The Poc Nivalis Review: Modern Glacial Cool

The POC Nivalis glasses

Glacier glasses are in, just ask Hotdog Hans. Large round reflective lenses, side shields, and 70’s chique. What’s not to like? The Poc Nivalis are a modern take on a mountaineering classic. Read on to see what BlackSheep’s experience with these glasses was like. 


  • Frame Material: Bio Grilamid frame
  • Lens: Clarity Universal Sunny White Cat 3
  • Color: Hydrogen White
  • Weight: 35 grams with Shields
  • Country of Origin: Italy

Who is POC and what is a Nivalis?

Stefan Ytterborn, a Swedish design entrepreneur started POC in 2004 with the intent of creating helmets, eyewear, and protection apparel for snow sports and cycling. Rumor on the streets is that POC stands for piece of cake. Nivalis is Latin for “of the snow.” No need to guess where these glasses are meant to be worn then! Let’s hit the slopes.

What is Bio-Grilamid?

The POC Nivalis sunglasses are made from what POC calls Bio-Grilamid. Grilamid is the go-to material for sports sunglasses. Strong yet flexible it can stand up to a lot of abuse from both the wearer and the sun. Since these are sunglasses, it makes sense that this is quite important. 

What exactly is Bio Grilamid?  It is a bioplastic made from castor oil plant crops – it is ecologically manufactured using energy from biomass. It is an amorphous polyamide based on 58% of renewable sources.  The temples are also made of Bio Grilamid and have snap hinges. Crash and the arms come right off, and snap right back in. Be careful though, white sunglass arms in white snow disappear real fast. 

Carl Zeiss, is that you?

Though not advertised as such, the lenses on the Nivalis are made by Carl Zeiss. It says so on the inside of the left arm of the glasses. This fact is not mentioned anywhere on the website or on the box the glasses came with. Strange. 

The lenses are treated with  Ri-Pel, POC’s coating that protects the lenses from dirt, water, sweat, salt, oil and dust, and makes the lenses easier to keep clean. I have used the Nivalis as my main glasses this winter and can confirm they are quick to be cleaned and don’t end up all greasy from fingerprints. 

POC uses Clarity technology on most of their lenses. This is a technology whose aim is to accurately control the color spectrum by balancing blue color wavelengths against every other color in order to ensure more balanced vision. As these glasses come with Clarity Universal lenses they have a greyer tint when compared to the other Clarity lenses. This is to make them easier to wear for long days but as a result give slightly less definition than others. Not a problem when the sun is blazing above a blanket of ice. It is noticeable once things turn a bit greybird. 

Click the following link for more on Clarity

Nivalis vs. Cardiff

Unfortunately, the lenses are not scratch proof from the edge of a splitboard. On a day early in the season I was putting my skins on, a little too aggressively I suppose, when my ski sprung back at me striking my right lens. It definitely kept my eye safe but I was disappointed to find I could not order a replacement lens but would have to order an entire new pair of glasses to avoid looking through the scratch. 

Leather Shields

The POC Nivalis sunglasses have removable magnetic shields. Made of perforated leather, the shields are attached by two small pins that fit into slots on the frame. They hold themselves against the arms of the glasses with magnets. 

I’ve used the glasses both with and without the side shields. They do a fantastic job of keeping light from the side out but they also keep moisture in. I find that I cannot tour uphill with the shields on or I fog the glasses.  As these are my first pair of glacier glasses, this may just be a common problem. Thanks to their easy removability I take the shields off most of the time. They come in handy on bluebird days out on the glacier though so I keep them in a case with me.  


I have to admit, I wanted to test the POC Nivalis because of how they look. Big white glacier glasses look awesome and the POC Nivalis are no exception. They score 10/10 for looks for me. The Hotdog Hans look is in. 

I was disappointed to find that I could not tour with the leather shields on, but I was also not surprised. The leather shields make the glasses more akin to goggles and I have only ever toured in goggles once. It was -25 and windy so glasses were not going to cut it. With the shields on the glasses become very sweaty on the inside. They are fine without the shields. 

POC does not list the actual number for VLT for the Nivalis, just that the lens is category 3 and is best suited for nearly bluebird days. On the brightest of days I wished for a slightly darker lens but this was pretty rare. I can still wear the glasses as the clouds roll in, but on proper grey bird days, these are not the appropriate glasses. They are built for days where the sun is high and the snow is pure white. Oh, and you want to channel your hot dog hans. 

The Nivalis comes with a keep chord, soft bag and a MASSIVE hard case

Who are the POC Nivalis for?

The skier or rider looking for some old school cool on those bright and sunny days.

Interested in picking up a pair of Nivalis, head on over to POC . Want to read more sunglass reviews? Hit our Search Button.



BlackSheep Adventure sports was provided with a free pair of POC Nivalis to review. This in no way affected our opinion nor the review.