JULBO RUN SUNGLASSES
Report - October 30, 2008
Field Report - January 12,
Long Term Report - March
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 170 lb (77
West Virginia, U.S.A.
a long-time interest, I started
backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single
overnights. Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and
backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have
a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little
200 mi (300 km) in the last two years. My usual shelter is a
occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is
minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without
warmth, comfort, or safety.
Initial Report - October 30, 2008
Year of manufacture: 2008
Advertised weight: not available
Glasses: 40 g (1.4 oz)
Case: 64 g (2.3 oz)
MSRP: US$ 160.00
The Run model sunglasses are part of Julbo's 'Speed' line. The
manufacturer describes them as being "developed with the input of
professional runners and mountain bike riders", "light and aerodynamic
- with the strength to handle your speed on the trail".
I will certainly agree they are light and aerodynamic appearing.
The lenses curve inward from the nose to the side of the temple and
offer a great range of vision - much more than the normal more or less
straight in front of the face style sunglasses I typically wear.
They appear much as I expected from the website, other than I could not
view the blue color from the photos currently on the Julbo
The shiny black frames have a somewhat squared off appearance, with the
front dipping slightly at the top and more at the bottom in the temple
area. They measure close to 1.75 in (4.5 cm) high at the center
of the lens section, and about 5.5 in (14 cm) from temple to
temple. The sunglasses curve dramatically which is especially
noticeable when they are folded, measuring about 2.5 in (6.5 cm) from
the center of the nose piece to the outside of the folded earpieces.
The front piece of the frames come to a v-shaped point in the hinge
area and the earpieces have a corresponding inverted v-shape.
This is a very interesting shape to me since I am used to a more or
less straight hinged area in my sunglasses. I wonder if the
unusual shape will help provide stability and keep the Run's from
coming apart at the hinge, which I commonly find happens in inexpensive
sunglasses. The earpieces are nearly an inch (2.5 cm) wide at the
temple and taper slightly back for about 1.75 in (4.5 cm) then taper
sharply at the bottom to a width of around 0.5 in (1.3 cm) getting a
little narrower in the area that goes over my ear and then widening a
bit behind the ear. The actual hinge that connects the earpieces
to the front is only about 0.25 in (0.6 cm) wide and fits into a recess
in the front of the frames. The hinge is held by a small screw in
the bottom, which seems unusual to me as I am used to my sunglass
hinges having the screw at the top.
The earpieces have a 3 in (7.6 cm) long section of bright sky blue
rubbery cushioning along the underside and lower inside of the ear
section. The same material cushions the inside of the nose
bridge. The bright blue color was a little jarring to me when I
first saw the sunglasses, but the way it is positioned it is not very
noticeable when the sunglasses are worn. The Julbo logo in
silver-colored metal is inset into the outside of each earpiece near
the temple. The Julbo name and logo are embossed on the inside of
the right earpiece with a serial number and the country of manufacture
(France) printed in white lettering above the embossing. The
letters 'CE' are embossed on the inside of the left temple and the
model name 'Run' is imprinted in stylized grayish white writing above
and slightly left of the embossing.
testing the Zebra photochromic lenses, which have a slightly iridescent
look to them and are a yellowish smoke color. The word Zebra is
imprinted in grayish white in the upper left corner of the left
lens. The Zebra lenses lighten and darken according to the
intensity of the light they are being worn in and according to Julbo
"can change from a light transmission rate of 40.7% to just
6.6%". According to Julbo they change from category 2 to category
4 relatively quickly, up to 50% of capacity in just 28 seconds.
The lenses also have an anti-fog coating, integrated via laser.
