Finding the correct lens for nordic skiing, mountain biking, or trail running can be very difficult when you are constantly transitioning in and out of the shade and the sun. Photochromatic lenses are the solution to this issue. Photochromatic lenses transition tint density to the level of UV light in their surrounding environment to lighten and darken to the appropriate level. French optics brand: Julbo has very effectively utilized this technology in their Aero glasses. In this review I will touch on performance, build quality, specifications, and value.
The performance of these glasses is where they really shine. They are probably the lightest glasses I haver ever used. You truly forget that they are on your face. The airflow with these is just absolutely unparalleled. I truly struggle to make these fog in just about any scenario. This only aids to the sensation that they aren’t even on your face. The performance of the photochromatic lenses was also more than satisfactory. They effectively transitioned through the whole rang of tints quickly and effectively, even in cold temps which can give photochromatic lenses trouble. (Photochromatic lenses are not usually suitable for driving because the windshield blocks the UV light and the lenses will go to their lightest value.)
The build quality of the Aeros was something which I struggled with from time to time. I have had no issues with the glasses but due to their extremely light weight frames they can almost feel flimsy. But in practice this is clearly not the case. The only issue which I have had is from time to time one of the clips which holds the sense in place could wiggle loose. But this was a rare occurrence and not really a big issue.
The specifications of these glasses are fairly straight forward. The frames alone weigh 32 grams (according to Julbo). When I put them on the scale they weighed in at a featherlight 25 grams. The model I tested came equipped with the photochromatic Zebra lens. These are rated for Cat 2-4. There is also a Zebra Light version available which is rated for Cat 1-3, along side several non photochromatic Cat 3 options.
As far as value goes these glasses are quite expensive. The Zebra and Zebra light versions come in at $180. The non photochromatic versions will run you $130. While these are not cheap glasses they are on par with many other options on the market. And when compared to some companies they are actually a great value. You would be hard pressed to find another pair of glasses which would outperform the Aero for less than $200. So when truly evaluating these glasses’ value based upon what they have to offer I do believe they offer a great value for anyone looking for top of the line performance sunglasses.
In conclusion the Julbo Aero is one of the best performance specific sunglasses I have had the pleasure of using. If you are looking for a pair of glasses specifically tuned and designed for maximal performance on the trails than the Julbo Aero is a great buy. What are your favorite performance sunglasses? Let me know in the comments down below!