We've always tried to keep our focus when it comes to the new outdoor gear we find, and that means having a discerning eye for our readers. The Ombraz Armless Sunglasses are as interesting as they are functional.
For those of us who wear sunglasses while hiking, camping, and fishing, the time has come for a system that provides solid security to go along with functionality that performs well under those conditions. And while the idea of attaching shades to a cord isn't new, having that cord as the primary part that holds the glasses onto your head is.
We received a pair of the Viale style of Ombraz sunglasses to review, and put them to the test for looks, style, function, on land and on the water. Because, let's face it: We work hard and we play hard, so we need gear that stands up to the rigors of our outdoor passions.
Ombraz Armless Sunglasses - $160
All About Ombraz
Ombraz has been around since the early part of 2018, where it was founded in Bellevue, Washington with a first run of 3,000 handmade sunglasses. In the past several years, the brand has developed into a modern resource for quality, functional shades that come with a great ecological and stewardship rapport. For example, it uses compostable packaging and plants 20 mangrove trees for every pair sold. The commitment to manufacturing with a climate-neutral process and reforestation is not new. However, it's the wave of the future for outdoor companies that recognize the desire of outdoorspeople to spend their money on products that show care for the environment.
One of the first things I noticed while looking into the Ombraz sunglasses is that company co-founders, Jensen and Nikolai, have a great sense of humor and don't take themselves too seriously, despite putting an incredible amount of thought into their product design.
According to the website, each one of the Ombraz frames is handmade in Asia from aerospace-grade, TR-90 nylon that's tumbled in wood chips before being hand-painted. The cords are made from marine-grade recycled nylon. The lenses come in both polarized and non-polarized versions, each with a polyamide optics coating for scratch resistance.
The cords, adjustment systems, and the frames all have a limited lifetime warranty, but the lenses do not. "We do not cover damage to Ombraz incurred by dogs chewing on frames, or stomp-testing your frames outside of their Neoprene case," the policy explains. (This is all interesting to me, given that the Ombraz crowdfunding video playfully puts glasses under both an industrial tamper and a steam roller—which naturally, they survive.)
Using the Ombraz Armless Sunglasses
While it may seem as if there isn't all that much to say about using another pair of sunglasses, the Ombraz have a style that's all their own. The brand does give a video tutorial on how to wear Ombraz if you need instructions for such a thing, considering not everyone has owned a pair of armless sunglasses before and it's proactive in giving the user a heads-up as to how they are adjusted takes away a common question and even eliminates many of the needs for repairs.
That said, the adjustment cords that hold the glasses on your head are simple to use—they cinch somewhat like a drawstring, by sliding one cord overtop the other in the back between two clips.
How the Ombraz Sunglasses Perform
The Armless Sunglasses go on like a pair of goggles and it's easy to get a snug fit or release them quickly. I was immediately happy with the overall style—hey, we all want to look good.
Walking around wearing them is a pleasure as they really fit well, and driving while wearing them was fine as well. They also stayed put while I brush-busted to reach some shoreline casting areas. The polarization of the brown lenses makes the water appear crystal clear, even on overcast days.
It's no trouble to wear a hat over them, but you have to take the hat off to get them on or off. Also, even if you don't have the cord cinched super tight, it's difficult to pull the glasses down to get a quick look, unshaded, at something.
I can't speak to what it would be like to wear these if you have a lot of or long hair, but those how-to videos make it seem easy enough—you tuck the cords over your ears and under your hair, pulling it just tightly enough to keep them from falling off. If you want a snugger fit, you may be happier pulling hair back and sliding the cord down over your hair, but that will likely leave a crease after a while, like "hat head."
The carrying case has its own included lens cleaning cloth—but it's attached to the case, making it a bit of a pain to put the glasses back inside of the case.
How Ombraz Compares to Competitors
The Ombraz aren't cheap at $160—and of course you can get both less and more expensive sunglasses, based on the materials used and the brand name. The armless, corded nature sets Ombraz apart, plenty of companies make wraparound-style frames that stay put pretty well (and don't mess with long hairstyles), and you can always add a drawcord to make them extra secure.
Are Ombraz Worth It?
In terms of quality, durable materials, I'm sure you'll be satisfied with the Ombraz sunglasses, and the ability to customize their style from a variety of frames and lens colors. When you consider that they're made with the environment in mind—you know, that area where we hunt, fish, hike, and camp—you'll likely feel good about making an Ombraz purchase, if you can stomach the price. I believe they'll serve you well on all of your adventures for many years.
Ombraz Armless Sunglasses - $160