You’ve probably never heard of Vallon, I certainly hadn’t so before I charge headfirst into my review here’s a bit of background on who they are.
Vallon are on a mission to bridge the gap between sports and lifestyle, basically “trendy sunglasses for sports enthusiasts”.
Vallon was founded by two Swedish brothers’ intent on developing the ideal sunglasses for ski touring and mountaineering. They’re an Independent and family-owned company.
One of the great things about Vallon is their commitment to reducing plastic wastage. This statement, from their website, explains their approach.
“We believe spending time outdoors reinforces your connection to nature and strengthens the desire to protect the natural world. That is why we have chosen to implement our very own system of nature compensation that simultaneously cleans up the environment and supports impoverished communities around the globe.”
What does all this mean? For every pair of eyewear sold Vallon ensure a minimum 1 kg of plastic waste is collected and recycled.
As of today 41,942kg of plastic has been cleaned up.
So that’s Vallon and all it all sounds great, but what about their products?
I was sent the Howlin’ to test.
The style is “Original, stylish and perfect for outdoor space.”
Frame size: Medium
Fit: Best suited for a medium/narrow face
Lens size: 54 mm
Bridge size: 18 mm
Frame width: 140 mm
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s reminded of some 70’s cop show, there’s certainly a vintage look to them.
My experience of sports glasses stretches as far as 2 pairs of Oakley’s and to be honest I’m a huge fan of them, they seem pretty darn indestructible so Vallon would have to be very good to get even close to my Oakley experience.
I put them on and the first thing my wife said was, “they don’t suit you at all”. That’s my confidence shot, thanks love. She then piped up and said that most sunglasses don’t suit me, the old left right combo.
I didn’t let my wife’s view change my commitment to training in them, the biggest issue was the awful British weather. Testing sunglasses on the myriad of grey days wasn’t ideal but occasionally the sun came out, so I headed out into the Mendips and put my new face furniture through its paces.
I have a bridge on my nose due to some rather generous rugby oaf performing free Rhinoplasty, these sunglasses sit on my nose really well. On the other hand, they don’t sit on top of my head particularly well; they’ve never fallen off but they just don’t feel secure.
I’m a simple being, and I like my sunglasses to serve a few simple purposes. To protect my eyes from the sun, tinted lenses and zero gaps to see through between face and furniture. Secondly to not bounce around and thirdly to be robust enough to cope with being dropped, stuffed in a bag or bounce along the trail after I fall.
I love the design, my face doesn’t.
The heavily tinted lenses certainly protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, in terms of the lenses they are a Category 3 lens that filter out 100% of all UVA and UVB rays up to 400 nm, surpassing requirements for EN ISO 12312:2013 (CE) standards.
They also have a detachable head strap which works well, and they are very lightweight.
I have worn them on all types of terrain including a hill rep/hiking session which is on a hill with an average gradient of 38%, my Oakley’s often steam up, Vallon didn’t. They remained in place on the quad smashing downhill; there was a little bit of slippage when my face got sweaty.
The next challenge was a decent length long run in them; would they irritate my skin? Would repetitive micro movement create a sore spot? The answer is, not a bit of it, to be honest I forgot I was wearing them until some hiker would stare at me and then my paranoia would kick in.
Next up, a speed session. Would they perform better than my old man hamstring, yes, yes, they would. Whilst my hamstring was Howlin’ in pain my sunglasses were stuck to my face doing what you want your sunglasses to do, protect your eyes and not bounce around.
Rather than do my best Mo Salah impression and throw myself to the ground I decided to drop the glasses a few times at different angles. They bend a bit, bounce and are still in one piece. I even gave them to my feral 5-year-old who wore them, left them on the sofa, sat on them and if they survive him for a few hours that’s good enough for me, his Ben10 figure wasn’t quite as robust, Rest In Pieces Ben10.
99 Euro seems like a fair price, certainly a lot cheaper than many brands.
A brand committed to creating great products in an environmentally conscious manner for a fair price, what more can we ask for? Go out and get yourself a pair, protect your eyes and help rid the world of some plastic.
About the author: Stuart Leaney is the current course record holder at Centurion Wendover Woods 50 and 100 mile races and a regular winner at Centurion Running events.
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