This Spring we received a sample set of Smith’s new glasses – the Pathway. Like most of Smith’s offerings, they’re available in a wide range of colors and options for both frames and lenses. Compared to the last set of Smiths we tested these are a bit different, mainly in terms of the size and layout – with the Pathway being a closed frame glass. Read on for more of an in depth look at how they’ve been working out.
- ChromaPop™ lenses
- Anti-reflective and hydroleophobic lens coatings
- Evolve eco-friendly frame material
- Auto-lock hinges
- Medium fit/large coverage
- Hydrophilic megol temple & nose pads for a secure fit
- 8 base frame
- Microfiber bag included
- Lifetime warranty
- $199 as tested
The photochromic lenses transition from clear to a dark tint depending on how much light they pick up, with shades of grey all throughout.
The Pathway, like many Smith glasses, have a locking hinge. This means that when you open the arms, they pop smoothly and firmly into their extended position.
The “hydrophilic megol” rubber compound stays grabby when wet, from perspiration. At the nose piece they are co-molded into the frame. They are non-adjustable and also non-removable.
The arms have long sections of the aforementioned rubber right where they land on your temples, above your ears.
The Pathway comes in at a relatively scant 27 grams.
The styling of the glasses is simple and classy, with a polished black finish. Plenty of other colorways are available – many of which are a bit louder, in the event you’re looking to make a statement.
On the trail
I have to admit, glasses with bigger lenses typically end up being my go to, so it was interesting to try some with a little less coverage. On a positive note – a closed frame pair of glasses like the Pathway, without any exposed lens, are less apt to cut your face in the event of a crash. Recently a friend of mine crashed and got cut pretty badly at the cheek bone from his glasses, so I’ve been thinking about the two approaches to design lately. Anyhow, from the get go I found these glasses to be very comfortable and well designed. Obviously face shape and personal preferences vary dramatically from rider to rider and thus consensus amongst things like helmets and glasses is difficult. However, it’s not a stretch to think the Pathways should work for a wide range of people. I didn’t have any annoying hangups that I’ve experienced with some glasses in the past – the frames didn’t rub on my eyebrows, nor did the nose perch irritate me. Rather, the rubber compound at both the nose and the arms made for all day comfort. In short, the glasses made themselves little known throughout the course of a ride.
Touching on some of the more technical aspects of the Pathways, I was very happy with the clarity of the lenses and their complete lack of distortion. In terms of how well they adapted to changing light, they fared well. There is quite a range in the tint and I was happy with the Pathways in blazing sun and dark forest at the end of the day. When you’re going in and out of the woods, the change in tint doesn’t happen at a blazing speed by any means, but they get along just fine. As far as avoiding fogging, once I applied some Cat Crap, they never fogged up, and compared to fuller framed glasses seemed to resist fogging better in general. With that in mind, the trails here in Santa Cruz are incredibly dusty in the Summer and on a less positive note, I did find that the dust snuck around the smaller lenses and unfortunately, into my eyes a bit more easily. That said, they are safer compared to the open frame, larger lens offerings out there, as I mentioned earlier.
As a high performance sunglass the Pathways have proven to be an excellent option. If you ride in variable light, it’s likely worth paying the extra few bucks for the transition…errr…Photochromic lenses. Aside from that, they’ve proven to be comfortable, tough and razor sharp in terms of optics. They don’t slip and I love that the arms pop into a very sturdy feeling open position. Being slightly on the smaller side than what I’m used to, a bit more dust made its way into my eyes during this time of year. That means I’ll mainly wear them in the shoulder seasons/winter and will likely reach for slightly larger shades during the dustier months as I’d do just about anything to avoid wearing goggles with a half lid. All in all, the Pathways are a great offering that are very much worth a look if you’re in the market for some new high end glasses.