Julbo Universe Zebra Light Goggle Review

Julbo Universe

The goggle market is crowded with many companies that supply products packed with technical features and steezy appearance. Julbo’s “Welcome” goggle is no exception, as it comes with such features as a photochromatic, anti-glare polarizing coating, anti-fog protection and a “double spherical” lens shape. (I wonder if we’ll ever see triple or quadruple spherical lenses.)

I tested these goggles in Utah and wanted to share my findings :

Julbo Universe Goggle Review

The look of the lens is quite cool since it practically hides the eyes giving you a nice stealth appearance although it’s not completely blanked out like some other products.

Somewhat confusingly, Julbo promotes this goggle as having an extra large frame size with a compact footprint. In any event, the goggle fits my slightly-wider-than-normal face quite well. The lens sits pretty close to your face and field of vision is quite good – I had to strain to see the sides with my peripheral vision, which I consider quite OK.

Anti-fog protection seemed good during my lift-based skiing, but I didn’t give these a solid workout that you’d get from skinning or booting up a long side- or back-country expedition. (Frankly, I haven’t found any goggle to prevent fog under strong exertion anyway.)

Bryan Luftglass testing the Julbo Universe Goggles in the Wasatch Photo | Mountain Weekly News

Bryan Luftglass testing the Julbo Universe Goggles in the Wasatch Photo | Mountain Weekly News

How do they look on snow?

Asking a few friends and lifties, the answers I got to my question of “How do these things look?” was uniformly positive. “Awesome” was one such response.

If anything stands out in the looks department, it’s the orange flash lens coating. Otherwise, these are pretty sedate, being nearly all black with a few gunmetal red accents. One nice additional feature – if you wear a helmet – is the grippy rubbery bands that run around the inside of the straps, which help keep the goggles from popping off.

Overall Impression

So, what’s NOT to like? Well…for me there’s the matter of light transmission. Julbo pegs these as providing up to 43% transmission so it’s clearly not designed for cloudy, snowy or other low-light conditions. But, I found myself having trouble seeing depth and details on the snow during some moderately cloudy late January mid-day runs.

Truthfully, this isn’t necessarily a fault of the goggle so much as a statement of reality – NO goggle lens is going to work ideally under all conditions and you’ll want to grab a different pair for a day playing in the pow. But, I like a lot of light flooding in when I ride and would stick to these during sunnier conditions during which they provide a nice boost to contrast and add a bit of a surreal tint to the sky.

(Julbo makes goggles with a “Zebra Light” lens that are designed to allow in considerably more light.)

Then, there’s the matter of price. The Welcomes sit at the top of Julbo’s goggle collection, priced at a quarter of a grand for the Julbo Universe Zebra Light $209.99 (on sale below). As part of a goggle quiver, that’s pricy. I’d love to see Julbo add a second low-light condition lens to the package for that much dough, in which case they’d have pretty sweet, nicely-designed and well-priced gogs.

Julbo Universe
3.5 / 5 RATING      

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