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Julbo Arise Sunglasses Review

I’ve purchased more cheap gas station sunglasses that anyone should in a lifetime. I love wearing sunglasses. But didn’t want to pay for them.

I worked in an outdoor gear shop in 2007 and 2008 and spent most of the money I made on buying new gear. Luckily, employees of the shop got deals on most of the items.

One of the hardest parts about working in a gear shop was the new product nights, hearing all about the latest and greatest, how amazing the products were, how all the famous athletes are using it. Then comes the pitch. Sometimes they offer discounts on items for that night only. Most of the time, it resulted in shiny new gear…. but a sad wallet.

One such night I found myself spending many times more than those gas station sunglasses are worth on yet another pair. I had lost all my other sunnies and it was time for a new set. I thought, “maybe if I spent a bit more they would last longer and I wouldn’t lose or break them?”

And that turned out to be correct.

And I became the proud owner of a pair of Julbo Nomad sunglasses with photochromic lenses. They were far and away my favourite sunglasses I’ve ever owned.

Until now.


Julbo Arise Sunglasses Review

I’m not sure if the Julbo Arise are based on any of their original models but it feels like their a cross between the old Nomad frame I had and a wayfarer style, my other favourite style.

The result in an ultralight pair of sunglasses with photochromic lenses I can wear in any conditions.

Julbo Arise with Reactiv All Around Lenses

  • TRIVEX lenses

  • 29 grams

  • Shock-absorbing nose grip

  • Category 2-4 (Visible Light Transmission 9%-20%)

  • Base : 8

  • Temple length : 135

  • Distance : 18

  • Lens depth : 44

  • $219 USD (REACTIV All Around lenses)

REACTIV All Around 2-4 Lenses

Photochromic lenses are the best lenses I’ve ever used and the Reactiv lenses from Julbo are my favourites.

All Around are photochromic, changing in the light, going from 20% visible light to just 9% visible light. I’ve used the lens in almost every conditions. They’re fine for darker overcast days all the way to bright days on the water.

The lenses quickly change depending on the light and aren’t affected by the cold.

They are somewhat polarized too although I find some of the other Julbo lenses seem to have more polarization to it. I’ll take anything I can get when I’m on the snow or the water.

Other Lenses

The Arise frames is available with other lenses too.

Reactiv Performance 0-3

Though not polarized, the 0-3 lenses go from almost perfectly clear to quite dark. If you are out at dawn or dusk or in the trees on a dark tree, you can still see everything you need to. Break out into an open area in the sun and they quickly darken down. I have a pair with these lenses as well and they are fantastic for running and riding the darker trails.

Spectron 3CF and Spectron 3

I haven’t tried these lenses but they’re standard Julbo Polycarbonate lenses that are virtually indestructible and set at category 3 and 12% light transmission.

Polarized 3 Polycarbonate

Similar to the Spectron lenses the polarized lenses are just polarized level 3 lenses at 11% light transmission.



Fit for sunglasses is tough to gauge sometimes. If you know your the actual measurements you prefer then you can compare them against these for the Arise frames:

  • Temple length : 135

  • Distance : 18

  • Lens depth : 44

The Arise are base 8 so they wrap around your face a little bit compared to a classic wayfarer style where the lenses are more flat.

The legs (temples) are adjustable with some sort of wire inside so they stay put. You can wrap them around your head exactly as you like. I found they were a bit loose to start (and I have a big head) but I just bent them in a bit for the perfect fit.

A material exclusive to Julbo called Grip Tech on the arms is grippy but not too grippy. It doesn’t pull at your hair or make it hard to get them on or off.



Not quite dark enough on sunny days in the snow

This is really asking for a unicorn. The 9% VLT lenses aren’t quite dark enough for the brightest days in the snow or on the water. I usually switch to a darker polarized pair of sunglasses in this case if I have one.


If you like photochromic lenses that change with the light, definitely check out Julbo and the Arise. It’s the perfect combination of sport and style with a lens that you can wear in any conditions. If they could just have a polarized version, I will have found my perfect sunglasses ever.

See the Arise on Julbo US

See the Arise on Julbo Canada (different lens options)

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