Best Sunglasses for Running Reviewed
The sun is one of our most oppressive stars, so you want to ensure that when heading out for a run that you are covered when it comes to potential damage. Slathering your skin with a generous layer of sunscreen is a good start, but you also need to ensure that your eyes are protected as well. A good pair of shades are going to protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays and they are also going to prevent you from squinting. Everyone knows that 2 minutes of squinting is fine, but 2 hours of squinting and straining your eyes is a recipe for a killer headache. In this guide, we have selected some of our favorite styles of running sunglasses that will be comfortable and keep your eyes happy and relaxed!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Extended upper view
- Oakley Radar
- Under Armour Zone 2.0
- Nike Tailwind
- Adidas Raylor S
- RIVBOS Polarized
- Woosh Polarized
- JOJEN Polarized
- TOREGE Polarized
- O2O Polarized
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Top Rated Running Sunglasses
1. Oakley Radar
Extended upper view
The reason we landed the Radar running sunglasses from Oakley in our number one spot is that it has all of the features that you would want when training hard in bright conditions. The frame is easy and lightweight, and after a while, you may even forget that you are wearing anything at all! The lenses are also light enough that you won’t be washed away in the darkness, but they are just tinted enough to keep you from squinting and will prevent you from the dreaded squint induced headache!Read more
The frame for these sunglasses is made from a very lightweight plastic that is going to hug your face, and the arms stretch around your head to provide a very secure fit. The lenses aren’t wrapped in a frame and remain open and breezy, so as you start to heat up you won’t have to deal with a sweaty brow or fogged up lenses.
Users will have the option to select from a few stylish frame and lens designs. There are three frame color choices that include basic black, white with gray arms, and neon yellow with gray arms. Lens colors include basic black, blue, orange, and purple.
What users respond to most to this design of runner's sunglasses is that the lenses and frame are large enough that it is not going to obstruct your view in the slightest. Plus, it offers superior UV protection so you will receive all of the benefits of protective eyewear without feeling like you are wearing anything at all!
2. Under Armour Zone 2.0
Adjustable nose clips
Minimal color choices
If you have trouble finding a pair of shades that feels comfortable on your head, you might want to check out this design from Under Armour. It has a lot of features to help you gain the perfect fit, such as adjustable nose pads and adjustable auto grip arms that are made to stretch. Plus, it is going to give you all of the protection that you need from harmful rays.Read more
As with all Under Armour products, you know that you are getting something that is made with active people in mind. As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest things that we loved about this design is that not only are the arms made to fit most head shapes, but it also comes with a pair of nose grips that are able to be adjusted to ensure that you get a snug and secure fit so that you might even forget that you are wearing them on your next trail run!
As far as style is concerned, there are a few choices that you can select from. The frames are pretty much the same across the board- they offer simple black plastic frames that have a little pop of color on the arms and on the logo. The lenses are offered in colors that include basic black and orange.
Along with a great fit comes excellent UV protection. These lenses are going to be able to shield your eyes from UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. If you are in the market for something that is made from high-quality materials that will be able to keep up with your pace, this is going to be one of your better options.
3. Nike Tailwind
Limited color options
If you like to travel fast and hate the idea of fogged up lenses as you start to build up a sweat, this is going to be a really great pair to have on your head. The style of these sunglasses for runners is a lot more open and airy than many of the other designs, and they are made to fit like you aren’t wearing anything at all. If you don’t typically wear shades but need to protect your eyes when out on the trails, this style from Nike is worth checking out.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this pair of running sunglasses is that the top layer of the lens isn’t connected directly to the top of the frame. While it may look a little odd, it actually serves a pretty practical purpose. Shades typically slide off of your face when your brow begins to sweat, but the open design of this model will keep air flowing right though, while the lenses will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Colors and design are a little limited with this option. Users will only be able to select from a basic black frame that sports moderately tinted black lenses. We did, however, really like the little added pop of neon yellow on the classic Nike logo on the side of the arm. This unit also offers a loop on the back of the arm so that you can fasten a cord that runs along the back of your head to ensure that they stay securely in place!
As with all products from the Nike line, this design is made for those that are on the move. The innovative design will protect your eyes from UV rays, but it is also going to give your head a little more room to breathe over many of the other designs that we have seen out there on the market.