Julbo has a good bit of interesting information on their various lenses
available on their website. The Zebra model is primarily
recommended for mountain biking, cross-country walking, running, and
climbing. According to the website all of their lenses offer 100%
protection against UVA, B, & C radiation. Listed advantages
of the Zebra lenses are "High definition vision, superior optical
quality, optimum transparency; light and unbreakable; lasting strength
and resistance to solvents". The Zebra lenses are constructed of
NXT material and the website also provides some interesting material on
the standards in testing this material meets, including resisting
impact from a dropped projectile and a steel ball bearing traveling at
velocity. I won't go into details here as this material can be
read on their website, however suffice it to say I am fairly assured
these lenses won't shatter from any impact I am likely to
encounter. They are also have a lifetime guarantee against
The Run sunglasses came in a light weight grey plastic case that is
shaped rather like a creme flip - thicker in the center, curved on the
side that opens, and relatively straight on the hinged side, and with
rounded ends. The case is translucent on the top and opaque on
the bottom. The bottom has a layer of mesh foam for the glasses
to rest on, and a soft felt like material in a sunglass shape lines the
outer edge, providing a soft material for the lenses to lay
against. The case is quite a bit larger than normal glass cases
to accommodate the curved shape of the Run sunglasses.
Trying them out:
first concern about the Julbo Run sunglasses was whether they would fit
well. After taking them out of the case and unfolding them, I was
happy to find that they are sized perfectly for my face. I
haven't yet let anyone else try them on, so I'm not sure if this is
merely a happy coincidence or whether the slight flex that the Runs
have enables them to fit a wide variety of face sizes. I suspect
it may be the latter, but I'll probably let a few friends try them on
later and see if they fit them well also.
I was immediately struck by just how comfortable these sunglasses
feel. The rubbery sections at the nose and earpieces feel soft
against these pressure points, and the temples fit firmly without being
tight or constricting.
In addition to the case, the Runs came with a couple of informational
brochures, printed in several languages. One explains the NXT
material and that it was developed for military use as a bulletproof
material. It's unclear to me whether the Zebra lenses are
bulletproof or merely that the material, in some configurations (i.e.
depending on formulation and thickness) can be bulletproof. I
don't think I'll be shooting the sunglasses to check this out - I think
that is well beyond the scope of testing for backpacking use!
A second, slightly larger brochure gives information on the standards
that the sunglasses comply with and lists them as "sunglasses for
general use" and warns that they are not safe for direct solar
viewing. It also gives information on category ratings and the
appropriate use for each category. The Zebra lens is variable,
going from Category 2 (use in average sunlight) to Category 4
(exceptionally strong sunlight - not suitable for drivers and road
users). At first this made me wonder if the Run sunglasses with
Zebra lenses should be used for driving, however due to the way it is
made and the fact that my Jeep Grand Cherokee has tinted windows, it
seems they should be fine as the lenses should mainly be more lightly
tinted as I am driving. Based on this, I gave them a try on a few
short trips, and have find I really like driving in them. They
are more lightly tinted than my old sunglasses and I can see the road
and peripheral areas along the road more clearly. The wide,
curved lenses open up a large field of vision and they are distortion
free. Everything looks very clear, and so far, glare-free.
Information on cleaning and storing the sunglasses is included in the
larger brochure. The sunglasses can be washed in soapy water,
rinsed, and dried with a soft cloth. They should be kept free
from scratches to maintain quality. I'm pretty happy that Julbo
included such a nice storage case as it will be a lot easier to keep
the sunglasses away from items that might damage them.
I also have worn the Julbo Run sunglasses on a short hiking trip of
about 3 mi (5 km) with a good friend and her granddaughter. It
was a fairly sunny day, but we kept hiking in and out of tree
cover. I found the Runs very comfortable to wear and they
provided ample protection in the sunny open field and yet changed to a
light enough protection level in the shaded areas that I was still able
to see clearly. The sunglasses stayed in place on my face quite
well. The hike included a lot of ups and downs, but with my
friend's granddaughter to think about, we took it at a pretty easy pace
and rested a lot, so we did not build up a lot of sweat. It will
be interesting to see if they stay in place as well on a faster, harder
hike. I found the sunglasses were comfortable enough to wear
almost the whole hike. I pushed them up into my hair a few times,
more from habit than anything else, as I am used to needing to push my
old sunglasses out of the way in shady areas in order to see
clearly. Each time I noticed what I had inadvertently done, I put
them back in place and found I could still see just as well.
