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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Julbo Race Sunglasses > Test Report by Chari Daignault

JULBO RACE SUNGLASSES
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE INITIAL REPORT [May 16, 2007]
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT [July 27, 2007]
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT [September 26, 2007]

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chari Daignault
EMAIL: chari.daignault@gmail.com
AGE: 44
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I've been an ultra light hiker for 35 years -- I take the bare minimum with me and prefer a pack under or close to five pounds. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan when I was nine. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing. Central Florida affords a lot of sun and rains, with high temperatures and massive humidity. It's a great testing area for clothing, footwear and headgear.


INITIAL REPORT
May 16, 2007

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Julbo
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website [France]:
Julbo France
Manufacturer's Website [USA]: Julbo USA
MSRP: US $120.00
Available Colors: Black, Asphalt
Color Tested: Asphalt
Actual Weight of Sunglasses: 1 oz [28 g]

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Julbo Race Sunglasses arrived inside a taupe-colored clamshell hard case which closes with a zipper. Attached to the ear stems was a flat adjustable elastic cord which will be used to secure the sunglasses to my head when necessary. The cord was easily removed by pulling a tab up on either side where it connected to the stems, using my thumb.

Julbo Race Sunglasses
Front view of Julbo Race Sunglasses


I tried them on and found that they fit very well, even though I have a very small head. The ear stems wrap around, so they didn't end up poking out the back of my head through my hair -- which will keep them from becoming entangled with any hats I may wear while testing. I was impressed with how light the Race sunglasses felt on the bridge of my nose. I am eager to test these sunglasses while exercising to see their impact on my nose and ears, if any.

Julbo Race Sunglasses
Side view of Julbo Race Sunglasses

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There were no instructions or documentation included on the use of the sunglasses, although some informational material on the construction of the lenses was included [all of this can be found on their website as well]. All ad print and advertising I've seen for the Julbo Race Sunglasses extensively mentions the Parabolic Nose System, which is an adjustable nose piece built into the bridge of the sunglasses. I could find no instructions or documentation, either in the included literature or on the Julbo USA website, to explain how to utilize the nose system. I emailed the manufacturer from a link on the Julbo USA website and asked for some assistance.

The response: "...the adjustable nose piece allows the glasses to be moved away form [sic] the face if desired - most important if a person is using the RX clip in [sic] insert. The nose piece simply swings out and towards the face form the top. Just pull it out with your fingers from the top, it will pivot out and back on the two pivots on each side of the nose." Based on this, I was able to deploy the nose system, as demonstrated in the photo below.

Julbo Race Sunglasses
View of Parabolic Nose System


I also inquired about the RX clip the rep mentioned, as it is listed as an optional accessory on the site, for $20 US. Since I wear prescription lenses [for the purposes of this test, I will wear contacts], I was happy to see that this was being addressed. There is a clear, plastic insert on the top of the nose bridge, which when removed, allows for insertion of the optional Optical Clip [see photo below]. The clip comes with blank lenses and will need to be taken to the purchaser's eye doctor for prescription lenses. I don't know how prescription lenses in the Optical Clip would affect fogging issues, but the adjustable nose system is supposed to help with this.

Julbo Race Sunglasses
View of Race Optical Clip insert


I do wish more documentation accompanied the Race sunglasses, although their customer support team did answer my email query within an hour, and was very helpful.

TRYING IT OUT

I brought the Julbo Race Sunglasses to work the next day and tried them so I could check out the photochromic lenses and how quickly they'd change color from inside to outside [and visa-versa]. Inside, the lenses were light brown, almost orange in color. They weren't very mirrored from the front; people could see my eyes behind the lenses. When I stepped outside into full sunlight, the lenses almost immediately darkened, so that I didn't experience any "light shock" to my eyes as they adjusted to the brightness. The lenses also became mirrored from the front; no one could see my eyes very well. There was no distortion of objects within my field of view, and I was able to see extremely well. Shadows weren't too dark and bright areas were toned down so I could make out details without squinting.

The nose piece, temples and ends of the ear stems are padded with an elastomer product that cushions and absorbs shock. These, along with the very light weight of the Race sunglasses make them very easy on the skin -- I almost couldn't feel them.

TESTING STRATEGY

Three to four times a week, I take day hikes usually averaging 3 to 5 Miles [5 km - 8 km]. At least once a week, I hit the trail for some trail running. On weekends, I try to get in at least one long hike in the state forest system near home. I plan to wear the Julbo Race sunglasses for a majority of these hikes, when appropriate [when sunny] and on social outings at the beach, around town, while driving my car and while doing things out in my yard. Although I wear corrective lenses, I have recently gotten a new pair of contacts that work very well with my eyes and seem to have allowed them to overcome problems with dryness I've experienced before. I am curious to see how the Race sunglasses do with balancing out humidity and yet keeping wind from entering the eye area -- an issue I've had problems with when biking [both motorcycle and bicycle] and when running.

Additionally, I will be testing the Julbo Race Sunglasses to see if they fog up or become unbearably steamy when exiting from air conditioning into humidity [exiting a building or my vehicle].

I will also report on anything else uncovered during testing.

SUMMARY

Thus far, I have been pleasantly surprised by the Julbo Race Sunglasses. They fit well, are very lightweight, change color quickly, and have a lot of features built-in that were very well thought out. I look forward to field testing these and finding out if these features really do work.


