The Julbo Aero is the most comfortable pair of sunglasses I have ever owned. The Aero has a flexible and grippy frame that wraps the contours of my face and stays put through any activity. My pair of Aeros is matched with a Category 3 polycarbonate lens that’s perfect for my usage, and is also available with a photochromic lens option for those that need it. I’ve been using the Julbo Aero for hiking, backpacking, trail running, and travel over the past year, and will share my experience in this review.
The Julbo Aero comes in at a lightweight .88oz (25g), and disappears the moment you put them on your face. You can really tell that Julbo designed the Aero “for fans of intense effort”, as the suspended lens construction is perfect for high output activities. Unlike traditional sunglasses that use a two lens design, Julbo opted for a suspended one-lens design for the Aero to allow for maximum ventilation and airflow. The frame only comes into contact with the lens at the nose bridge and on the temples. I’ve worn the Aero in humid weather, light rain, at sea level, and above 10,000ft, and have never had any fogging or vision obstruction on the lenses.
My favorite feature of the frames on the Aero is the Air Link ear stems. In the picture below, you’ll see the green and blue parts of the ear stem. The green is made from a strong and flexible plastic and the blue is made from elastomer, a squishy rubber material. This allows the ear stems to sit comfortable on my ears for 12 hour days without me every knowing they are there. These elastomer ear stem grips also keep the sunglasses in place on high speed activities like sprinting, mountain biking, and trail running. It doesn’t really matter what kind of activity I’m enjoying, these frames will always stay put.
Julbo uses the same elastomer material in the bridge of the nose on the Aero as is used on the Air Link ear stems. Julbo uses what they call 3D Nose Fit here, which is really just a flexible nose bridge that can adjust to different nose widths.
The top-line of the frame on the Aero sits flush with my eyebrows and allows very little light to filter in from above. It’s amazing how Julbo was able to do this and still allow for air to flow between the frame and the lens.
As I mentioned in my description of the Aero’s frames, Julbo designed these sunglasses with a single lens construction. This single lens provides a wide panoramic view with minimal vision obstructions from the lens. I opted for Julbo’s Spectron 3 polycarbonate lenses with a blue flash-finish. These category 3 lenses allow for 12% light transmission and have a brownish tint to accentuate relief.
You can also purchase the Aero with a Zebra Light photochromic lens. Zebra Light lenses allow for 16%-80% light transmission and are really nice for activities that include varied lighting conditions. I’ve included a few charts to help readers understand what is meant by protection category on a lens, as well as a chart explaining Julbo’s lens offerings. If you want to learn even more about Julbo lenses, I’ve created an entire post with the details.
In use, I’ve found the Aeros to be incredibly versatile. I wear them almost daily here in Southern California where we get a lot of direct sunlight with zero cloud cover. I also wore the Aero this summer while hiking the Camino Portuguese, and found the Spectron 3 lenses to handle shaded woodlands nicely, too.
The lenses on the Aero attach to the frame on the bridge of the nose and at the temples, this means there is no bottom obstruction and great airflow. Having a frame and lens combo with no lower vision obstructions is really important for fast paced activities like trail running and mountain biking. Being able to see that patch of ice, muddy root, or jagged rock at as it approaches your path is critical.
The panoramic Spectron 3 lens provides great side coverage without any obstruction of my peripheral vision. On days when I’m hitting the trail at sunset or sunrise I’m still able to keep my eyes comfortable and protected without having to jump to a full protection frame like my Explorer 2.0 or Bivouak.
I own close to 10 pairs of sunglasses, and the Julbo Aero has kept most of them in a drawer this year. The Aero’s frames are super comfortable and perform optimally in all conditions. The Spectron 3 lenses are dark enough for intense sunlight, but also versatile enough for dusk, dawn, and shaded trails. Best of all, the comfort of the Aero means that I can wear them all day. At $130, the Aero’s aren’t cheap, but I find that they are actually underpriced when compared to similarly spec’d performance sunglasses. If you’re in the market for a great pair of adventure sunglasses, you can’t go wrong with the Aero.