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Tifosi vs. Smith sunglasses

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Tifosi vs. Smith sunglasses

Old 04-12-15, 09:59 PM
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seanpatrick76
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Tifosi vs. Smith sunglasses

Hey all,

I've been looking at buying some new cycling specific sunglasses lately, with the criteria being I'd like them to be polarized, interchangeable (with one clear lens) and hydrophobic. As such I've narrowed them down to two companies, Smith Optics and Tifosi.

The Tifosi are less expensive, and the pair I tried on fit me extremely well, BUT I've been reading complaints that their lenses are easily broken, and the customer service sucks. In addition, there's a $15 charge just to initiate a warranty claim.

I live in Canada, but found a pair on Ebay that would run me about $90 (after all is said and done with shipping and the global shipping program's included duties and taxes)
1040200225 Tifosi Sport Sunglasses Veloce Gloss Black Clarion Blue GT EC Lens | eBay

I've alternately heard that Smith Optics have fantastic customer service, and that their lenses are "superior" (how they are, I don't know). I can get them direct from Smith for $145 which would be about $164 after tax. Smith Parallel Max Performance Sunglasses Men's: Smith Optics US Site

Do you think the extra cash is worth it? Can anyone give their experiences with either of these brands?

Thanks community!
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Old 04-13-15, 12:57 AM
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I'm not familiar with Smith, but I've owned a few pairs of Tifosi and never had any complaints. As far as their lenses being easily broken, I'm not sure about that - I crashed in a pair of mine, my head skipped off the asphalt and the glasses went flying. After I found the still-intact lens a few meters away, I snapped it back in and rode home. I don't think their customer service would have helped me much with that, and if I needed a new lens I could easily just order one online anyway. I still have those glasses, bought new in 2010.
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Old 04-13-15, 02:59 AM
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I have also used Tifosi with no complaints. Have never had to use customer service so I don't know anything about that. And, like you, I don't know what makes a Smith lens superior to another lens. Not contesting the point just don't understand the optics. But, given my satisfaction with my Tifosi glasses the point is moot.
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Old 04-13-15, 05:26 AM
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I'm not going to criticize either brand, but I would never make an eyewear choice based on cost savings.

How much is your vision worth to you?
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Old 04-13-15, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
I'm not going to criticize either brand, but I would never make an eyewear choice based on cost savings.

How much is your vision worth to you?
So I assume you're using a set of Oakley Elite C Six sunglasses ($4000)? Why not? How much is your vision worth to you?

Cost != Protection. Helmet studies have shown this time and again. Sunglasses are no different. Beyond a certain point, more money buys you better optical quality, durability, lighter weight, more style, etc. But short of strapping industrial safety goggles to your face, you can only get so much protection from a set of sunglasses no matter what you spend.
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Old 04-13-15, 07:04 AM
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Boom! Owned.

OP- I've used several pairs of different model Tifosis and in general I like them, especially for the price. However, IMO (and other's as well) their optics aren't the greatest; not bad, but not the greatest. The biggest difference I've noticed between my Tifosis and my Oakleys is that the Tifosis tend to fog much easier and get clouded in direct sunlight. I'm willing to bet the Smiths will be better in both those areas.
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Old 04-13-15, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
So I assume you're using a set of Oakley Elite C Six sunglasses ($4000)? Why not? How much is your vision worth to you?

Cost != Protection. Helmet studies have shown this time and again. Sunglasses are no different. Beyond a certain point, more money buys you better optical quality, durability, lighter weight, more style, etc. But short of strapping industrial safety goggles to your face, you can only get so much protection from a set of sunglasses no matter what you spend.
my C6 stays in a safe deposit box, and has never been worn. BTW, I paid much less than $4k for it, and have received offers of over $10k for them.

No, as you pointed out, higher cost does not equate more safety. The OP mentioned Tifosi lenses breaking, and that would lead me to believe that they aren't very durable.

Tifosi and Ryders are crap. If he spends a little more, he'll get better protection and functionality.
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Old 04-13-15, 08:39 AM
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I was not impressed by the clarity of Tifosi when I've tried them. Optical quality was about what you'd expect from $40 glasses and the frames seemed filmsy. Oakley and Smith have significantly better optics & coatings.