4. Adidas Raylor S
Limited lens choices
If you love the look of your classic wireframes but want something that is made to move, the Raylor S design from Adidas is going to be one of your better choices. It offers a sleek and simple frame that isn’t as bulky as some of the other running sunglasses that we have seen, and it has a few features that will make it a perfect fit for those that are on the move and need something that is going to stay in place.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design was the sleek and simple frames. It is made from a high-quality plastic material that will be able to take a beating if you are known for being not-so-kind to your sportswear. However, the incredibly slim frame is going to feel very lightweight on your face, and you may forget that you are even wearing them!
Color choices for these sunglasses for running are a little bit more limited than some of the other designs that we have found, but they still offer a simple and sleek elegance to the frame. Users will be able to select from classic black or white frames that boast the classic Adidas logo, and lens options are limited to a shiny but non-reflective brown.
Users love this design because it is simple and lightweight, and it still protects your eyes from those harmful UV rays. Plus, the lenses are coated with polarized materials that are going to keep from washing out your surroundings.
5. RIVBOS Polarized
Ribbed rubber arms
Many color options
If you are looking for something that is built like a tank that is really going to cut out any glare that would lead to squinting without hindering your vision by washing out your surroundings, these runners sunglasses by RIVBOS are worth a look. Users really love the simple and easy design of the frames, but what they like most about this option is that the polarized lenses are super dark without diminishing your view of your surroundings.Read more
One of the reasons that users hate dark lenses is that it often washes out their surroundings, but you won’t have to worry about that this with pair. These polarized lenses are super dark but they keep your vision crisp and clear and won’t make you feel like you are running underwater in the middle of the night (although that sounds kind of cool!).
The frames are constructed from plastic that is a little bulky, yet incredibly durable and lightweight. The real takeaway with this design is that the polarized lenses are made from high-quality SWITZERLAND TR 90. This material is what keeps your field of vision nice and crisp while still protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.
The ribbed material on the back of the arm is also going to keep this design snugly in place while you are out of the trails, or you are stretching at the end of a sweaty workout. Users love this option because it is incredibly effective while still being comfortable and lightweight.
6. Woosh Polarized
Very dark lenses
The style of these running sunglasses from Woosh is slightly different than the sporty designs that we have seen so far. This option has more of a trendy design, but it is still something that you will want to wear out on the trails. The wider frame offers an enhanced field of view without sitting as close to your face, and the high-quality lenses do a great job at protecting your eyes from harmful rays.Read more
As we mentioned earlier, the very first thing that we noticed about this style was the sleek styling. Instead of sitting so close to your face and wrapping around the back of your head, this option is worn much like you would wear your casual shades. However, the quality of lenses used means that it is going to be something that will be perfect when out on the trails for extended periods of time.
Users will have the option to select from basic black frames, but they can also choose clear plastic frames that are very on trend. As far as the lenses are concerned, you will have the option to select from basic black lenses, or you can also select blue or orange tinted lenses. The clear frames with the colored tinted lenses are certainly something that is going to make all of the other trail runners a little jealous at your practical style.
For those that don’t want to sacrifice their personal style in the name of functionality- this design from Woosh is the perfect pairing of current eyewear trends with the function that you want when out on the trails.
Unbreakable TR90 frame
Minimal frame choices
Very light lenses
These sunglasses for running from JULI are another design that is made to be a little less bulky than some of the other options out there on the market. High-performance lenses, as well as a frame that is designed to really hug your face, makes this option something perfect to take with you when you are training or even when you run your very first Spartan race!Read more
What users really like about this design is the lenses are built to really help reduce glare without washing out your surroundings. It can achieve this task by polarized lenses that are affixed to a TR90 frame. The frame for this design is slimmer than most and curved arms hug the back of your head so that they securely stay in place no matter if you are at the beginning or the end of your race.
As far as styling is concerned, there are a few choices that users can pick from. As always, you can opt for the simple black frame with black lenses that will go with just about anything. However, if you want something that has a pop of color, they also offer blue and brown lenses that are also affixed to a basic black frame.
