Vallon have quickly made a name for themselves as purveyors of eyewear with a certain sporting heritage. They initially launched with a take on the classic glacier sunglasses, complete with detachable leather side panels and centrepiece, proving that retro style could crossover with genuine mountain utility. The company's inspiration comes largely from Verbier (the Vallon d'Arbi itinerary is its namesake) so it's no surprise they've had a similar approach to making ski goggles.
So, how does their latest model stack up against a series of winners? Well, the "rounded aviator" styling certainly ticks the retro style box. There is a timeless nature to the model - great looking but not too fashionable, hence they should age gracefully, rather than fall out of fashion.
I hate the term 'unboxing' but receipt of these sunglasses did feel like something of an event in itself. Whereas sometimes you can receive a product and feel short changed, Vallon add significant value in the extras. First up the cardboard box is stylish enough to use for trinket storage - the blue and white stripes evoke that kind of 50's yachting holiday in Capri that Vallon are obviously enamoured of. But the inclusion of a genuinely well-crafted tan leather (faux) case is something that almost seems unnecessary at this price point. Plenty more expensive brands will supply you with a cloth bag worth pennies. There is also a neatly removable strap which goes a long way to making the Howlin' model sports-friendly.
In use the polarised lenses are great, offering excellent clarity and a pleasant colour-cast on the world around you. The frame is slightly on the large side for my face, so offers good coverage in terms of minimizing glare from the sides.
On performance alone Vallon's Howlin' sunglasses represent good value at under £100, but with added heritage styling and premium add-ons, they are a great buy.