Neff Brodie Sunglasses
Frame: Wild Tiger
Days Tested: 20+
Test Locations: Backcountry skiing in the Wasatch, Uinta, La Sal, and Teton mountains; a bunch of other places doing a bunch of other stuff (see below).
The first time I put on the Neff Brodie sunglasses, I was high above treeline, skinning up the Cold Fusion Couloir on Timpanogos, just as the morning sun was rising over the ridgeline to the east. My touring partner turned, saw them, and said, “Dude, where did you get those? Those are sweet!”
As we booted the last 1500 feet to the summit, I’d come to the same conclusion: They are sweet.
Fit / Sizing / Lenses
Neff makes the Brodie in one size, and that size fits my head very well (I wear a size Large POC helmet for reference). And the arms are comfortable over my ears.
While not polarized, the lenses adequately reduced glare from the snow, the “wrap around” portion of the lens was quite helpful in stopping glare from sneaking around the sides, and the rubber nose pad effectively kept the glasses on my face.
But it wasn’t until after we had reached the summit of North Timp, skied the couloir, skied / skinned / hiked back to the parking lot, and reached the car by 10am that I realized I might have overlooked the Brodie’s most important feature: these sunglasses are fast.
Maybe the comfortable, lightning bolt-shaped arms and glare-reducing wrap around lenses are actually designed to reduce drag? Maybe the rubber nose pad is colored fluorescent pink (on my Wild Tiger model) because obnoxious fluorescent colors are inherently fast? (See Ted Ligety’s Shred goggle line—maybe the real reason he’s the fastest GS skier in the world?) And maybe the multicolored tiger stripes, well, those are probably just there to look cool. Speaking of which…
I was in a grocery store in Moab, Utah, a while back, using one of those self check-out kiosks. Suddenly I heard, “Bro, those sunglasses are sick!” I looked up, making eye contact with a high school kid in a pastel-colored tank top. I nodded and said, “Yeah, they are.” He turned to his friend, nudged him with his elbow, and pointed at me: “Dude, check out that guy’s sunglasses. Those are so sick!”
Rest assured, the Neff Brodie earns the approval of two bro guys in Moab, and probably everywhere.
Back to Fast…
To test my theory that the Brodie makes you fast, I wore the glasses while doing more than just backcountry skiing. I ran three separate trials, wearing the Brodie while (1) working on a reading assignment for school, (2) while cooking dinner, and (3) while recovering from a hernia surgery I had a few weeks ago, to see if I could do those things faster while wearing the glasses.
Unfortunately I didn’t finish the reading assignment, ended up eating half-cooked pasta and semi-raw veggies (luckily I’m a vegetarian or I would have ended up eating uncooked chicken as well), and I’m still in the process of recovering from my hernia surgery.
Let’s now compare the Neff Brodie to the two other pairs of sunglasses that I am most familiar with: the Knockaround Classic (MSRP: $7) and an old pair of polarized Suncloud sunglasses (Discontinued model, MSRP: $50).
As should be the case, the Brodie is a better functioning pair of sunglasses than the seven dollar Classic. Looking through the Classic’s lenses is like looking through a piece of dark plastic, while the Brodie’s lenses actually boost contrast and clarity in bright settings. Also, the Brodie’s frameless construction and wrap around lenses allow for a much larger field of vision and greater eye protection.
The Brodie and my old Sunclouds both retail for ~$50, and the Suncloud’s polarized lenses give it a clear advantage over the Brodie in terms of glare reduction and overall optical quality. However, the Brodie provides a larger field of vision than my full-frame Sunclouds, and the wrap-around lenses block glare that would have snuck in around the side of the Suncloud.
Also, the Brodie comes with a hard case and a spare set of lenses, so it’s a good option for people who are hard on their cool sunglasses. Furthermore, it’s unclear what sort of reaction the bros in Moab would have to the Sunclouds…
While the Neff Brodie sunglasses may not actually make you faster, they may make you feel faster. And while they didn’t help me do my homework, cook dinner, or recover from surgery, they worked well for my many backcountry skiing adventures this spring. Throw in that hard case and a set of spare lenses, and they are a decent deal for the price.
And for any closing day ski area festivities, their proper styling will be a siiick touch to any gaper get-up.