Overall, this is a style for those that want something that is minimalistic, comfortable, and easy. The high-performance lenses are going to reduce glare without washing out your surroundings, and the TR90 frame is capable of handling anything that you can throw at it!
8. JOJEN Polarized
Many color options
JOJEN running sunglasses offer users a very stylish and trendy option while still offering all of the protection and performance that you would want when out running on the trails. What we loved most about this option is that there are a lot of different designs that you can select from, and the wide frames are going to allow for an excellent field of view.Read more
Users are going to have the option of selecting from a wide assortment of TR90 frames that include clear, blue, orange, black, red, and even yellow camo! The lens options are just as wide, with tinted lenses that also include brown, blue, orange, yellow, green, and basic black.
Just because these sunglasses for running are super stylish doesn’t mean that they are impractical. High-performance TR90 frames are going to be virtually indestructible, and the ribbed rubber arms that affix to the side of your head will stay securely in place no matter how much you move.
If you are in the market for something that is incredibly stylish but is made to be worn while out on the trials, this design from JOJEN is going to be one of our better options. Plus, the polarized lenses are going to protect your eyes from harmful rays while also reducing that annoying glare.
9. TOREGE Polarized
Soft nose pad
Not very durable
The word that comes to mind when looking at this design from TOREGE is aerodynamic. This design is made to fit on your face like a glove, and the comfortable frames will make you feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all. The larger sport frame with the wide frames is going to increase your field of view (which can be helpful when training in a busy city), and the polarized lenses will help reduce harmful UV rays as well as glare.Read more
The lightweight frames and airy design is going to keep the lenses from fogging up as you begin to sweat, and the lightweight materials will make you feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all. If you are a long distance runner that needs something that is going to be able to keep up with you on those long days, this is going to be the pair that you will want to reach for.
We loved that there are many different color choices that users can select from. As far as the frame is concerned, comes in two basic colors that include black and white, with variances when it comes to pops of color along with the rubber grips on the arms. Lens color choices include various shades of blue and yellow.
If you are gearing up for your very first marathon and are looking for something that is going to be incredibly aerodynamic and breathable, we feel that you are really going to appreciate this lightweight and sporty option from TOREGE.
10. O2O Polarized
The most important aspect that we noticed from this style from O2O is that they are virtually indestructible. If you are looking for something that is really going to be able to take a beating without batting an eye, this design from O2O is worth a look.Read more
This design boasts a sleek and sporty style that is really going to hug your face and stay put no matter how much you move or how much of a sweat you build up. It has arms that wrap around the back of your ears for a secure fit, and it also has rubber grips that are going to really help them stay in place as you move.
As far as protection to your eyes is concerned, this design doesn’t skip a beat. Polarized lenses are going to keep the landscape from being washed out and muddy, but it is also going to help reduce glare which is going to keep you from squinting. Frames come in basic black and white color options, and you will be able to select from black, blue, or orange polarized lenses as well.
If you are in the market for something that is going to prove to be incredibly durable for your high impact activities, this design from O2O will be able to keep up with you while also keeping your eyes protected from those harmful UV rays.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Just ask the Fonz- the style of your shades is something that is incredibly important.
Of course, the performance of these products was one of the very first things that we considered when selecting our favorite designs, but we would be lying if we weren’t a little swayed by how each designed looked. When it comes to sportswear, aerodynamics is going to be your best friend. That’s why we opted for frame shapes that hug your head, but without becoming too tight and constricting. There are two different places that will allow users to get the best performance while still allowing them to express their personal style.
Frames: For the most part, we didn’t deviate too much when it comes to the general shape of the frame, because curved and wide designs are going to be the best style for the task at hand. The classic aviators are great for a leisurely day of errands and driving, but they aren’t going to give you the same level of comfort, protection, and stability that the wrap around frames can provide. There are a few ways to bump up the style, and one of the ways is in the color of the frames. We were drawn to designs that allowed users to select from a few different colors of frames. Black is always going to be a standard option in most styles because it goes with just about anything. Brands such as Oakley offer users bright neon two-toned frames that include bright white and neon yellow. Bright colors are a great way of marrying style with function in our opinion.
