SMITH CHROMAPOP GOGGLE & ARENA MAX EYEWEAR TEST
SMITH CHROMAPOP GOGGLE AND ARENA MAX
See the Trail Better Through These Lenses
We’ve tested the Smith Squad goggle and Arena Max glasses in the past, and both impressed us. They earned outstanding reviews with their superb construction, excellent lens quality and the best ventilation we’ve tested. The designers at Smith sought to improve on these already-stellar frames with a new lens technology dubbed ChromaPop. It’s essentially a high-contrast lens treatment that Smith says allows you to see more detail in the trail by enhancing color and clarity. With claims like that, we decided we’d like to see more, so we brought both pairs to our favorite trails to see if the lenses could deliver what they promised.
The Squad is a relatively small, lightweight goggle that features a semi-rimless design to keep weight down, make lens changes easier and keep air flowing. The Squad goggle is available in several colors and lens combinations and features a molded Carbonic-X lens to offer a wider field of view and improved protection. Our pair of Squad goggles tipped the scales at a scant 105 grams and retails for $60.
The Arena Max is a performance-only shield with a minimalist frame and huge lens surface area. The Arena Max is the largest of the Arena-series glasses and is designed to fit larger faces. The lens-swap system works with two pivots on the ear stems and interchangeable nosepieces. The Arena Max also comes with three different lens tints for different lighting conditions. The glasses tipped our scales at 26 grams and sell for $160.
Both the glasses and goggles came with the ChromaPop technology. ChromaPop is a polarized lens technology that’s designed to filter certain wavelengths of light that Smith says cause “color confusion.” With a typical lens, the brain can be confused about the difference between blue and green or red and green. The ChromaPop lens is designed to filter out the shades of color that nearly overlap to create more contrast and enhance details.
On the Trail:
It’s no secret the Squad goggles are our go-to choice, and the Arena Max glasses are the go-to favorites of at least a few of our testers. Both the goggles and glasses provide lightweight eye protection with exceptional ventilation that we’ve never had issues with. Both the goggles and glasses are cool and light, prevent fogging in even the worst conditions, and have proven very durable. However, that’s not what we were testing here. We were testing the ChromaPop claims.
The lenses do deliver a higher level of contrast combined with razor-sharp optics that are distortion-free—as far as we can tell. All of the ChromaPop lenses seem to have a bit of a rose tint, which contrasts green and other natural colors very well, and does seem to work better than most dark gray lenses we’ve tested. While the tint works exceptionally well, we wouldn’t go so far as to say these give you super- hero vision. They simply deliver exceptional contrast that makes colors more vibrant. Also, in and out of shaded and sunny sections of trail, the ChromaPop lenses seem to reduce eye strain.
• ChromaPop lens coating brings out contrast
• Exceptional lens quality is razor sharp
• Both the glasses and goggles vent well, preventing fogging
• Photochromic lenses are still more versatile
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