Product Review: SportRX

I tell you what, writing this blog and including the product reviews has really opened some pretty awesome doors for me and allowed me access to some amazing and interesting companies that I’m not sure I would even know existed if it were not for all this. Prime example: Recently I had the chance to chat with Rob from a really intriguing and awesome company called SportRX. This is a company that is responsible for taking modern day, high performance sunglasses and equipping them with prescription lenses. I have always worn glasses (I want to say 2nd grade on) and even when I participated in sports, I thought my only options were contacts or those old school heavy plastic “Rec Specs”. Never in a million years did I think that it was even possible to take a badass pair of Oakleys or Adidas; or such a highly regarded performance sunglasses like Rudy Project and put a pair of Polarized, reflective, real deal prescription lenses in them. It’s like a whole new world just opened up.

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This review is going to be a little different than most, because while I am reviewing the actual product itself, what I am really looking at is the service; the company that is providing the product and all the experiences, start to finish. It’s not as easy to just look at the finished product and say “they are a great pair of shades”, that is only scratching the surface and leaving out the real depiction of what is actually entailed in the service itself and the review of everything would be incomplete without this added perspective.

I’ll touch on the easy part of the review first, the actual sunglasses themselves. 
I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here.  As I mentioned, the real aspect to focus on is the service that SportRX provides. But they are providing sunglasses, so I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on them. I was provided a pair of Rudy Project “Horus” sunglasses with my prescription in the lenses. These are the real deal. There are definitely some pros and cons to them, but the quality is evident in every aspect of these glasses and I now understand why Rudy Project has the incredible reputation that they do. 
The pair I received was grey and black.  In addition to having my prescription, the lenses are also photosensitive. Meaning in dark/low light situations the lenses are clear just like any other pair of glasses. Once the light hits them however, they gradually begin to darken until they go all the way to full blacked out sunglass lenses. So if I go out for a run or a bike ride in the early AM with the sun still low, the lenses will be clear and as the morning progresses and the sun comes up, they darken “transitions style” as needed based on the sun’s brightness…awesome, right? The frames themselves are arched above the eyes, which helps tremendously when hunched over the handlebars of my bike. They are plastic and ultra light, with adjustable, but reinforced, temples and nose pads. It all adds up to a pair of glasses that feel customized, comfortable, and light while feeling sturdy at the same time. The overall look is cool, the fit is good, and I’m a huge fan. One of the biggest aspects for me is that I now have literally no excuse to not workout. I am a contact wearer most days, but I would say that at least 2 days, sometimes 3 days, a week I will “give my eyes a break” and wear my glasses. These glasses are nowhere near being conducive to working out. Normally if a workout day falls on a glasses day, I’ll just pop in my contacts and get to it.  But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t push a few workouts in the name of glasses and inconvenience. That inconvenience is now officially gone, and the excuse removed in its entirety. This is a good (great) thing.  There are some other points to consider, however. First things first, there is a bit of learning curve with these. The deal with these is that they are what Rob kept referring to as “wrap” glasses, meaning that they wrap around your eyes and give you protection on the sides as well. This is a good thing, particularly while buzzing along on a bike with wind (and bugs) in your face at all times. The down side to this is that unless you already have prescription wrap sunglasses you are definitely not used to seeing through this type of dynamic. It takes some getting used to looking out of the sides and not losing focus or getting a little disoriented. As such, I have kept my bike rides slower and closer to home until I adjusted. It only took a few times and I adjusted just fine. Another caveat is pure vanity on my part. I do have to admit, when I first found out that I was going to get a pair of athletic prescription sunglasses I did get a little carried away in my own mind, envisioning myself rocking a pair of the latest Oakleys that I can use for running/ cycling/ just being awesome when I’m not exercising. I did not take the reality of the situation into account, that the best frames for my unique needs were the Rudy Project, which although are fantastic and I love them, are CLEARLY designed for the athletic/ sports minded set and intended to be used solely while working out. Although not as fashionable, these were still the best fit for me for a variety of reasons, including what sports I intend to use them for, what time of day I plan to use them the most, the types of workouts I plan on doing, and my prescription strength to name a few. The first thing that snapped me back to reality is that I am as blind as a bat.  As such my lens prescription is quite thick. What I never thought of before I saw the finished product is how my coke bottle thick lenses would look crammed into a sports sunglasses frame, particularly ones that wrap around a bit so it almost further emphasizes how thick those lenses really are. When they are fully clear, they kind of look more like goggles. But what I realized a few minutes after I put them on is what I still preach to this day. I’m not wearing these to win a fashion contest (and don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that they aren’t cool…they are just not impossibly multifunctional and as cool as my head brought me to initially)

I was also provided a pair of prescription goggles, which are fantastic as well. Exactly what you would think, a pair of eye goggles for the pool with my prescription built in. They work beautifully, and the fear of losing a contact in the water is removed. I am super satisfied with these as well. The only negative I could possibly mention is that, like I mentioned before, I am as blind as a bat. I literally cannot see to the end of my outstretched arm without aid. So what that means is that unless I want to kill myself, I need to take the walk from the locker room to the pool wearing my RX goggles, just in order to see. Yes, I’m THAT guy at the pool….deal with it.

