Updated: May 2
“The clarity from these is top-notch and I found it great for use in areas of medium to bright exposure.”
Glasses are a critical piece of cycling kit for me. Am I the only one whose eyes water as soon as I’m rolling faster than about 5km/hour? Because of that, I basically never ride without glasses – which suits me fine as, on the odd occasion I don’t have them, I seem to get something flicked into my eyes anyway. So yeah, glasses are my friend. As a result, I was stoked to be able to try out a set of new Smith Wildcats.
The Wildcats are one of Smith’s latest offerings and feature a massive wrap-around lens. Smith has a reputation for high-quality eyewear and lots of experience making goggles, and the Wildcats almost come across as a strapless, frameless (almost) pair of goggles. The pair I tested were the matte black frame with the ChromaPop black lens. There is a clear lens in the box, as well. The black lens features Smith’s ChromaPop color enhancement technology and is finished with a light black mirror. The clarity from these is top-notch and I found it great for use in areas of medium to bright exposure. They’re probably a bit dark for a dense forest on an overcast day but, generally, I found them just right for daytime riding. I even took them skiing for a day and they did the job just fine there too. The frame is a hybrid TR90 and TPU frame, it’s got a lightweight feel but still feels solid. The hinges have a satisfying notch as they lock into place. Changing the lens is dead easy – just flex the upper frame up and the lens easily flexes open and wiggles past the side mounts. It’s worth noting, a red mirror lens is also available.
Fit wise, I find the Wildcats to be supremely comfortable. The nose piece has two positions – narrow- wide adjustment – as well as the ability to slide vertically a fraction as well. Both narrow-wide positions fit me fine; the tighter position just sits the glasses out a little further, and with the wider position, they sit a little closer to my face. I’m actually still not sure which one I prefer. Both the nose piece and the arms feature Smith’s hydrophilic megol rubber, which is grippy and comfortable. I found they stayed in place on-trail perfectly. I loaned them to a friend who found them to slip a bit, but I may have stretched the frame out a little by that point. Whether he’s small headed, or I’m big headed, I’m not sure – I didn’t ask my friend for his opinion. I happen to ride a Smith Forefront helmet and, no surprise, the glasses integrate really well with that helmet. I also tried them with a Bluegrass Rogue, and they fit fine too. The arms are quite long but they don’t seem to get in the way of my helmet, which is great.
At 135mm wide and 62mm tall, these are some of the biggest glasses out there. I’d say I have a normal sized head and don’t generally wear massive glasses, but I liked the fit and look of these. This larger size meant, for me, they offered great protection from debris and also kept the wind flow (that makes my eyes water) well out of the way. Despite being so big, they only weigh 32grams – so don’t let the big size put you off. Glasses this large tend to have a bit of a ‘look at me!’ vibe about them, but I found that the matte black kept them a bit more understated, which I personally prefer. You can always add the fire- red lens if you want to stand out in the crowd. The Wildcat’s come supplied with a sturdy, hard case so they are well protected when you’re not wearing them as well. All in all, a great set of glasses that ticks all the boxes – recommended!
REVIEW: LANCE PILBROW
DISTRIBUTOR: FE SPORTS