"Sunnies" are something I’m always hesitant to invest in. They always end up forgotten on some river rock or scratched up at the bottom of my pack. As such, I usually seek out cheap pairs from gas stations. But now that I’ve tried the Smith Embark sunglasses, I realize I’ve just never had a pair worth caring about. I’ll be dammed if these join the black hole abyss of lost sunglasses.
With vented side shields and an elastic retainer strap, these glasses are made for snow travel. The light weight and comfortable nose bridge makes them almost disappear on the face. I’ve worn them sun-up to sun-down without comfort issues. They protect from the pesky side glare reflecting off the snow, while Smith’s ChromaPop lenses give enough contrast to recognize nuanced terrain features. When terrain features include 100-foot crevasses, the importance of this should not be understated. They are fantastic in the alpine, but the versatility in these glasses is what stands out. Pop off the shields and they become an everyday pair of sunglasses. With a simple frame design, they don’t make me look like a FKT-chasing d-bag when I go for a casual stroll around town. In an age where there seems to be a specific piece of gear for everything, the versatility is refreshing.
They come with a microfiber carrying sleeve and a burlier fleece-lined case. I’ve found that keeping them in the case will cause them to fog up when deployed in colder weather due to the temperature gradient—keep them in the microfiber sleeve on cold-weather outings to avoid this problem. From mountains to rivers to Main Street, the Smith Embark checks all the boxes.
Available at smithoptics.com; $219.