The Bliz Velo XT sunglasses turned out to be good for all my sports activities.
Only a bit “un”good for their marketing.
What do you think when you see an eyewear (sports sunglasses) company advertising “Ultra Lens Science,” “the ultimate in lens technology” with “9 features in 1 lens“?
When I saw that claim at the 2016 ISPO sports fair, at the booth of Swedish brand Bliz, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was the very last day, when everyone starts packing up, so I didn’t get to ask about it, either.
It stuck with me, though, and so I contacted them a little while later.
Another week later, and one of their Velo XT glasses was in my mail, provided by them for my testing.
Full disclosure: So, yeah, I got those sunglasses for free, to try out. Without any conditions, influence exerted, etc. The review is fully mine and, as I hope you’ll see, as objective as anything so subjective can be.
Truly Long-Term Testing
Here we are, two years later… and I’m glad they didn’t ask for anything in return; I don’t think most companies who send out sample products to test would be very happy if they only got reviews published years later.
I’m also happy things went this way because it gave me a chance to try these sunglasses over a long period of time, on many a run and hike.
In fact, if you have seen any of my race reports or trail descriptions of the last years, there is a good chance you have seen those glasses, the Bliz Velo XT.
The 9 Features of “Ultra Lens Science”
The claims Bliz makes for its Ultra Lens Science lenses still make me a little uncomfortable (it’s just so much), but if we take a look at all the parts, they don’t seem too far off the mark:
I.e., the sun glass’s lenses adjust to the sunlight hitting them by becoming lighter or darker.
This they definitely do, and pretty well.
There are times I feel that they should be a little darker in glaring sun, but the only sunglasses that are darker would be ones made for glacier use.
Most of the time, anyways, the only “problem” I have with that feature is that it makes the sunglasses so not-noticeable, whether under forest cover or out in the sun, especially as they are also pretty lightweight and nicely fitting, I just don’t need to think about them.
To reduce glare. Frankly, I can’t say that I noticed the effect – or any problematic glare, for that matter.
Well, that’s certainly where it becomes very good that I could test these glasses for longer, through the winter. For the most part, they were at least as good as the Oakley Wind Jacket, I feel. There can still be some fogging when the temperature difference is high enough.
In winter conditions, I tend to have issues with any and all sunglasses, though.
They don’t fog, then, they ice over (from my breath coming out directly onto the glasses from underneath a wrap around my mouth).
As usual, anti-scratch coatings are nice to have, work to some extent, but not perfectly. After these 2 years, there is some scratching. But, again, that is something happening on any and all sunglasses, just even worse when their lenses don’t have an anti-scratch coating.
My Oakleys have suffered to the point where I cannot use them anymore; the Bliz are still no problem to use.
Hydrophobic & Oleophobic
Another one, like anti-scratch, of those features that are always nice-to-have, but also always a bit problematic in terms of expectation management.
The expectation is that such a feature will mean that water just glides off, smudges from touching the lenses with one’s hand don’t appear – but that all doesn’t quite work that way.
This is, in fact, the one point of contention I would have, as the glasses clean quite well, but only once you figure out how you have to hold a cleaning cloth – tight, because it doesn’t slide over these glasses.
Raindrops that I get on there also stay on there, so this doesn’t go the way I think it should.
We checked out another pair of Bliz Velo XT at a booth of theirs, though, and it seems like maybe there is a problem with that coating on the glasses I have; water pearled off the ones they had there rather better.
Nothing too surprising from sunglasses unless you get ones for 2 bucks from a street vendor; they don’t let UV rays through, helping to protect your eyes. This is something one just has to believe, but looks to be working as they say.
To this, fortunately, I cannot attest. The lenses sure didn’t break, but since I didn’t get into any accidents where this might have been essential (and put to the test)…
A lens that curves so that one’s view is not distorted by them.
Like the photochromatic property, I think this works perfectly – given that I can’t remember ever noticing anything about it.
My Verdict about the Bliz Velo XT
There’s the problem with such a list of features/promises:
Some of them are a bit of an over-promise. Maybe.
But, I have discussed that before with people from Oakley as well as Bliz, and it tends to be a result of over-expectation, as well.
And then, where things work perfectly, instead, they are just not noticeable.
What I can say for sure, after long and intense use of the Velo XT, is this:
I still like some other glasses for the looks (and features).
For my Oakley Wind Jacket, for example, I would need to replace the lenses, though. And I don’t want to spend the money, knowing that they will just get scratched again.
With that, I have been more than happy to use the Bliz Velo XT for doing sports now.
That isn’t just a result of my having got them for free. They also look quite alright (even if I still could do without the “B” logo squat in the middle of the nose bridge). More importantly, they have served me perfectly well.
I want to go out for sports and have my eyes protected – which I always want, summer or winter, rain or shine, because of the contact lenses I wear for sports?
I grab the Bliz Velo XT.
No questions asked, no doubt they’ll work.
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