Julbo Shield Sunglass Review – Incredible Photochromic Mountain Shades
The Julbo Shield is made for mountain travel and variable conditions. Featuring the Reactiv Performance lenses and removable side protection for high mountain adventure.
Reactiv Photochromic Lenses
Julbo does a great job of making lenses that adapt to the surroundings. In this case, it is the Reactiv Performance lens. This lens provides a great range of protection. The VLT – visible light transmission – is 7-35%. That means they can handle some very bright light, as well as slightly overcast. Making them ideal for time in the mountains.
I used them for several backcountry splitboard tours to test them out. Most of the time was spent 7 am – 1 pm in the mountains of Colorado. As you can see from some of these pics, the tours had all kinds of light variables. Nothing that these could not handle!
Julbo applies an anti-fog coating that does a good job. I tend to run hot, especially on skin tracks and touring up the mountain. I was able to get these to fog up, but only for a moment or two. And I was really pushing it, to see if I could fog them out! I would say the anti-fog works very well.
Removable side pieces
This is a great feature for mountain sunglasses. When we spend time in the alpine, or on water, there is a lot of sun bouncing back at you, from a lot of angles. These removable side pieces did a great job protecting my eyes from side sunshine and blowing debris.
Great grip when sweaty
I really like how light these glasses are. 32 grams or so. They feel almost weightless. I was a bit concerned that they may slip off or blow away! But, they stuck to my face extremely well. No amount of sweat or wind was going to remove these. Credit the Grip Tech that seems to stick to my head without much pressure.
Julbo Shield Sunglass Review
These make some of the best mountain sunglasses that I have used. They are light and comfortable. The lenses adjust to a wide variety of light. They have excellent coverage, even without the removable side shields. The Julbo Sheild sunglass is very much at home in the mountains. Highly recommend them! $229
For an even more detailed review on the Julbo Shield sunglasses, check out our newest writer – Kyle Juszcyk’s take on them!
Julbo Shield sunglasses
The Julbo Shield with REACTIV 2-4 lenses may be the best thing I’ve ever put on my face. Julbo categorizes these god’s gift to eyewear as mountaineering sunglasses. This accurate definition highlights these shade’s ability to function superbly in the mountains while sublimely make a fashion statement at the coffee shop.
Function before fashion, but also fashion
Before the Shield, one would have two choices for mountaineering glasses frames; Edmund Hillary or aerodynamic. While there is nothing wrong with these categories, I’ve never had the tweed jacket or spandex to match the style. The Shield’s square frame better aligns with the style of sunglasses I enjoy wearing.
Julbo adapts this frame style to the mountains by including “removable soft-feel side shields.” When powered up, the side shields do an amazing job keeping the high altitude, snow reflected sun off of your valuable eyeballs. Not just “good enough” but just as well as full wrap style glacier sunglasses. The side shields can be removed as easily as they can be rhymed with soft-feel, that way you don’t sideswipe someone navigating through Sunday I-70 traffic.
Photochromic, worth the extra bucks
Here is a breakdown of sunglasses lens types. Category 4 (Cat 4): let in 3%-8% of visible light. Awesome for not frying your eyes on a glacier, unsafe and illegal for driving. Category 3: (Cat 3) let in 8%-18% of visible light. Legal for driving (I think), not sufficient for glacier travel. Category 2 (Cat 2): let in 18%-43% visible light. Medium sun exposure. It sounds like what it is.
If you don’t want to choose, pony up and pay for the REACTIV 2-4 lenses. For $80 extra bucks they quickly adapt to changing light conditions (between Cat 2 and Cat 4) 7%-35% and they let the goldilocks amount of light through to your eyeballs.
Without the REACTIV 2-4 lenses, my entire first paragraph is negated. You can put these things on at dawn, wear them all day, and reluctantly throw them in your pack and grab your headlamp on the slow slog back to the car. Put simply, the REACTIV 2-4 lense are what allows you to seamlessly transition from climbing Mount Rainier to drinking Rainier back in town.
Pudding is where the proof is
There was a commercial a few years ago advertising HD vision for a pair of over-the-glasses, issued at retirement, eyewear. I scoffed at the idea of “HD vision”, but now I understand.
I’ve let three people try on these sunglasses let try these glasses on have purchased a pair themselves (the third bought a different frame with the same lense cause he’s fast.) This actually leads me to one of the only two demerits of these optical spectacles.
Popular, but you like to fit in, don’t you?
The REACTIV 2-4 lens only comes in one frame color. When you buy these sunglasses and then proceed to recommend them to a friend, they will inevitably buy the exact. same. pair.
Foggy, but only if you’re slow like me
There has to be a drawback to the square framed steeze. There’s two; the never-ending attention you draw for your modern style, and they fog sometimes. I’ve found some solutions though. If it’s 60 degrees outside, go climbing. If you’re breathing too hard, breathe less. If you’re messing with your footwear, take off your glasses for a second.
But wait, there’s more!
The case is super durable. The lens is scratch and abrasion-resistant (I can’t believe I haven’t terminally scratched them yet.) Even without the side shields, they keep the wind from watering your eyes while skiing.
As long as Julbo keeps churning out these mountaineering sunglasses, I will buy them. They aren’t cheap, but they can help keep your eyes healthy until we can buy robot eyes in thirty years. If you’re not convinced, wait until your smarter, more style inclined friend buys a pair and lets you try them on.
Julbo Shield Sunglass Review
- Look good
- Pudding, where the proof is
- Don’t fog
- Removable shields
- Everyone around me buys them
- Ski well
- HD vision
- Instead of walking into the bar exclaiming you’re a mountain guide, you have a subtle rest step in your pace or thirst from being frozen for a week that only other mountain people will pick up on
- Rigid case, when you admit defeat and strap on the headlamp, you can shove them into your pack with less concern.
- The only downside is the photochromic lens only comes in one frame color, but you like to fit in don’t you?
Kyle grew up in Iowa and after high school ditched the midwest to begin college at Western State Colorado University and start guiding in the summers.
Kyle says he spent his time at Western climbing, snowboarding, volunteering on the rescue team, and instructing for the outdoor program. He claims if he had spent any less time actually in class he certainly would not have graduated. Kyle’s time with the Western Mountain Rescue Team was extremely formative and revealed his passion for wilderness search and rescue (SAR). He made it his goal to make a career out of SAR. Kyle is well on his way to achieving his goal and currently works as a Ski Patroller in Colorado and a Climbing Ranger in the Pacific Northwest.
Kyle’s certifications and training include WEMT-IV, Avalanche Pro 1, Single Pitch Instructor, AMGA Rock Guide Course, and a Rigging for Rescue Course. He will be taking the AIARE Instructor Training Course this February and hopes to teach avalanche education courses starting next winter.
When Kyle has free time he climbs and skis. He’s taken the hard way to the top of El Capitan and the steep way down peaks in Colorado and Washington.
Kyle’s jobs allow or force him (depending on the weather) to work 200 days a year outside. He’s constantly testing gear in all conditions and refining his setups to make work and play easier, faster, and more fun.
Other Julbo shades we love: