Ombraz Sunglasses sidesteps tradition by ditching hard, plastic arms in favor of soft, adjustable cordage to create slip free, comfortable sun protection. Is this the future of sunglasses? My review:
The Leggero, from Ombraz, comes equipped with Carl Zeiss lenses, a biodegradable acetate frame, and the unique adjustable cord system built from smooth, durable nylon. The lenses come in various tint options, with the frame likewise having multiple color choices that vary per model. I’m using the charcoal frame with the polarized grey lenses. Their frames in general have gentle, built-in nose pads, typically built-in wind visors, and come with a generous lifetime warranty.
The Ombraz Leggero, tested here, are designed to sit gently against the face by pressing gently against the nasal bone between the eyes and the nose itself via the built-in nose pads. Instead of rigid arms to secure them in place, the glasses utilize soft cords that are gently looped around the back of the head. Two slide adjusters manipulate their length to help keep them in place.
Wearing the Leggero is enjoyable, but took me a couple of hours to get used to. Once I did, I was absolutely sold. They can only be described as feeling free, feathery light, and more balanced than most traditional glasses. Removing the arms notably cuts down on the weight and shifts the load off the ears and nose, and moves it against the nose bridge a bit, which feels surprisingly good. This better distributes the weight of the glasses and pays dividends after multiple hours of use. I had no more sore ears, my nose felt more comfortable, and I honestly kept forgetting I had them on. The design also prevents the glasses from slipping off, so they can be used in high wind, while jumping around, or even while upside down, without them moving about. I also noted that the glasses seemed to build up significantly less heat than what I’m used to, with the lack of arms greatly improving ventilation around my eyes which translated to less fogging.
Optically, the glasses provide a nice, wide open field of view that felt more like I was standing in front of a windshield than actually wearing glasses. Less material on the sides of the glasses translated into better peripheral vision, and the rim never got in the way of me looking up or down. They also provide robust sun protection, with the sun very rarely slipping in from the front or sides. The available polarized lenses also do a great job of cutting down glare in most situations.
Adjusting the glasses is as simple as pulling the two pulls on the back to tighten them, or pull the strings away from each other to loosen. It’s foolproof, doesn’t require any further adjustments once you figure out how tight to wear them (not at all) and they stay in place once adjusted.
Putting the glasses on, adjusting them, and taking them off all requires two hands in my experience. So, they’re not quite as simple as flicking open a traditional pair of glasses and sliding them. Instead, they have to be loosened up, placed, then adjusted to fit basically every time they’re worn (at least on my head). It’s a minor inconvenience, but I found this to be especially problematic when driving as quickly slipping them on isn’t much of an option when you’re hands are already tied up. When it is particularly hot and sweaty, I found I often needed to take them off and clean them with both hands, generally after a run or paddling excursion. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but not ideal in all situations either.
The glasses come with a nice soft travel case with a sewn in microfiber cleaning cloth. It provides great scratch resistance, but doesn’t provide any crush resistance. That being said, I’ve found this soft case to be exceptionally packable as it lays basically flat. The thin profile of the glasses themselves seem to resist being crushed quite well, so I’m really not worried about that. The travel case is also hand washable.
Ombraz is certainly onto something with their arm free sunglasses design. They’re extremely light, comfortable, and easy to use. I greatly appreciate their ability to stay in place when things go south, so they’re not going to get lost during a hiking or biking tumble, or a paddle boarding spill. I also really enjoy how easily they pack up into their own travel case. I can’t see myself permanently ditching my traditional glass, just because I need to be able to swap them on and off for driving fairly often. However, for hiking and sports in general, these are very much my new go to shades.
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I want to extend a huge thanks to Ombraz for their support and for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help.
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