by staff contributor Stride Longley
I’ve worn sunglasses most of my life. In my younger and more vulnerable years, it was in an effort to look cool, you know, Tom Cruise in RISKY BUSINESS, Tom Cruise in TOP GUN, Tom Cruise in RAIN MAN… you get the point. Later in life it was a mix of form and function. Sure, I wanted to look cool, but I also wanted to be sure that I was protecting my eyes from all of those harmful UVA and UVB rays that you hear about.
When I started running and training more I knew that I needed to find a solution that would first and foremost function well for all of the hours that I spend out on the road and hopefully have a form that was appealing. I mean whodoesn’t want to look badass in their race photos?! Would a cheap $7 pair of glasses meet my needs? Perhaps. Would a $300 pair of glasses cut it? I’m sure they would. I was hoping to find a pair somewhere in the middle. That’s when I learned about Tifosi.
Tifosi Optics is a leader in technical sports eyewear. Styles range from cost effective single lens frames starting around $40 up to Polarized and Polarized Fototec lens options that can cost around $100. They also make a wide range of interchangeable lens options, which is what first caught my attention.
As you probably know, living in New England, you need to be prepared for all conditions. From the hot August sun glaring off of the roads in Falmouth, to the February sleet blowing sideways in Newton, to the black flies swarming at dusk on the back roads of Maine in May, Mother Nature can throw a lot at your eyes. Having one case with three options to meet all of those challenges sounded very intriguing; having that option cost between $60 and $70 sold me.
After trying on a few different models, the Slip seemed to fit me and my needs best. The glasses felt secure but not tight or pinching. I liked how they wrapped around my face a bit, providing protection for the corners of my eyes. Knowing that no two noses are exactly alike, a number Tifosi models come with adjustable nose pieces and ear pads. The lenses, which block 100% of UVA and UVB rays are constructed from a scratch resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate material and the frame is constructed from Grilamid TR-90, a nylon material known for extreme flexibility, light weight, and resistance to chemical and UV damage. Overall the glasses felt light but sturdy.
On the run the glasses don’t budge, even when I wear them on the top of my head. The hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces made for no-slip fit, even when sweating heavily. The lenses are slightly vented which allows greater air flow and reduces the risk of lens fogging. Rarely have I had a problem with fogging, and if they do it seems to dissipate immediately.
As mentioned earlier, these glasses come with a set of interchangeable lenses, a dark lens for full-sun conditions, a rose tinted lens for cloudy conditions, and a clear lens for low light. Why would I need a clear lens? Ask that question the next time a bug flies into your eye during an evening run. The lenses and frame come in a hardshell case so I don’t have to worry about them being crushed at the bottom of my gear bag. My one improvement or wish would be that the case had a foam bed that I could set the frame and lenses in. Otherwise, if you are looking for a high end, technical pair of sunglasses that are of solid quality and won’t break the bank, I suggest you slide on down to your nearest Marathon Sports location and pick up a pair of Tifosis. Not only will you have a solid, versatile pair of shades, you’ll also look badass in your next race photos.