FIELD REPORT
July 27, 2007

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've worn the Julbo Race Sunglasses throughout the Orlando Metro area on a daily basis, during daytime hours while we suffered a long, dry spell and then also during the end of the dry spell where we have been pummeled by daily severe thunderstorms and skin-melting humidity. I've worn them on my day hikes three to five times a week, and on some trail runs one to three times a week. Our temperatures have averaged at 93 degrees F [33.89 C] with extremely high humidity, which makes it feel like well over 100F [37.78 C].

I also wore them while on a three-day trip to Savannah, Georgia, where the heat and humidity had me threatening to shave my head.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The sunglasses have been very comfortable. Even in the humidity we've been experiencing, the lenses don't usually even give a hint of fogging up. The nose system allows me to move the frames a bit further from my eyebrows so as to keep heat from building up inside and to keep any sweat on my brow from coming into contact with the lenses.

The only time I do experience fogging is when I exit our air-conditioned building at work out into the heat and humidity. The lenses fog for less than a minute and then clear right up. This does not occur when exiting an air-conditioned vehicle out into the heat and humidity, though. The reason for the difference could be that the temperature inside the building at work is kept at a level akin to a meatpacking plant.

The sunglass stems poke out a bit past my head in the back, which does not bother me at all. I have a very small head, so I was surprised at how well the Julbo Race Sunglasses fit. They fit snugly and don't bounce up and down on the bridge of my nose when I'm hiking or running. Although the nose system when deployed, does keep some sweat from coming into contact with the lenses, my head sweats profusely during physical activity and I do have to wipe them down quite often. And even though it's a pain to have water drops on your lenses, the sunglasses do a great job of keeping rain out of my eyes while I'm on the trail and a big thunder boomer hits.

The sunglass lenses transition very quickly from light to dark and back again, making it unnecessary to remove them when entering a building from the bright outdoors. I don't even notice the transition taking place, which helps with eye strain.

Light - Inside
Julbo Race - Inside


Dark - Outside
Julbo Race - Outside

SUMMARY

The Julbo Race Sunglasses have performed wonderfully during the testing period so far. I have experienced minimal fogging, they fit well and are very comfortable. They're light-weight, don't bounce on my nose when I'm moving and they don't fall off when I bend over. I have been extremely happy with them.

CONTINUED TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue wearing the Julbo Race Sunglasses on my daily hikes, trail runs, to and from work and around town. I will report further on my findings in the Long Term Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT
September 26, 2007

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have continued to wear the Julbo Race Sunglasses daily throughout the Orlando Metro area. Having located a little-known [and not maintained] trailhead for the Hal Scott Nature Preserve in my own subdivision, I've been taking turns hiking and biking on the very rugged and often-times marshy trails in there.

The weather has been very muggy lately, with high humidity levels and temperatures between 88 F [31.1 C] to 95 F [35 C]. Late afternoon thunderstorms have been the norm and I get caught in them frequently.

I wear the glasses while driving home from work [it's too dark to wear them in the morning], and I also wear them while doing yard work.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Race sunglasses are still performing excellently, with no visible degradation to the frames or lenses. None of the molded elastomer pieces have come off and the stems are still solidly attached to the frame. I rarely use the head strap, as the wraparound shape of the sunglasses keeps them firmly clamped to my head, without any tightness or pressure. The glasses are very light and they don't press on the bridge of my nose or press against my temples. I wish my prescription sunglasses fit and felt like the Race.

I occasionally experience slight fogging, but have noticed it usually only occurs during times of extremely high outdoor humidity and I'm exiting an air-conditioned building. My eyeballs practically fog over when I exit my office to the outdoors on some days. Out on the trail, they only fogged once while I was riding my bike and it was just after a downpour. The air rushing by as I rode coupled with the hot moisture coming up from the ground caused a slight bit of fogging near the inside corner of both eyes, near my nose. This cleared up after I adjusted the nose piece to allow for more air flow.

The Race sunglasses are not safety glasses, but they've served well while I've biked on trails and while I've weed whacked my yard. They've kept debris thrown up by the trimmer from getting into my eyes. They also worked well when I was working with some fiberglass insulation [not a suggested use]. I wore a mask, long sleeves and gloves, but didn't have adequate eye protection. I wore the Julbo Race sunglasses and didn't suffer any problems.

I've cleaned the glasses and lenses with mild soap and warm to hot water, depending on the degree of crud I needed to remove. They have not stained and the lenses are not scratched or discolored. I use a special cloth from an eyeglass store to clean and wipe the lenses.

SUMMARY

In all, I have enjoyed utilizing the Julbo Race Sunglasses. The lenses transition very quickly from dark to light and back; they fit comfortably; they rarely fog and have mechanics in place to increase air flow if needed. They offer excellent eye protection. They also look pretty spiffy.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use these sunglasses. I am also planning to purchase the optional Optical Clip and will have my eye doctor fit them with lenses for my prescription. That way, I can wear them whether I have my contacts on or not. They will continue to be my sunglass of choice, whether on the trail, in my car or out in my garden.

This concludes my Long Term Report. Many thanks to Julbo and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Julbo Race Sunglasses.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.


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