So far I am very pleased with the Julbo Run sunglasses. I like
the way the wide lenses provide good distortion free vision even in the
peripheral area, their light weight, and the way the lenses vary from
light protection to heavier protection based on changing light
levels. They are comfortable to wear and fit well. I did
not observe any flaws or irregularities and they appear to be of good
quality materials and design.
The included case is a little large and takes up quite a bit of room in
my purse, but provides an easy and convenient way to carry them in a
protected manner and I am pleased it was included with the
sunglasses. It is an excellent fit for the Runs, and will save
me the hassle of trying to find an appropriately sized and shaped case.
More to come:
I look forward to testing the Julbo Run sunglasses as fall turns to
winter and the leafy deciduous forests I often hike in turn bare and
allow in more sunlight. It will be interesting to see how they
protect in various light conditions, on more strenuous hikes, and in
wet or snowy conditions. I'll be monitoring how well the
photochromic lenses adapt as I move from different environs, how well
the anti-fog coating works in cold weather, and how well the sunglasses
stay in place with more rigorous activity.
Field Report - January 12, 2009
In late October I the Julbo Run sunglasses on a 6 mi (9.5 km)
backpacking trip on part of the
Kanawha Trace Trail. The trail varied from a wide grassy and
gently sloping path though open meadows to rocky, root-filled dirt
single track under a hardwood forest, with some
steep ascents and descents. Temperatures were in the high 40
F (9 C) range during the day, falling into the high 30 F (4 C) range
the night. Weather conditions were partly sunny with intermittent
In mid-November I wore the Run sunglasses on a 24 mi (39 km)
2-day hike of
the North Fork
Mountain Trail in eastern West Virginia. Since the mid-point of
the hike was accessible by automobile and there is no water source on
this trail, this was broken up into two day hikes with a base camp in
the middle. Temperatures ranged from 30 to 50 F
(-1 to 10 C), and there were intermittent breezy gusts. The trail
was fairly varied, with some section of relatively smooth dirt and
others with a lot of rocks and roots, and several hundred feet (a few
hundred meters) of elevation gain and loss. Most of the trail was
through hardwood forest, with most of the leaves having already fallen
for the season. The sky was mostly overcast both days.
mid-December I wore the Run sunglasses in the Wolf Gap/Big
Schloss area along the border of Virginia and West Virginia on an
overnight backpacking trip of approximately 9 mi (14 km), with almost 7
mi (11 km) of that being the first day. It was definitely a
frosty trip, with temperatures hovering just above freezing during the
day and falling to around 20 F (-7 C) during the night. The trail was
mainly rocky, and elevation gain and loss
was several hundred feet (a few hundred meters). The trees were
coated in ice, and conditions were very damp and humid. The
icicles visible in the background of the photo to the right were common
along the trail on this trip.
I have also worn them on four additional short day hikes of
approximately 3 mi (5 km) on either trails or old semi-maintained
county roads near home in western West Virginia, with elevation
gain/loss of a few hundred feet (around 100 meters). All of these
hikes involved bright sunny conditions.
I've also continued to use the Run sunglasses successfully for
driving. Since my job involves a lot of short travel, I would
estimate I've worn them approximately 50 hours of driving time.
Use and Conclusions:
On the Kanawha Trace trail overnight I wore the Run sunglasses nearing
the entire time I was hiking. For the most part they stayed
clear, but I did have trouble with them fogging up when we stopped near
the top of some climbs for short breathers. A quick wipe on my
shirt tail cleared the moisture up for the most part, and when I was
actively hiking they did not fog up. The sunglasses were very
comfortable to wear, and stayed in place well. Although I
couldn't tell the lenses were adjusting to the differing amounts of
sunlight as the skies either clouded over or cleared, my vision was
always clear and my eyes never felt strained or overly shaded.
