Smith Lowdown XL 2

Smith Lowdown XL 2

Eye Doping

Words by Drew Rohde  |  Photos by Chili Dog

In a marketing age of never ending hype, it’s rare that a product delivers the way Smith’s Chromapop technology does. We got our first pair of Smith Lowdown glasses over a year ago. After a few shameless emails to Smith, our whole grew got kitted out with new shades one by one. Now we’re all eye doping and it feels good.

The Lab

Smith’s Lowdown and Lowdown XL2 glasses are part of their extensive lifestyle line and come in a variety of frame and lens colors. They’re similar to the tried and true Wayfarer but with a slightly modern twist. The XL2 is the larger version and offers bigger lenses to hide your hangover, or offer you more optical pleasure.

What makes these glasses so great isn’t the plastic frame that so many companies can replicate. Instead it’s the lens technology, specifically Chromapop. The technology is proprietary to Smith and they claim it helps you see detail and color beyond normal capabilities. We certainly agree, at least in the terms of the color enhancement.

Smith Lowdown XL 2

Chromapop works by filtering the two wavelengths of light that cause color confusion and affect definition. The human retina has difficulty separating blue and green and red and green. By filtering those specific wavelength crossovers, Chromapop lenses are able to give the wearer increased definition and color while improving clarity over traditional lenses.

Smith offers Chromapop lenses not only in a variety of colors, but also in a few different variations. You can choose between the Chromapop+, polarized or non-polarized lenses to suit your needs. Our glasses also feature antireflective treatment, are water and oil resistant and offer 100% UV protection.

Smith Lowdown XL 2

The Dirt

Over the last year I’ve worn three different pairs of Chromapop glasses and have converted every member of the team. Every person I’ve handed these glasses to has done a double, or even triple take. Sliding the glasses up and down to look at nature unfiltered and through the Chromapop lenses for a back to back comparison.

Smith designed the Lowdown glasses to be a casual, lifestyle glass however I’ve demoted my older beat up pair to mountain bike duty and keep the freshies in the van. I don’t like “performance” style sunglasses as the future frames just don’t suit me. I’ve worn everything from Ray Ban Wayfarers to Oakley’s casual glasses off road and the Chromapop Lowdowns have definitely become my favorite in brighter trail conditions. That being said, I feel like we have to make a disclaimer noting these are not mountain bike glasses, and don’t have the ventilation or design features of other performance sunglasses. These are a casual glass that I’ve taken on the trail because they look better to me. Off the trail and on the road, Smith’s Chromapop lenses left me bugging my road dogs as I constantly pointed out vivdly green fields and insanely colored clouds and the sharply ridged canyons. After about the tenth callout being met with less than enthusiastic agreement I took my glasses of to get a better look and instantly realized why I was the only one excited— I was the only one eye doping!

Smith Lowdown XL 2

I passed the shades around and listened to the oohs and ahs roll in. There is no denying that Chromapop technology really boosts what you see. It’s like real time photoshop. We all noticed a huge difference in everything from driving conditions to scenic walks with the dog.

One place I particularly like them is on long road trips. Because of the color and contrast boosting tech, I can legitimately say that they keep me more alert and focused on the road. The blue tinted lenses also aid the effort. Like most high end glasses, the polarized coating also cuts down on glare coming from the road and cars.

Smith Lowdown XL 2

The Wolf’s Last Word

It’s not just your vision that becomes instantly clear after putting on Smith’s Chromapop equipped Lowdowns. As we said before, in a time when every brand has got the best, world changing product you never knew you needed, it’s exciting when something actually works this well. No it won’t make you ride faster, jump higher or grow your bank account, but it will make your day to day existence a little more enjoyable.

Price: $169;

We Dig



Color Enhancement

Makes Life More Vivid

We Don’t

When We Scratch the Lenses or Lose Them


Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack