Smith Optics Pathway Rx Sunglasses Review

First Thoughts On The Smith Optics Pathway

Please note that Smith makes a wide variety of sunglasses. Most of the ones they have and sell do not need a prescription. In either case, it’s nice to know that the option for prescriptions exists on certain frames. I’ve been eyeing the prescription sunglasses market for a while now. Therefore, I have spent a multitude of hours researching the perfect pair of shady specs. My main purpose was to find something that would work on the bike with running and hiking as solid secondary goals. Aesthetics also play a role of course, but these are purely intended for the athletic endurance adventures I subscribe to.

I really wanted to get the white frames with blue glasses because they looked rather cool. In the end, I went for black Matte stealth which I consider to be timeless (or at least until I need a new prescription). In my everyday glasses, I don’t go super big, bold, or fancy. These Smith Optics Pathway prescription sunglasses are probably some of the largest glasses that have graced my face. I’m slowly but surely warming up to their looks. That said, it’s all about protecting these eyes from the suns rays. Peripheral coverage is definitely maxed out.

The size from top of the frame to the bottom is about 1.75″. I do like this aspect especially since there’s really no way for stray sunrays to sneak around the edges.

This is a really good angle that shows the 8 base lens curvature. As your eyes move the lens works as one with the prescription to provide clear vision especially peripherally. In addition, it is so important these days to be fully aware especially on the bike to catch any movement early on.

Smith Optics Pathway Vision Details

    • ChromaPop™ lenses enhance contrast and natural color to make the details pop
    • Smudge and moisture resistant coating for easy cleaning and clear optics
    • Anti-reflective coating improves clarity and reduces eye strain
    • 100% UV protection

Fit And Frame Integration

The fit of the Smith Optics Pathway shades are good. Three points of contact with the nose and ears. I had not heard of the term “Egol”, but that’s the stuff that the nose pads and temple are made of to provide for a nonslip grip. These are flexible and hug my noggin perfectly. The nonslip grip has proven quite beneficial in the 90 plus degree temperatures. The bottom of the glasses do at times rest on my upper cheeks depending on my position on the bike.

Smith is calling this a medium fit which I believe is appropriate. I fall into that medium head category, and I am liking the overall positioning on my face and head. With that 8-base lens curvature, the shades provide for a complete wraparound fit. The large coverage is actually really amazing. As mentioned, at first I was a bit self conscious about the look of the larger frames, but have really come to appreciate the fact that I get full protection from the sun.

The Smith Optics Pathway has an Evolve™ bio-based frame material which is lightweight and durable. They are quite light, so I’m rolling with it. The autoLock hinges hold frame open for easy one-hand on and off.

Soft and smooth flex to hug the head that is comfortable.

The amount of flex is really good and should fit a wide variety of skull shapes.

Using The Smith Optics Pathway Prescription Sunglasses

First time putting them on was a little nerve wrecking. I got a new prescription about a month prior and my eyes had gotten used to my regular glasses. The first time wearing these, there was a definite eye adjustment effect going on. They were quite sharp, and everything seemed really intense. I was a bit worried at first, because I couldn’t simply walk into my local optometrist for any adjustments. I’d say, be patient! Start off with 20-30 minutes. A few weeks in, I wore these on a 3 hour ride without any issues. Colorado boasts of 300 plus days of sunshine, and at elevation, or with snow on the ground, it can be an intense experience. These are now my go-to shades, and I really prefer this to the contacts with regulars shades approach.

I really wanted to put these to the test, and a 125 mile Gravel race in the Colorado & Utah dessert for 10 hours was my penultimate proving grounds.

Now this is where I started to really enjoy the frame size with snug coverage on my face. As the frame bends around, there are no rays peaking in through the sides. This is what impressed me the most. A prescription that curves and plays to my peripheral field of vision. The Utah Dessert sun was pretty intense, and after 10 hours, I came away quite tired, but the shades saved my eyes and the occasional sun headache I experience. The only issue I noticed was a slight indent where the frames hugged my head. I may be able to bend them slightly, but the trade off would be that they would then be too loose. I’m ok with a slight snugness of the frames if they stay put and function as they have.

I’ve got to be honest! My first impressions from running in them is that they were definitely too big for this activity, but I am giving them some time. Ultimately and with many miles, they fit fine and didn’t bounce around at all. I do like the way these shades look on the bike. Generally speaking as cyclists, we sport a rather large helmet, and proportionately the two complimented one another nicely. I suppose now I should really take a complimentary Smith Helmet for a spin.

The protective case provided is obviously very common. It’s a solid case that will keep good care of your shades. Unfortunately, the zipper handle came off quite early on, so opening and closing the case became a bit more of a chore. I have been able to use it the past few months, but I will likely start using another case that shuts properly and easily. Packaging is important, so that is something Smith may want to take a closer look at.

I have now worn these Sunglasses on dozens of rides of 50 miles or more. 2.5 to 5 hours in the saddle and blazing sun have given me great appreciation for how they have protected my eyes. I used to get exercise or sun induced headaches, and those seem to have subsided this year. Proper eye wear does a go long way.

The Last Word On The Smith Optics Pathway

I will be use these extensively for my riding adventures. Running, hiking, and snow sports will also see plenty of action. These Smith Optics Pathway sunglasses are spot on for my prescription. And after my initiation into the larger style frame glasses, I am a convert. The coverage is absolutely complete. Having hiked 14,000 foot peaks with these Smith Optics Pathway glasses where the sun is bright and sharp. I navigated 6+ plus hours of use wearing the Optics on loose and technical terrain. The rubber contact points have been tested thoroughly on very hot and sweaty rides, and have stayed put. I do have to remember to wipe the sweat off my forehead at times, because I’ve had a couple of droplets streak down the inside. Not a big deal as that can happen when you go hard!

Price range $149-199, but each individual prescription may play a role in that final price determination.

For more details and options please visit SMITHOPTICS

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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