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Smith Lowdown 2 Review

A pretty good pair of shades with super-enhanced colors that look good on most faces
Smith Lowdown 2
Photo: Smith
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Price:  $179 List | $99.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good lenses, secure frames, pretty universally stylish
Cons:  Colors are distorted, can see through mirror coating
Manufacturer:   Smith
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 27, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Lens Quality - 30% 8
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Frame Quality - 20% 8
  • Style and Versatility - 15% 8
  • Coverage - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Though they didn't win any awards this time around, the Smith Lowdown 2 is a well above average pair of sports sunglasses with a lot of features we love. The ChromaPop lenses may be exactly what you're looking for, creating vibrant greens and near-neon hues around you. The mirror coating we tested adds a pop of sportiness to this take on a classic wayfarer frame, while its matte finish and rubber nose pads help them stay in place better. We don't love that we could still see through the mirror coating, but pretty much every tester who tried these like how they look and feel.

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Price $99.00 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Good lenses, secure frames, pretty universally stylishGreat clarity, excellent contrast, minimal color distortion, very comfortable, look good on pretty much everyoneGreat color retention, superb coverage, quality construction, fits many face sizes, great case and cleaning clothLightweight, comfortable, stable, good on many faces, nice caseLightweight, comfortable, secure, good balance, versatile, look good
Cons Colors are distorted, can see through mirror coatingPeripheral coverage not ideal, can still bounce a littleHeavy, large lens "look", weird inside reflective patchNot overly stylish, run small, temple grips could be cleaner cutHinges loosen, brown lenses are yellowy
Bottom Line A pretty good pair of shades with super-enhanced colors that look good on most facesExceptional lenses in impressively comfortable frames that manage to be extremely functional while still looking casualTop-notch coverage and superb color retention make these large-fit shades well-equipped to protect your eyes from water-reflected lightThese sunnies are light and comfortable for your face and eyes and a bit easier on your walletA solidly versatile pair of comfortable shades that are easy to wear and a great price
Rating Categories Smith Lowdown 2 Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Rincon Native Eyewear Wells Suncloud Rambler
Lens Quality (30%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Frame Quality (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Style And Versatility (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Coverage (10%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Smith Lowdown 2 Kaenon Clarke Costa Del Mar Rincon Native Eyewear Wells Suncloud Rambler
Lens Tested ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror Ultra Brown 12 Grey 580P Crystal Grey Brown
Ideal Lens Light Conditions Bright Light Bright light Bright Light Medium to bright light Medium to bright light
Polarized Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fit Medium Medium-Full XL/Wide Large Medium
Weight (grams) 28g 29g 33g 26g 25g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) 14-15% 12% 12% 12% 15%
VLT Protection Index Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim) None None 100% HEV blockage 90% None
Infrared Protection (claim) None None None 40% None
Neutral/Contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast Neutral Neutral Increased contrast
Lens Material ChromaPop polarized polycarbonate Plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate Polycarbonate Plastic polycarbonate Plastic polycarbonate
Impact Resistance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protective Coatings Anti-reflective, hydroleophobic, mirror Anti-reflective back, hydroleophobic, anti-scratch C-WALL (anti-scratch, hydroleophobic) Anti-scratch, hydroleophobic Anti-reflective
Can take prescription lens? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Hinge type AutoLock barrel hinge Standard/barrel Spring Standard/barrel Standard/barrel
Case Included Microfiber bag Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag, microfiber cleaning cloth Semi-rigid zippered case, microfiber bag Microfiber bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Smith Lowdown 2 with ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lenses. They're Medium/Average fit sunglasses that can be fitted with prescription lenses.

Performance Comparison


Feeding the birds on a snowy afternoon while sporting the Smith...
Feeding the birds on a snowy afternoon while sporting the Smith Lowdown 2.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


The Lowdown 2 can be purchased with a wide array of lens colors, coatings, and features. We went all out on possible features, testing Smith's ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lens. Overall, they're pretty excellent. They offer increased contrast and excellent clarity with very little reflection on the backs of the lenses. Though their Visible Light Transmission is slightly higher than many other brown lenses we tested, the mirror coating keeps them comfortable even in very bright conditions.

ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror Lenses
  • Polarized
  • 100% UV Protection
  • 14-15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
  • "Some" HEV/Blue Light Blockage, "Some" Infrared Blockage
  • Color: Brown, Material: Polycarbonate
  • Impact Resistant, Anti-Reflective, Hydroleophobic, Mirror

Two minor details stand out about the lenses. First, the ChromaPop technology strategically blocking certain wavelengths does add contrast, but gives many colors an almost neon hue. This is particularly evident in greens, making certain trees really pop from the landscape. Secondly, we typically expect mirror coatings to block everyone else's view of your eyes through the lenses, but these don't quite do it. Still, all in all, they're very good lenses that we really like.

Letting the colors pop with our ChromaPop Polarized lenses.
Letting the colors pop with our ChromaPop Polarized lenses.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


The Lowdown 2 weighs 28 grams, putting them around average among sports sunglasses we tested. They're well-balanced and feel very pleasant on the face. Certain testers reported them touching eyebrows a little bit and brushing cheeks slightly, but they were never described as uncomfortable. The Matte Tortoise frames we tested are one of our favorite textures. They're just matte enough to increase friction and gripping power slightly, while still smooth enough to slide on easily and not raise off the nose when smiling or laughing. Autolocking hinges make them easier to put on and take off with one hand.

Enjoying the all-day comfort of these well-fitting glasses.
Enjoying the all-day comfort of these well-fitting glasses.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


The frame is made of Evolve, a bio-based material that looks and feels like lightweight plastic — in a good way. It has just the right amount of flex without being alarmingly bendy. Megol sections form the main structure of the nose pads, but the bows are free from rubber-like materials. The hinges are integrated into the shape of the Evolve material, spanning the full width of the temple arm. They auto-lock open and closed with just the right feel of force, and they're easily adjustable on the bottom.

Fully rubberized nose pads add friction when your face is wet or...
Fully rubberized nose pads add friction when your face is wet or sweaty.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Style and Versatility


In our opinion, the Lowdown 2 are like a slightly sportier wayfarer style. Most of our testers really like how they look — men, women, wide heads, narrow faces, and a myriad of personal styles. The mirror lenses we tested make them look a tad more sporty than non-mirror lenses. And here again, we wish you couldn't see through the mirror coating. But in general, they're easy to like.

Feeling pretty stylish, even on neighborhood runs.
Feeling pretty stylish, even on neighborhood runs.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


With a base curve of just 4, the Lowdown 2 are fairly flat across the face. Naturally, that leaves plenty of room around the sides for sunlight to get in. They have excellent top coverage though, and the thickness of the frame helps a bit here too. The lenses are fairly tall, providing decent bottom coverage, though the size of this gap greatly depends on your specific face shape. Their matte coating helps them to stay in place, though they can be a touch bouncy when you've just started a run and your face is totally dry.

The Lowdowns have fairly large lenses, which help add some coverage...
The Lowdowns have fairly large lenses, which help add some coverage to these flat shades.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


These shades come with just a simple bag. It works well for cleaning the lenses but offers very limited protection for what can be a fairly costly pair of sunglasses.

These come with just a simple microfiber bag.
These come with just a simple microfiber bag.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


With all the bells and whistles we got in our Lowdown 2 lens tech, these aren't the cheapest pair of shades around. They do offer some excellent HD performance and look like a sporty wayfarer, so the price may be worth it to you.

Conclusion


The Smith Lowdown 2 are a high-scoring, high-performing pair of shades. We tested them with the ChromaPop Polarized Bronze Mirror lenses and they live up to their name, really making greens and bright colors pop from the rest of the world. They're comfortable and versatile and a pair we love to wear, time and time again.

Heading out for adventure wearing the Smith Lowdown 2.
Heading out for adventure wearing the Smith Lowdown 2.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg