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Smith Reactor MAX Sunglasses : Serious Polarized Protection

Many years ago, at the start of a month-long, 800-mile kayaking race, I gazed over at Mike Harbold, a muscled, two-time Olympian staring impassively across the vast horizon of Lake Michigan from behind his wrap-around Smith shades.  

Intense, confident and intimidating, he blasted off the line at a pace that I, a neophyte kayaker, could barely comprehend, much less aspire to.   I came to associate his cool-guy shades with his prowess as a paddler. As the race progressed across the Great Lakes, Erie Canal, and down the Hudson, my confidence grew, as did my desire for some badass sunglasses of my own. But I also thought that having a pair of my own Smith shades would have seemed like a direct challenge to the master.

That was a dozen years, countless kayak races, and generations of optical technology ago. Finally this summer I gazed boldly into the sun wearing my Smith Reactor MAX sunglasses.   I've worn more than a few pair of high-tech shades, but this was my first pair from Smith Optics. The first thing I noticed was how light the glasses were. The frames were also flexible, with an adjustable nosepiece to ensure a snug fit. Two essential comfort features for a paddler in volatile water, a mountain biker hurtling down a singletrack, or anyone in an hours- or days-long endurance event.    

The wrap-round style provides great peripheral coverage. Even better, I can change the lens (the Reactor MAX comes with three sets) to get the type of eye protection I need in different activities and weather. One lens for cloudy days, another for reducing glare on the water (yes, they're polarized), and another for sunny days.

With age comes (a modicum) of wisdom; I no longer expect a pair of sunglasses to improve my race times or impress the crowd. But if any one pair could, it would be the Smith Reactor MAX.

Bottom Line:   Great look with polarized protection, flexible, lightweight frames, and scratch-resistant lens.--J.G. (Dec 06)

Price: $99-139 depending on model

Manufacturer's Site:

BUY ONLINE : 88x31 REI Logo,

When traveling, pack a jump rope and some rubber tubing so you'll have an instant workout kit when you arrive.

Source: American Council on Exercise

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