Reviews

Julbo Aero photochromic sunglasses are lightweight…

Disclosure: The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)

Summary

Julbo Aero photochromic sunglasses are lightweight and provide Super High Reaction to light changes. Excellent fit for hiking, running, or biking.

Pros

  • Reacts to light changes quickly
  • Great fit
  • Ventilation

Cons

  • Lens could be darker for snow conditions

The Julbo Aero sunglass design offers optical protection, a large field of vision, ventilation, and superior hold. Weighing in at a scant 32 grams, the Julbo Aero sunglasses can barely be felt when worn.

The Aero sunglasses combine Julbo’s Air Link frame with a variety of lenses types. This open frame design features a soft 3D nose piece, a wrap-around lens and cushion-dampening soft ear pieces that lightly hug the temple area. The lens is attached to the nose and the outer lens edge only. This makes the lens appear to float within the frame and provides for increased ventilation and air flow.

The Aero model is available with three lens types to cover a wide range of lighting conditions. For the highest level of protection in bright light, Julbo offers their Zebra 2-4 anti-fog, UV-protective photochromic NXT lens with a darken and lighten reaction time averaging 25 seconds. If the sky is not as bright, the Zebra Light lens with a lighter tint range is offered. Both Zebra lenses are brown in tint for increased contrast clarity and are treated with an oil-repellant coating which prevents marking of the lens and repels water.

For UV protection in a polycarbonate lens, Julbo offers their Spectron lens in two colors. Both the Zebra and Spectron Julbo lens types are designed with sports in mind and are highly impact resistant. The Julbo Aero sunglasses feature both a hard travel case and a soft sleeve for protection and lens cleaning. All Julbo sunglasses carry a 100% lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects in materials or workmanship for the original owner.

For over 125 years from their home in France, Julbo has been a pioneer in the field of optical sun protection. Innovation in design has allowed Julbo to fill the UV eye protection needs for everyone from climbers at the top of Everest to children at the playground.

I tested the Julbo Aero sunglasses over a period of several months in a variety of locations and lighting conditions. Each Julbo sunglass style is designed with specific sporting activities in mind. The Aero is part of their “Speed” collection; designed for mountain biking, trail running, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

When wearing the Aero sunglasses for the first time the light weight is immediately apparent. The fit was snug without being tight, as the soft rubber on the straight ear pieces gripped the side of my head gently but securely. The soft nose rubber provided additional grip and even during sudden or sustained head movements the sunglasses remained secure.

The sunglasses were first tested on a bright bluebird day on the ski slope. While the photochromic lens worked well in shady areas, even at their darkest shading the lenses were not up to the task in the bright snow reflecting areas. After reading up on the lens specifications it was obvious that they were not designed for those extremely bright lighting conditions.

The second test was done during a long drive to the Lake Tahoe area. The sunglasses worked really well while driving, providing just the right amount of shading, and the brown lens color made for excellent clarity and sharp contrast. Where the Aero sunglasses really shined was when I wore them during a ten-mile hike that featured a variety of lighting conditions from dark wooded shade to full sunshine. It was easy to see why these sunglasses are so popular with hikers and backpackers.

Lately, they have been my go-to sunglasses while mountain biking on my local Northern California trails. The ability of the Zebra lens to shift quickly from light to dark enabled me to have great vision regardless of the lighting conditions. I especially liked the laser-like contrast while in the shaded areas. The wrap-around lens provided full eye protection from not only UV light but from impact, a welcome feature when blasting down a trail. The ventilation provided by the Air Link frame was first rate, air moving between the lens and frame kept the areas around my eyes perspiration free.


The Julbo Aero sunglasses did an excellent job of providing lightweight, secure eye protection under a variety of lighting conditions. The secure fit and ventilation provided by the frames make them appropriate for a variety of high or low-speed outdoor activities.

Product details:

  • Frame color and Lens: Blue/Green-Zebra 2-4, White/Grey- Zebra Light
  • Black/Red-Spectron 3CF, Green/Blue-Spectron 3CF
  • Cost: Zebra lens-$180
  • Spectron lens -$130

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Disclosure: I received a sample of this product for purposes of this review, but the opinions expressed are my own.