Smith Barra Sunglasses Review (Fishing with Style)

Man wearing Smith Barra sunglasses overlooking Grand Prismatic hot spring in Yellowstone

When I first saw the Smith Barra sunglasses I thought they looked pretty cool. When I put them on, my wife agreed. 

The Smith Barra sunglasses sacrifice an ounce of function for a pound of fashion. Even still, they are entirely functional polarized fishing sunglasses thanks to the exceptional color contrast and glare resistance of the ChromaPop lenses.


  • Stylish looks with great color options
  • Versatile both on and off the water
  • Cheaper than other Smith fishing sunglasses


  • Too much side glare
  • Non-spring hinges are a bit fragile

I’m more of a function over fashion guy, so they weren’t my first pick, but read on because they might be yours!

Compare prices at: Optics Planet

Hands-on Review of Smith Barra Polarized Sunglasses

I’ve had the Smith Barras for a few months now and have worn them for everything from my son’s soccer games to fishing on the water. After comparing them to half a dozen alternatives, I’ve got an opinion.

Hand holding sunglasses out in front of a hot spring
Turns out the camera doesn’t do justice to the effect the lenses have on color.

Below you’ll find my assessment based on the main criteria we use to compare fishing sunglasses. These sunglasses were given a score for each category which were then averaged for a composite score. 1 is the poorest and 5 is the best.


Outdoor Empire Score: 5

Front view of smith barra sunglasses on man's face
They’re comfortable enough.

Smith Barra sunglasses are very comfy. They aren’t too heavy (at least with the polycarbonate lenses) so you can wear them all day and not be annoyed. 

They fit just right on my medium-sized face and they feel good too with their flexible grippy ear pieces that hug your temples.

Even when I was fishing or riding my bike over a bumpy bridge I noticed they stayed put well on my nose and didn’t dig in.


Outdoor Empire Score: 4

Smith barra sunglasses side view
The design definitely tries to create a stylish hybrid pair of sunglasses for fishing and everyday use.

Smith was definitely trying to make a pair of fishing sunglasses that look cool when they designed the Barra. And I think they did quite well. Of all the Smith fishing and water sunglasses I tested (8 pairs), these look the coolest on a man.

They have a modest 6-base wrap according to Smith Optics. This means they curve around your face slightly but not a ton. The disadvantage of a frame that sits flatter on your face is the risk of side glare, especially when you’re on the water. 

To combat that, Smith molded in some blinders. These are a twinge goofy looking, though not quite as dorky as others, like on the Smith Longfin. At a glance, you don’t really note them.

There are no spring hinges on the ear pieces, but they do auto lock in to place. This means they don’t adapt to your face gently, rather, they maintain a fixed position. The risk here is breakage. 

My brother-in-law has a pair of Barras as well and I saw them laying on his kitchen counter with both earpieces busted off this past weekend. So be gentle if you get some.


Outdoor Empire Score: 3

Smith barra sunglasses top view
The Barra’s shape and “blinders” do a marginal job at reducing glare from the sides and above.

When it comes to protection from sunlight, the Barra is not the best compared to other Smith fishing sunglasses. 

The 6 base wrap, or lack of significant wrap around your face, lets in a lot of glare from the sides. Despite the effort put into the blinders, I still noticed a fair amount of indirect sunlight sneaking in from the sides and reflecting off the face side of the lenses and back into my eyes. This was especially noticeable when driving.

The lenses on the Barras are large and do a good job at protecting your eyes from direct, head-on sunlight, but I personally prefer more wrap to keep the glare out.


Outdoor Empire Score: 4

Man wearing smith barra sunglasses in car with hat on
I didn’t like how some hats would hit the top of the frames since they are so wide and stick out a bit.

Overall, the Smith Barra sunglasses function well, but as suggested above, they sacrifice a bit of sun blocking performance for style points.

One thing that bugged me a bit was that with a couple hats I wore (baseball cap style), the curved bill of the hat would hit the top of the frames. This created an annoying tug of war between the two and either my hat was up too high on my head, or my glasses were pressing down too much into my nose. This was a dealbreaker for me at first (I wear hats a lot), but I soon realized it wasn’t every hat, so not a big deal.

Smith’s lenses won’t disappoint. The polarized ChromaPop lenses that come on all Barras do enhance color contrast and make for a great image both on the water and off. I really liked the green mirror finish on mine and I’m glad I had polycarbonate instead of glass. I think glass lenses would feel too heavy on these.


Outdoor Empire Score: 4

Smith barra sunglasses on bench with case
These shades only come with a soft case. They could do more.

Like the others, but lacks a hard case or leash for a few bucks less.

The Barra is one of the less expensive fishing sunglasses options from Smith, but that doesn’t make them cheap. And unlike some other Smiths, the Barras only come with a microfiber pouch and don’t include a soft case or a leash.

Indeed, they are made of quality materials and just feel nicer than a pair of gas station shades. But you can also find good sunglasses for less.

That said, if they fit your budget, they’re a nice pair of sunglasses.

Bottom Line

Outdoor Empire Total Score: 4.0

Compare prices at: Optics Planet

Smith Barra sunglasses are great looking shades that can serve multiple purposes. They’re made for fishing and water sports, but they look good off the water too.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a little coverage for style, you’ll be pleased with the Smith Barras. But if you wear a lot of curved bill caps and prefer sunglasses that wrap around your face, consider another pair of Smiths from our list of the best Smith sunglasses for fishing.

And if you want to take a look at some non-Smith options, our Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses comparison article should have something for you.