Smith Optics is an industry-leading eyewear brand. Over the years their catalog has expanded not just across different activity disciplines, but also beyond eyewear to helmets and other gear. With an expansive catalog, how do you choose the right pair?

The way we see it, you can choose based on style or fit.

The Wildcat is one of Smith’s most popular and Best Performance Sunglasses for Cyclists. From gravel rides and training for a marthon I’ve been testing the Smith Wildcat’s for the last few months and have no plan to put them away.

Smith Optics Tech and Features

Starting at $225, the Smith Wildcat has a semi-frameless design with extra-large coverage. The lens is a 5-base cylindrical lens with plenty of options for ChromaPop lenses and frame colors. The frame uses a Hybrid TR90 and TPU material. As a Semi-Frameless design, the hybrid design has goggle-like coverage with the airflow of glasses. This Wildcat has a medium fit measuring 140mm wide, 62mm tall, and 125mm long. The nose pad and the metal temple pads have a non-slip grip to help the glasses stay put.


ChromaPop is Smith’s in-house lens technology. By filtering crossover colors, ChromaPop allows for greater definition, natural color, and clarity. There are different tints available to hyper-tune the lenses for different environments and Photochromic lens options.

Interchangeable Lenses

Many of the Smith Optics Performance Sunglasses have interchangeable lenses. The Wildcat come with a secondary clear lens which is great for low-light riding.

Nose Pad

An adjustable nose pad allows you to snap between two positions to get the glasses to sit at the ideal height on the bridge of your nose.

Base Curve

The base curve is the radius of the glasses. A lower number base curve will have a flatter profile while a high number base curve has more wrap around your face.

How do the Smith Wildcat’s hold up?

The Wildcat is one of their top selling styles for outdoor activities. You get goggle like coverage in a sunglass form.

After browsing the many options of frame colors and lenses I opted for the Matte Cement with ChromaPop Green Mirror lens. The frame color was secondary to the lens I wanted to try. The 15% VLT was optimal choice for the type of riding I frequent and really wanting great coverage on bright summer days. The secondary clear lens is great to have on hand to swap out when things get too dark or days deep in wooded areas.

Personally, I prefer a sunglass that has more coverage. For sunny days, it covers more of your face and prevents light leaks from the sides. The large lens not only blocks more light, it helps to block more wind and debris from getting into your eyes while riding.

Up front its hard to tell if the Wildcat’s may be “too large”. I consider myself to have a medium size face and originally thought the Wildcat’s 62mm height may be oversized based off of images. After trying them on I immediately felt comfortable in them and didn’t second guess their size. The upper and lower parts of the lens are at the edge of your peripheral vision without feeling as though they are half way down your cheek. If you are concerned about them being too large, the slightly smaller Bobcat may be the right choice for you.

The Wildcat was worn by me for many gravel rides, and a lot of runs as well. The large goggle like coverage was nice to have on those faster gravel rides where there is a chance some debris could come up off the trail. When paired with a Smith Helmet (like the Trace) the AirEvac ventilation system maximizes the venting to minimize fogging.

On the hotter days when sweat was building up, the glasses did not slip much thanks to the non slip grip on the nose pads and temple area. Despite the large appearance, the Wildcat is lightweight and very comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. Swithcing between lenses is a full two hand operation and you will get fingerprints on them. Fortunately, the Microfiber pouch is great for cleaning them up and storing the secondary lens. With a hybrid frame design the lens is firmly secured in place to the frame.

We are big fans of ChromaPop largely in part to being able to relax your eyes on super sunny days. The richer colors and deeper contrast not only makes things look better, but makes it easier to see whats ahead. Especially sneaky rocks and roots that are trying to take you down while riding.

Overall, the Smith Wildcats have been my go to sunglasses when going for a ride. The large coverage area, comfortable feel and style set them apart from the bunch. They do come with a premium price tag, but they come with great lens technology, an extra clear lens and a nice carrying case. There are also plenty of color options to suit your style.

Size: 140mm x 62mm x 125mm
Frame: Hybrid TR90 and TPU
Lens: ChromaPop, ChromaPop Photochromic, Clear
Price: $225-255

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