The Smith Attack Max is a quality frameless performance sunglass model with excellent coverage, eye protection, and optical clarity. Testers liked their performance so much, in fact, that we've awarded the Attack Max our Editors' Choice Award. This versatile competitor has a large, frameless lens with ample coverage and excellent protection from light and wind for traveling at high rates of speed. They come with two spherical Chromapop lenses for bright and low light conditions. Swapping between lenses is quick and easy with the removable nosepiece and magnetic arm connection. Optical clarity is excellent, and the Chromapop lenses help enhance definition and contrast in a huge range of lighting conditions. They aren't cheap by any means, but Smith's inclusion of two lenses with each pair gets you two sets of glasses. We think it dramatically increases their value over models that only come with one lens.
Smith Attack Max Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Excellent optics, good wind protection, 2 lenses included, easy lens changes, quality storage case
Cons: Expensive, you have to take off arms to put them in their case
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Smith Optics has been producing performance eyewear for decades and the Attack Max is one of several new models in their lineup. Following in the footsteps of their popular Pivlock models, with frameless lenses and easy lens changes, the Attack Max features an updated lens shape and magnetic arm attachment system.
We tested them for several months during the late summer and fall throughout the greater Lake Tahoe region. We took them on countless road and mountain bike rides, trail runs and hikes in a range of mountain weather conditions. When all was said and done, the Attack Max proved to be our tester's favorite model and the winner of our Editors' Choice Award for best overall performance sunglasses.
Smith has been in the sunglass business for a long time, and their experience is apparent in their high-quality lenses. The Attack Max comes standard with two of their signature Chromapop lenses that provide 100% protection from harmful UV rays. Our test model came with a Chromapop Red Mirror lens with a 15% VLT for bright light conditions as well as a Chromapop Contrast Rose lens with a 48% VLT for low light conditions. Both lenses are made with Smith's carbonic construction that meets the ANSI Z80.3 standards for impact resistance and is treated with a hyrdoleophobic coating to repel oil and water.
They provide excellent distortion-free optics with enhanced contrast thanks to their Chromapop technology. The mirrored lens coatings on both the Red Mirror and the Contrast Rose lenses appears to be highly durable and scratch resistant, both look brand new despite heavy use during testing. The fixtures attached to the upper corners of the lens where the magnetic arms attach also remain well secured to the lens.
Overall, we feel the lens quality of the Attack Max is top of the heap, rivaled only by the Oakley Prizm lens of the Flight Jacket. Both sunglasses have outstanding crystal clear optics and lens technologies like Chromapop and Prizm that help to enhance contrast and do so quite well. The fact that Smith includes two lenses with the Attack Max raises the bar somewhat over the Oakley, and ensures that you have the proper lenses for the conditions.
We were also quite impressed with the lenses of the POC Do Half Blade and the 100% Speedcraft, though they couldn't quite match the Oakley or Smith in this metric. The Julbo Aero also has a quality lens, but lost ground due to its darker tint and lack of versatility.
The Attack Max is a very comfortable pair of performance sunglasses. They're lightweight with a medium fit that works well with a range of head sizes and facial structures. The arms and nose pad are made with hydrophilic Megol rubber that holds them securely in place even when wet. The arms have rubber for most of their length and a nice curved shape that hugs the head above your ears. The nose piece is adjustable with two positions to widen or narrow the fit to accommodate varying nose shapes.
The Attack Max isn't quite as feather-light as the Julbo Aero, which you barely even notice when they are on your face. Still, they offer a very similar level of comfort due to their excellent fit.
The Max beats out the Oakley Flight Jacket here just slightly. The Flight Jacket has a large adjustable nose pad, which creates more face contact towards the center of the brow. The POC Do Half Blade's shape is also more prone to making face contact at the brow due to their super close fit and wrap-around shape. The 100% Speedcraft has a somewhat tighter squeeze on the head, bulkier feel, and more abrasive nose pad rubber.
The Attack Max provides an impressive level of eye protection. They don't have the biggest lens of the models in our test, but at 135mm wide and 53mm tall with a curved wrap-around design and close fit to the face, they offer as much or more protection than any other competitor. The spherical polycarbonate lenses provide 100% protection from harmful UV rays, and they meet the ANSI Z80.3 standards for impact resistance.
Not only do these glasses provide excellent protection from the sun and impact, but they provide some of the best protection from the wind of the models we tested. This was notable on descents at eye-watering speeds when the tester's eyes didn't actually water. One tester noticed this while descending the 3rd Divide trail in Downieville, CA where speeds often reach the 40mph mark. He got to the bottom without tearing up for the first time ever.
In terms of size, the lens of the Attack Max is almost identical to that of the Oakley Flight Jacket minus the lower frame coverage of that model. Both of these glasses are somewhat smaller in size than the 100% Speedcraft, yet they still manage to protect the eyes just as well, and they both seem to block the wind slightly better.
The lens of the POC Do Half Blade is just slightly smaller than the Attack Max but they still provide plenty of eye protection, though just slightly less protection from the wind. The Julbo Aero has the smallest lens of all the models tested less of a wrap-around shape and design. This design promotes airflow and results in the least eye and wind protection of all the performance models in this review.
The Attack Max is a generally frameless set of sunglasses, meaning the lens has virtually no frame around its periphery. The frame elements of the Attack Max are limited to a removable, adjustable nose piece, two magnetic arms, and two small fixtures on the upper corners of the lens where the arms attach.