So like I said, that was the easy part of the review. If you want an in depth product review on the glasses, please feel free to Google “Rudy Project Horus Review” and read up on the numerous responses. I really want to turn my focus on the unique part of this review: the experience I had with my optician Rob at Sport RX.

Rob is the sales manager over at Sport RX, and while handing the roles of interacting with clients and advising on which product/frames/lenses to offer, he is also a resource in choosing what to look at in the future and utilizes his personal perspective as an athlete who has his finger directly on the pulse of the sport optics world. He has been in the optics industry for the majority of his professional life and is also a licensed optician (and has an MBA as well, just for good measure)

Based on those credentials alone, his qualifications would have been enough to make me comfortable and place my trust in him.  But when you factor in his personal story of weight loss and transition from a dangerously overweight person to active lifestyle enthusiast (his activity of choice is cycling) it’s pretty easy to see why an immediate connection was made and I will be a longtime customer of his. 

So here is the deal with me. I am a “people person”. More specifically, if I can make a connection with someone I trust, it’s the person that really wins (and keeps) my business. By all accounts this is a textbook example of said connection. 

A lot of that stems from his story.  And while someone’s back story will not make its way into a review under normal circumstances, this is too key of an aspect to overlook. It speaks directly to me and to what this blog is looking to support in others. 

Rob had always been a big guy. The same type of thing you hear about all the time when discussing this type of circumstance:  always been big and weight has always been a struggle. Even as rob found himself excelling at pretty much every other aspect of his life, he found himself getting continually bigger and bigger, eventually topping out at close to 380 pounds. As with most, it was the look of some of those close to him that provided the rock bottom/final push to really make it happen for good and changed his forever. He utilized a surgical procedure to assist in the weight loss, and rather than just using that as a crutch he took it upon himself to use that as the first step in completely changing his life. Changing what and the way he ate, adopting a healthy and active lifestyle (cycling is his activity of choice, and he is now an avid, virtually every day cyclist), and most importantly he kept it up and lost the majority of the weight he wanted to get rid of. Admittedly still a work in progress, he’s still chasing down losing those last 20 pounds or so, but this is a man who truly “gets it”. He understands not only the mindset of an athlete, but also the dedication and emotional investment, and lifelong determination that is required to accomplish a change in one’s deep rooted habits and mannerisms such as this type of weight loss can entail. You’re not just losing the weight, but you’re changing yourself in the process, and he knows all about it. 

That remarkable story and perspective aside, I would be remiss if I did not address the core value of Sport RX. The real value comes in the centralized expertise that allows you to speak to a licensed optician such as Rob who takes the time to really talk to you, understand what your specific needs are, and utilize the product knowledge and performance tested information to put you into the right frames. This in and of itself would be good, and there are many resources out there that can basically point you in the right direction. But typically speaking, that’s where the story ends. You have to go to one place or more than likely several places to figure out what you really need, and seek out a different, unrelated purveyor to actually get your products. With SportRX, they have the backing of a state of the are optical lab and you have the comfort in knowing that the same people who advised you as to what you need have direct control over the production, quality, delivery, and ongoing maintenance of your glasses and your future vision needs. This is key. There is nothing lost in translation between various unrelated companies. It’s not on you as a consumer to take one industry professional’s opinion and try and explain it to another so that they understand each other and are on the same page.  It’s all handled in-house, and they have the size, ability and drive to become a major player in this market. When you browse the site and talk to the reps there is a professionalism there that is just reassuring. As I said before, while they are not the super cool Oakley Jackets, and I won’t be wearing them for anything outside of my active pursuits, I am now a believer and will definitely be a repeat customer.

If you have the same type of need, glasses or contact wearer looking for a pair of modern, specialized athletic sunglasses, check these guys out. If your experience was half as good as mine was I believe you will be a repeat customer as well. You don’t have to believe me, check out their website, facebook page, or give them a call and talk to one of the opticians. Hell, ask for Rob. Tell him I sent you.

Just in the sun…beginning to darken

Beginning To Darken

5 Min Later- Full Dark

Dark

Badass Hard CaseIMG_0664

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Not in the Sun at all- Clear LensesIMG_0667

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I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.

One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.

**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**

Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.

**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**

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