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Wenger X-Kross System Sunglasses

Review: Wenger X-Kross System Sunglasses

Elaine Bothe's picture

We Liked

The X-Kross Sport Glasses System is a new offering from Wenger, the same company that makes the original Swiss Army Knife and a host of other gung-ho outdoor equipment. We received a box full of parts in little plastic bags and a nice padded black zippered carrying case. Wenger obviously thought through the whole sports-glasses wearing experience, and addressed almost each and every one cleverly and successfully.

I had fun clearing a big place on my desk and unpacking each and every little piece. The Wenger X-Kross Sports Glasses System is designed for interchangeable parts to make the same frame suitable for a variety of sports from biking, running to water and snow sports. I was expecting shooting glasses, but while not specifically labeled as such, the "shatter-proof" lenses might work, but verify before trying! Each sport gets its own lens, plus one for winter use that has extra neoprene around the edges to reduce fogging up.

I unpacked the frame, in black with nice red accents, the lens, which was surrounded in multiple layers of protective membrane on both sides of the lens, the nose pieces, ear piece covers and a funny arched piece with some neoprene. The lenses and frames are sold separately, which might explain some of the extra packaging.

One of the little bags held three sets of nose pads! The enclosed literature didn't offer a lot of clues as to assembly, except for those nose pads. I opted for the ones recommended for "narrow noses" and after playing around a little, I got the rest of the parts together. Growing up playing with Legos and asembling model airplanes sure paid off in the long run! The Wenger website has a helpful diagram, but not a lot in the way of specific instructions. And turns out they include a spare set for narrow-nose applications, as well as a spare set of ear piece covers.

Fit? Love it! Most sports glasses don't fit me because my head is sort of small. But the Wenger sports glasses are amazing! Right out of the box, the frames fit perfectly, after I installed the nose pads "for narrow noses." The temples are adjustable, apparently, but I did not even have to mess with that. The rubberized ear pieces kept the frames in place comfortably and the frame didn't pinch my head at all. After rides of several hours long, as well as a short run, I had no hot spots or problems with the frames slipping down my face. I really loved how well the glasses stay in place.

I love the super high quality lens. The non-polarized optics on the bicycling lenses are superb, with no distortion whatsoever at the edges. I love the UVA and UVB protection, and the fact that the lenses are darker at the top, lighter at the bottom. This helped reduce glare from above and supposedly helps you see the ground in front of you better. I could see my Garmin computer without problems.

I like the fact you can add a prescription lens, too. You can buy one of three pre-made Rx lenses, or send in your own prescription. All those features add up, however, but if you are used to buying prescription glasses for daily use, you are already accustomed to that. The Rx lens carrier and the premade lenses starts at $54.95 and top out at $249 for an FT28 transition lens. That's in addition to the $230 for the frame and sports lens!

I like the looks of the Wenger sports glasses. They are athletic looking, and bigger than I'd normally wear. The extra coverage does keep the wind out of my eyes. Up to about 40 mph (which is as fast as I've gone with these glasses on so far) there is no buffeting or tears.

I did not test the glasses in weather that would cause them to fog, once it starts raining around here, I will give you a report. With the nice ventilation, I don't expect a problem in that department.

We Didn't Like

I don't like the fact that the Wenger X-Kross Sport Glasses System does not include different colored lenses. To me this is a glaring (so to speak!) omission from the otherwise versatile and smartly designed glasses. The red tint is great for overcast days for me, but there is a little too much tint for forested single track, and not quite enough tint for really sunny and bright open roads. The red increases the contrast and makes it easier to see detail in moderate shade and on overcast days.

I also don't like that all the clever features seem to add weight. The glasses are much heavier than what I'm used to at 32 grams. That's without an Rx lens. Fortunately the fit is so good that I don't feel the weight too much on my ears or nose to be uncomfortable, but it is heavy enough to notice.

And the Wenger sports glasses are expensive. The high quality and versatility is obvious, and though the Wenger glasses aren't a whole lot more than other high-end glasses, it's still a lot of money to spend period.

The Final Say

If you love red lenses, sports and need to wear prescription glasses, you will love the Wenger X-Kross Sport Glasses System. If you bicycle, run, or enjoy water and snow sports and can afford all the different parts, you will certainly appreciate the amazing fit, interchangeable parts great optics, nice ventilation and lack of turbulance when you are going fast.

If you love Swiss quality, attention to detail and functionality, as well as the heritage of a company that's made high-end products for outdoor use for a very long time, you will also love these glasses.

I'm looking forward to wearing the Wenger sports glasses in yuckier weather. I expect that Oregon's overcast skies and gray damp weather through the springtime will give the Wenger glasses a chance to really earn their keep. I'll put them away, saving them for my long rainy winter training rides and I will keep you posted.

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