Shopping for sunglasses has always been a challenge for me because I have a small head. Many sunglass frames overwhelm my face to give me a bug-eyed look. Not the Julbo Breeze sunglasses, however, which have a mid-size frame designed for women’s faces. They sport adjustable temples and a flexible nose pad that allows for a customized fit that doesn’t slide down my nose.
The adjustable temples are a wonder of technology. The temples are secured to the frames with a short rigid section but the rear 2/3 of the temple arms are completely bendable. I have a collection of sunglasses that, when I shake my head forward, the glasses slide off my head. Not these, even in their factory form, but for extra-small heads the temple could be bent to grip the head more closely. The flexible material is also slightly grippy so it won’t slide as easily as rigid plastic. The same flexible material is used for the nose piece and the wingtips can be bent to fit any type of nose. The ergonomics of the frame are designed to accommodate the unique features of Asian faces, but are not limited to Asians.
The photochromic, polarizing, anti-fog Zebra lens demonstrates an advance in technology. Using special processes developed by Julbo for their Performance category, this lens is built for long trails and mountain biking. The photochromic lens gets lighter or darker within 22-28 seconds depending on the lighting conditions, which is a useful property when hiking or skiing through alternating periods of bright sunlight and shade. The polarized lens provides good contrast and eliminates glare from the snow or light granite of the Sierra. The antifog coating prevents condensation from forming on the lens. The Breeze model is also available with non-photochromic Spectron lenses that are good for all types of activity. Performance prescription lenses are also available from Julbo.
I’ve been testing the Matt black/Grey Breeze sunglasses with Zebra lenses while skiing, hiking and backpacking. I hike in bright Northern California sun at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and I backpack in Sonoma County and the Sierra. The glasses feel lightweight in the hand and on my face. The best part is that the temples hug my head comfortably with no slipping, even if I shake my head vigorously. In bright sunlight the lenses feel cool and soothing to the eye. The photochromic lenses are so convenient. They are light enough to drive in without feeling that they are too dark, but in brilliant sunshine the lenses darken quickly and there is no squinting. Even when hiking up steep inclines I never experienced any fogging or condensation, even though they fit close to my face. The colors of nature come through clearly and I could see every detail, even the salamanders hiding in the shaded creek bottom. I tested them at the end of ski season at Squaw Valley and found the lenses equally effective on snow, offering good contrast whether in bright light or overcast conditions. The glasses look stylish in a sporty way and I don’t look bug-eyed.
The founder of Julbo, Jules Baud, began creating optical lenses in France in 1888 to help Chamonix crystal hunters protect their eyes. Much later, in 1950, Julbo created sunglasses for mountaineers, offering glacier glasses that offered protection to climbers’ eyes in high alpine environments. Julbo went on to test their glasses on the highest peaks in the world, including Everest, Makalu, K2, Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat. Now Julbo embraces a wide variety of sports and participants, designing glasses for specific activities, ages and vision needs. They design glasses for children and adapt their cutting edge technology to prescription lenses. The Julbo Group remains an independent brand.
The Julbo Breeze glasses with Zebra lenses are highly recommended for female hikers, backpackers, athletes and outdoorswomen and other Julbo models offers many choices for all.
Weight: 34 g (manufacturer reported)
Weight: 30 g (reviewer confirmed)
Comes with a hard case and soft bag case.
Disclosure of material connection: I received a sample for testing purposes, but the opinions expressed are solely my own.