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Reviews > Eye Protection and Binoculars > Sun Glasses > Julbo Run Sunglasses > Test Report by Chad E. Fike

JULBO RUN SUNGLASSES
TEST SERIES BY CHAD EMERSON FIKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 08, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Emerson Fike
EMAIL: chadfike"at"hotmail"dot"com
AGE: 36
LOCATION: Oakland, Maryland USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have gone camping, usually very close to home, since my teens but only started seriously backpacking around age 30. I do mostly weekend trips and often take dayhikes. My backpacking experience has been mostly in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. Each trip has been a learning experience about techniques and equipment. I try to balance weight, durability, and cost with my gear choices.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Julbo Run
October 21, 2008
Manufacturer: Julbo
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.julbousa.com
MSRP: US $160.00
Listed Weight: Not provided
Measured Sunglasses Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Measured Case Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g)
Frame Color: Grey/Orange
Warranties: "Lenses in NXT are offered with a lifetime guarantee against breakage" "All glasses have a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship"


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Julbo Run sunglasses and a hinged plastic case arrived inside a cardboard box marked "Julbo, Optical solutions for action sport". The interior of the dark and light grey case is lined with a soft felt-like material in the areas that contact the lenses. Two small brochures were included detailing some of the features of the sunglasses. The Julbo website advertises the following: "Developed with the input of professional runners and mountain bike riders, Run is light and aerodynamic - with the strength to handle your speed on the trail."

Interior view
INTERIOR VIEW
The frames feel solid and thick but still have a slight bit of flex. They are dark grey with a gold symbol that appears to be a very stylized "J" on each temple. The "shock absorbent temples and nose pads that can handle the technicalities of any trail" are both bright orange. These parts are comprised of a soft rubber-like material and I suppose that is what makes them "shock absorbent". The orange nose pad is not very visible when the glasses are worn and only a small amount of orange is visible on the exterior of the frame around the ears. "Run" is written on the left inside frame and "Made in France" on the right interior. The frames open smoothly, if rather stiffly, and stay open and closed securely. The frames appear a slight bit twisted; when the glasses are opened and placed on a table the end of the right side ear piece touches the surface while the left side ear piece hovers slightly above the table.

The lenses themselves are a somewhat amber color and have a slightly reflective finish. The curved lenses seem to provide a large amount of coverage. The left lens has a small non-removable "Zebra" decal in small grey letters in the top corner. Upon close inspection there appears to be a slight bubble under the "Z" and "b" of this decal. A removable sticker on the same lens indicates the lenses are 'Zebra antifog photochromic". The Julbo website explains that the "Zebra Photochromic Lenses: Ultra Reactive NXT…darkens or lightens depending on the light's intensity" with "a very quick activation time: the lens reaches 50% of its capacity in just 28 seconds". The website also reveals that the antifog coating is "directly integrated via laser" and "prevents condensation and guarantees maximum durability". Also revealed is that "all Julbo lenses are optical category 1, guaranteeing 100% protection against UVA, B and C radiation". One of the brochures provided with the glasses provides more details about NXT: "a revolutionary innovation in optical polymer technology" that was "first developed for military use to meet a specific need: provide a bulletproof material that is transparent, light, durable and capable of offering the maximum protection". I hope I do not find out how bulletproof the lenses are.


READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

front view
FRONT VIEW
The brochures included with the glasses provide some information about proper care and use of the product. The recommended maintenance and storage routine is to: "wash in soapy water, wipe dry with a soft cloth after rinsing. Keep lenses free from scratches to maintain quality compliance" While claiming that the NXT lenses are "virtually unbreakable", the brochure does caution that the eyewear "may not be designed to be safety eyewear and should not be considered a permanent shield against eye injury." A table is also provided showing the recommended usage categories for the glasses. The Julbo Run glasses are rated from category 2 to 4. Category 2 is rated at "Average Sunlight", Category 3 as "Strong Sunlight" and Category 4 is "Exceptionally strong sunlight. Not suitable for drivers and road users".

TRYING IT OUT

I have not used the Julbo's in the field so my initial thoughts are only based on wearing them around the house. Although they look and feel a bit bulky I think the style is growing on me. They seem to fit snug against my head but since the earpieces do not curve behind my ears I wonder if the glasses will slide forward. The nosepiece does not really feel like it fits very securely against my nose and the glasses feel like they sit rather low on my face. I did not have any problem with my eyelashes rubbing the lenses or any immediate discomfort from the product. I have not really tried out the photochromic qualities of the lenses but a quick experiment proved the concept works. I wrapped a black cloth around one lens and then placed the glasses in the direct sunlight. When I removed the cloth after a few minutes there was a clear contrast with the darker lens that had not been covered. I tried the glasses on with two different bike helmets to verify the claim that the glasses are "Helmet-friendly: fits comfortably under any helmet."

