Scott Sport Shield Review
Cons: No case, limited versatility
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Scott Sport Shield
$89.99 at Amazon
|$79.95 at REI|
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|Check Price at REI|
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$23.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, good coverage, good optics||Inexpensive, three lenses included, good optics, good dust and debris protection||Inexpensive, great coverage, three lenses included||Very inexpensive, comes with 3 lenses, good coverage, available in multiple frame colors||Inexpensive, tons of adjustability, durable lens|
|Cons||No case, limited versatility||Difficult lens swaps, can fog easily when stopping||Insecure fit on smaller heads, below-average fog prevention||Minor lens distortion, do not increase contrast||Over-the-top style, frame durability is suspect|
|Bottom Line||An updated classic that's great for road cycling but work in a limited range of light conditions||An impressive value with high-coverage, high-performance, and three lenses included at a reasonable price||An affordable model with great coverage that works best for larger heads and road biking||You get a lot for your money with these very inexpensive shades||A gaudy but high-performing, super-adjustable pair of sunglasses at half the price of most models|
|Rating Categories||Scott Sport Shield||Tifosi Sledge||Tifosi Rail||X-Tiger Polarized||Pit Viper Polarized|
|Lens Quality (20%)|
|Fit and Comfort (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Field Performance (25%)|
|Specs||Scott Sport Shield||Tifosi Sledge||Tifosi Rail||X-Tiger Polarized||Pit Viper Polarized|
|Fit||Medium-Large||Large-Extra Large||Large-Extra Large||Large||Versatile|
|Number of Lenses Included||1||3||3||3||1|
|Lens Tested||Red Chrome||Smoke, Clear, AC Red||Clarion Blue, AC Red, Clear||Clear/Mirrored/Polarized||Mirrored/Polarized|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Bright light||Clear: Low light
Smoke: Bright light
AC Red: Medium to bright light
|Clear: Low light, Clarion Blue: Bright light, AC Red: Medium to bright light||Clear: Low light Mirrored: Bright light. Polarized: Bright light/water||Bright light|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||not specified||not specified||not specified||not specified||14%|
|VLT Protection Index||unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown|
|Ideal Activity||road biking, running, backcountry skiing, fishing, hiking||road/mountain biking, running, backcountry skiing, golf, fishing, hiking||road/mountain/gravel biking||road/mountain biking, running, fishing, backcountry skiing, golf, hiking||Mountain biking, running, road cycling, skiing|
|Polarized||No||No||No||1 of the three lenses||Yes|
|Lens Material||plastic||plastic- polycarbonate||polycarbonate||"highly flexible resin lens"||plastic- polycarbonate|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Neutral||Neutral|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Protective Coatings||None||None||None||not specified||None|
|Case Included||Microfiber cleaning/storage bag||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||cleaning/storage bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scott Sports is a huge name in the outdoor industry, and they make a wide range of high-end products. You can find everything from top-of-the-line road and mountain bikes to running shoes and downhill skis under the Scott banner. With roots in designing motocross goggles all the way back in 1970, they've had a long time to hone and perfect their optics, so we were very excited to get our hands on the Sport Shield. These glasses are a throwback to the original Sport Shield that Scott released in 1989, and the style and function still hold up today.
With all of their experience manufacturing high-end goggles and glasses, we expected a lot from Scott when we ordered our test Sport Shield and they did not disappoint. The massive red chrome lens provides sharp optics with no noticeable distortion on the edges of your vision. The cylindrical lens is mirrored to reduce glare in bright light, and it protects from 100% of harmful UV rays to keep your eyes healthy for the long haul.
We couldn't track down any information on the lens's visible light transmission, but we would compare the darkness of the lens roughly to the Chromapop Red Mirror lenses on the Smith Wildcat and Attack Max. It's not an ideal lens when you need to see fine detail in low light, but it works great in mid to bright light conditions. We tried a few mountain bike rides in the forest with these glasses on and ultimately decided that it wasn't a good use for them. We did some digging online to see if there are other lenses available with different tints but came up empty. For now at least, it seems that this is a one-lens model.
