Smith Pinpoint Sunglasses Review

For runners looking for a one-and-done pair of shades, I give you the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses ($150 to $180). With their medium size and coverage, their quality lens options, and their gentle but protective curvature, these sunglasses work well and look good for traveling, trail running, and everything in between. I tested the Pinpoints with the ChromaPop Violet Mirror lenses.

I know, a lot of companies have entered the sunglasses market catering cheap and casually cool sunnies to the running crowd. The problem is that the lenses on these sunglasses for running just aren’t very good. Low visual acuity combined with cheap polarization don’t give the same visual pop to the landscape. Even worse, these cheap lenses can distort vision and fatigue the eyes. Now, if you’re someone who leaves your sunglasses on the hood of your car on a regular basis, I’m not here to guilt you for scoffing at a $100-plus pair of sunglasses. But a lot of our enjoyment of trail running and ultrarunning is derived from experiencing nature in all of its vivid beauty, and I for one don’t want to dull that experience.

As running sunglasses fashion seems to have careened toward early 1990s styles, some of us who are old enough to have experienced the era are craving styles that are somewhat more subdued. While I can sometimes appreciate the function of full-coverage, wraparound sunglasses, I don’t feel the need to look like Dave Scott winning the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii at the post-run coffee stop. Additionally, when traveling, it can be nice to pack one pair of do-it-all sunglasses that works for both running and casual wear.

Smith Pinpoint sunglasses product photo

Smith Pinpoint sunglasses. Photo: Smith Optics

Smith Pinpoint Sunglasses Frame and Fit

In over a year of testing, the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses have been my go-to shades for running, driving, and just generally hanging out outside. The design harkens back to the classic wayfarer and the purple mirror lens that I tested gives the anemoics something to love. Other lens colors are available too. Smith advertises these as a medium fit and the sizing of the Pinpoint will work well for a lot of head/face sizes as evidenced by how they work for my smaller head and face.

Yes, they are cool looking and a bit timeless, but what really makes these sunglasses a pleasure to run in are the technical features. The very lightweight and flexible plastic frame on my pair has taken quite a beating over my time with them. The Pinpoint’s frame has the ability to stretch a bit, like when you wear sunglasses over the ears of a stocking cap on a cold day, without ever stretching out or losing their original, secure fit. Aiding this fit are Megol non-slip nose pads which haven’t deteriorated and don’t feel greasy, even in the sweatiest of conditions.

Side view of the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses

Smith Pinpoint sunglasses. All photos iRunFar unless otherwise noted.

Smith Pinpoint Sunglasses Lenses

What really sets the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses apart from other casual-looking running sunglasses are the lenses. If you haven’t checked out a Smith ChromaPop lens, I highly recommend it. True to Smith’s claims, the lenses enhance contrast and natural color, and details in the trail appear more clearly. I also noticed less eye fatigue when wearing the Pinpoint for a long day on the trails as well as when driving for many hours. Despite being dropped on the lenses at least a half-dozen times, my Pinpoints are scratch-free.

Smith Pinpoint Sunglasses Overall Impressions

I get it, $150 for the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses seems like a lot of dough for sunnies that could get you mistaken as an extra from “Ski School.” But admit it, you’ve spent more money on more ridiculous things–especially during that year of COVID-19 quarantine. We all have. To make matters easier, Smith has a lifetime warranty. While I haven’t used the warranty program myself, I’ve heard great feedback from other runners who have either had their damaged sunglasses repaired or replaced for free. Your eyes are important, and looking cool, or at least looking like everyone else at an ultramarathon, is important too. Don’t forget your mesh trucker hat and crew socks, you filthy animals.

Call for Comments

Are you running in the Smith Pinpoint sunglasses? Leave a comment to share your thoughts on their frame, lenses, and fit.

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Smith Pinpoint sunglasses front view

Smith Pinpoint sunglasses.

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 9 comments

  1. Jonathan Gardner

    How did these perform in shade-to-sun-to-shade-to-sun running? The challenge for me in sunglasses for trail running is that your needs in the forest are different from your needs when you break into an open meadow. Currently, I favor a multi-lens set-up for my sunglasses, with blue lenses as the best all-rounder for most of my runs because of shade vs sun needs.

  2. Tom Caughlan

    Hi Jonathan,

    Remarkably well actually. The chromapop lenses give everything a bit more definition, from colors to trail features. However, if you’re looking for lenses that can completely transition from nighttime to full sun, and everything in between, well, I have another sunglasses review coming this weekend.
    The Pinpoint is a great all arounder.

  3. Patricio

    While I appreciate Tom’s smirk and and a few witty zingers, I always have to check the calendar on the IRF sunglass reviews. $150 for sunglasses? Must be April Fools!

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Thanks Patricio,

      Honestly, I’ve tried wearing gas station wayfarers as well as the $30 sunglasses that have become very popular with runners. The lenses were awful and they distorted trail features. Are there any sunglasses you’ve liked that have a more modest price tag? Always taking suggestions….
      I guess I’ve become spoiled with the primo lenses.

    2. Darcy

      I scoffed, too, until my mom bought me some very nice, expensive sunglasses for my birthday a few years back. And now I will never return to cheap sunglasses again! I know it seems ridiculous, but I am a very big fan of my fancy shades.

  4. Patricio

    Hey Tom – To be honest I usually don’t wear sunglass unless there is snow on the ground. But I throw giveaway sunglasses in my pack just in case. My unrefined palette can’t tell much difference between $1.50 and $150 sunglasses and in my humblest of opinions the difference in performance certainly isn’t worth $138.50. But of course I know folks that think $150 for glasses are a great bargain. So to each their own.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Hey Patricio,
      I never wore sunglasses while running until I moved to CO 11 years ago. The sun is a whole lot brighter here than when I was in the midwest, and I’ve gotten more and more sensitive as an old man. I’ll even get headaches if I’m running midday in full sunlight without sunglasses. With snow on the ground, forget about it.

  5. LJ

    180$ on shoes, $150 on a vest, $50 on shorts, but complain that nice glasses are too $$. Eyes/vision are pretty crucial so buying nice glasses is money well spent IMO. Good glasses will outlast your shoes by many miles. Your eyes will thank you. Cheap lenses cause eye strain. Would you run in a $40 run shoe from Target? You can find Smith, Oakley, Rudy for 100$ or less if you look around.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      LJ-
      Well said, and yes, lots of bargains to be had. I bought a pair of Smith visor style glasses that I wear for biking for $54 last year, and they will last forever with Smith’s warranty.

      I laugh sometimes about the cost of running gear. When I worked in a running specialty store in the late 1990s the most expensive popular shoe was the Asics Gel Kayano at $130. That same shoe 23 years later is only $30 more brand new. Running shoes have certainly not seen the kind of cost inflation that nearly everything else has.

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