Tifosi continues to be a brand to watch. With extraordinarily high value-per-dollar, their sunglasses are a magnet for deal-seekers like me. I want quality features, reliability, and versatility, but I don’t want to break the bank over it. Tifosi’s new Rail XC sunglasses are impressively feature-rich and eye-catching, and they come at Tifosi pricing. When I saw that they also have Fototec photochromic lenses, I had to try a pair.
Tifosi Rail XC Features:
- Frames are made of Grilamid® TR-90, a nylon characterized by a high alternative bending strength, low density and high resistance to chemical and UV damage
- Polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof, providing 100% UVA/UVB protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays
- Optically decentered to eliminate distortion
- Glare guard lens coating helps reduce eye strain
- Tifosi Glide allows the frames to slide on comfortably and provides an anti-bounce fit for all activities
- Adjustable hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces ensure your shades won’t slip
- Integrated hinges allow for a snug and comfortable fit
- MSRP: $80
Versatility and Value
The Rail XC is defined by its lens. It’s a slightly more rounded, sleek design than the angularity of Tifosi’s original Rail glasses, creating a more aerodynamic look. Beyond styling, the singular lens offers an unmarred field of vision. No frames block the periphery, and the lens stretches across the entire face without a blip of distortion. I especially loved the field of vision while mountain biking and trail running, where peripheral awareness can be the difference between a great day out and a turned ankle or face-full of mud.
Talking about the lens without bringing up Fototec would be a tragedy though. Fototec is Tifosi’s photochromic lens technology, and it really boils down to the lens adjusting its level of tint to the amount of light. That type of thing doesn’t matter too much if you’re spending all day in a sand volleyball pit on the beach, but if you’re ripping down trails on your mountain bike, passing moment-to-moment from cave-like woods to the blinding sunlight of clearcuts, it matters quite a bit. It also makes a big difference while trail running, being able to keep the glasses on in spite of changing light conditions from bright to dark to bright to dark. In my cross-sport testing of the Rail XC, I found that Fototec allowed me to comfortably keep the glasses on my face more, letting me concentrate on the real objective – the activity itself. I love that.
Another trait of the Rail XC that made them wearable across a broad band of activities is breathability. The lens sits away from the face at each of the edges, allowing airflow from all angles. The result of this design is that the glasses didn’t fog up once while I tested them. I ran fast, grinded up hills on my bike, and hiked hard through the snow, but they didn’t fog. Not when I was working hard, and not when I took breaks. The airflow does wonders.
Although the general fit of the Rail XC creates a gap for breathability between the lens and the face that’s easy to appreciate, these sunnies experience the same fit challenges that all sunglasses do. They’re designed to fit medium to small faces, and they do, but there’s more variability to people than that. I have a slightly more pronounced brow, for instance, and as a result my eyebrows sometimes make contact with the inside lens. As a generalization, I’d say the Rail XC is designed well to fit a face, but like any glasses, there will be exceptions. For me though, they’re a comfortable fit all-around, even if my eyebrows occasionally pet the lenses.
If there’s anything I don’t love about the Rail XC, it’s the slight gap in coverage below the eyes. There’s enough space there to let in a wee bit of light, which in turn can create a minor glare on the inside of the lens. It’s hard to stress how minor this is. While riding, running, and hiking, it never bothered me. Only while I was driving did I notice it with any consistency. Aside from the slight glare, I suppose I’m not particularly drawn to these glasses’ aesthetic. They made me feel like a blue-eyed Robocop, but style is subjective, and they certainly don’t look bad. Clearly I’m stretching and splitting hairs to critique this fantastic pair of sunglasses.
- Wide, unobstructed field of vision
- No lens distortion
- Fototec lenses adjust tint quickly
- Naturally breathable fit means they don’t fog up
- Comfortable and versatile
- An absolute steal for $80
- Very minor inner-lens glare from light entering from below
- Eyebrows may touch the inner lens now and again
The Bottom Line: Tifosi Rail XC
Tifosi continues doing what they do best with the Rail XC: delivering unreal value. With a comfortable fit, an enormous, unobstructed field of vision, and a quality photochromic lens, these versatile sunglasses could cost way more than they do. High quality for low prices? Yes, and I love them for it.
Buy Now: Visit TifosiOptics.com