What is it
Julbo has been producing eyewear for over a century. They’re best known in mountaineering circles but have been gaining traction among ultra-runners and mountain bikers. The Aero is an ultra-light pair of sunglasses that is designed to maximize airflow and minimize fogging. It’s available in three different lens options, has a highly adjustable nose piece for fit, and a shock absorbing temple insert for comfort.
- Light weight
- Resistant to fogging
- Versatile photochromic range
- Clear enough for dawn or dusk rides
- Dark enough for sunny days
- Fit enhancing adjustable nose piece
- Good for narrow faces
- To narrow for some faces
When you’re mountaineering, having the right eyewear is critical. In high elevation, UV radiation and temperatures pose interesting challenges. I found that out first hand when Mtbr visited Julbo’s headquarters last year.
To meet those needs, Julbo builds products that go above and beyond. For example, their photochromic lenses work regardless of temperature. They also offer a high level of light transmission and are made from a durable scratch resistant material called Trivex.
Our review pair of sunglasses came with Julbo’s Zebra Light photochromic lenses that transition from 16-80%, or category 1-3 light transmission. The larger percentage number indicates more light is able to pass through. The category system uses a scale that goes from zero to four, with four being the darkest. In dark woods, these lenses are practically clear. If you didn’t care about being that person who wears sunglasses indoors, you could get away with wearing them anywhere.
When things brighten up, the lenses darken to make most environments short of the sunny ski slopes comfortable. It only takes about 30 seconds to go from clear to dark, which is impressive. Other lens highlights include excellent optics and the ability to block both UVA and UVB rays.
These lenses are mounted in a lightweight frame. Between them, there’s a sizeable gap. This helps funnel air in and around to help avoid fogging. I was initially concerned that this might let debris in on dusty days, but that’s proven to be a non-issue. What is noticeable is the reduction in fogging. Even if you’re not moving quickly, the Aero’s are far more resistant to clouding up than some comparable products.
To lock everything in place, Julbo uses a highly adjustable nosepiece. The sunglass arms aren’t technically adjustable, but they feature a flexible silicone insert that is claimed to help absorb vibrations and maximize hold and comfort. I have a narrower face and had no issues with these sunglasses moving around, but those with wider faces should try before you buy.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a pair of versatile sunglasses that can be used for running, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, or just being outside, the Julbo Aero should be on your short list. While the sunglasses aren’t cheap, they offer a number of high-end features that make the extra cost worthwhile.
Rating: 4 out of 5
MSRP: $130-250 ($190 as tested)
More info: www.julbo.com