Goofy-Looking Sunglasses Offer Ultimate Protection, Great Optics

The Julbo Ultimate Cover sunglass adds a removable soft plastic nose and side shades for fall 2021. And while they certainly make a statement, the design offers excellent sun protection in a versatile athletic shade.

It was about 90 degrees with bright sunlight as I floated down the North Fork of the White River in southern Missouri. I was there to catch trout, not a sunburn. So I saw it as a great opportunity to put Julbo’s newest sunglasses, a version of the Ultimate that includes removable sun shields over the nose and temples, to the test.

After a morning drive from Bentonville to the boat launch, I slipped the sunglasses on and went to shake hands with our guide and boat wrangler for the day. He looked at me and chuckled. “Just goofy enough for fishing,” he joked.

Damn straight.

I tested the Julbo Ultimate Cover ($179 to $249) for the rest of that day, several other days on the water, and daily runs and bike rides. And darn it if the brand hasn’t created a wonderful product for eye and face protection, one that can serve broad uses.

Julbo Ultimate: Sun Protection When Wanted

Julbo Ultimate sunglasses with nose cover

The new version of the Ultimate stands apart with removable sun shields. While other brands have built glacier glasses with similar designs in the past, the Ultimate is unique in its athletic shape. These are broad, modern sunglasses that excel for cycling, running, and general sporting use.

For normal cycling or running, simply remove the clip-on shields for serious skin protection. The shields cover the nose entirely but still allow for easy breathing. The nose cover was comfortable and barely noticeable when wearing the glasses. The side and nose covers clip on securely, and I expect they’d withstand the rigors of most outdoor sports.

Julbo Ultimate Cover

The one downside of these is that they would be easy to lose. I’ve been cautious in putting the parts into the case when not using them. But if you aren’t the kind of person who’s cautious with each piece of gear, I could see these getting lost very easily. Fortunately, Julbo does offer spare parts online.

Sporting Sunglasses First

Glacier glasses are great in high-sun situations like spring skiing, fishing, and sailing. But many are oddly shaped for athletic use. Not the Ultimates, which are right at home anywhere from the bike saddle to the beach volleyball court.

To underscore the emphasis on sports, the Ultimate has a flexible frame that users can bend at the temple points to create a custom fit. Julbo also designed a GripTech structure to hold onto the nose and ears, keeping the Ultimates in place without pulling on hair.

The model I tested added Julbo’s Photochromic Reactive lens, which reacts quickly to ambient light. While other models get fairly clear for use in low-light environments, the version of the Ultimate I tested was decidedly dark and best only for sun or very light cloud cover.

Julbo’s video below gives a taste of the brand’s intended uses for the glasses.

The Spectron 4 lenses I tested offer undistorted clarity. It’s a dark (category 4) lens. It’s awesome in bright sunlight and snow.

I also found it great for anglers, as the polarization cuts glare extremely well, allowing you to see deep into the water. I spotted dozens of fish with these during my use this summer. Plenty of other sunglasses can also do this, but the Ultimate holds its own with the best.

The Ultimate Cover is also available in Reactiv lenses, which change the opacity from categories 1-3 depending on sunlight. I love these lenses, as they’re my everyday running and cycling lenses on the Julbo Fury.

For those looking for sporting sunglasses with the ability to shift into glacier glasses for extreme sun protection, the Julbo Ultimate is a solid choice. You may catch some odd comments from your friends when wearing the sun shields, but your skin will thank you for them.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.