In the heat of summer, I received the Ombraz Viale sunglasses and immediately started wearing them for everyday use, hiking, travelling and even running. I wanted a pair of Ombraz sunglasses ever since I tried my girlfriend’s Ombraz Classic sunglasses. So, what’s so special about the Ombraz sunglasses? Well, they are armless, which has many advantages but also a few drawbacks as I’ll explain below. I went for the Viale model because I anticipated that this model would fit my somewhat narrower head well, especially in the “narrow” version which I chose. Now since I was planning to use these sunglasses also for hiking, I decided to also get the side shields. The side shields are designed so that you attach them to the sunglasses, and they block the sun from the sides. Since the sunglasses are not as curved as other sports sunglasses, I considered the side shields a must. Especially, because I was also planning to use them for hiking.
Over the last couple of months, I thoroughly tested the Ombraz Viale sunglasses with and without the side shields. Below is what I learned about them.
Table of Contents:
- Armless Design
- Lenses and Frame
- Comfort and Fit
- Suitability for Sports
- Side Shields
- Unboxing Video
The Ombraz Viale sunglasses are my first armless sunglasses. However, I did try Ombraz armless sunglasses before, and I quite liked the concept. So, how does it work? Well, instead of arms you have an adjustable cord that goes around your head. You tighten the cord by pulling the two plastic adjusters apart and you loosen the cord by pulling the two cords apart. The whole system for adjusting the length is really simple and functional. It’s important not to overtighten the cord. In the beginning you’ll probably find yourself adjusting the cord too tight. That’s quite normal. It takes a day or two to realize that the sunglasses won’t fell off although they don’t sit tightly around your head. If the cord is adjusted too tightly the sunglasses won’t be comfortable.
Now you might be wondering what the benefits of armless sunglasses are. The biggest benefit in my opinion is that the sunglasses are flat. Therefore, they take less space than normal sunglasses and you can carry them in a pocket without worrying that you’ll break something. You can also easily push/slide them into a fully loaded backpack. Other benefits include lower weight (the Viale sunglasses are super lightweight), longer lifespan (no hinges to break) and a possibility to wear them around the neck when you don’t need them. I really like the fact that I can wear them around the neck. Before I was often wearing sunglasses on the forehead, and they would often fall off my head when I’d look up.
Nevertheless, the armless design also has downsides. The biggest downside is that you need two hands to put the sunglasses on. That makes the sunglasses less than ideal for driving and not optimal for cycling. Another downside is that the cord is harder to clean compared to plastic arms. That’s pretty much all that I can think of when it comes to downsides.
Lenses and Frame
The Ombraz Viale sunglasses are available in many different configurations. You can choose both frame color and lens type. The frames are available in the following colors: tortoise, charcoal and dusk. The available lenses are polarized grey, polarized brown, polarized yellow and blue blocking. The yellow and grey lenses are also available in cheaper non-polarized version. It’s also possible to get the Viale sunglasses with prescription lenses.
The sunglasses are also available in the narrow model and with or without side shields. My Viale sunglasses are the narrow model and have a tortoise frame and polarized grey lenses. I went for the tortoise frame because it’s a bit funky and for polarized grey lenses because they are perfect for full-sun conditions. They filter 89% of light. I was very satisfied with these lenses. They efficiently filter the light, even at high altitudes but are not too dark for everyday use. Nevertheless, if you plan to wear the sunglasses only for everyday use, you might want to go for the brown lenses instead. Those let more light through.
Comfort and Fit
I find the Viale sunglasses very comfortable to wear, if only you don’t overtighten them. They stay nicely on your head even during high impact activities such as running, but more about this below. So far, I haven’t had any problems with them in terms of comfort or fit. Now, I went for the narrow model since I do have quite a narrow head. However, I do think that maybe it would be a better decision to go for the normal model. The narrow model is kind of on the limit for me. If it would be just slightly narrower, it would restrict my visibility too much. So, in general I think that the narrow model is only suitable for those who have a very narrow head and for kids. The sunglasses are very comfortable also because they are super lightweight.
Suitability for Sports
The Ombraz Viale sunglasses might not look like typical sports sunglasses but they’re actually really good for sports. I’ve been using them for hiking, mountaineering and even running. Due to lightweight design and the cord that keeps them securely on your head you literally forget you’re wearing a pair of sunglasses. Another thing I really like is that I can simply wear them around my neck when the sun goes down. No need to attach them to various unsecure places or wear them on the forehead.
The only thing that’s kind of problematic is that they don’t provide very good coverage on the sides. Nevertheless, the side shields eliminate this problem.
Since I knew that I’ll be using the Ombraz Viale sunglasses also for hiking, I got them with side shields. The side shields are sold separately and cost $60. In the package you also get another case which fits the Viale sunglasses with side shields on. It’s quite easy to attach or detach the side shields. You simply pull the cord out a bit at the frame and place it around the hook on the side shield. Then you pull the cord away from the frame to tighten the side shield in place. At first, I was a bit worried that the side shield could fell off. Nevertheless, I haven’t experienced any problems with the system so far. See the video how to attach the side shields here.
The side shields are made of soft plastic, and they efficiently block the sun from the sides. They have small holes for better ventilation. That’s very important because otherwise, the sunglasses would be fogging. I only experienced fogging a couple of times when I was running in the heat of summer, and even then, I just loosened the cord a bit, and the sunglasses cleared. All in all, I’m very happy with the side shields.
The Ombraz Viale sunglasses are perfect for those who are not afraid to try something new. What I like about the Ombraz Viale sunglasses is that they are lightweight, easy to carry, and you can wear them around the neck when you’re in shade. They also provide great fit and are super comfy. I loved using these sunglasses for hiking and mountaineering. With the side shields they efficiently block the sun from all directions and the polarized grey lenses filter just the right amount of light in sunny conditions. The things that bothered me a bit are that you can’t put them on only with one hand and that the cord is harder to clean than plastic arms of normal sunglasses. Besides that, I’m really happy with the Ombraz Viale sunglasses.
If you have any questions about the Ombraz Viale sunglasses or the side shields, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to pack
- Good fit and comfortable to wear
- You can wear them around the neck
- You need both hands to put them on
- The cord is harder to clean than plastic arms of ordinary sunglasses