This frame design is unique for the models in this review and is minimal when compared with the other performance models we tested. Despite the minimalist nature of the frame, Smith has incorporated several unique features into its design in both the nose piece and the magnetic arm attachment.
The nose piece is quickly and easily removable for swapping between the two lenses that come with the Attack Max. It fits onto the lens with a recessed groove that snaps into place in two small notched cutouts in the lens. The nosepiece extends towards the face away from the lens, and there is a Megol rubber nose pad, which has two adjustable positions to suit the user's nose shape or preferences. By simply pressing the wings of the nose pad out or in, the nose pad can be narrowed or widened. This is a nice feature, which helps enhance their fit and comfort.
The arms of the Attack Max have a magnetic attachment system that snaps into place on the small plastic fixtures at the upper corners of the lenses. The arms hinge by the lens end. Beyond the hinge is a two-sided magnetic clip that slides into and closes around the fixture on the lens. You simply line up the arm on the correct side of the lens and push the two together, and they click into place.
To remove the arms, you fold them at the hinge, press the outer part of the magnetic closure and slide the inner piece out of the slotted groove. The arms themselves are slender with Megol rubber coating about half of their length. The rubber on both the nose piece and the arms is grippy and keeps the glasses securely in place on your face.
Unlike the frames of the other performance sunglasses in this review, Smith made it incredibly easy and user-friendly to switch between lenses. Beyond that, it is challenging to compare the Attack Max frames to those of the competition since they don't really have them. The elements of the frame that are there appear to be well made and have held up well to an extended period of testing.
Style and Versatility
The Attack Max has a pretty distinctive frameless look that is right at home when worn with a helmet on a mountain or road bike. Their styling is sporty and performance oriented with a large reflective spherical lens and a close wraparound fit.
The Chromapop Red Mirror lens has a bright reflective coating while the Chromapop Contrast Rose lens has a light mirrored finish and is somewhat see through. The style of these glasses is best suited to being out on the road or trail whether you're cycling, running, cross-country skiing, or doing just about anything active. There's no reason you can't wear them around town or just casually. But our testers are inclined to put them away once they get off the bike and switch to a pair of lifestyle glasses.
The styling of the Attack Max is most similar to that of the Oakley Flight Jacket in terms of shape and flashiness. The 100% Speedcraft has an even bigger, bolder, and flashier style, while the Julbo Aero has a more unique Euro look and smaller size. The POC Do Half Blade we tested has its own curvacious look but with a far less bold color scheme.
The included storage case for the Attack Max is a quality zippered affair that is excellent for storage but a little bulky to toss in a pack to take with you on adventures. The case itself is half moon shape with a zipper around most of it that allows you to open it fully. Inside the case is a semi-rigid foam with cut-outs to accommodate two lenses and the ear stems. There is a slot for a lens with the nose piece attached, a slot for the other lens, plus two small cut-outs to hold the ear stems. Our only gripe with the case design is that you have to take the arms off the glasses for them to fit inside. Smith also includes a microfiber storage/lens cleaning bag with each pair.
The case is a similar size, but a different shape, to that of the 100% Speedcraft glasses, which also holds the glasses plus extra lenses. It is significantly larger than the zippered hard case that comes with the Oakley Flight Jacket, but it is a little more sophisticated with the foam liner that securely holds the contents in place. The Flight Jacket case is more packable though. Testers found it to be more reliable than the plastic hard-shell that comes with the POC Do Half Blade, which can pop open and separate if not handled carefully.
The Attack Max is a highly versatile pair of performance sunglasses that are suitable for just about any outdoor activity. They are an excellent choice for mountain and road bikers, and they are equally well suited to running, cross-country or backcountry skiing, hiking, you name it. Since they come with two lenses for different light conditions, you can also be sure you have the right lens for the current conditions.
At a retail price of $250, the Attack Max is one of the most expensive models in our selection of performance sunglasses. Because they have great optics, good coverage and eye protection, and come with two quality spherical Chromapop lenses for that price, we feel they are a better value than many models in this test. It's basically like you get two pairs of glasses for the price, one for bright light conditions and another for lower or more variable lighting.
If you seek the best value, it's hard to look past the 100% Speedcraft, which also comes with two lenses and a quality hard case, but retails for 25% less. We feel the overall optical quality and the Chromapop Contrast Rose spare lens included with the Attack Max, however, is superior to that offered by the Speedcraft.
Smith's Attack Max is a high-quality set of performance sunglasses that literally checked all of our boxes, earning them our Editors' Choice Award. They boast excellent eye protection, great coverage, quality Chromapop optics, a comfortable fit, and a quality hard case. They are expensive, but we still feel they represent a good value. We believe the Attack Max are the best in our test and one of the finest performance sunglass models on the market today.
Other Versions and Accessories
Smith makes a huge range of sunglasses and replacement lenses for all types of activities. The Attack Max is one of several glasses in their range designed for high-velocity sports and activities. Smith also makes a model called the Attack, which is roughly the same as the Attack Max but has slightly less lens coverage across the top of the lens by the brow.
Both the Attack and the Attack Max are available in seven frame color/lens options. Smith also makes ten different replacement lenses for the Attack Max, all of which come with a protective hard case. There are eight different Chromapop options in a variety of tints and VLT percentages which cost $80 each. They make one photochromic clear to grey lens that changes from 20%-85% VLT and retails for $100 and a clear lens that costs $40.
— Jeremy Benson