Perhaps you’re an avid runner who tends to run when the sun’s out. If you do, then you know how important it is to protect yourself from its harsh heat. Besides using sunscreen, it’s also a good idea to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, especially those designed for running.
That said, we’ll give you information in this article on how to find the best sunglasses for running, as well as offer you options to get you started.
Why should you wear sunglasses when running?
Just like it is when you wear sunscreen, wearing sunglasses is important to protect your eyes. However, maybe you don’t know just how exactly they protect your eyes (and from what?). Here are some aspects as to why you should wear sunglasses for your next, long run:
- They protect you from UV ray exposure. This point has got to be the most important one for runners. Especially if you run during the daytime, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be exposed to UV rays.
Too much exposure can lead to eye problems such as the development of cataracts, which can lead to blurry and duller vision as time goes on. Therefore, wearing sunglasses can help shade your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays.
- They block out light. Although this sounds obvious, wearing sunglasses not only protect your eyes, but they also help you focus better on your run. Too much sunlight can be distracting, which results in squinting and discomfort. Hence, wearing sunglasses is good for blocking out bright light, which then helps us concentrate as we’re able to navigate our running route better.
For more information on why you should wear running sunglasses, check it out here.
What should you look for when buying running sunglasses?
Generally speaking, sunglasses for casual wear aren’t the same as those for running. Aspects such as structure and protection are different among the two, and so it’s necessary to invest in sunglasses that are specially designed to be worn on runs. After all, you wouldn’t want them to fall off in the middle of a strenuous workout!
Here are some things to consider:
- UV ray protection. Once again, having sunglasses that cover your eyes from harmful UV rays are the most important aspect to consider when buying them.
UV rays are split into two different categories: UVA and UVB. For the former, it penetrates deep into the layers of your skin or eye, while the latter is reserved for superficial exposure. Either case, both rays can be damaging in the long term if you don’t protect yourself. Look for sunglasses that cover both spectrums.
- Choose your color. This isn’t necessarily for fashion purposes, but rather for different running conditions while on the road. Indeed, there are notable differences when choosing those with golden tints versus those with dark or clear ones.
For instance, choose dark tints (blue, green, brown) when running in bright sunlight, as they block out harsh light for a more comfortable experience. Golden tints work best in low light since they sift out bluish lights and allow you to see details on the road. Mirrored lenses help refract intense sunlight, reducing glare as you run.
- Determine the material. From durability to weight to the right fit, there are many factors to keep in mind when checking out the material from which the sunglasses are made.
If you often have strenuous workouts, finding a pair that is made from strong and flexible material will prevent it from breaking easily. As a rule of thumb, don’t buy those made from glass or plastic.
Having lightweight frames are a good idea, but also make sure that they’re able to withstand harsh climates, i.e. wind. Also, consider buying those with rubber cushion around the nosepiece and ears to keep them in place on runs.
- Look for ventilation. Running means sweating, so finding lenses positioned away from your face will help with breathability, as well as preventing the glasses from fogging up. You wouldn’t want to have a thin pool of sweat coating the area around your eyes when you take them off!
- Check the costs. Granted, there are some running sunglasses that run for hundreds of dollars, which can definitely burn a hole through your wallet. While this sounds quite pricey, investing in a good quality pair of sunglasses can pay off in the long run, literally and figuratively.
For more details on how to pick good running sunglasses, take a look at this article.
Our top-5 pick for the best running sunglasses
Lightweight and with polarized lenses, these running sunglasses from Cosver are good for refracting light especially when it’s bright outside. It also has dark lenses, and can be used to block out any distractions whether you’re running, driving, or walking.
- Lightweight but sturdy enough so it doesn’t break.
- Contains a hard case to keep them protected when not in use.
- Has an adjustable nosepiece for better comfort.
- Nose-clip is made from shiny metal, which can be distracting.
- The plastic earpiece can be a bit uncomfortable after wearing for a while.
I found the aluminum-made metal frame to be very light but also indestructible, which is always a plus. The polarized lenses were good for wearing in the day, but also good for nighttime driving.
However, the plastic, rubber edges around the ears and nosepiece started to feel uncomfortable, but only after logging in long runs.
With its special CurvedShield technology, these sports sunglasses are ergonomically-designed for anti-distortion. They also have a SureGrip feature to prevent them from slipping off during intense, strenuous workouts.
- Reduces sun-ray glare from windows and water.
- Lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof for longer durability.
- Has rubber nose pads and a SureGrip feature around the temples for security.
- Tends to fog up in hot water.
- Sizes might run a bit smaller than usual.
I tried these sunglasses on and found that they stayed in place perfectly throughout my run. Although they did reduce glare from the sun, I wished that they could’ve reduced a bit more, as I found myself still seeing some glare as I was running past mirrored windows and water along the lake.
With a yellow-tinted design, these particular sunglasses from Run Baby are not only good for improving depth perception while running but also are ideal for clear vision during the daytime, as well as dusk.
- Has a UV 400 protection lenses feature, thereby protecting your eyes completely from the sun.
- Sunglass rims come in different colors so you can customize your style.
- Comes with a durable case to keep your sunglasses in.
- The style can be a bit off-putting to some users (especially yellow-tinted).
- Tends to slide off when running.
When I first put them on, I found them really useful for blocking out the sun’s rays while also allowing me to see where I was going while running.
However, they often slid down my face (whether due to sweat and/or intense exercise) and I had to constantly push them up.
With the choice of having either polycarbonate or charcoal lenses, J+S sunglasses offer clear vision while also reducing glare throughout the day. They also come in clear and yellow-tinted lenses, so you can easily adjust them for any occasion at any time of the day.
- Close-fitting, so they won’t slide off so easily during exercise.
- Can be worn both in the daytime and nighttime.
- Might not be as flexible as other models out there.
- Difficult to adjust, especially for cycling helmets.
I was very pleased to find that the J+S sunglasses fit very well on me, as I didn’t experience any slippage when doing a long, sweaty run.
However, they don’t feel as flexible as other sunglasses and feel a little bit fragile when I tried bending them during testing.
With a non-fogging feature, Tifosi’s sunglasses are good to wear when training in extreme weather conditions that otherwise make it obscure to know where you’re going. This special pair helps maintain clarity while also staying tight around your face.
- Has a good grip around the ears.
- Has a no-fog feature for better clarity in different weather.
- Can get easily sweaty (i.e. little ventilation) while running.
- Can be easily scratched.
I put these sunglasses on before running in hot weather and they did a good job of not fogging up even with all of the steam in the environment.
However, there wasn’t much ventilation, and I felt the rims around my eyes collect sweat afterward.
* Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Winner of the Round-up
While a bit on the pricey side, the Tifosi Women's Alpe 2.0 SingleLens Sunglasses (#5) were, literally and figuratively, the clear winner from the list. Satisfying three of the five points for buying good sunglasses (UV protection, good grip, no-fog aspect), this particular pair is a solid choice for wearing in just about any type of weather: hot, cold, and everything in between.
Although the ventilation system could use a bit of work on, it nevertheless served well to cover up the eyes from glare and UV rays while also staying put throughout the entire run. In the end, the price is just what you pay for these running sunglasses.
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