Smith Interlock 01 Sunglasses — Good Bet for Backcountry Fun

Post by blogger | June 22, 2007      

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.

Smith Interlock 01 sunglasses.
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 method, Smith Interlock 01 sunglasses.
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.

Case, Smith Interlock 01 sunglasses.
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 — thumbs up!

Shop for Smith sunglasses here.


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6 Responses to “Smith Interlock 01 Sunglasses — Good Bet for Backcountry Fun”

  1. Tom Rossi June 22nd, 2007 9:59 am

    Hi Lou,

    What kind of coverage do they give for the eye? I’m finding too many of the newer sunglasses are more stylish than protective – with my bigger size head light comes in from above and below the lenses.

  2. Lou June 22nd, 2007 10:12 am

    I’d say they give average coverage, not limited. I know what you mean about some sunglasses not providing coverage. The Interlock 01 is recommended for smaller to medium head size, but they make other Interlock models that probably fit differently.

  3. Ricky June 22nd, 2007 11:36 am

    I counted 14 replacement lens options 😉

  4. Shane July 10th, 2007 8:58 am

    I just picked up a pair of the Interlock Whispers this weekend. Suprisingly, they were $10 cheaper at my local shop compared to Smith’s website.

    Unfortunately a broken toe has me sidelined from biking, so I haven’t used them yet. Hopefully this weekend will be better.

    The one thing I’ve noticed when playing with them is that I get my greasy fingers all over the lenses when I switch them out. This is my first pair of glasses with switchable lenses so my technique should get better in time. But I think it’s a good idea to stick some sort of cleaning rag in the case along with the lenses etc to help de-smudging.

  5. Mike July 24th, 2007 12:16 am

    Thanks for a useful review of these glasses. Your detailed explanation of the lens removal and vote of confidence is something I couldn’t find anywhere else.

  6. Usher Sunglasses April 24th, 2009 11:11 am

    Hi Lou,
    Thanks for the good review and these sunglasses are looking great but if a sunglasses provide protection then that’s mentioned on the glass, i can’t see any such thing in the image.

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