Extremely durable, very versatile and extremely affordable, Tifosi’s Swick sunglasses are a great adventure companion for everyone (except small-faced, high-altitude mountaineers). They manage to be super stylish and completely unpretentious looking, while serving a real purpose from a purely functional point of view when you’re out on the trails.
Comfortable and stylish
Unfussy and affordable
Robust and flexible frame
Close and secure fitting to face
No case included
One size only, which won’t work for people with small faces
No side coverage
Cat 3 glasses aren’t dark enough for high-altitude trekking
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Tifosi Swick sunglasses: first impressions
Tifosi Swick sunglasses are instantly impressive, with a simple but classy design that belies their very reasonable price tag. Multiple lens and frame color options and combinations are available, so you can customize these sunglasses to suit your style and tastes.
• List price: $25 (US) / £30 (UK)
• Weight: 26g / 0.9oz
• Category: 3
• Frame colors: Onyx Blue Fade / Crystal Clear / Satin Black & Crimson / Crimson & Raven / Midnight Vavy / Vapor / Brown Fade / Onyx Fade / Blackout
• Lens colors: New Blue / Smoke Yellow / Smoke Red / Smoke Yellow / Smoke Bright Blue / Smoke / Brown / Clear / Smoke
• Lens options: Scratch-resistant polycarbonate
• UV protection: 100%
• VLT: Unspecified
• Extras: Microfiber cleaning pouch
• Suitability: Trail activities ranging from hiking to biking at sea level and in lower hills, plus general beach and bar wear
Comfortable to wear, the flexible and robust nylon Grilamid TR90 frame has a seemingly basic design, but the arms and nose pads keep these lightweight sunnies firmly in place no matter what you’re doing, which earns them a place in our guide to the best sunglasses available at the moment for hiking and climbing.
The nose pads are hydrophilic (so the grip they supply increases the more you sweat), and the glide coating on the arms is made to reduce bounce. The integrated hinge is also designed to avoid catching and pulling hair.
The polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof, and rated as category 3, so they’re ideal for protecting your eyes while you’re exploring terrain from sea level up to low alpine areas.
Tifosi’s Swick sunglasses also come with a soft, microfiber cleaning bag / pouch, but no hard case.
Tifosi Swick sunglasses: on the trails
As my wife never tires of telling me, I have the kind of face / head that looks stupid in most sunglasses (and hats, apparently), but she concedes that the Tifosi Swicks are so stylish that even I can’t make them look bad. This is such high praise that I should perhaps leave it there and give them five stars.
But we really should talk a little bit about the performance of these sunnies, which is almost as impressive as their looks. Since I’m actually allowed out in public in them, I have enjoyed extensively testing the Swicks while hiking, biking and running on trails around the currently sun-splattered Southwest of England.
I experienced no visual distortion through the optically decentered lenses, and despite their relaxed and casual lifestyle look, I’ve been comfortable wearing them while negotiating some pretty technical trails, both on a bike and whilst running.
The nose and temple grips keep them securely in place, no matter how lumpy the landscape I’ve been running and riding over became, and for the most part they’ve been pretty comfortable to wear for reasonably long periods of time – the hydrophilic nose grips seem to pinch slightly after while, but this can be relieved by lifting the glasses momentarily.
They offer no side protection from glare, which might be an issue in some circumstances, but this means there’s a good amount of ventilation, and I haven’t experienced any major fogging problems.
The lenses are Cat 3, and although the VLT is unspecified, they strike a good balance between remaining functional for everyday activities like driving, and providing enough protection for outdoor pursuits (unless you’re really high up in the mountains, when some Cat 4 glasses would be better).
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.