Adventure sunglasses, lifestyle sunglasses – why choose? The best outdoor sunglasses can transition seamlessly from trail to tavern, and the Spy Optic Helm 2 promise to do just that.

Spy Helm 2 Sunglasses Features:

  • Happy Lens™ enhances color and contrast, increases clarity, and improves mood and alertness
  • Constructed from virtually indestructible Grilamid®
  • Double injection rubber on the inside temple tips keeps the frame secure on your face all-day-long
  • 6-base polycarbonate ARC® lenses
  • 5-barrel hinges
  • 100% UV protection reduces eye fatigue and long-term sun damage
  • Frame measures 57-19-145
  • MSRP: $100-150, depending on feature set
Spy Optics Helm 2 Review

Smile, with the Happy lens

A strong replacement for an old standby

The original Helm sunglasses had a long and happy career. They were Spy’s go-to for the overstated, dramatic retro styling of swoopy temples and big lenses. But they had some issues – they ran small, and the interchangeable temple pieces broke too easily. The Helm 2’s are updated with sturdy 5-barrel hinges, Spy’s indestructible Grilamid, and (non-interchangeable) temples.

The lenses are relatively ‘uncurved’ 6-base polycarbonate. This makes them a good option for stylish sunglasses that don’t need to wrap as tightly around the head. Perhaps more importantly, the lenses are Spy Optics’ Happy Lens. These are fancy ‘mood enhancing’ lenses that also do all the normal things that a good sunglass lens does: reduce glare, enhance color and contrast, and increase clarity.

What the Happy lens promises to do that’s special, though, is more selectively filter out certain wavelengths of light such that ones associated with positive moods are let in to be absorbed by your retinas. The theory is that long-wave blue light stimulates serotonin production in the brain, and these let long-wave blue light through. Will it actually make you happier? Well, to find out, I really ought to test these through the bleak PNW winters – but it’s too late for that. Who knows. Regardless, the key thing here is that the lenses have great optical quality. I’m content with that.

Spy Optics Helm 2 Review

Spy’s careful detailing on this frame looks sleek.

I really like the styling of the particular lenses I’m using. They’re a grey/green lens, so they don’t distort color in any particular direction of the spectrum. They’re also gold mirrored, so they’ve got that added flare. The optical quality is really great, which sometimes gets sacrificed on active glasses.

The hinges are a 5-barrel metal design that’s really quite strong. I like to see strong hinges on sunglasses, and these are well embedded into the plastic of the frame. They also swing very smoothly and precisely, with no floppiness.

I particularly appreciate the small rubber accents on the temples of the glasses. They do a good job of holding the sunglasses in place, and I used these for cyclocross riding which is not particularly gentle. Overall, I would say that the Helm 2’s run a bit on the small size. I have a wide old head and they definitely feel stretched. Other reviewers have reported this, too, so be advised!

Spy Optics Helm 2 Review

Five-barrel hinges on display

The Good

  • Great style
  • Strong construction, with excellent frame material and strong 5-barrel hinges
  • Rubber accents help the frames stay in place

The Bad

  • Frames run a bit small

The Bottom Line: Spy Helm 2

I’ve loved using the Spy Helm 2 sunglasses for both recreation and leisure. They really are a true go-between sunglass, feeling just as at-home on my sweaty head out on the trail as they do on a summertime road trip. I definitely recommend these sunglasses.

Buy now: Available from Spy Optic

About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

Leave A Reply