On the North Fork Mountain trail, I wore the sunglasses for most of the
hike, but put them away in a case inside my daypack for parts of my
hike since it was so overcast that my vision was actually more
comfortable without the sunglasses on than with them, especially when I
was taking in some of the fabulous long distance views offered along
this trail. Much of the hike had either a light breeze or gusty
wind, and I did not have any trouble with the Run sunglasses fogging.
On the Wolf Gap/Big Schloss trip I had a lot of trouble with the Run
sunglasses fogging up, and it was so damp that it was difficult to keep
them wiped clean. The one really good thing about wearing
the sunglasses on this trip is that there were a lot of ice covered
branches across the trail, and the Run sunglasses helped protect my
eyes from being poked or scratched by the overhanging branches.
Finally however, about 3 mi (5 km) into the trip I got annoyed enough
at the fogging and moisture on the sunglasses that I put
them in their case and tucked them away in the hip belt pocket of my
GoLite Quest pack.
I am a little disappointed that the glasses have fogged as much as they
have, however they do seem to do better for the most part than other
sunglasses I've worn. Most of the time that I experienced fogging
was during breaks from strenuous uphill hiking, although they fogged
more often on the December trips when trail conditions were so damp and
I've been really pleased with the fit. Even when I was sweaty,
and in the damp conditions on the Wolf Gap/Big Schloss trip the glasses
stayed in place very well. They've also been very
comfortable. I'm particularly pleased with the ear pieces.
I've often had other ear pieces that irritated me after wearing them
for some time, but I've never experienced this with the Run sunglasses,
even when I've worn them continuously for several hours.
I also like how the lenses adjust to be comfortable in lower light
levels and in brighter sunlight. The transition has never been
noticeable, but my vision has always stayed comfortable. My
vision seems to be a little brighter and clearer than with other
sunglasses I've used under all of the conditions I've used them in.
They've also performed quite well for driving. This may be due to
the tinted windows of my Jeep which keep the glasses at a lighter level
than in direct sunlight.
The provided case has been very handy, although I had a bit of trouble
opening it on my December trip. I think the closure got overly
compressed in my hipbelt pocket and the bottom of the case slid in too
far past the little tab that normally stops it. This was
compounded by my cold fumble-fingered hands and it took a few tries to
get it open. I have not had that experience either before or
after this trip, so hopefully it was a fluke. I like the way the
case protects the sunglasses, and so far I have not noticed any
scratches on the lenses or the frames. I am typically hard on
sunglasses and scratch them up within a few weeks, so I'm very pleased
with both the durability of the lenses and the protective properties of
Although the anti-fog coating of the Run sunglasses has been less than
optimal in my experience, overall I am happy with the performance of
these sunglasses. The fit has been very good; snug enough to stay
in place and comfortable enough that I can wear them several hours in
They seem to be a good all-around sunglass for me for all purposes,
since I've been able to use them quite comfortably for driving as well
as for hiking.
Long Term Report - March 10, 2009
Since January I have primarily worn the Julbo Run sunglasses on a
series of short day hikes. These have included approximately
eight 3-5 mi (5-8 km) hikes in a variety of conditions ranging from
around 20 - 60 F (7 - 16 C), in sunshine, light rain, and light to
heavy snow. The trails have primarily been either single track
rock and root strewn hardwood forest trails or semi-maintained one lane
dirt county roads. Since there is no leaf cover this time of
year, whenever the sun was out it was very bright.
On one hike in the Kanawha State Forest, I experienced a wide mixture
of conditions from bright glaring sun to wind lashed snow in the same
trip. On a trip to Charles Fork lake the skies were a mix of
overcast, bright sun, and light rain near the end of the hike. On
most other trips the skies were a mix of cloudy overcast sections
interspersed with periods of bright sunshine.
I've also worn the Julbo Run sunglasses approximately 40 days while
driving, often for several hours at a stretch. I would estimate
I've worn the Sunglasses an additional 80 hours of drive time, and
around 12 hours hiking time.
Use and Conclusions:
sunglasses have continued to perform very well for the most part.
They have always stayed in place on my face quite well, and I always
felt the lenses provided a comfortable level of protection for the
light levels. The changing levels of the photochromic lenses are
not noticeable, but it is obvious that they do change because they do
not seem too dark in dim conditions, yet are protective enough for
brighter conditions. They have continued to be equally as
suitable for me for driving as for hiking, although driving is not a
use that the manufacturer suggests for this model.
The only real problem I have continued to experience is that they do
fog up during periods of heavy activity in colder conditions.
This is most noticeable in sub-freezing and humid weather when it gets
pretty annoying, with moderate fogging occurring part way up most steep
uphill sections and obscuring my vision until I stop and wipe the
glasses. Under these conditions I have often found I have to wipe
the glasses repeatedly every 5 to 10 minutes, until a leveler section
with lighter activity occurs. The photo to the right is during a
humid and snowy hike in the Kanawha State Forest, when I experienced a
good bit of fogging. Under drier cold conditions the fogging is
generally lighter and occurs primarily when stopped after an uphill
section, and is usually manageable by merely moving on and letting the
natural wind movement clear the fog.
Under humid conditions the fog actually seems worse than other glasses
I have worn. I think this is because of the way the lenses and
frames wrap more around the edges of my face than the more open glasses
with smaller ear pieces that I normally wear.
However I noted one real positive that I had not thought about
previously on one hike at Charles Fork Lake on a 20 F (7 C) day with
light winds. The way the glasses fit, they really
provide a lot of warmth for my face in cold windy conditions. My
face was a lot warmer when I was wearing the glasses than when I pushed
them up to the top of my head or removed them. I also noticed
this effect on several other hikes.
A few of the trails I have hiked lately could have used some trail
maintenance, and the glasses have also come in handy as eye protection
on these overgrown trails, preventing encounters with stray eye-level
tree branches on more than one occasion.
Until the last week, the glasses remained clear and scratch free.
A few days ago, I stuffed them in my jacket pocket instead of the case
when I took them off to go indoors, and I forgot about them being there
as I drove home. When I got out of my car, the sunglasses fell
out onto the gravel driveway and ended up with a very small
scratch. Unfortunately it is in very noticeable area and it is
now slightly annoying when I wear them. Still, I feel that the
durability has been very good, since I normally am very hard on
sunglasses scratching them up within a week or two (which is why I
normally buy inexpensive models).
I continue to really like the light weight of these sunglasses,
although I've had a few minutes of panic thinking I had lost them
somewhere because the case felt empty when in fact the sunglasses were
inside - I just could not tell from the weight. Another thing I
really like is the provided case. It's very good protection for
the light weight, and convenient to use. The only downside to the
case is that it is a little bulky and barely fits inside my GoLite
Quest hipbelt pockets.
Overall I am very happy with the performance of the Julbo Run
sunglasses. I definitely plan to use them in the future, although
I am thinking of contacting the manufacturer to see if the small
scratch can either be buffed out, or the scratched lens replaced as the
scratch is in a somewhat annoying spot slightly to the left and below
the pupil of my right eye. I can't fault the glasses for the
scratch as it came from not putting them away safely.
The fit has been excellent, the glasses stay in place very well, and
they are comfortable enough to wear for several hours at a time without
experiencing discomfort or pressure spots. The fogging I
experienced has been annoying at times, but not much more than with
other sunglasses that don't provide the wider range of vision and
greater side protection of the Run models, and it seems to be prevalent
only under certain conditions.
For me they have worked extremely well as good all around sunglasses,
and I will definitely take a look at Julbo products when it comes time
to buy another set of sunglasses.
This concludes the test series.
Thanks to Julbo and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity
test the Run sunglasses.
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant