It can be difficult to find the ideal pair of running sunglasses to add to your jogging ensemble, Sizing differences between face shapes, uncertainty on which lens tint to choose, and the fact that sunglasses can be easily misplaced — all these factors and more don't necessarily lend themselves to spending as much on shades as you would a quality pair of running shorts or a premium jacket.
Thankfully, there are a number of budget-friendly sunnies on the market bringing visual clarity, performance and style to a number of interested athletes. One such brand delivering these cost-effective goods is Tifosi, which recently added some stylish silhouettes to the brand's running stable. The Seek 2.0 and Seek FC 2.0 feature upgrades to the popular half-frame shades, while the Vogel SLs boast a brand-new full-shield design. All three silhouettes utilize lightweight, durable Grilamid TR-90 plastic in the frame, as well as hydrophilic rubber at the ear and nose pieces for no-slip grip when out and about.
To see if these all-new sunglasses punch above their price point, I wore all three for a handful of weeks across my routine outdoor running sessions. I tested how clear each lens was when pacing through varying light conditions, and (thanks to some unplanned snowfall) noted how protective the coverage was during inclement weather. I also twisted and handled each frame profile to get a solid feel for durability — because let's face it, when you know your sunglasses are on the cheaper side, you're more likely to beat them up a little.
Here's what I found.
What's Good About Tifosi's New Running Sunglasses?
They offer exquisite coverage and visibility for a fraction of the cost of other premium running shades.
The new frames from Tifosi range in price from $35–$40 for non-polarized models and $60 for polarized lenses. That's significantly less than other premium sunnies on the market, even with the added polarization. Still, I found it very difficult to find a difference when it came to ride quality and visibility.
The Seek 2.0s and Seek FC 2.0s provided a lightweight, snug fit; they practically disappeared across my face, thanks to their respective 20-gram and 23-gram weight totals. For days where I wanted more coverage, I turned to the Vogel SLs — despite the larger lens, these shades only tipped the scales at 26 grams. All lenses, no matter which profile, gave my field of view some impressive clarity and relief.
I also took all three sets of sunglasses on a handful of trail runs to see how secure they felt across varying terrain. To my surprise (and relief), the no-slip nose and ear pieces definitely lived up to their name. I never had to slow or stop my jaunts to rearrange these sunglasses, and the hydrophilic rubber did deliver in terms of tackiness once I began to sweat a little. Seriously — for all the good baked into these sunnies, I'd expect a far higher price point.
Lenses are scratch-proof, and do well against errant smudges.
Another nice perk when it comes to the polycarbonate lenses showcased in the Seek 2.0, Seek FC 2.0 and Vogel SL silhouettes is that they're fairly scratch-resistant — at least, thus far. After accidentally and intentionally dropping all three shades a handful of times, I still have yet to notice any defects.
Additionally, handling these lenses is a mere afterthought, thanks to the impressive smudge resistance. While it's always best to wipe your shades clean with a microfiber cloth than with your finger, naturally, I didn't always have a wipe at the ready when out on my routes. Thankfully, I never noticed any smudge buildup when handling my sunglasses this way, keeping my sight as clear as new from start to finish.
What's Not Ideal About Tifosi's New Running Sunglasses?
They offer limited polarization options.
There are 15 frame and lens combinations available for these sunglasses, giving you plenty of options to match them to light conditions and your personal style. Despite this abundance of colorways, though, there are only three polarized versions available — two Seek FC 2.0 silhouettes and one 2.0. This was a bit of a letdown, as I would have loved to pair the full-shield Vogel SLs to a polarized lens for maximum coverage and clarity.
Now, polarization is by no means a must-have when it comes to running sunglasses. While the technology can be a great upgrade to help block reflected light off flat surfaces — ideal for on-road conditions through packed streets or city blocks — polarized lenses may alter your depth perception at times when traveling through changing light environments. This means that dedicated trail runners may want to forgo the feature, especially if traversing from dimly-lit forestscapes into open, sunny fields or breaks. Still, having the option would have been a nice touch to this impressive new lineup.
The Grilamid plastic frame feels delicate, creating worries about durability.
I'll preface this callout by saying I handled these Tifosi shades as roughly as I could without genuinely trying to break them during testing, and I give credit to the durability showcased by the Grilamid TR-90 plastic frames in these scenarios. Still, though, when you pick up these shades, you can tell they're not as costly as premium sunnies, leading you to use a bit of a delicate touch when placing them across your eyes or re-adjusting them into place. It could simply be the lightweight frame that gives off this dainty aesthetic — but still, I'd be hesitant to want to push past the plastic's limits when handling didn't call for an aggressive approach.
Thankfully, though, if you do get too handsy with the frames, the price point makes replacement a swallowable endeavor. Think about it: even for $60 polarized shades, you could replenish your eyewear three times over before coming close to the cost of more expensive brands that offer similar coverage and visual performance.
Tifosi Running Sunglasses: The Verdict
While the lack of polarized options is a little disappointing, I definitely enjoyed the performance and style notes across these three new silhouettes from Tifosi. The lightweight designs sat comfortably in place no matter how intense my training ramped up to, and the price is a can't-miss benefit as well.
The Tifosi Seek 2.0, Seek FC 2.0 and Vogel SL sunglasses are available online starting today. Whether preparing for warmer weather ahead or just adding to your growing interest in running, these shades can have you seeing progress in a whole new light.
Editor's Note: If you're wanting even more great profiles from this quality brand, Tifosi just launched its new Rail XC collection offering a more accommodating fit and innovative new lens tech.