SUMMARY

The Julbo Run sunglasses appear solid and well made. The large coverage lenses seem very clear with no distortion, scuffs or scratches. The "Zebra" decal in one lens has a few small bubbles but it is only visible on close inspection. The frame appears just slightly twisted but it is not noticeable when worn.

This concludes my Initial Report on the Julbo Run sunglasses The Field Report will be amended onto this report in around two months time and will include field testing data. Please check back then for further information on the Julbo Run.

Thanks to Julbo and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

January 9, 2009

The majority of testing took place in the forested terrain of the Appalachian Mountains including Herrington Manor State Park, Garrett State Forest and Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland, and the Flatrock and Roaring Plains section of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Elevations ranged from around 2500 to 4100 ft (762 to 1250 m). Opportunities for testing were somewhat limited due to short fall days and several rainy, dreary weekends. When the sun was out I was able to test the sunglasses during 6 mountain bike rides, 5 cross country ski trips and one dayhike. Temperatures and conditions varied greatly during the test period. The warmest test temperature occurred during a 70 F (21 C) bike ride while the coldest test temperature occurred while skiing in temperatures around 17 F (-8 C). Most other biking was done in temperatures between 48 to 62 F (9 to 17 C) while the skiing and hike occurred in temperatures below or just above freezing. Except for the snow already on the ground and a stray snowflake or two, no precipitation was encountered while testing.


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I really like the Julbo Run's Zebra Photochromic Lenses. The lenses are very clear with no distortion. I find grey colored lenses to be a bit dreary sometimes, but even on cloudy days these amber colored lenses never gave me that feeling. Some of my bike riding occurred when the sun was beginning to set and the woods were filled with shadows, but even then the lenses never seemed too dark. I like to wear sunglasses when biking for protection from sticks and mud as well as the sun, so I appreciated that I did not have to remove the glasses during late evening rides. Conversely, the lenses were dark enough for use when skiing under bright sunny skies with lots of reflection off of new white snow. I did not really notice the lenses changing color, they just seemed well adapted to whatever conditions were present. I did not notice any lag in transition time even when the sun went behind clouds or I traveled through darker sections of woods. I am surprised that the usage categories provided with the glasses indicates the lenses are "not suitable for drivers and road users". I never felt the glasses were too dark and felt comfortable driving to and from the trailhead.

The antifog coating seems to work reasonably well. I did not notice any fogging while biking or hiking, but some did occur did while skiing. Once when I bent over to adjust my boots a small bit of fog appeared but quickly cleared once I resumed skiing. On the other hand, during other occasions when I stopped in the middle of skiing to take a short break the glasses remained clear. A few times after my ski run was over and I was back in the vehicle heading for home some fogging occurred around the top of the lenses near the nosepiece. I was rather warm by this time and the fog cleared when I removed my sweaty hat.

I have had no problems with the durability of the lenses or frames. The lenses seem to clean easily and I see no scratches or flaws. Likewise, I have had no problems with the frames themselves. I do not see any wear and they feel solid. They still open smoothly and stay open securely. I have been very careful with the glasses and have always returned them to their plastic case as soon as I was finished wearing them.

I am not as satisfied with the fit of the glasses. Overall they seem to be a bit too big and have a tendency to slide forward on my nose. The nonadjustable nosepiece feels a bit too wide for my nose. The earpieces do not really curve behind my ears much to assist in holding the glasses in place. The design appears to rely more on the tension of the earpieces against the sides of the head for a snug fit. When biking I often found myself pushing the glasses back up after they had slid forward. The earpieces seem to protrude a bit beyond the back of my head. In cold weather when I wore a beanie type hat pulled down over top my ears, the hat seemed to push these protruding earpieces forward a bit. This caused the glasses to either slide forward down my nose or to float a bit above my nose. Therefore, when wearing such a hat I usually put it on first and then wore the glasses on the outside of the hat. This alleviated the problem of the glasses sliding forward on my nose and the glasses actually felt more secure and comfortable when worn in this fashion. The frames sometimes feel a bit twisted since they contact one side of my nose a little more than the other. (Or perhaps the frames are straight and my head is a little twisted). I can usually alleviate this by moving the glasses around a bit. The style and feel of the glasses is a bit heavier and thicker than I would prefer. If given the chance to try on these glasses prior to testing I think I would have noticed that the fit feels a bit too big. Therefore I do not think these are necessarily problems with the glasses or frames themselves, but rather more my individual fit preferences. I have not noticed any rubbing or sore spots from wearing the Julbo Run sunglasses.

SUMMARY

I really like the color and clarity of the Zebra Photochromic lenses in the Julbo Run sunglasses. The reactive lenses have adapted to everything from bright sunny days to wooded evening trails. I have had no problems with the durability of the lenses or frames. I am not as satisfied with the fit of the frames. They seem a bit large for me and have a tendency to slide down my nose.

