Smith Optics Steps Up

New frames, and a new eco-friendly frame of mind.

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel

Scientific instruments like telescopes and microscopes use glass lenses for a reason. Nothing can match the clarity, purity and optical acuity of precision ground glass. Using this same glass material, Smith introduces two new pieces, the Touchstone and Backdrop (shown here), joining Smith’s Techlite Polarized Glass collection. These shades offer unmatched optical clarity and crisp vision with precision ground lens surfaces meeting a 1/2000 of a millimeter standard.

Reaching a new level of comfort and visual performance the Touchstone is the definition of integrated performance and style. Refined surfaces and detailing combine with maximum coverage in an 8-base lens curve and the secure fit of a Grilamid TR90 or Evolve Rilsan Clear® frame. Spring hinges and Hydrophyllic Megol contact surfaces complete the package.

A perfect compliment to the Touchstone, the Backdrop encompasses the same great features like spring hinges and Megol covered contact surfaces. Sharp detailing showcases a medium coverage lens profile in an 8-base curve that makes it perfect anywhere uncompromised optics and a clean look are key. All Techlite Polarized Glass product utilizes Smith Optics’ TLT (Tapered Lens Technology) Optics, a precision lens shaping process which attunes lens thickness on the nanoscopic level, tapering progressively from the center to the periphery to compensate for lens curvature, ensuring 100% distortion free optics.

The Touchstone and Backdrop are both available in Black with Polarchromic Copper Mirror lenses, Tortoise with Polachromic Amber, Mahogany with Polarchromic Copper, Black with Polarized Blue Mirror, Brown Stripe with Polarized Green Mirror, Black with Polarized Gray-Green, and Tortoise with Polarized Brown lenses for $159. Both models are also available as part of the Evolve series with eco-friendly frame and packaging materials in Matte Black with Polarchomic Ignitor lenses for $199. Like all Smith products, both are covered by Smith’s True Lifetime Warranty.


Two years ago, Smith Optics applied its over 40 year history as an innovation leader toward greening its own business, launching the Evolve line of eco-friendly products, the first sustainable effort of its kind in the eyewear category. Now Smith is taking the Evolve initiative a step further, announcing the introduction of the bio-based, non-GMO nylon alternative, Rilsan Clear®, into its sunglass product line. In the tradition of Evolve, this effort is a successful marriage of non-compromising performance standards with ecologically conscious manufacturing. Rilsan Clear® is derived from castor seeds, a product of the non-food stuff castor plant, which is being used to meet a growing palette of industrial applications.

Employed as a nylon alternative, Rilsan Clear® bears resilience, density, and shape-memory properties comparable to the indestructible Grilamid TR90 presently used in a majority of Smith sunglasses without sacrificing fit or feel. Logo plaques are clear coated with a water-based protective finish resulting in a fully considered sunglass that lets the wearer enjoy crystal clear vision as well as a clear conscious. Smith Evolve products cover the sustainability elements from start to finish using microfiber storage/cleaning bags made from a 96% content of natural coconut fibers, a highly renewable waste by-product of the food industry. Additionally Evolve products are packaged in FSC certified 100% recycled and post-consumer paper stock.

“We are committed to narrowing the gap in our juxtaposed desire for a healthy environment and need for viable products to enjoy the outdoors. We are very excited to introduce this alternative material and are not stopping here in our quest to green our overall business,” said Eric Carlson, Smith vp of product and design.