Tifosi Sunglasses: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

Disclosure: I may receive referral fees from purchases made through links on BicycleVolt. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunglasses are an essential piece of cycling kit no matter what kind of bike ride you have planned – from singletrack days out on the mountain bike, to club rides on the road bike and then to my favorite: leisurely cycling down to the beach on a day when the sky is wall-to-wall blue, for an afternoon of fun in the surf, followed by an evening of watching the sun go down whilst sitting on the sand with my buddies sampling a couple of chilled beers. Aaah…

I’ve always found though that sunglasses tend to fall in a wide spectrum – at one end there are the uber-expensive pairs of shades that have the ‘right’ brand name and an eye-wateringly high price tag to match. They’re sunglasses that you’re too afraid to actually take out on a bike ride for fear of scratching the lens or snapping a hinge. At the other end, are the kind of cheap, plasticky rubbish glasses that have no brand name, don’t look cool, probably don’t protect your eyes, but only cost a couple bucks and you wouldn’t be worried if you sat down on top of them and crushed them to pieces. That might even improve them.

That’s why Tifosi are such an exciting proposition. They have high quality eyewear in every shape, size and color imaginable and for every kind of sport you can think of. Sure they produce great cycling sunglasses, but they also have shades for running, golf, tennis and more, in both prescription and non-Rx lens options. These are feature-rich sunglasses at great price points.

I’ve been testing out some of the key styles in the Tifosi stable recently. On paper, they seem to be a winning combo: premium cycling sunglasses at affordable prices. But, are Tifosi sunglasses good? The short answer is Yes! These are fantastic sunglasses. Want more? Let’s take a look.

“Tifosi: feature-rich sunglasses at great price points”

Some of my favorite sunglasses from the Tifosi range

Rail | Rimless wraparound cycling-specific

Weight: 1.1 oz / 32g
Sizes: one size – suits Medium to Large
Options: 5 colorways, some with interchangeable lenses
Included accessories: microfiber cleaning bag, hardshell case
Key features: Over-size rimless, wraparound style, light-adjusting lens, lightweight, shatterproof

Tifosi’s latest cycling sunglasses, the Rail, launched in March 2022. These are a rimless style pair of glasses and are available in five different colorways: Matte Black, Blackout, Crystal Blue, Midnight Navy, White/Black. I’ve been testing out the Matte Black which features the Clarion Red Fototec lens – I’m a huge fan of this lens as it changes depending on ambient light levels, starting virtually clear and getting progressively darker as the sun gets stronger. That makes them perfect for mountain bike or gravel trails where you’re in and out of the treeline and the light levels are changing all the time.

The sunglasses are great for all kinds of cycling, from mountainbiking to road biking, ebike touring to city commuting. Because they’re so light, they’re comfortable to wear, even after long hours in the saddle. In hot and humid conditions they perform superbly – the hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces give a secure fit, even when those bits get sweaty. The over-size wraparound lens (the largest in the Tifosi range) hits the sweetspot between being large enough to give maximum protection to your eyes, yet with great airflow so that you don’t steam up.

Special mention too for the rimless frame style of the Rail. Yes, this looks awesome, but the real beauty of it lies in its effect on your peripheral vision. Simply put, you can see more and at far wider angles. Handy in the backcountry when you’re watching out for angry squirrels leaping out at you from the trailside. Handier still on the mean city streets when you’re watching out for angry Uber drivers pulling out in front of you. My view (no pun intended, obviously) is that these are possibly the best Tifosi sunglasses for cycling…Read more+

Swank | Wayfarer style

Weight: 0.8 oz / 24g (Medium)
Sizes: S/M/L
Options: 16 colorways, fully customizable sunglasses, Rx lens available
Included accessories: microfiber cleaning bag
Key features: Timeless style, modern color range, lightweight, shatterproof, hydrophilic nose piece

If you’re cycling down to the beach for a day of sun, sand and surf, then a pair of Swank sunglasses could be the perfect complement to your outfit. I’ve been testing out the Swank with satin clear frame and Clarion blue polarized lens. There are multiple (and I really do mean MULTIPLE) options available for customizing the arms, frame and lens. So you can make your Swank sunglasses just right for you.

