The Smith Attack shades are well designed and a pleasure to wear, with a genius interchangeable lens system. They are very expensive even compared to other premium sports eyewear brands - yeah, okay, Oakley, but you get what you pay for which in this instance is a very good pair of shades with lens options for all weathers and light conditions.
Pros: Easy lens changing, solid build, options for most light conditions
Cons: Very expensive, mirrored lens not the best I've tried in terms of glare reduction
As you'd want and expect for £195, the Attacks come with multiple lenses (two in total, if we're being precise), a fancy hard case and a drawstring soft pouch that you can also use as a cleaning cloth. The lenses on my test pair were the Chromopop Sun Green Mirror with 15% Visible Light Transmission, and an additional set of Contrast Rose lenses for duller conditions (48% VLT). Chromopop is Smith's own lens tech that claims to enhance definition across a wide range of light conditions, and also help you to distinguish between colours that would be troublesome with more basic lenses; where the blue and green, and green and red wavelengths cross are two examples cited by Smith, the bottom line is though that out in the real world they do make things look a lot crisper, clearer and more well defined.
The lenses have a lower brow design and dip in the middle for increased airflow. The Smith Attack Max versions that Mat recently reviewed (£199.99) http://road.cc/content/review/241495-smith-attack-max-sunglasses rise in the middle instead, so if you're prone to a sweaty forehead and want extra ventilation then the regular Attacks on test here would perhaps be marginally more to your liking.
At just 30g and with a super soft rubber 'Megol' temple tip on the end of the arms you can hardly feel your wearing them. This rubber has plenty of flex to wrap around any head shape, and I found they paired fine with four different helmets I used with the Attacks during my testing period. The nosepiece is also very soft and flexible to suit all shapes and sizes, with a tiny bit of adjustability up and down so you can get a perfect fit.
The Sun Green Mirror lenses are recommended as the one for brighter light conditions from partial cloud cover to very bright sunshine (you can get Chromopop Platinum lenses that are supposed to cover a slightly wider range). While looking cool and stealthy they offer really good clarity and as promised, distinguishing between the various shades of green and spotting rogue branches to dodge on my cycle path route was easy. There's not really any kind of hue with these lenses, the colours look very natural while affording you the advantages of decreased glare and increased colour enhancement. My one criticism is that on very bright days, I didn't think they were quite as good at deflecting glare away as Oakley's Prizm Trail lenses on my benchmark Oakley EvZero shades. The Prizm lenses just offered that little bit more when riding right into the sun, although I find they are more prone to misting and fogging than the Chromopops. When the weather turned and it went duller I found the Green Mirror lenses perfectly useable in the sense that they didn't really fog up at all and did a great job of deflecting the rain out of my field of vision; the same goes for the replacement red lens, which then switched to when the sun was completely covered. I also used the rose lenses at dusk, and while it gives everything an orangey hue I wasn't straining when the night started to set in.
For me, Smith's MAG lens-changing tech is a revelation, and by far the best system I've come across. No risk of smudging your lenses or the worrying snapping that is necessary with most interchangeable shades; it's just a simple click to release the arms at either side before sliding them out. To put them back on just slide them into the slots and then magnets take care of securing them to the frame. The nosepiece clicks in and out without much pressure needing to be applied, and is a similarly rapid task. It's so easy I did it while I was riding when the weather turned, and I'm not particularly dextrous so can't really ask for more.
In terms of value... well at a 'shade' (sorry) under £200 they are right up there with some of the most expensive sunnies you can buy, but you're paying for the lens quality and longevity judging from my test experience, plus that super convenient quick-changing. The Oakely EvZeros I mentioned above can be picked up for under £100 now. You don't get a spare set of lenses and although as mentioned before I think they deal with glare better, for me they smudged and misted up more than Smith's Chromopop lenses. Other highly rated shades we've review recently include Julbo's Aerospeed with photochromatic lenses for £135 and Lazer's Magneto M3's, with the former again only coming with one set of lenses for all conditions and the Lazers having the quite restrictive magnetic retention system; so the Attacks trump both in terms of versatility to my mind. It also has to be said that if you shop around you can also pick these up for considerably less than their RRP - at the time of publishing this review the lowest price we found was £137.50 - we haven't made that our main buying link though because it wasn't clear whether that price included a spare lens.
It's also a good job that the lenses appear to be so hard-wearing and good quality, because having scoured the internet thoroughly I can only find replacement Attack lenses on Smith's US website at the time of writing. All colours are $89.99 and it appears they don't ship internationally, so we'll hope Smith can stock up on their UK site soon.
All things considered, I'd say Smith's Attacks are well up there with some of the best cycling sunglasses you can buy; although there are many very capable shades out there for half for price, so you'll have to decide whether the great clarity and easy lens changing is worth the extra.
Comfortable and versatile shades with a fantastically innovative interchangeable lens system.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: SMITH Attack Sunglasses
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for
Smith say: "The next generation in Smith performance eyewear has arrived. The Attack is faster in every detail. Experience the sound of speed with Smith MAG™ interchangeable technology; the lens change innovation that enables fast ChromaPop™ lens swapping for varying light conditions. Two ChromaPop™ lenses are included, and have been crafted with a lowered-brow design for increased ventilation. The Attack also features our two-position nose piece that is engineered to give you perfect fit and all day comfort. Megol temples ensure that your glasses are secure at your fastest velocity."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MAG technology for fast lens changing
ChromaPop lenses with lowered brow design for better ventilation
Hydroleophobic lens coating
Two-position nose piece
Hydrophilic megol temple & nose pads for a secure fit
Interchangeable Attack/Attack Max replacement lenses
Comes with a hard case and soft pouch
Great design, and so refreshingly easy to change the lenses. Solidly built and the lenses are scratch-resistance and don't fog easily. Comfy nose piece that's also easy to change.
The mirrored lenses aren't quite as good as Oakley's Prizm lenses at reducing glare in my opinion, but in everything apart from very bright sunlight I found them to be very good. They also stay largely fog-free in misty and/or wet conditions too.
Simple lens-changing system makes them less likely to break, lens coating is durable, hard case protects them in storage
Amongst the lightest shades out there.
Soft rubber nose bridge, arms sit well against the temples, and they're well positioned so comfortable when combined with a helmet.
They are expensive, even more than other 'expensive' shades, but you are getting a very classy pair of shades for the money
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable under a helmet, nice fit, secure at high speeds, and provide decent clarity.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How easy the lenses are to change, the versatility and the comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lenses don't offer the best glare reduction of the sunglasses I've reviewed
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The MAG lens-changing tech is a revelation, and I was generally very happy with the Smith Attacks. For me I still think Oakley's Prizm lenses are better at deflected very bright glare (and these are my benchmarks for testing), but for most UK conditions the Attacks are great plus they are less prone to fogging up. The price is very high even compared to other high-end shades - which is going to drop the overall score a bit
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing road.cc's live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.