Shoulder-season skiers can ditch the goggles and cover their peepers with some of the most unique sunglasses out there: Ombraz and its new glacier adapters.
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, in July and August, I took its two brand-new styles out for a full 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 just released glacier side-shield adapters to turn them into glacier glasses, setting 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.
Ombraz’s two latest frame designs, the Teton and Viale, dropped 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 Ombraz to the Test on a Glacier
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. In part because I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but also because as soon as we arrived, someone was getting Flight for Life’d out. No need to risk putting those wilderness heroes through two rescues on the same glacier on the same day.)
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.
Ombraz Glacier Side-Shields
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.
Luckily, Ombraz has a solution that is perfect. Now the brand offers attachable peripheral shields that convert any pair into fully functioning glacier glasses. They protect your peripheral vision from glare, and your eyeballs from cold wind.
We got our hands on a pair of the new side-shield 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 a durable, functional, and useful addition to the design — especially for summer skiers.
Not many sunglasses offer glacier adapters, so this is definitely a unique feature Ombraz is introducing. They’re available from Ombraz on their website for $50 for the Dolomite frame, and will be available for all other Ombraz frames by December 20, 2022.
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 and Viale Review: 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 attachable side-shield glacier 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