I have better than 20/20 un-corrected so any glasses that are high quality drive me mad. If your vision isn't as good you'll probably be fine with Tifosi.
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Old 04-13-15, 09:00 AM
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Never had a pair of Smith glasses but have had several Ray Ban and Serengeti and now I have a pair of Tifosi. For a Polycarbonate lens, they seem fine. I do not notice any aberrations with them and I like that I can change out to less tin or no tint.

Having lost/stolen and broken pairs of expensive glasses, I am a bit leery about spending too much for athletic activities where they can fall and break. Tifosi are sold all over and I'll bet you could get a pair from Nashbar when they offer 20% off. They have a good return policy too should you not like them. I would say to try them out and see if you like them. For me, they ave been great. I ended up trying them on at a LBS and at REI and thought they were good. REI also sell Smith I believe. My only complaint is that I have a pair of Nike wraparounds that fit much tighter to my head than the pair of Tifosi do and really block the wind. In the colder months this was nice but I wonder if fogging would be an issue then. I used the Tifosi on my 51 mile (4:51) ride yesterday and they worked great. To me, how far and how clear do they need to be? I am not sure a cyclist is really looking beyond 100-200ft ahead but I could be mistaken. I also fly model gliders to the limit of site (1000' -2500' away and the same high) and I wouldn't hesitate using the Tifosi for that as well.


Frank
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Old 04-13-15, 09:34 AM
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Dunno if there's certain times of the year when you can get sunglasses cheap but it seems like it's often to me. I have about 9 pairs and honestly anything by the name brands will be fine.

But ya if you search around and wait you can always get deals on sunglasses. I usually use my oakley flak jackets for sport stuff and I got polarized ones for a little over 100.

Or nvm I'm dumb I wear my juliets which were more expensive. Dunno if 100-200 price range has hydrophobic lenses.

Last edited by prs1; 04-13-15 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:02 AM
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I got a pair of Tifosi Seek FC sunglasses recently and love them so far. Very comfortable and adjustable nose and ear pieces plus they are photochromatic which is nice.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:41 AM
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May not apply but I'm sold on Tifosi for one reason. They have a set of "readers" which is great for a guy like in their late 40's who needs reading glasses but not full on glasses. It's great for weekend rides so I can see the map on the phone if I have to or other things like that. On weekday morning rides I don't need sun glasses and I know the courses I take so no need to see the map.
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Old 04-13-15, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by K.Katso View Post
I'm not familiar with Smith, but I've owned a few pairs of Tifosi and never had any complaints. As far as their lenses being easily broken, I'm not sure about that - I crashed in a pair of mine, my head skipped off the asphalt and the glasses went flying. After I found the still-intact lens a few meters away, I snapped it back in and rode home. I don't think their customer service would have helped me much with that, and if I needed a new lens I could easily just order one online anyway. I still have those glasses, bought new in 2010.
I crashed in mine, too. And they survived my dog finding them on the table, within reach, and chewing on them. The lenses got scratched, but the frame survived.
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Old 04-13-15, 11:13 AM
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I have a couple pairs of Tifosi - Dolomites and Slope Fototecs. I like 'em, optics are fine for me for road riding, but then again I don't have the greatest eyesight anymore from too many years parked in front of a computer. I tried a couple pairs of Smiths several years ago and had a problem with lens coating delaminating and rubber pieces melting, from sweat I think; not sure if they're any better now? Haven't had these issues with my Tifosi's after 2 seasons and the frames don't seem to be built less quality than the Smiths were. I really like the Fototec for variable/overcast days but the interchangeable lenses are great too for a variety of conditions.

Slightly off-topic and these are glass lenses but I also like to fly fish, and have a pair of Smith Mavericks and Maui Jims. The Maui Jims have noticably better optical quality. IMHO for fly fishing crystal clear optics are more critical to me than in (road) cycling - where you need to observe minuscule details above and below the water surface and also overcome glare issues, changing light conditions etc.

Also when buying online - I suggest you use a vendor with a good return policy, many people have a hard time buying eyewear online(myself included) in terms of fit and personal style.

Last edited by MagicHour; 04-13-15 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 04-13-15, 11:17 AM
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I will have my maiden ride with the Tifosi Slip Carbon Fototec glasses, I picked up yesterday, tomorrow. I have been riding with some Oakley's (the model escapes me now) but their cost makes me not want to ride with them on. I know the Tifosi glasses were less than 1/3 the price of the Oakley's, that is what has me finding a different alternative.
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Old 04-13-15, 11:30 AM
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I have used Smith since the 1990s. Excellent company from Idaho. Stand by their products, no questions asked.
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Old 04-13-15, 02:56 PM
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I'm obviously biased toward Oakley, but I also like Rudy Project and Smith. Both RP and Smith are quality products, but Oakley performance frames are far more durable from what I have experienced.

