The Ombraz Armless Sunglasses (pronounced ohm-bruhz) are a fresh take on sunglasses eliminating their glasses' arms in favor of a built-in polyester cord. The idea is simple – the arms of your sunglasses are useless and more a liability than an asset. But are they? I've struggled in the past wearing sunglasses with certain headwear (particularly beanies, buffs, balaclavas, or helmets) and can certainly see the advantage to not having arms to smash into the side of my head and/or make the fit of my glasses awkward when venturing out with my cold-weather gear. However, I don't know if I'm completely sold on the idea of the armless sunglasses.
That said, Ombraz makes a good case for the elimination of sunglasses' arms and I can't say that I've wholly come down on one side or another of the (apparent) arms debate.
I used the Ombraz Armless Sunglasses in Brazil for hikes around Rio de Janeiro, for protecting my eyes from being burt out of my head whilst vegetating at the beach (and in the ocean), for when I forced myself to go on a run, and for everyday wear around the city. Since they go around your head with a cord instead of sliding on and off the front of your face, they were basically attached to me for a month. I still want to give them a go in colder temperatures, but that will have to wait until the end of the year.
- Polarized: Yes
- Frame Size (Regular): 135.8 mm
- Frame Size (Narrow): 130 mm
- Cord Fabric: Polyester
- Lens Color Options: Grey, Brown, Yellow
- Frame Color Options: Tortoise, Charcoal, Matte Brown
- Frame Size Options: Narrow, Regular
- Included Case: 3mm-thick neoprene
- Country of Origin: China, South Korea, USA
- MSRP: $140
- Adjustable, abrasion-resistant, built-in cord
- German engineered Zeiss optics with 100% UVA/UVB protection
- Hard-coated, hydrophobic, and pleophobic lenses
- Handmade acetate, base curve 6 frames with no hinges or screws
- Included case comes with a built-in microfiber cloth
- 100% compostable packaging with zero plastic
- 20 trees planted for each pair sold – carbon negative product
- Free shipping within the USA
- 30-day return period
- Lifetime warranty
THE LENSES | If you're looking to buy sunglasses (especially if you're looking to buy sunglasses to use as glasses for the sun and not simply a fashion accessory), you should really consider spending the money to get a pair of polarized lenses (they're objectively better than that $20 pair you got at the pharmacy two years ago and have been wearing ever since). Ombraz Armless Sunglasses are offered exclusively with polarized lenses and come in three varieties: grey, brown, and yellow. All three options are hard-coated Zeiss lenses offering 100% UVA/UVB protection.
THE COMFORT | When these sunglasses are playing nicely with my face, they are very comfortable. I was afraid that they would always be bouncing around my face, feel like they were falling away from my face, or be too tight (as a result of my trying to avoid one of the other two scenarios). However, I found the Ombraz to be very comfortable. They do a good job of staying put (even when running) and you can easily forget that you're wearing them in the first place.
THE OPTIONS | The Ombraz Armless Sunglasses offer three lens colors, three frame colors, and two frame sizes for a total of 18 different options. But I really wish they had a third frame size as I found the regular to be too small for my head (which is why I've used sexy Mr. Bernardo as my model for the photos featured here). Most people will probably be just fine with the regular (or small) frames, but sunglasses have always been something I've struggled with in terms of fit and the Ombraz are no different. Another note – for those of you with prescription vision, they offer a perscription option as well (the cost for prescription Ombraz is $300 a pair – I don't know how this compared to the average mark-up for prescription options, but it's more than double the price of a normal pair of Ombraz – $140/pair).
THE VERSATILITY | When you discount all my rain jackets, down jackets, and technical gear, I own very little everyday clothing; I'm far from a style guru. However, I fell as though the range of situations that the Ombraz are somewhat limited. They're not wrap-around cycling lenses and they're not mountaineering goggles, but they're also no Ray-Bans (my other pair of sunglasses that I typically wear hiking). Honestly, I could probably get away wearing these glasses in nearly any social situation I find myself (whether it be a function of the situation or just my lack of caring), but I can imagine some of you out there would need a second pair of sunglasses to ensure a wider circle of social acceptability.
THE REMOVAL | Sure, you can talk a lot of shit on glasses' arms, but one benefit (at least as far as I'm concerned) is that you can easily remove and put on your glasses. I found myself frustrated with the Ombraz whenever I had to remove the glasses (either to clean them, defog them, or just put them somewhere). I typically am always wearing a hat which meant that in addition to loosening the cord, I usually have to remove my hat as well to facilitate getting the glasses off my head. I also use a pair of Bluetooth headphones with a cord that rests behind my head between the two earbuds. This cord sometimes gets caught in the cord of the Ombraz when I'm removing them (something to consider).
THE HANG DISTANCE | When I'm using sunglasses with arms, I usually use a sunglasses retainer (you know, a piece of fabric that attaches to the end of each arm so that you can hang the glasses from your neck). However, the length of this retainer is much longer than the Ombraz cord which means that my glasses can be removed without removing my hat and they hang down on my chest when I'm not wearing them. The Ombraz hang a bit too close to my neck for comfort and end up laying flat against my (usually very sweaty and disgusting) self (instead of the frames/arms supporting the glasses in a way that the lenses do not come into contact with me). Perhaps I'm just not evolved enough yet, but I found this to be an annoyance with the Ombraz.
I really want to love the Ombraz Armless Sunglasses, but for now, I think they're stuck in the friend zone. The advantages of armless sunglasses are not lost on me, but I've also found that there are also costs associated with using a fixed cord instead of arms. But so long as you do not scratch or damage your Ombraz, they accept returns (and will even pay for shipping) within 30 days – so try them for yourself and see what you think.
Check out the Ombraz Armless Sunglasses here.
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