Review: Smith Optics Pivlock Arena Cycling Sunglasses

For me, sunglasses when cycling are a necessity.

My eyes tend to stream uncontrollably, so much so that I can barely see without eye protection, so I don’t just wear them for fashion, but for safety. Additionally, bright sunshine (sometimes amplified reflected back off the road) can damage the retina and on a more vanity-based level, squinting doesn’t help the wrinkle count.



I don’t always wear cycling specific sunglasses, because sometimes I don’t feel like looking all kind of retro-futuristic, which is how heaps of them are styled to look. Even though I know that cycling glasses frequently give a better field of vision, are lighter in weight and fit better with my helmet, sometimes, I just want to look normal.


Having said all that, on other days I like to get all geared up with the best kit and wear something that performs well and looks dead fancy. So that’s where these Smith Optics Pivlock Arena glasses come in.

Size and shape

The overall shape of the sunnies is narrower than some of the humungous offerings we’ve seen recently but there’s still large, unobstructed field of vision with no frame taking up space. Clarity of vision is as crisp and clear as you like and I had no issues with fogging.



The Pivlock come in two different sizes, the regular ones that I’ve been testing and a larger version, the Pivlock Arena Max that gives more coverage. I initially went for the smaller version, firstly because I fancied something a little slimmer than my other glasses, but also because huge glasses make me really hot – this might sound weird, but I feel like the trap hot air and make my face sweat. I now think that because of my eye watering problem, perhaps the larger pair would have been better – quite a bit of air got in when I descended, whipping tears from my eyes as it did so.

Fit and feel

Straight out of the box, the fit is good – the arms grip lightly and snugly, the soft rubber of the ear socks’ and nose piece helping secure them. I haven’t ever experienced them bouncing or sliding around. The arms are the right length to provide stability without getting in the way when they come into contact with your helmet. They’re lightweight and comfortable to wear.


The ‘Pivlock’ is Smith’s clever way of switching lenses and it makes swapping between the three included an absolute piece of cake. You simply pull each arm up and with a soft click it’s free, there’s absolutely no need to yank and bend your expensive sunglasses or rub your greasy fingers all over the lenses.

The nose bridge is a clever piece of kit too – it’s pops in and out easily too but what’s unique about it is it’s articulated, so you can adjust the fit of the glasses to your face.


A good buy

For your money, you get three lenses, a hard carrying case and a soft pouch.

Retailing at £99, the Smith Pivlock are neither the cheapest nor the most expensive cycling specific sunglasses on the market. As they look and feel good and you get three lenses are included, I’d say there are decent investment and represent good value for money.

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