The Smith Shift Split MAG sunglasses are a flashy set of sunnies with a unique lens-swapping system that’s very easy to use.
Smith is one of the bigger names in action sports eyewear and the brand makes some highly desirable kit.
The glasses I tested came with a ChromaPop Black Gold lens and a second clear lens, both of which feature a top-half frame, rather than one that encircles the whole lens.
However, my experience of the Shift Split MAG didn’t wow me considering the high price.
Smith Shift Split MAG features
The broad and moderately deep lenses have a frame that sits along their top, while a clip-in nose section holds a two-position rubberised nosepiece.
The straight arms have a rubberised sheath over their rear portion to grip your head. This section is also more flexible, to aid security.
Rather than popping the lens out of the frame, the arms detach from the main frame. As such, spare lenses come with the top portion of the frame attached.
The magnetic clip mechanism is easy to fit and remove once you’ve got the knack.
The ChromaPop lens is designed to improve contrast, so that trail (or road) features stand out more, while still reducing the levels of light reaching your eyes.
A clear lens is included for the price, as well as a hard case and a soft bag that doubles as a method of cleaning the lenses.
Smith Shift Split MAG performance
Swapping the arms between the lenses is straightforward. A small lever can be depressed when you slightly close the arms of the glass, and the arms then pull off. They push on a little easier.
Popping the nosepiece on and off is easy too.
This all helps reduce the number of fingerprints that find their way onto the lens.
The arms snap open and closed, so I found them easy to get on and off while I was pedalling, and they stayed where I wanted them to be.
The arms’ removal and fitting system adds to the feeling that these are well-made and nicely thought-out glasses, somewhat justifying their high price.
Overall build quality feels great.
Optically, I found the glasses to be good. There’s no visual distortion, and the lack of a frame at the bottom of the lens means there’s nothing in the way.
With a high brow, the frame is also largely not visible even when you’re on the drops.
The ChromaPop lens is good, helping bring out trail obstacles, but this Black Gold version is less ‘poppy’ than Oakley’s Prizm Trail or Prizm Road lens, in my experience. It feels as though it ‘brightens’ the trail less.
I also found that, off-road, these glasses aren’t as secure as some of the best cycling sunglasses, working their way down my nose quicker than others, especially when sweaty.
They’re also more prone to rattling on your helmet than some others.
That said, they’re light on the head, and comfortable too.
Smith Shift Split MAG bottom line
The Split Shift MAG glasses offer ample protection for your eyes, with decent optical clarity.
The lens swap is easy and the build quality great. However, value for money could be improved.