This concludes my Field Report on the Julbo Run sunglasses. The Long Term Report will be amended onto this report in around two months time and will include further field testing data. Please check back then for further information on the Julbo Run.

Thanks to Julbo and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

March 8, 2009 Julbo Run

The final phase of testing took place in the forested terrain of the Appalachian Mountains including Herrington Manor State Park, Garrett State Forest and Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland, and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Elevations ranged from around 2500 to 4100 ft (762 to 1250 m). The Julbo Run sunglasses were worn during nineteen cross country ski trips, one mountain bike ride and one dayhike. The ski trips usually lasted between one to three hours. Six of those trips were evening ski runs during which I only wore the Julbo's during the first half hour or so before sunset. I was on the trail for about 4.5 hours during the dayhike. Most testing occurred at temperatures below freezing. The lowest test temperature was 15 F (-9 C) and the highest was 50 F (10 C) except for an unseasonably high temperature near 70 F (21 C) that occurred during the six mile mountain bike ride.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My favorite aspect of the Julbo Run sunglasses continues to be the Zebra Photochromic Lenses. I tested during several bright clear days with plenty of reflecting snow cover but never wished for a darker lens. The wide, curved lens provides plenty of coverage. I also tested during some late evening ski runs and under cloudy and snowy skies. Even during those conditions when sunglasses were not really necessary the Julbo's adapted well to the conditions and never seemed too dark. During the dayhike, the skies were dark and cloudy with some fog. This was one of the few times that I felt the glasses were dark enough to be a bit distracting, but were it not for the test I doubt I would have worn sunglasses at all.

I noticed a few more instances of fogging during this test period when stopping for a break during skiing. The fogging was minor and cleared quickly once I was moving again. I try to ski at a brisk pace and usually become a bit sweaty, so fogging is somewhat expected. During my dayhike in temperatures near freezing there were a few occasions when my breath seemed to momentarily create a bit of fog on the exterior of the lenses. Overall it did seem the antifog coating made a difference. It did not reduce fogging completely, but in similar conditions in the past I have experienced worse fogging on pairs of untreated sunglasses.

The sunglasses have continued to be durable. The hinges still open and close with the same solid feel as when they were new. The bits of white lettering ("Run", "Made In France" and the model number) on the inside of the frames has not faded or scratched. During my initial report I noted that the "Zebra" decal on the left lens had a very small bubble beneath a few letters. I wondered if the lettering might peel but the decal appears unchanged. The soft orange rubber nose pad and temple inserts are still securely attached to the harder plastic frame material. It does appear that the orange nose pad has faded slightly to a more yellow shade in some areas. Some very small areas of fading are barely noticeable on the orange rubber temple inserts. Perhaps this is a reaction to sweat. The nosepiece was always directly in contact with my skin while the less faded temples were more often worn on top of a hat and not exposed to my skin. Other than this slight fading the frames still look as good as when I first received them. While closely inspecting the lenses during the writing of this final report I discovered one small 1/8-inch (2 mm) long scratch on the interior of the right lens. I had not noticed the scratch before and I am not sure how it occurred. It is imperceptible while wearing the glasses. These glasses are more expensive than any I have ever purchased. I tested with that thought in mind, being very careful with the glasses and always putting them back in their case when not in use. I carried the case with me in my fanny pack or backpack during all testing. The case still functions fine and is in like new condition.

My biggest disappointment with the glasses continues to be the fit. Temperatures during this test period were mostly cold, so I continued to usually wear a beanie-type hat with the glasses worn on the outside of the hat. This allowed the glasses to fit more snugly. During the times I did not wear the glasses over a hat I found they still tended to slide forward down my nose. During my bike ride I often found myself readjusting the glasses. I have not noticed any rubbing or sore spots from wearing the Julbo Run sunglasses. These frames were not the best fit for my face and they always felt a bit bulky. I consider this a matter of personal preference rather than a defect.

SUMMARY

The Julbo Run sunglasses seem well made and remained durable throughout this test. I am very impressed with the Zebra Photochromic Lenses. They are clear and adapted well to various conditions. I was not as satisfied with the frames. They felt bulky and seemed a bit large and often slid forward down my nose.

CONTINUED USE

I am undecided about my future use of the Julbo Run sunglasses. The lenses are some of the nicest I have ever used so I would gladly continue using them but the frames do not fit me very well. I will be more likely to use the glasses in cold conditions when I can get a tighter fit by wearing them over top of a hat. For warm weather use, the glasses slide forward more than I would like.

This concludes my Long Term Report on the Julbo Run sunglasses.

Thanks to Julbo and BackpackGearTest.Org for the opportunity to test this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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