Trail running-specific sunglasses? Yes, trail running-specific sunglasses. Smith Optics has worked with their athletes to design and deliver the new Smith Vert that feels weightless and offers trail-specific optics and fit. But, they are versatile enough for use elsewhere? Absolutely. Let’s dig in.
Smith Vert PivLock Sunglasses Features:
- ChromaPop™ lenses enhance contrast
- Pivlock interchangeable lens technology
- 6-base cylindrical shield lens curvature
- Two-position, adjustable Megol nose pads and temple tips
- AutoLock hinges hold frames open
- Includes bonus clear lens
- Matte Alpine Green and Rose Gold Mirror Lenses (as tested)
- Weight: 28 grams (actual)
- MSRP: $225
From trails to gravel and everywhere in-between
Tops on the list for a great pair of trail running sunglasses is the proper fit, so I’ll cover that first. The temple tips are wrapped in sticky Megol rubber and offer a significant amount of flex to wrap around your noggin. And, the adjustable Megol nose pads offer both narrow and wide settings to allow the glasses to sit higher or accommodate wider nose bridges. Megol rubber has been in use on Smith sunglasses for several years and it’s known for maintaining grip — even under the most extreme conditions. All the touch points are covered and they come in at a feathery 28 grams, which largely goes unnoticed.
Lens coverage is another key factor in fit. Today’s shield sunglasses are perfect for delivering a wide range-of-vision. Those same large lenses also deliver a ton of weather, wind and debris protection. I’ve been able to happily slap them on with a lightweight beanie, Patagonia Airshed Cap or the Cannondale Dynam MIPS helmet.
Lastly, the Vert PivLock Sunglasses offer easy lens changes and come with a bonus clear lens for low-light situations. My eyes are used to having wind protection — even at slower trail running speeds — so, a clear lens is still a viable choice to keep my eyes from getting dried out in the day or night.
Singletrack (and road/gravel) delight
Smith’s top-shelf lens technology is called ChromaPop and it’s engineered to deliver crisp, bright vision in the widest variety of conditions. Most of my trail runs start in the morning before the sun rises over the summit of 12,000 ft. Mt Timpanogos. It casts a shadow on its western flanks until as late as 9am in the winter. With that kind of light, the Rose Gold lens color, combined with the high-contrast characteristics of ChromaPop do quite well in all but the darkest mornings where I would prefer the brighter lenses of the Vinco Terra.
I appreciate the clarity on the trails at lower, trail running speeds. The nuances of the terrain are easily distinguished and safely navigated. With such a large shield, coverage is great and there’s nary a frame in sight — thanks to the rimless design. Most shield sunglasses are semi-rimless, but instead, the Vert PivLock relies on the rigidity of the polycarbonate lenses to provide enough structure to maintain its springiness. Additionally, the “lock” hinges keep the arms open for easy placement on your face without the arms flopping shut until you want them to.
The lens shape is reminiscent of the old Oakley M-Frame design from the 1990’s, but not quite as pronounced. It provides a streamlined fit around the curves of my face and a wide range-of-vision. There are two vent ports at the top of either side of the lens to provide airflow. In practice, the lenses stay clear and unlogged, but once you stop, they can fog up. All it takes is a few strides to clear them up though.
To round out my testing, I did use the Vert’s on mountain bike, gravel and road rides. I found them to work well with a variety of helmets and the straight temples didn’t interfere with the various fit systems. At higher speeds, the clarity remains and crisp and the coverage keeps the wind out of my eyes. On rough terrain, they also stay put just as well as they do with the rhythmic motions of trail running.
As far as the lens durability goes, I rarely treat my sunglasses with the care they should be treated and these remain scratch-free. I will say that the mirror lens is challenging to get perfectly-clean and smudge-free, but I always try. The lens tint really is great for all conditions — from cloudy mornings to bright sunlight. In general, pick a lens that matches the color of the
Buy Now: Visit SmithOptics.com
The Bottom Line
Smith has pinned the Vert Sunglasses as trail running specialists first, but also capable for two-wheeled adventures. I agree with that and have found them to be some of the finest trail running sunglasses I've used. They stay put and disappear on my face while offering excellent field-of-vision on all but the darkest of mornings.
- Lightweight and instantly-comfortable
- Megol grips well -- even when sweating profusely
- Versatile lens tint for a wide variety of conditions
- Lens swapping is a breeze
- Locking hinges add to usability
- Hard to get the lens streak-free
- Still fog up when stopped on humid mornings
- Very pricey
- Optical Clarity