Sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are available in many flavors. Some are well engineered, others frustrate. I’ve been testing a pair of Smith Interlock 01 that I’m happy to say have performed well. They’re stylish, fit me well, and the lens change is flawless. Check ’em out.
|Stylish and comfortable Smith Interlock 01 shown above. Only performance problem I had was with the transparent frames, which transmitted and seemed to magnify sunlight, resulting in an uncomfortably bright slice of light entering under the lens. Great, a good excuse for gear modification. Black Magic Marker painted inside the frame under the lens took care of the problem.|
|Lens change is done by rotating the temple riders, which in turn opens the frame around the lens. It takes seconds and is solid. Only problem I had is that the left and right lenses look similar. I got them reversed, but since they still almost fit I thought there was something wrong with the glasses. A teenage friend of mine figured it out in 30 seconds — good puzzle solving skills!
It’s said (and I believe) Smith’s Carbonic lens material offers excellent impact resistance, 100% protection from all UVA, B, and C rays, and scratch resistance. The Interlock retail package includes three sets of lenses: Polarized gray or brown(14% light transmission), Ignitor (32% light transmission), and clear mirror (70% light transmission). More, a number of other lenses are available (I couldn’t get the exact number as they fly past too fast to count on the Smith Interlock website, so check ’em out yourself.)
A nearly 100% clear lens is not available for this frame. That’s a disappointment, as clear lenses are useful, if not essential for hard-core backcountry activities that involve night travel, as well as allowing use of your glasses as safety eye protection while working indoors or in darker outdoor environments. Also, a clear lens that still has 100% UV/IR protection is incredibly useful for photography and videography in bright environments when you’re constantly force to remove dark sunglasses to view LCD displays. The clear mirror lens comes close to transparent (70% transmission) and is useful for the LCD issue, but in marginal situation such as night travel with a dim headlamp, a 30% reduction in visible light is probably too much.
|Interlock sunglasses come with a semi-hard case that’s light and functional. It zips closed instead of clamshelling, which is essential to prevent dust entry in harsh environments. Sadly, the lens holder inside the case doesn’t work. The lenses fall out and rattle around. Duct tape is the inelegant solution. These are pricy glasses and you’d expect them to get that right, thus I’d suspect this will be fixed in future iterations.
All my quibbles are minor (what’s not to love about duct tape?). In our opinion these are excellent sunglasses, they’re holding up well and the lens change method is bomber — WildSnow.com thumbs up!