Like all Tifosi styles, Swank feature shatterproof scratch-resistant lenses with light and strong TR-90 frames. They also have hydrophilic rubber nose pieces and snug-fitting arms, so they stay where they should on your face and don’t slide down your nose as things get sweaty. They are a fantastic and highly versatile pair of sunglasses…Read more+

Shwae | Classic aviator

Weight: 0.9 oz / 26g (Medium)
Sizes: S/M/L
Options: 5 colorways
Included accessories: microfiber cleaning bag
Key features: Lightweight, damn stylish, make you look like a Top Gun pilot

You know you’ve found the perfect pair of sunglasses when you put them on and your wife says, “You look like Iceman”.

I’ve been testing out the Shwae in the gold colored stainless steel frames with smoke bright blue lens. There are four other colorways available. The lenses are shatterproof polycarbonate and they feature hydrophilic nose pads to keep them securely in position no matter how tough the aerial dogfight you’re currently engaged in. Basically, these sunglasses are just so damned cool that you need to have a pair in your summer collection right now.

On the bike, these cycling aviators perform surprisingly well. Whilst their natural home is teamed up with blue jeans, white T-shirt and a flight jacket with the name MAVERICK emblazoned on the back, they perform equally well for light duty singletrack or easy Sunday morning park rides with the family.

Shwae, you can be my wingman anytime…Read more+

Swick | Rectangular sport frame

Weight: 0.9 oz / 26g (Medium)
Sizes: M/L/XL
Options: 16 colorways, fully customizable sunglasses, Rx lens available
Included accessories: microfiber cleaning bag
Key features: Lightweight, shatterproof, great peripheral vision, great value pricing

I think one of the signs of a great pair of sunglasses is (1) how many random strangers stop you in the street and ask you where you got them from and (2) how many friends and family try to steal them off you (teenage daughter, I’m looking at you). The Swick range are hidden gems in the Tifosi collection. With entry-level pricing (the pair I’ve been testing are only $25), you’d be forgiven for thinking these might have entry-level features. Not so. They fit really well, are super-comfortable and look great. The TR-90 frames are sturdy and the hinges are durable and operate smoothly. Compared to the Swank range, Swick sunglasses have somewhat larger lenses – handy for getting the widest peripheral vision on the bike. They also work superbly for cycling, and other sweaty sporting activities, thanks to the hydrophilic nose pieces, which keep them securely in position.

The pair I’ve been testing have crystal orange frames and sky blue lenses. I fully admit that this is a bold combo (and I love it). If that’s not your cup of cocoa though, then fear not. There are 16 different colorways to choose from in the core range and, if one of those doesn’t float your kayak, then you can get a fully customized pair of Swicks by picking from the options on offer in the Tifosi Custom Lab.

Swick are badass shades that fit like a glove (even over my big nose) and look killer. Buy a pair for yourself and a pair for any family or friends who might otherwise steal yours…Read more+

READ THIS NEXT These Cycling Sunglasses Will Make You Feel Like a Pro Rider

Tifosi heritage | What’s with the company name? | Where to buy Tifosi sunglasses

The original idea behind the company was to create sunglasses with a premium build quality and offer them for sale at an affordable price. What seemed like a good idea back in 2003 has turned out to be the start of a company that has since grown to supply over 200 different styles of sunglasses to more than 5000 retailers in 38 countries. Looks like they were onto something.

All Tifosi glasses are manufactured from Grilamid TR-90 frames, highly regarded for its strength and lightweight comfort. They also use polycarbonate lenses which are both scratchproof and shatter proof with their top end models featuring customizable ear and nose pieces made from hydrophilic rubber (helping them to stay in place even on hot and sweaty days). It’s the sort of feature list that you see with ‘big name’ sunglass companies (compare Tifosi vs Oakley, for example) but Tifosi glasses give you these features without the ‘Oakley’ price tag – you’ll see that the glasses I’ve been testing range from only $25 – $80.

If you’re wondering about the company name, then it comes from the Italian word for a super-fan. Literally, it’s a person who is infected by Typhoid and acts in a feverish manner. Given the reaction people have had to the Tifosi sunglasses I’ve been testing out (and the number of people who’ve tried to sneak into my closet and steal them), the name seems kinda apt.

A quick tip: if you’re looking to buy a pair of Tifosi sunglasses then you can choose from plenty of retailers such as REI, Amazon and Walmart. My tip? Go direct to TifosiOptics.com to check out the range there first. Not only do they have the widest selection right there, you can also test out the sunglasses on your own face using their Virtual Try On feature combined with your laptop or phone camera. It’s very clever.

Whichever Tifosi sunglasses you choose, you can be sure that you’re buying a premium quality pair of shades, with a great list of features, at a fair price.

Bring on the sun.

Leave a Comment