Sometimes you feel like a rose, and sometimes you don’t … lenses on your sunglasses that is. Yet who wants to schlepp along two or three pairs of glasses when you’re on the road? We certainly don’t. So along came glasses a while back with lenses you could pop in and out. OK, that’s a great step. Except with most of them it’s a bit of a battle to GET them in and out (thus, not something you really want to do mid-run, walk, hike, bike or mid-anything, particularly if you think you may need to change back). And even when you take on the challenge and you DO succeed, the smeary, oily fingerprints you leave all over the lenses from your struggle are a mess.
So along comes the Switch sunglasses brand (Switch Vision Sunglasses), with a magnetic interchange system, only available since early 2012. Yup, magnets. To sink to a cliché, it is utterly child’s play to “switch” out your lenses. And if you have more than one frame, you can switch them between frames too if they are compatible types. And for those of you who wear prescription glasses, you can actually get these magnetically interchangeably lenses designed with your prescription from the company’s in-house lab and opticians.
But wait, there’s more: With other sunglasses, the carrying system for the lenses not in use is always a question, be it too bulky, separate from the glasses (thus bound to be misplaced), or just not protective enough – if there a system at all! These Switch sunglasses come with this nifty little pod that also has magnets so the lenses just pop right in and the pod snaps shut. Utter protection and utter compactness too. I drop it in the soft drawstring carrying case or tuck it into the hard case so the whole package stays together compactly. (The larger Extreme lenses have a small neoprene pod since they don’t fit in a plastic pod but it’s just as nifty.)
We tried the sporty H-wall Wrap Oval Sunglasses (a.k.a Headwall – $129). We choose a “polarized true color gray” (no mirror so as to not look like a bug, but we found the reflectorized ones were much better at cutting glare outdoors) and the low light rose amber was great for shady spots. We also tested the larger-size Extreme lens and liked the increase in coverage it offered — highly recommendable for athletic endeavors.
One thing this company knows is fit, having background in the optical field. We loved the way they looked and snugged our head from the start. Our first choice of the sports-oriented H-Wall meant you weren’t going to be urban cool, but there is a range of other styles to choose from. For example, we also tried the new, more feminine, full-frame Arya style ($149, available as of spring 2014) that has all the ready-for-hard-knocks durability with a truly fashionable flair (the crystal purple frame rocked!). Take them from runs, hikes or other pursuits to chillin’ in a café.
Every pair comes with two lenses, a polarized one and a rose amber for shade, as well as a carrying pod, hard case, and microfiber cleaning drawstring pouch. You can purchase extra lenses for $40-$115, as well as frames without lenses ($89-$105) so you can fit them with your prescription lens. Other accessories include glass cases, lens pods, soft bags, etc. (approximately $12-$25).
All in all: The magnetic interchange system of the Switch sunglasses brand is a bit like a party trick I still love to show off on the trail. It gets ooo’s and ahh’s every time. Three cheers for no more battles or smeared-up lenses which is more than good enough for our HITT Seal of Approval.