Smith Haywire Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Good contrast, very lightweight, well-balanced, stay put well, good clarity
Cons: Several significant lens defects developed, no hard case included, lacking coverage
Manufacturer: Smith Optics
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|Pros||Good contrast, very lightweight, well-balanced, stay put well, good clarity||Great clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most faces||Excellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many faces||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection|
|Cons||Several significant lens defects developed, no hard case included, lacking coverage||Peripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-looking||Developed a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be better||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Perhaps more fashionable and greater contrast, but acquired some bad lens defects||A top-notch combo of versatility, functionality, and style||Excellent protection and great comfort, though not totally perfect||A great pair with excellent coverage and top-notch lens quality, but a bit heavy||Not only do these sunglasses provide good eye protection, they also have swagger|
|Rating Categories||Smith Haywire||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District Medium Round|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Smith Haywire||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District...|
|Lens Tested||Bronze Mirror ChromaPop||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Brown Lynx|
|Ideal Activity||water sports||water sports||water sports||everyday||everyday|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Bright light||Bright light||Bright light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, but it is available|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||15%||12%||10%||15%||9%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||not specified||not specified||100%||95%||97%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||0%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||93%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||plastic polycarbonate||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective, hydro-oleophobic||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Rigid zipered and cleaning cloth||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Haywires with Bronze Mirror ChromaPop lenses designed to block out the bright light from water activities. They're a medium fit and come with a microfiber cleaning bag/case. They're not available with prescription lenses, though many other frames from Smith are.
With polycarbonate lenses, the Haywires are impact-resistant and ready for adventure. A slightly higher VLT of 15% allows a bit more light through the lenses, though their polarization and added mirror coating do a solid job cutting glare. They offer pretty solid clarity for non-glass lenses and filter out certain wavelengths between green, blue, and red for greater contrast.
- 99% Polarization
- 100% UV Protection
- 15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Bronze, Material: Polycarbonate
- Impact Resistant, Anti-reflective Front and Back, Hydro-oleophobic, Mirrored
However, what would be a pretty solid lens, developed several defects while we were testing them, that continued to get worse the more time passed, and we're not sure why. First, we started to see a slight build-up of shading or coatings around the edges of the lenses (mostly imperceptible to the wearer). Though not something that's easy to notice in most lightings, it's not a great sign for the overall quality of the lens. And it didn't stop there. Strange, perfectly parallel horizontal lines in the lenses started to appear on the outside and inside edges of both lenses as if the coatings were beginning to delaminate. These make a BIG difference to sight, and appear as though we were looking through a nasty fingerprint. Both of these defects should be covered by the lifetime manufacturer's warranty, but the fact that they showed up after just a couple months of usage doesn't inspire a ton of confidence.
Weighing 27 grams, the Haywires are a pretty lightweight pair of specs. They have excellent balance on your face, making them a breeze to wear. Auto-lock hinges snap out into place and the frames offer a little bit of flexibility to accommodate wider faces, but not enough for many of our testers, becoming a bit too tight to wear for long periods of time. They rest a bit more classically on your face, with just the nose pads and arms touching. The semi-embedded hydrophilic Megol nose pads do an excellent job keeping them in the right place on your face, but their intense stickiness is a bit too much for some of our users.
Made of a castor-based, eco-friendly nylon polymer, the Haywires have what they call a "semi-rim". A section of the bottom and outside edge of each lens is framed by a much thinner section with a metallic appearance. Megol nose pads aren't quite embedded, but more attached to the rest of the frame not quite seamlessly. Not only does their stickiness attract fuzzies from the multiverse, but their edges are already showing signs of significant wear after just a couple of months. Nothing actually broke or cracked or even scratched during our testing, but we have some reservations about how well these will hold up to years of daily wear.
Style and Versatility
Sporting a modern take on the classic Wayfarer style shades, the Smiths are reasonably fashionable. However, they do run a bit smaller than we expected a size "medium" to be, and many of our testers feel they're too small to look good on their faces. However, for those who like the smaller look (or those who have thinner faces where the Haywires don't appear so small), they appreciate the more stylish appearance of these glasses. With the mat frames, strongly mirrored lenses and a slight keyhole bridge, they're a hit for some!
A base curve of just 4 makes these specs pretty straight across, with very little curvature to hug your face. Their design also ensures they float a bit away from your face. What this gives in comfort and style, it takes away when it comes to coverage. There are gaps on all sides of these glasses for odd angles of sunlight, glare, dust, and wind to enter your eyes, and the smaller lenses also contribute to that.
The Haywires are one of very few glasses we tested that don't come with a rigid or semi-rigid case. They only have a microfiber drawstring bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth. While this certainly helps keep them from picking up unnecessary scratches, it doesn't do much inside your checked bag on an international flight.
Though far from the most expensive sunglasses we tested, these aren't cheap either. We really like the performance of Smith's ChromaPop lenses, but considering just how many issues cropped up and how quickly, we're just not sure they're worth it.
The Haywires are an interesting, more stylish take on a decently protective and high performing pair of shades. We like how lightweight they are and how well they stay put, but we aren't stoked on how quickly the lenses deteriorated during our testing process. We're not giving up on them just yet, but they're certainly not one of our favorites.
— Maggie Brandenburg