Fit and Comfort
Our large-headed testers found the Sport Shield downright cozy on long rides. The frame is flexible enough to allow for a fairly wide range of head sizes without applying too much pressure to the temples and above the ears, and the nosepiece adjusts easily so that almost any nose shape should be able to find a comfortable fit. Arms that curl down behind the back of the ears help to keep the frames from bouncing off of your head on rough gravel descents or bumpy roads without having to fit too tight against the side of the head. Even our large-headed lead tester never reported any pressure or pain at the sides of the head on long bike rides.
The massive lens would imply that these glasses are only suited to large-headed riders, but we actually found that they can work decently well with heads on the smaller end of the spectrum as well. The nosepiece adjustment really increases the range of sizes and shapes that these will fit. As long as riders with smaller heads are ok with their glasses covering a huge portion of their face these will get the job done.
It goes without saying that this massive lens provides great coverage and protection. With one of the biggest impact-resistant lenses of any model we tested and a fit that sits close to the face, your eyes are fully protected by these glasses. Flying down a fast descent behind the Sport Shield allows you to devote all of your attention to the road ahead of you without worrying about eye-watering winds or bugs.
Despite the great coverage, we did notice that you can always see the lower edge of the lens in your periphery while looking straight ahead. It isn't a problem as far as protection from impacts and wind is concerned, but can be slightly distracting to have a sliver at the bottom edge of your vision outside of the lens' tint. This is something we've noticed on most of the half-frame glasses we tested.
Scott is close to the vest with the details on their frame's construction, but their Fusion frame material feels very similar to the Grilamid plastic that composes many of the high-end models in our review. It's a flexible plastic with a soft outer finish that's comfortable against the skin for long periods of time. The frame is flexible enough to survive the rigors of life as a pair of sunglasses without snapping. The earpieces aren't adjustable, but the nose adjustment does a good job of adjusting the fit to different face shapes.
Scott touts the Sport Shield's dropped arms as a feature to allow compatibility with high-coverage helmets that drop down at the temple. In our test, we never had any major issues with glasses arms interfering with helmets, but we see how it could be possible. The dropped arm keeps the frame safely clear of the helmet.
Overall, the Sport Shield performed really well in our field test—especially when you consider that it's far less expensive than many that we tested. The fit is secure even when the going gets rough, and the lens does an excellent job of repelling sweat and water without needing to be cleaned too often. The airy fit of the half-frame allows plenty of airflow to keep these from fogging up. Occasionally, the lens would fog up when stopping after a hard effort, but it was fairly rare throughout the testing process. We never had problems with the lens fogging while moving.
The only real downside we discovered with this model was the lack of lens versatility. Our top-rated models either came standard with multiple lenses or had a lens that worked well in a wide range of light conditions. The Sport Shield's lens is nice but isn't the most versatile.
While the new version of the Sport Shield has been updated with modern, high-performance materials, the style remains almost identical to the original version that Scott produced in 1989. The throwback style has become incredibly popular in the last few years, with almost every notable sports eyewear manufacturer developing models that mimic the old-school style. While the huge chrome red reflective lens and simple frame might look gaudy at first glance, the style fits right in with the current trend.
Unlike most of the glasses we tested, the Sport Shield doesn't come with a rigid storage case. Our test pair came with a microfiber storage bag but nothing beyond that. Given the affordable price tag, we're not surprised to see that a case didn't make the cut, but we should note that the Tifosi Sledge, which comes at an even lower price than the Sport Shield, comes standard with three lenses and a rigid, zippered case.
While they aren't the most versatile model we tested, we still think the Sport Shield packs a lot of value for the right user. The darker lens and apparent lack of alternatives means that we wouldn't recommend these for users who want a do-it-all model. For road cyclists who spend a lot of time riding in the sun, however, the Sport Shield is one of the best values available. If you like the style these glasses are a no-brainer.
We had a lot of fun putting these glasses through their paces. From long days on the road bike to the occasional trail run we found a lot to like. We love the style and wish there was a bit more variety in lens options, but they're still a worthy option for the right user. If you're a fan of the throwback style and ride in primarily bright light conditions, these are a reasonably priced option to consider.
— Zach Wick
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