as friends referred to him, explained how he conceived the idea of a double-lens goggle while working in dentistry for the U.S. Army in Germany and making weekend ski trips to Kitzbuhel, Austria. “In skiing powder, snow would get inside the goggle through the vent holes, and the humidity would go way up, and, with a single lens, the temperature would be transmitted right through the lens and, of course, the thing got foggy right now. So the double lens stops that cold air transmission through the lens so that the inner lens gets a chance to warm up.”
Once he got a patent for open-cell foam used for venting, he employed the help of dental students back home in Northern California to glue the pieces together. He produced the goggles by hand with his wife and friends around the kitchen table, using dental tools to build a double-lens goggle with breathable foam that he’d trade for free lift tickets at Alta and Jackson Hole. Soon thereafter, he sold them to ski shops for $20. In 1967, Smith appeared in Dick Barrymore’s The Last of The Ski Bums, showcasing his new goggle technology while skiing powder at Jackson Hole.
Smith Optics Ned Post!
“Absolutely, his invention had an impact on our sport,” said president of Smith Optics Ned Post, who worked with Dr. Bob years later at Scott Sports. “Our mission at Smith today is to make the great days better through quality eyewear. In that sense, Bob was the beginning of that philosophy. He was passionate to improve his vision on the hill, and he had a great passion for skiing powder.”
“He needed to see on the hill, so he made it happen,” said Drew Smith, who noted that upcoming memorials in Ketchum are currently being planned. “His drive and passion for skiing is second to none. He had a lot of ‘Smith’ kind of days.”
Free Smith Optics Stickers!
For free Smith Optics stickers/decals, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the following address:
Smith Optics, Inc.
Attn: Sticker Request
PO Box 160464
Clearfield, UT 84016