When it comes to picking a pair of good sunglasses, more often than not, style comes with a hefty price tag to match. Yes, you can pick up a pair at your local CVS from those rotating displays that seem to be at the end of every aisle to get a pair of rudimentary eye protection but, if you’re reading this, we assume you want more from your eyewear.
It’s not just style but eye protection as well. Prolonged exposure to harmful UV lights can cause cataracts, ocular melanoma, macular degeneration, and even eyelid cancer. Hard pass. A poorly designed pair of sunglasses from your local drugstore can do more harm to your eyes than good in some cases.
Vallon may not be a household name just yet, but their unique blend of style, practicality, and affordability makes them a brand to watch for in the industry. We had the opportunity to live with their Howlin’ sunglasses and put them through their paces. To cut to the chase, we were impressed from the moment we first put these sunglasses on and still feel the same way after a few weeks of living with them.
Vallon may not be a household name just yet, but their unique blend of style, practicality, and affordability makes them a brand to watch for in the industry.
The design itself is stylish and retro-inspired without being cliche or kitschy, a trap that even some high-end brands can fall into, blurring the line between gaudy and high fashion. The Vallon Howlin’ is purposefully simple and restrained, while still being thoughtful in its execution. For example, the detachable strap is thoughtfully designed – the execution is refreshingly simple but adds a lot of functionality to what is already a stylish product.
When I put on the Howlin’ for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by how light and comfortable the sunglasses were. It felt as if they had been custom made for me, contouring nicely around my face and securely wrapping around my ears without feeling too tight. With most other sunglasses, and regular glasses as well for that matter, I struggle to find a comfortable fit — either the temple or temple tips dig into my head or the bridge and nosepiece doesn’t provide enough support for the glasses. I attribute this level of comfort to the cellulose acetate construction, as there’s a subtle flex throughout the construction. It’s not flimsy by any means but just flexible enough to comfortably accommodate a wide range of shapes without the need to find an optician to make major adjustments. Other sunglasses with the same material fail to balance comfort and structure, but Vallon has pulled it off beautifully with the Howlin’.
Another factor contributing to the comfort is the overall curve that not only contours to the shape of most faces but also provides the wearer with better protection against side glare. The wrap-around shape is definitely noticeable, with it wrapping around more than other classic designs, which was intentional. However, for those looking for something that could block out all side glare, like specialty sunglasses designed for sports, this is not for you. Personally I’ve never been a fan of those full wrap-around sunglasses, a style that reminds me too much of mid-90’s Oakley sunglasses along with a whiff of the Matrix. As someone that appreciates timeless classic design, I’m happy that Vallon made the choice to maintain the classic aesthetic of the Howlin’ without leaning too heavily on the activity side — it offers the functionality of a more modern pair while staying true to a retro-inspired silhouette.
As someone that appreciates timeless classic design, I’m happy that Vallon made the choice to maintain the classic aesthetic of the Howlin’ without leaning too heavily on the activity side.
Comfort is one thing, but Vallon also had eye protection in mind when designing these sunglasses. The polarized lenses offer ample protection against UV rays while maintaining clarity. Do keep in mind though that with polarized lenses, not just these, it can be difficult to see certain modern displays, such as heads up displays on cars equipped with them. There’s no need to head to the dealership and complain about your broken heads up display when all you need to do is take your sunglasses off. Ask me how I know.
Perhaps my favorite feature of the Howlin’ was the removable strap mentioned above. Finished in Vallon’s stylish deep green, the strap can be attached to the temple tips with a simple click, adding an extra level of security. Vallon’s team drew inspiration from the history of skiing, so this feature seems appropriate. Personally, being a car enthusiast, my first thought was that these sunglasses could readily replace goggles for those who do a bit of open-top motoring on the weekends. They securely wrap around your head and conform to a wide range of face shapes and sizes. And when you’re finished being an outdoor hero, you can simply remove the strap and store them in your pocket.
What really sold me on the product was that Vallon was able to offer all this at a relatively reasonable price. Granted, $115 is not cheap, but for a pair of high-end sunglasses that offer this much style and practicality, it felt like a steal. And that is the incredible appeal of Vallon’s products. They’re thoughtfully designed for a variety of occasions and activities, but don’t sacrifice utility and versatility. Whether you’re an avid skier, mountaineer, racer, or just a city adventurer, this pair offers a stylish way to protect your eyes without breaking the bank or looking too technical.