Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses review: tailor-made for mountain adventures

 Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses
Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses

Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses: first impressions

From the moment you open the box, these Vuarnet ICE Round sunnies feel like a premium product, and they certainly rank among the very best sunglasses out there for high-level hiking and mountaineering.


• List price: $279-$360 (US) / £230–£296 (UK)
• Weight: 41g / 1.4oz
• Category: 4
• Frame colors: Amber / Matt Black / Matt Blue / Crystal / Blue / Tortoise
• Lens colors: Blue Flash / Blue Polarlynx / Skilynx / Blue Polar / Pure Gray / Eclipse / Gray Polar / Gold / Pure Brown Bronze Flash / Silver Flash
• Lens options: Non-polarized / Polarized
• UV protection: 100%
VLT: 5%-11%
• Extras: Leather case, cleaning cloth
• Suitability: Extreme light conditions such as those encountered when mountaineering

Like a classic watch, these sunglasses are clearly designed to last a long time and to be used year upon year as the only pair of sunglasses you’ll ever need in the snow or at altitude. (Obviously you wouldn’t go for a Cat 4 lens for everyday use, as they're too dark – our comprehensive guide to VLT levels explains the different VLT categories.)

The frames are made of high-strength bio nylon with adjustable sleeves that can be bent into place to fit your head. The sun protection is excellent: there are removable side shields that are easy to slide in and out. The bridge has an insert piece that can be taken out too, allowing the Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses to be converted into a more everyday look for off the mountains.

The lenses are a natural mineral lens that provide the sharpest vision possible in extreme light conditions. They feel like a very strong material compared to other sunglasses I’ve tested. There is a choice of 11 color and lens combinations, including both Cat 3 and Cat 4 options. My test pair are Matt Black Eclipse.

They come in a stylish white leather protective case with attachment loop, which includes a microfiber cleaning cloth, and there’s a two-year warranty, too.

Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses: on the trails

Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses
Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses

These sunglasses feel expensive. They are noticeably heavier than any other pair I've tried, and the weight is all in the lenses. You know they mean serious business as soon as you put them on your face, and they can certainly perform at the highest level at the pointy end of mountain terrain.

The Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses are marketed as being sized medium. As someone with a smaller face, I found that the bendable area on the arms meant that they didn’t fall off when I leaned forwards – but only just.

Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses
Vuarnet ICE Round sunglasses

On test I found that a tiny spot of daylight did sneak in through the frame, in the T-shaped indent at the top of the nose (and if you don’t know why this is a bad thing, read our feature on sunglasses for hiking: why you need to protect your eyes on the trails). Again, the pair I tested are designed for a medium fit.

Despite this slight annoyance, overall I was very impressed with the clarity and quality of these sunglasses, especially the mineral glass lenses.