Hardwearing, high-performance, lightweight sunglasses, available with a range of lens options, which are versatile enough to be used by runners and hikers in all sorts of conditions.
- Removable side shields
- Standard Spectron 3 lenses too dark in tree cover
Julbo Montebianco 2 / Monterosa 2 running sunglasses: first impressions
• RRP: With Spectron 3 lenses: $99.95 (US) /£94.95 (UK); with Spectron 3 Polarized lenses: $119.95 (US) / £114.95 (UK); with Reactiv 2-4 Polarized glare-control lenses: $229.95 (US) / £184.95 (UK)
• Gender: Male (Montebianco 2) / Female (Monterosa 2)
• Polarized: Optional (more expensive)
• Weight: Men’s: 28g / 1oz; Women’s: 26g / 0.9oz
• Frame Size: Standard
• Frame colors: Black / Dark Blue / Gray & Red / Gray / Blue & Orange / Blue, Gray & Yellow / Black & Gray / Dark Blue, Mint & Blue / Black, Blue & White / Dark Blue & Black / Orange & Black / Dark Purple & Pink (W) / Dark Blue, Pink & White (W) / Pastel Pink & Gray (W)
• Lens colors: Dark / Gray / Orange Tint / Green Tint / Yellow Tint
• Extras: Soft carry pouch, silicone cord
Julbo have released these sunglasses in male (Montebianco 2, pictured above) and female (Monterosa 2) versions, although, to be honest, the only real differences we can see are a slight size reduction in the women’s model (2g worth) and some different color options.
Regardless, these are really classy-looking running sunglasses, with none of the overtly flashy flourishes you see on so many sunnies designed for runners, but lots of nice lines and tons of performance quality.
Designed for use on mountain trails, for both runner and hikers, they are equally at home at sea level (see Types of Sunglasses for Hiking and Trail Running to see why not just any old sunglasses will do). They’re very lightweight, good and robust and come with removable side panels that provide extra protection from glare. They’re also available in a vast swathe of different colors and with a wide range of lenses, from standard through polarize to fully reactive. (Be aware: some colorways are only available with certain lenses, but trying to list all the variations would have made our specifications box-out look something like War And Peace… and it’s plenty long enough already!)
Julbo Montebianco 2 / Monterosa 2 running sunglasses: on the trails
I tested the good-looking Montebianco 2s while running around coastal trails in the south of England, and fastpacking in the mountains of Wales, and found them to be a very versatile and secure-fitting pair of glasses.
The side glare shields are subtle, but very effective, and they are easy to remove when not required and equally simple to put back on (they are labeled left and right, but you do need to be careful not to lose them).
The Montebianco 2’s ergonomically shaped arms provide good grip at the temples, without catching on your hair. The fit is extremely comfortable, no matter how long you wear them, and the low-profile, shock-absorbing nose-grip is non-invasive and invisible when you’re wearing them. While running, there is very little movement at all.
My test pair have standard Spectron 3 lenses, and I did find these to be a tad too dark for trails that venture deeper into the woods. They are excellent on open terrain, across hilltops and beaches, but struggle with the dappled light and changing conditions of forests, which isn’t a surprise. If you regularly run in such conditions, it’s worth going for the Reactiv lenses, which are photochromic, dynamically adapting to the light conditions wherever you’re running and providing optimum visual performance (the price jump is considerable, however).
These are hardwearing sunglasses, with flexible frames that you don’t need to be ridiculously precious about. They will take a bit of rough-and-tough trail treatment, getting knocked around in a backpack or pockets – just make sure you protect the lenses with the material pouch that comes with the glasses.
Writer, editor and enthusiast of anything involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon (opens in new tab) and Dorset (opens in new tab), and once wrote a whole book about Toilets (opens in new tab) for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades here (opens in new tab).
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