Shoulder-season skiers can ditch the goggles and cover their peepers with some of the most unique sunglasses out there.
I don’t wear full goggles when I’m out skiing in spring, summer, or even early fall. They feel like overkill. Glacier goggles or regular sunglasses are usually adequate for out-of-season conditions. But they’ve got their pitfalls: the bridge slides down the nose, they can squeeze one’s temporal lobes, or they fly off in a fall.
Ombraz sunglasses, though, claim to have solved those old problems. So, I took its two brand new styles out for a day of summer glacier skiing to put those bold claims to the test.
The conditions were perfect for such an endeavor. It was mostly sunny, almost 100 degrees out, and the glacier was glaring with albedo.
In short: Ombraz’s new frame styles not only have a classic look, but they’re also more durable and more functional than previous iterations. Most importantly, the brand’s soon-to-be-released glacier goggle adapters set a higher bar for backcountry performance shades.
Ombraz Teton, Viale Styles
Ombraz Teton and the Viale
The crux of the Ombraz concept is its armless design. Instead of arms, these shades employ a simple cord that wraps around your cranium, cinched comfortably so the frames gently hug your face instead of resting on it. Read our initial review for background.
It’s the kind of obvious design upgrade that brands like Smith and Oakley are probably kicking themselves for not thinking of first.
But Ombraz’s two latest frame designs, the Teton and Vialedropped in June 2022 and they’re some classy-looking shades.
The Teton has a wayfarer-inspired design with square lenses and classic angles, and the Viale has vintage-inspired round lenses. Both feature thicker lenses than previous iterations of Ombraz, as well as more durable and lighter plastic frames.
Not only did Ombraz close the double nose bridge to create a single-piece bridge, but it also used aerospace-grade TR-90 nylon for improved strength. They’re far more resilient frames than the previous acetate frame models. Both also feature re-engineered nose pads to enhance ventilation and comfort.
And as with all Ombraz, they include a custom-woven, 100% recycled, marine-grade, adjustable cord and scratch-resistant, oleophobic optics.
Putting Them to the Test
I shook my head as vigorously as possible — violently, you could even say — and I was only able to knock my Ombraz askew. I headbanged with all the intensity I could muster and barely managed to displace them. They wouldn’t come off my face like a regular pair of sunglasses would. I readjusted the frame easily with one hand and continued hiking up the glacier.
That security certainly translates to crashing. You could go full yardsale tomahawk with a pair of Ombraz on and you’d have a better chance of keeping them on your face than you would with regular glasses or even a pair of ski goggles.
For the record, I neglected to put them through a crash test, though, in part because I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but also because as soon as we, someone was getting a flight for Lifed out. No need to risk putting those wilderness heroes through two rescues.
It’s easy to recognize the function in Ombraz the more time you spend with them. Ombraz glasses have no hinges or folding parts that can bend or break. Their weakest point is the nose bridge, which has been reinforced in the new styles.
They pack easily and safely into backpacks and other luggage. They take up less space, and even with the thicker lenses in the Teton and Viale styles, the featherlight frame makes them as light as most performance glasses you’ll find on the market.
The air was much cooler on the glacier, and the glare was intense. But, both the Teton and Viale were designed with new built-in peripheral visors to reduce glare and airflow behind the lenses. That helped, but it wasn’t perfect.
Ideally, Ombraz could offer a glacier goggle style, or an attachable peripheral shield that converts any pair into the perfect sunglasses for spring/summer/early fall skiing, or even in warm winter conditions. It wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means, but I found myself wishing for such an apparatus as we approached the top of the hike and the upper edge of the glacier’s snow.
I wasn’t the first to think of that, Brehm would later divulge. In October of this year, Ombraz will start offering attachable glacier goggle peripheral shields made specifically for its glasses. They’ll be available for every one of its styles on its website, he says.
So your new Tetons or Viales or any of the other Ombraz frames could be converted into glacier goggles when you need them, and back into regular sunglasses when you don’t.
Glacier Goggle Visitors
We got our hands on a pair of the new glacier goggle visors to test. The system is a clever one: using the custom woven strap, the 3D-printed ventilated rubber visors latch onto the frames’ rims and are held snugly against your face by the strap.
Made by the same manufacturers who make Adidas’ 3D shoe soles, the Ombraz side shields are durable, functional, and useful addition to the design — especially for summer skiers. Your glasses won’t fit in the Ombraz case when the visors are on, unfortunately, but they’re easy enough to detach that there’s no real hassle removing them when you’re done.
(And, according to Brehm, they’re also coming out with a visor-compatible Ombraz case to accommodate the system.)
Not many sunglasses offer glacier goggle adapters, so this is definitely a unique feature Ombraz is introducing. They’ll be available for $45 when they’re released in October.
We transitioned, slipping into our boots, clipping into our AT bindings, and pounding a couple of beers — preparing for the descent. The sun had momentarily dipped behind some clouds, and the thick brown lenses of my Viales were still sharp and clear to see through. Even in that lower light, I could still easily see the nuances of the glacial terrain.
We descended (down the dirty summertime snow) and made it to the bottom with big smiles on our faces — our Ombraz securely fastened and undisturbed by the ride down.
Ombraz’s Teton & Viale: Conclusion
Consider me a convert. Truly, as advertised, Ombraz shades solve some of the biggest problems that skiing with sunglasses presents. Sometimes less is more — when it comes to sunglasses, Ombraz proves that indisputably.
And its new styles are not only looking better, but the brand is also improving in quality and functionality as well. With the glacier goggle attachable visors, it’s a near-perfect system for snow activities in warmer weather.
I may never go back to armed sunglasses, and definitely not during the spring, summer, and early fall ski season.
Check Price at Ombraz