Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it Comes: XX2i Optics Review

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.
(The Beatles)


(Disclaimer: I received a XX2i Optics to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!)

There are two to three things that a runner can never have enough of. Shoes, socks, and sunglasses. In the case of the later, I'm a glutton when it comes to sunglasses. Perhaps because growing up skiing in Colorado, then going onto college, I was always in sunglasses. I am also prone to losing mine...a pair on a trail in Pennsylvania, and a $300 pair at a race in Vail this last summer. Doh! I'm always on the hunt for a good pair.

Given all that, when BibRave asked me if I wanted to test a pair of XX2i Optics sunglasses, I raised my hand in earnest, and said, "pick me, pick me, pick me!" As someone that also just had a bout with skin cancer, I will not head out on the run trail anymore without a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.

Sunglasses fulfill the obvious need to protect your eyes from the sun, but they also will help eliminate squinting into the bright sun. A relaxed face also means relaxed shoulders which means a better stride and saving crucial energy especially in a longer run, marathon, or ultra race. For me personally, for my races, I feel more confident in the race if I'm comfortable in my gear. I know, I know...the shoes (or in this case the sunglasses,) don't make the athlete, but higher confidence helps going into any race.

With that, here's my review on the XX2i USA1 sunglasses. I'll start with my confession that this is not a brand I was aware of. Brand is important to understand as the sunglasses brands you may think of you're likely paying to wear their logo versus the product itself. Given that, I'm not one to buy gas station $12 sunglasses as it is a bit of a "get what you pay for" world. In my case, I have a certain quality threshold for any product I wear and these guys meet or exceed those expectations.

For my run optics, I will admit that "how they look" have a lot of bearing on whether or not I'd spend the cash, and I dig the look. I have a pair of the XX2i USA1's with the white gloss frame finish and "blue flash" lens. Me likey, likey. For me, the other "must haves" in a pair of shades include interchangeable lenses, and a non-slip nose piece. Check and check! As far as the nose piece, other brands I've used have tried to overthink this part of the design with rubber nose pieces that slide over (I'll call them) hooks. Over time, I've had difficulty keeping that rubber piece on as they've worn and perhaps picked up body oil. USA1's have a single solid piece construction that replace with a couple of eyeglass screws. With this design, I don't see them slipping off like my Oakleys do over time.

If this doesn't sound good, I have two more things to share; warranty and a 50% discount!

Most people don't think about warranty, but XX2i has the unthinkable warranty and exchange policy. Lifetime warranty (see their site for details) is a "no questions asked" policy, bend, break, or scratch them and merely pay for the shipping. If you don't like the style you purchased, you have ONE YEAR to exchange; both for mere shipping costs. Unheard of with any other brand.


On the discount, through mid-January use code XX2iRocks for a 50% discount. I mentioned the cost of brands above, the XX2i USA1's only retail for $59.95 so you're talking $30 for a pair that could cost you $100 or more elsewhere. Sign me up!


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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine