First Look: Solos Smart Glasses

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Solos Smart Glasses
Price: $499
Weight: 2.29 ounces

Last week, runners, we went to the future. Solos released their Smart Glasses. A sort of Google glass for athletes, the Solos has a tiny fiber optic display projected from an arm that extends into your peripheral vision so the wearer can see their stats in real time such as pace, elevation, cadence, distance and heart rate.

Trail Runner had the good fortune of testing them out on a run and let me tell you, the future is bright. 

The Smart Glasses look like a suped up version of typical performance sport sunglasses but with slightly beefier arms, a supportive and grippy bridge and a thick lever attached to the front right with the adjustable clear arm that delivers the display. Despite all this, they weigh only just over two ounces.

The lever moves in three dimensions (straight up and down, curved up and down to match the curve of the lens and reduce glare and left to right) so the athlete can get the display right in the sweet spot of their vision.

For me, it took significant finagling—likely the result of a very narrow head—and after some time, I realized I needed to adjust where the glass was sitting on my nose in addition to adjusting the display arm.

Solos builds on years of experience with head-up display technology for jet pilots so this part of the Smart Glass technology has been nailed. The display is clear, vivid and intuitive. Using the Solos app, I chose my display to rotate between pace, elevation, distance and time elapsed. 

Once on and with my personal display in sight, I was ready to rock. During the uphill, the fit was firm and they didn’t jostle. The lenses are crystal clear and, because neither the arm nor the micro display are obstructive to your view, I soon forgot I looked like RoboCop in a red tank top running through the forest.

The technology of the Solos Smart Glasses is all housed in the app (part of what keeps the glasses relatively light). The downside is that you must have your phone with you on the run, something developers are working on. The app allows you to design your workout to your liking, whether running or cycling, including the metrics you want to track, linking to accessory monitors like a heart rate monitor and 3rd party apps like Strava. 

With blue tooth connectivity, voice recognition software is available as well, so you can tell your glasses to “Start run,” “Pause run,” “Call Hillary Allen,” etc. There is a tiny microphone just above the bridge of the nose and rear facing speakers in the arms. This all means, additionally, you can take and receive phone calls (whether you’re into that or not).

I wound up turning off my voice recognition part way through the run because it seemed to be picking up on conversation I was having with other runners. 

Listening to music with the glasses was a treat, as I typically don’t take headphones while running. The sound was clear but, because it wasn’t right in my ear, it was more like background music.

On the descent, the display was hard to keep track of because the glasses bounced more—I eventually resigned myself to just enjoying the clarity of the lenses and rock hopping and forgot about checking the display.

Developers are still working on many aspects of the technology including fit, voice recognition and app features. But for a first generation, the Solos Smart Glasses are impressive; stay tuned for more developments on this technology. 

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor of Trail Runner Magazine and she wants to go back to the future.

Buy Now

Want to Know What It Takes to Finish at Western States? Just Ask Hellah Sidibe.

Find out what happened when this six-year run streaker and HOKA Global Athlete Ambassador took on an iconic ultramarathon in California's Sierra Nevada