It wasn’t long ago that we enjoyed some quality riding time with the Smith PivLock Arena cycling sunglasses. If you remember, we found these glasses to have an impressive feature set with a superior fit over much of the competition. When it comes to choosing a pair of shades for riding we truly believe in a do-it-all solution. There is already enough gear needed to complete your kit and Smith has done a great job of complimenting modern large lens style with a stable and comfortable fit for a dynamic range of faces. When receiving the larger framed sibling to the Arena our main goal was to determine if they are worth upgrading to.
Standout Technical Features
Carbonic TLT lenses
7×4 toric lens curvature
Medium fit / large coverage
TR90 frame material
Hydroleophobic lens coating
Two-position adjustable nose pads
Slide-on temple tips
The PivLock Arena Max is constructed from the frameless design and easily interchangeable lens system. The twist and lock lens functions incredibly well and can truly be done on the trails or in the bike lane. The simplicity of this design allows these glasses to be much lighter in weight than expected which strengthens their list of race ready performance features. Smith accomplished this fit by basing the design on a circular fit that completely prevents rubbing or pressure point irritation on the temple. This design also uses megol as a slip resistant rubber like material on the nose piece and arm ends where they meet the temple. When you’re hard at work on the pedals you can count on sweating as the last thing you want to be distracted by. This megol material had a solid hold onto our face throughout the day and showed no signs of slipping whatsoever when when it was wet after constantly cooling down with splashes of water. Another overlooked benefit to this highly developed bridge material is its ability to withstand impact. When your glasses are unintentionally smashed or hit with debris you can bet that you will appreciate an extra form of cushioning.
We have worn our Smith’s while on a few gravel rides to better learn how they perform in unexpected riding conditions . Even the rocky and rutted sections couldn’t shake these shades enough to cause an annoyance or force us to re adjust. This is quiet a statement for how bone shattering a gravel bike can be.
For those riders who have had issues with finding the right shades to fit your favorite helmet the arena may be able to offer a solution. By using a more rounded arm design Smith has made this model compatible with a wide variety of helmet brands. If you happen to also sport a Smith helmet you can pair these glasses by resting them on the top front area of the Overtake helmet. This is a HUGE convenient benefit.
Since Smith has a progressive approach to design and sponsors a polished group athletes it’s no surprise to see how well their products standout. The color options and varieties are impressive enough to take plenty of attention off of their competitors. When we first saw our pair of Reactor Green frames and Purple Sol-X Mirror lens our faces perked up like a smiling emoji. The green is bright and the purple is sleek to say the least! If you are curious to see how the purple looks in daylight take a long look at our trail photos above.
Smith has taken criticism for not having the photo-chromatic lenses that Oakley or Rudy does. The fact of the matter is that each lens will feel better or worse for each individual. The Purple Sol-X mirror lens is a great hybrid option for our surrounding environment. It holds its own in the bright mid-day sun but also works incredibly well for the overcast days that we experience throughout the year. We also happen to really appreciate the extremely clear and distortion free Smith technology. To us these shades are a required tool and we have found a trustworthy pair in the Arena Max.
We set out to determine if an upgrade was needed from our Arena shades. All of the lovely features and rider oriented tech has been carried into the Max version which forces us to confidently answer with a strong YES. The larger lens provides more than adequate coverage and does so without changing the overall frame fit. Most of our crew has more narrow faces and still chose the Max as our preferred fit.