Julbo Aquila sunglasses

Many of us in the outdoor world primarily think of Julbo for glacier glasses, at which it is a dominant player. Yet the French brand has a full line of sport glasses for other outdoor activities. Among the newest offerings is the Aquila — easily the best water-specific sunglasses our SNEWS tester, a former raft guide, has ever used.

As you would expect, the Aquila features polarized lenses to cut the glare from water. Most polarized lenses are either glass (heavy and can shatter) or soft plastic (scratches easily), but these use a hardened plastic with a flash coating that even after 18 days of hard use (lots of wiping and constant sand) is nearly new. The base 8 lens also offers superb optical quality so you can really enjoy the view.

The frame is a wrap-around style that comfortably fits average to large faces (too big for small heads). Rubber inserts at the nose and behind the ears hold the glasses in place even when wet. Among the nicest features is the detachable retainer cord that clips directly to the frame; it’s trim and much comfier than aftermarket cords.

The Aquila is marketed for sailing and that is simply selling it short. These sunglasses are absolutely superb for whitewater enthusiasts who need good eye protection that stays in place and is comfortable to wear all day long. In fact, they’re great for anyone who wants quality polarized sunglasses.

SNEWS Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 representing almost unheard of recognition in design and functional perfection.)

Suggested Retail: $110, which includes a good case (They aren’t cheap but they are worth it.)

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