Julbo Shield M Sunglasses – Great for Changing Light Conditions – Reactiv 2-4
I’ve had many pairs of Julbo sunglasses and goggles, and I think they make the best mountain eyewear on the market. The Julbo Shield M sunglasses are no exception. They have the same sharp style, removable side shields, and photochromic lenses that make the Shield awesome with a smaller frame to fit wearers more comfortably. The only real problem with them is that Julbo did such a good job with the Shield line that everyone on Rainier ends up with the same shades!
Julbo Shield M Sunglasses Review
REACTIV 2-4 Polarized Lenses
Once you go photochromic, you never go back! It’s so amazing to have lenses that continuously provide the Goldilocks amount of light blocking. Here’s the description of REACTIV technology from Julbo’s website:
“Photochromic lenses (cat. 2 to 4 – visible light transmission rate: 5% – 20%), get darker or lighter to match changing light conditions, and polarization eliminates glare on reflective surfaces. Lenses adapt to changes in exposure and glare. Ideal for extreme visual conditions: desert, sailing, high mountains, and skiing. Improved reading of relief and maximum protection thanks to polarization. Internal anti-fog coating.”
I really do feel like I’m addicted to photochromic lenses now, and I’m totally fine with it. I currently have perfect vision, and I’d have to imagine having shades that continuously provide the highest-level light blocking adds to the longevity of my eyesight.
They adjust quite quickly. I’d say they take about 20 to 30 seconds to darken when you step outside and two minutes to lighten when you get back in. The adjustments to light while out and about are continuous and seamless. The only drawback to the cat. 2-4 photochromic lenses is that they use UV light to adjust and can sometimes be a bit too dark on overcast days. I have a different frame with cat 0-3 lenses for those days and they work perfectly.
I rocked the standard Shield frame for three or four years before I picked up the “M” frame. I really loved the lenses and the frame style. However, I found that they slid down my nose, sat uncomfortably under a helmet, and, admittedly, looked a bit too big for my face.
I put up with all these drawbacks for the benefits of the lenses. (So, if nothing else, this should be a testament to how awesome the Reactiv 2-4 lenses are.) With the “M” frames, all of those problems went away. Most importantly, I find they look much better on me. (Never forget that style is paramount in the mountains!) For comparison, the circumference of my head measured at my eyebrows is 22 ¼ inches.
Uses and Removable Side Shields
To travel on sunny glaciers, you want cat. 4 lenses and side shields to avoid irritated eyes or sun blindness. The Shields check those boxes, and I can confirm they work great on Rainier in the summer. Because of the removable side shields and photochromic lenses, I end up using them way more than other glacier glasses. (Actually, I wear them everywhere, all the time.)
They’ve become my primary shades and work super well for skiing and climbing as well as wearing around town. They even make flat-light driving nicer. I haven’t ever had any issues with the side shields. They change out easily and stay in place really well.
Longevity and Replacement Parts
Each pair of Shields I’ve owned has lasted me about two years of everyday use, with 250+ of those days a year spent skiing, climbing, and mountaineering. The frames are quite durable, and the lenses are scratch resistant. If you do end up banging up your shades, Julbo has replacement side shields, temples, and lenses available on their website for a very reasonable price ($10 for most parts.) If you break the frame, however, they’re toast. That said, I’ve never heard of anyone breaking their frames. Also, for what it’s worth, I do find that having expensive sunglasses keeps me from losing them. I’m able to offset their cost by having them for a good long while.
I’ve had Julbo Shields and now Shield M’s for going on five years now and haven’t found a better pair of shades for outdoor pursuits. There are few pieces of gear I can endorse so confidently. If you’re looking for a new pair of shades for glaciers and more pick up the Julbo Shields. If you have a smaller than large dome, don’t be afraid to go for the Shield M’s.
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 include WEMT-IV, Avalanche Pro 1, and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor. Kyle is a certified AIARE instructor and teaches Recreational Level 1, Level 2, and Partner Rescue courses. He is also an Apprentice Rock and Ski Guide through the AMGA
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.