Shedding an image can sometimes be difficult. It’s like high school when your older siblings had already paved the path for you. If you were lucky, that path was smooth sailing, but if your siblings were troublemakers, you were doomed from the start.

With Julbo, that image has long been mountaineering-style glacier sunglasses, anything else just wasn’t Julbo in my mind. However, my eyes were opened to Julbo’s sportier side at Outdoor Retailer in August where I was able to see the new Julbo Run and Dirt sunglasses. After a few weeks of use, the Julbo Run sunglasses have a lot to offer. Here’s my take on them.

About the Julbo Run Sunglasses

Built specifically for trail running and mountain biking, the Julbo Run sunglasses are new in the line this Fall. With styling straight out of a Dragon or Spy sunglasses mold, the Run’s feature a stylish frame design with wide temple arms, rubberized nose and temple pieces and an advanced-technology Zebra photochromic lens.

The Zebra lens is the gem with a fast-changing tint from 40.7% VLT to 6.6% VLT that’s capable of going from dense treecover or clouds to ultra-bright sunlight without missing a beat. Also a feature of these lenses includes a fog-free coating on the inside of the lens.

More features:

  • Zebra photochromic lens (40.7% to 6.6% VLT in 28 seconds)
  • Fog-free lens coating
  • Rubberized nose and temple pieces
  • Fits mid-size to larger faces
  • Includes hard case
  • MSRP: $160

Julbo Run Sunglasses Review

Slipping them on, the Julbo Run sunglasses have a lot to offer. With a little different fit than Smith, Kaenon and Ryders sunglasses, the Run’s sit a little lower on my face and provide excellent eye coverage both side-to-side and up-and-down.  This is due to the wider nose piece, which unfortunately isn’t adjustable.  So, if you’ve got a narrow or a small nose, these glasses may not work so hot.

Lets talk about some of the great features of the Run’s. The lens is really tops on that list. It offers very crisp and clear vision with excellent lens tints from dark to light conditions. The great thing about the Zebra photochromic lens is that you don’t have to think about swapping lenses. I’ve worn these on early-morning mountain bike rides with minimal light and on super-bright sunny afternoons and have been very satisfied with the lens tint in all conditions.

I’m accustomed to swapping lenses out based on light conditions, but with these, I could just ride and go with the lenses adjusting on-the-fly. Just a couple of items to mention about the lenses. There is a small amount of distortion along the peripheral and the fog-free coating makes cleaning the inside of the lens a bit more of a chore. This coating makes the lens slightly “grabby” on the inside, so a lens chamois doesn’t slide across them very easily.

The frames themselves are stylish and, as mentioned above, coverage is outstanding. It took a little bit of getting used to because these glasses sit much lower on my face than other designs. But, in the end, it felt perfect with more overall coverage than most designs.

They stayed put under all conditions while trail running and mountain biking and didn’t cause any painpoints (e.g. brain squeezing) to speak of. A very good sunglass with only a few drawbacks.

The Good

  • Eye coverage is excellent since they sit a little lower than most
  • Love the photochromatic technology
  • Tint is perfect overall
  • Nice, snug fit that stays put
  • Great for varying light conditions

The Bad

  • Inside of lenses are difficult to keep clean (due to anti-fog coating)
  • Lens has some distortion around the edges
  • Zebra lens logo on left lens corner is visible when wearing and unnecessary
  • No included soft case/lens cleaner

The Bottom Line: Julbo Run Sunglasses

These new glasses sport some of the best lens technology I’ve used. I absolutely love the photochromic lens technology and have found them to perform well in both low light and bright light conditions. There are a few negatives as mentioned above, so keep those in mind. none are deal-breakers as these glasses are still a solid choice as a do-it-all pair of glasses.

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About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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