We review Julbo's Aero Sunglasses. Designed for high output activities like running and cycling, we find they are great for ice climbing.
The Julbo Aero sunglasses are an ultra-light (26gr) pair of highly ventilated, photochromic sunglasses. New for the summer of 2016, these glasses are aimed at high-intensity activities such as road biking or (trail)running. Additionally, we loved the eye protection (and almost clear lenses at times) during mixed and ice climbing in the shade. We used them extensively and thought they excelled when there’s risk of fogging up the glasses. Another area where they shined were lower light-intensity activities, such as overcast days or ice climbing in a narrow canyon.
Testing light adjustability of the Julbo Aero and Trek sunglasses in Valley of the Birds, Ghost River Wilderness, Alberta, Canada. Photo: Ian Greant
The content of the packaging is as minimal as the glasses themselves: a large hard case and a soft case is all that’s inside.
Unlike the Julbo Trek we reviewed previously, these glasses have a middle-of-the-road fit. The legs sport comfortable rubber bottom pieces (Julbo calls these Air-Link temples) that keep the glasses in place, though they are not adjustable like the Julbo Trek’s legs. Since the lens is suspended and curved around the frame, they provide ample coverage, regardless of the width of the person’s face.
The adjustable nose bridge allows the fit to be adjusted to the wearers face. Julbo calls this their Asian fit, though all of our testers were happy with the adjustable nose piece.
Maarten following the first pitch on the first ascent of La Fourchette Sternale Droite, Nipissis, Quebec. Photo: Jasmin Fauteux
While keeping the overall weight of the glasses very low, Julbo packed several nice features into these glasses.
The one-piece photochromic lens excelled at lower light intensity situations and quickly adjusted to the surrounding light level. Especially when the amount of available light was variable (such as running in and out of the trees), these glasses stood out. With the Chameleon lenses we tested they cover light intensity categories 1 to 3 (out of 4), the glasses were generally too bright for direct sunlight when surrounded by mainly snow (such as skiing south-facing terrain or glaciers). If you will be using them in brighter conditions then consider the Zebra lens which has a light intensity range of 2-4.
The ventilation of the glasses was quite remarkable. While testing the glasses on an ice climbing trip in Quebec, the glasses routinely got soaking wet as we traversed in and out of wet ice. Though water droplets were visible, the glasses never fogged up. On the same trip I came to the conclusion these were amazing all-day mixed and ice climbing glasses.
When Ian was testing them on a couple high output days he found them impossible to fog. Even when his sweat was running down the lenses they still didn't fog up. He simply shook them dry, stripped another layer off and continued up the climb.
Starting in the morning (while in the shade), the intensity of the glasses drops right down, making them almost transparent. Despite this, they still provide ample protection against rock fall and popping gear or tools. As you transition into the sun, the glasses adjusted accordingly, providing sun protection as well.
Photo: Jasmin Fauteux
Like most of Julbo’s higher end glasses, the lens is made out of NXT plastic. This material is incredibly resistant to both scratches and impacts, providing physical as well as UV protection. The one-piece lens snaps into the frame via two side notches and a holder over the nose bridge. This suspends the lens in the frame, providing all-around ventilation. While the lens sits in the frame in a sturdy fashion, our testers were worried about the durability of the side notches in the frame. I’ve taken out my lens about a dozen time over the last 4 months (usually for cleaning) and it still fits sturdily. Unless you’re switching the lens daily, it looks like it will remain functional for a long time to come.
Like Julbo’s other glasses, the Aero sunglasses are considered user-serviceable. Julbo guarantees parts availability for up to 5 years after discontinuing a model, so parts will stay available for the Aero (and other Julbo glasses) for a long time to come.
Maarten in Valley of the Birds, Ghost River Wilderness, Alberta, Canada. Photo: Ian Greant
Julbo has created a ultra-lightweight pair of glasses that provide optimal ventilation though their one-piece suspended lens technology. Testers appreciated the ability to move in and out of the shade without having to change glasses. Through additional lenses, the Aero can be adapted to any fast-and-light sport of your choosing!
As a Canada-only special, Julbo will be releasing a black and red version of the Aero, complimented with the Zebra Light Fire, a mirrored and photochromic (Cat. 1-3) lens. Check it out below.
The Julbo Aero's retail for $135.00 and can be purchased online via Julbo Canada's website. (click here - opens in new window)