Best Sunglasses for Running


For most sports, gear that fits properly can make or break your performance. You need to get in the zone without being distracted by discomfort. So when it comes to picking the best sunglasses for running, comfort is king. Now listen, before everyone starts freaking out that we didn’t say “safety first” let’s just address the fact that we know safety is important, and we completely agree with picking a high quality lens that protects your eyes, but great lenses are not all that hard to find. The harder part that will take a bit more time is finding the perfect fit.

Comfort can come in the form of how they feel on your face and head, and the comfort they give your eyes from blocking reducing sunlight, glare, and UV rays. Regarding their fit, there’s nothing worse than being denied of your runner’s high because you have annoying sunglass frames bobbing around against your head while running. Or just as bad, if they fit too tight and feel comfortable and snug at first but start to give you a headache after twenty minutes because the sunglass arms press too tightly against your temples. We recommend taking the extra time to find that perfect balance of safety and comfort, and to do so, you will need to consider the following things:

Materials

Look for frames that are made with high quality yet very lightweight plastic or aluminum. This typically includes acetate or aluminum, but all sorta of new frames are being made with new and unique materials that are getting the job done as well. Look for a matte finish or light rubber coating around the ear pieces, or sunglass arms if they make contact with your skin. Any part of the frame that makes contact with your face or head should have an added coating of softer material to prevent from irritation after wearing them for extended periods of time. In addition, look for a pair of shades that are adjustable, so you can manipulate the contour of the nose pad and frames to fit your face nice and snug.

Fit

When trying out different pairs of sunglasses, take special notice to how they sit above your ears and on the bridge of your nose. Concentrate on the pressure there. Does it feel snug and comfortable or is it pressing rather firmly? If it feels comfortable at first but on the firm side, those shades are likely to cause a mild achy feeling or even a full blown headache after 30-45 minutes of wearing them, because they press against your temples too hard. If you’re worried about them being too loose, go run a couple laps around the store or jog in place to get a feel for them. I also recommend shaking your head back and forth to see if they stay on. Yes, we know this all sounds ridiculous but you’ll be glad you did when it helps you determine a quality pair that fits you perfectly. Next thing is take notice to how they sit on your nose. Make sure they’re not too snug, and they don’t slide up or down the ridge of your nose at all, otherwise it will cause irritation while you’re running, especially if you’re perspiring.

As far as safety is concerned, choosing the right lenses will be your most important goal here. You don’t want to bring more than one pair of sunglasses with you on a run, but you also don’t want to be left without any on a bright day if they fall off your face and break. Since running requires a minimalist approach to gear for many reasons, we recommend going higher quality than other scenarios you need sunglasses for. This way you’ll get versatility and lasting protection. So we recommend considering these as priorities when choosing your lenses.

Shatter Resistant

This is huge, but usually accompanies high quality frames. Shatter resistance is important for two main reasons. If something hits you while you’re running, it would be pretty horrible if your sunglass lens shattered into small pieces in or around your eyes. This should be self explanatory. The second reason is for the inevitable dropping of the sunglasses on a hard surface. We’ve all been there, pretty impossible to avoid. Shatter resistance will allow you to simply pick them up, dust them off, and keep on going.

Photochromic

These lenses adjust to the light on their own, getting darker when it’s brighter out, and lightening up as it gets darker out or if you go indoors. We highly recommend the photochromic lens since they allow versatility in so many occasions. If it’s a sunny day turned cloudy, but you still want the protection over your eyes, the lens will automatically lighten so you can see clearly even in overcast conditions. A great feature so you don’t have to take your shades off if it gets darker out and figure out a secure place to keep them that’s not annoying while you run.

Polarized and UV Protection

If nothing else, we recommend focusing on these two elements of a lens more than anything. Polarized lenses have a filter on them that block out that harsh glare you see reflecting off asphalt, water, windows, snow, and sand. An absolute must for runners hitting the road, the beach, or you crazies who run in the winter with snow on the ground...you know who you are. In addition to polarized though, we strongly recommend lenses that provide UV protection. Ultraviolet radiation is emitted down from sunlight and can penetrate your eyes causing long term vision damage. Don’t just assume darker lenses will protect your eyes, in fact darker lenses that provide no UV protection can actually be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all. Look for the sticker on the lens that says 100% UV Protection to make sure you’re getting the real deal.

Check out the links below to find the best sunglasses for running as ranked by our friends over at Competitor.com!