If you are looking for some good prices on Oakley eyewear, I would look at the Oakley Vault website. Often the have discontinued colors or current styles for about 30-50% off.
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Old 04-13-15, 05:33 PM
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Wow!

Thanks for your responses gang.

From the sounds of it Tifosi lenses are reasonably durable, though they might not be as clear. For the record I am looking at the Clarion lenses from them, which are polarized and potentially better than the regular lenses.

I understand that Smith are from Idaho, which is great as I (as a Canadian) like to buy North American where possible, however it looks like Tifosi is based out of Georgia, so either way it's a bonus.

I think it behooves me to at least try a pair of Smiths on, to see if I can notice a difference. If not - with Tifosi replacement lenses bring 1/2 the price of Smiths, it seems like the better buy. I'll make sure to purchase from a dealer with a fair return policy either way - and will update my findings here a little later on.

Again, thanks everyone!

Last edited by seanpatrick76; 04-13-15 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 04-13-15, 06:19 PM
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You might find some Smiths at Sierra Trading Post for closeout prices. I think that Oakley's are very over priced and their customer support is terrible. Or, it was when I had one experience with them and said never again.
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Old 04-13-15, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by seanpatrick76 View Post
Wow!

Thanks for your responses gang.

From the sounds of it Tifosi lenses are reasonably durable, though they might not be as clear. For the record I am looking at the Clarion lenses from them, which are polarized and potentially better than the regular lenses.

I understand that Smith are from Idaho, which is great as I (as a Canadian) like to buy North American where possible, however it looks like Tifosi is based out of Georgia, so either way it's a bonus.

I think it behooves me to at least try a pair of Smiths on, to see if I can notice a difference. If not - with Tifosi replacement lenses bring 1/2 the price of Smiths, it seems like the better buy. I'll make sure to purchase from a dealer with a fair return policy either way - and will update my findings here a little later on.

Again, thanks everyone!
Definitely try some Smith's on. I've been using the Smith Pivlock V2 MAX and love them. Between the two that you are looking at (or linked to), be aware of the differences in the frames. The Smith's do not have an upper brim on the frame which (similarly on the Pivlock) is useful when in the drops and looking up the street as there isn't anything to obstruct your view. I've had zero issues with my lenses so replacement cost so far isn't a factor. Not sure where you are in Canada, locally I've found good deals on the Smith's between sales, discounts and coupons for various stores in my area.
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Old 04-13-15, 07:16 PM
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ditto on the Smith's and STP.. eg.
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Old 04-13-15, 07:34 PM
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I have a pair of Tifosi that I originally got just for commuting since I wanted to spare my Shimano pair any bad treatment. I now use the Tifosi more regularly and they've been through the ringer; a few spills and thousands of miles later they're still going strong. I've got nothing against nicer shades but I haven't found Tifosi products to be so inferior that they're not worth it; mine are photochromic and cost about $60 which for the 3 years they've been in constant use isn't bad at all.
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Old 04-14-15, 06:31 AM
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If you want no upper frame, try the Tifosi Podium glasses. They do not have an upper frame and they do come in a few sizes/variations: the regular, S and XC
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Old 04-14-15, 07:55 AM
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My vision is 20/12 at rest but 20/400 on a real climb.

Tifosi is what I use. I agree they can fog up and the optics are just almost pretty good. They are good enough for me.
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Old 04-14-15, 08:15 AM
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I have 3 TIFOSI (Radius, Slip, ?), a SMITH Pivlock 2 Max and an OAKLEY Custom Radar. I would take the SMITH Pivlock 2 Max (this model) first, Oakley a very close second and TIFOSI last.

So referring to the models I currently own, the thing I really liked about the Pivlock 2 Max is that it does not have a frame on top of the lens. The view is obstruction free and it is easy to swap lenses. The MAX has a bigger lens as well so it covers more of the eye area and it has an adjustable nose pads.

Build quality wise, I would say Oakley is better than the two. Looks and feels more solid.
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