Casually-styled sunglasses with light-adjusting lens from Smith.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Smith Leadout PivLock


  • Photochromatic lens is effective in mixed (bright) conditions. PivLock system works well.


  • Fit is more casual than performance-orientated, so dirt and dust can get past.


Smith Leadout PivLock sunglasses review


Price as reviewed:


Leading eyewear brand Smith has a huge range of MTB sunglasses that always seem to fit my face really well. These new Leadouts are designed with slightly less wrap to allow extra air to circulate, which should reduce fogging. They also buck the trend for wraparound, retro-style glasses that are so big they’re virtually goggles.

Being Smith glasses, you can get the lens in the brand’s ChromaPop finish which we’ve always praised for its excellent contrast and clarity. This coating is also really effective at blocking harsh light, without reducing transmission to the extent that it’s hard to see enough definition on darker days or when riding under the trees.

This particular Leadout I’ve tested comes instead with a light-adjusting photochromatic lens that switches chameleon-like from clear to grey, depending on how bright it is. The transformation is smooth, but not fast enough to cope with blasting into deep shade on a sunny day. That’s not such an issue, however, as the darker setting isn’t pitch black; more just enough to help you stop squinting if it’s really blazing light on paler ground.

The PivLock in the name describes how you can swap between chosen lenses – simply tilt (the pivot in the name) arms backwards to release each lens to swap in a new colour. It’s a rock-solid and fool-proof system.

The smaller individual windows here (compared to, say Smith’s highly rated Shift Mags) gives a different outlook from both sides of the lens. There’s less of a widescreen, uninterrupted, view here and you catch a few reflections and glimpses of the edges of the frame in your peripheral vision, especially if light is coming in at funny angles at either end of the day.


Like all Smith eyewear, the lens and frame quality is top notch with really sharp definition on edges and vegetation, but for often-muddy UK mountain biking the more traditional ‘performance look’ (that has more glass joining the frame all round) means it’s easier to get dirt and crud wedged in the crevices all around the lens. I also prefer a bigger, wider window, like on Smith’s other riding glasses. But one area this photochromatic lens does deliver is in the summer months, by being clear enough to ride in dingy UK woods without ever being too dark, and still shielding glare on the brightest days.