Gear Closet: Switch Avalanche Sunglasses

One of my favorite pieces of gear that I saw at Outdoor Retailer a few weeks back was an innovative set of eyewear from a company called Switch. They’ve come up with the ingenious idea of developing a pair of sunglasses with interchangeable lenses that can provide excellent performance in a variety of light conditions, something that adventure racers and other endurance athletes are sure to appreciate.

The designers at Switch have developed what they call the “magnetic interchange” lens system. In doing so they’ve incorporated strong, high-energy magnets into both the frames and lenses themselves, allowing those lenses to quickly be changed out with a different set. This allows a single pair of glasses to be used across an entire day, starting with the pink glow of morning light, continuing through the harsh brightness of the day and finishing up with the flaming skies of dusk. Swapping out the lenses is a breeze, snapping into place with a satisfying click and staying firmly locked into the frames no matter what activity is on the agenda.

I tested the Switch Avalanche frames and found them to be durable, good looking and well suited for running and cycling in particular. They are designed to stay firmly in place yet still provide plenty of ventilation when working up a sweat. I found them to be lightweight and comfortable, while providing plenty of coverage over the eyes.

Like all of Switch’s offerings, the Avalanche frames come equipped with two sets of lenses – one pair of standard polarized and one pair tinted Amber that are designed for low-light conditions. The standard kit can be expanded with other lenses from the Switch line-up as well and there are plenty of alternatives available on the company’s website.

The concept behind these sunglasses is so simple and elegant I couldn’t help but wonder why someone hadn’t thought of it before. Those who expect good performance out of their eyewear will love the versatility and flexibility that Switch lenses and frames provide. Triathletes, adventure racers and ultra-runners will particularly appreciate the fact that they can compete while carrying just a single pair of glasses for all light conditions.

Prices for frames and lenses vary depending on style. The Avalanche frames I test run $169 with two pairs of lenses. Additional lenses start at $40.

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