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Mountain biking gear review: SMITH sunglasses dominate the mountain with Shift MAG

Using the Smith Shift MAGs while mountain biking
At the beginning of the summer, a box labeled “Smith”
 greeted me at my doorstep. With eager anticipation, I began making my way through the mountain biking gear, testing the variety of SMITH sunglasses and helmets they were kind enough to send over.

One item in this box of mountain biking goodies was the SMITH Shift MAG sunglasses. I take eye protection with me on every ride, so I was eager to give these sunglasses a try. And with both dark and clear lenses, I would be ready for all conditions.

Showing how easy it is to change the lenses on the Smith Shift MAG sunglasses
Travis Reill / The Manual


Like most SMITH sunglasses, the Shift MAGs came with Smith’s ChromaPop lens technology. ChromaPop enhances the clarity and definition of your field of vision while blocking out harmful sunlight.

Big or little nose, the Shift MAGs have you covered with an adjustable, 2-position nose pad. The TR90 nylon frames came with a non-slip grip on the sunglasses’ arms, keeping the Shift MAGs in place regardless of how sweaty you get.

And switching between the dark and clear lens is made easier on the Shift MAGs than on other SMITH sunglasses. Holding the small integrated tab where the sunglasses’ arms meet the frames and folding the arms disengages the mechanism holding the lens in place. From there the lens pops free and can easily be swapped.

With seven different lens and frame color options, you can get the Shift MAGs that fit your style and needs. Considering the different options you choose, expect to pay $269-$289 for your pair.

A quick picture of the Smith Shift MAG sunglasses while waiting trailside
Travis Reill / The Manual

What I liked: the Smith Shift MAG sunglasses

Similar to the other SMITH sunglasses I’ve worn, the SMITH Shift MAGs fit great. They stayed on my face well and were relatively comfortable. The adjustable nose pads make the fit seem just right. 

Adjusting the nose pads not only allowed me to customize the fit but also pulled the frames away from my forehead. Having a bit of a gap between my forehead and the frames helps keep sweat from running onto the lenses.

ChromaPop is really impressive with SMITH sunglasses. The technology actually works the way Smith claims, often making “price-hiking gimmick” skeptics eat their words.

Switching between the dark and clear lens was not only easy but doable with significantly fewer smudges and fingerprints than other SMITH sunglasses. Changing lenses mostly requires touching the frames. It’s these little things that make you think that companies making mountain biking gear are listening to their customers.

Climbing up a mountain biking trail using the Smith Shift MAG sunglasses
Travis Reill / The Manual

What I didn’t like

The biggest knock that I have against the SMITH Shift MAG sunglasses is that I didn’t get the SMITH Shift XL MAG. My face is a bit rounder and I would have liked the bigger size for a better fit. 

Going with the XLs also would have added some more eye coverage. The Shift MAGs allowed a bit more wind and dust into my eyes than other, bigger SMITH sunglasses I’ve tried. A bit more coverage would have taken care of that.

My only other grip was my lens choice. These Shift MAGs came with the ChromaPop Black lens, perfect for very high sun exposure. Being in a fairly wooded area, I much prefer a lens that adapts a bit better for going in and out of the shadows. I found the SMITH ChromaPop Red Mirror lens did this wonderfully.

Editors' Recommendations

Travis Reill
Hi! I'm Travis, a teacher turned stay-at-home dad turned freelance writer. Mountain biking is my passion. Fortunately, I've…
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