Lenses: The color of the lenses is another great way of bumping up the style. Almost all of the designs that we selected for our list gave users the option of selecting different color lenses. Some users worry that lighter colored lenses aren’t going to have the same level of UV protection as darker lenses, but this simply isn’t the case. If you hate super dark lenses because you feel that you aren’t as in tune with your surroundings, you can always opt for a lighter color such as blue or orange, and you will still have the same level of protection that you would have with the incredibly dark lenses.
The type of materials used is going to dictate how comfortable they will feel on your face, as well as indicate how durable they will be.
The endgame here is to feel like you are wearing nothing at all. To achieve this, the materials are going to need to be incredibly lightweight and a little thicker. This means you cannot opt for those stylish wireframes, because you will find that they are going to slip off your face as you move and sweat. We have broken down the materials that we looked for, and the reason behind including them.
Plastic frames: For frames, it’s plastic all the way. You may find that many of the plastic frames are a little on the bulky side, but there is a reasoning for this. Using thick plastic frames mean that they are going to be quite more durable if you happen to take a fall, or if they slip off your face as you stretch after the end of a hot and sweaty trail run in the middle of the summer.
TR90 is the type of plastic that you are looking for when it comes to frames. The reason why TR90 is considered to be the best material in this instance is that it is incredibly flexible. Not all heads are created equal, and these products fall into the one-size-fits-all category. So, how do you ensure that it is going to be a good fit for all size heads? That’s where TR90 comes into play This type of plastic is able to bend and move without losing durability. That means that is it going to be able to stretch to fit all size noggins, and it also means that it is incredibly durable in case you accidentally sit on them when climbing into your car!
Rubber grips: To ensure that they stay securely in place on your head as you get active, rubber grips on the tips of the arms as well as on the bridge of the nose is going to make sure they don’t budge. When you get sweaty from a particularly long training session, plastic frames will slip around and slide down your nose because there isn’t any friction to keep them in place. The right kind of rubber in all of the right places will create a good deal of friction when things start to get sweaty which is going to prevent them from slipping around on your face.
When it comes to sportswear, there are just some brands that stand out from the pack.
Brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour lead the pack for a reason. Their products are often made from high-quality materials, and they are designed by people that know what runners want in their gear. We have broken down some of the big names in the industry, and reasons why their products land them at the top of the pile.
Nike: Nike was established in the early 1960s by a former track and field coach, so the company knows a thing or two about what you need when pounding the pavement. They started in the manufacturing of shoes, but spread their interest to other types of gear that active people need when pushing past their fitness limits. The reason we included products from the Nike line is because they often create very simple designs that utilize very innovative designs that you may not find anywhere else.
Under Armour: You probably already have a product from their sportswear line already in your closet because this brand makes products that are easy and accessible to all athletes- whether you are a seasoned veteran or just starting out on your fitness journey. Under Armour hasn’t been around quite as long as brands such as Nike (they were founded in 1996), but they have made a big impact on the fitness world with their innovative designs that are made from high-quality materials.
Adidas: Founded in the late 1940s, Adidas has been making products specifically for high performing athletes in mind. Their gear has been worn by many Olympic athletes over the years, so it is no wonder we placed a piece of gear in their product line at the top of our list. The reason we love products from this brand is that they always use high-quality materials that have an understated style and innovative features to help you perform at your very best.
Keeping the sun out of your eyes is just as important as keeping it off of your skin.
You have the option of slathering sunscreen all over your body, but you can’t slather it on your eyeballs. This very delicate part of your body often gets overlooked when heading outside for a walk or a jog, so it is important that you select gear that is going to protect one of the most important and delicate parts of your body as well!
It is important to note that polarized lenses do not mean that they are going to protect your eyes from the sun. Polarized lenses simply mean that they are going to help reduce glare so that you don’t squint as much. To ensure that your eyes are protected, we made sure that each brand offered some form of UV protection.
While almost all brands out there on the market have lenses that will protect from UVA and UVA rays, there were some that also made claims that they protected from UVC rays. From our research- this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will protect your eyes more than those that simply filter out UVA and UBA rays.
What are UVC rays? While UVC rays are considered to be the most damaging, they are mostly filtered out completely from the atmosphere before they even reach your skin (or your eyes in this case). Most UVC rays are produced by man-made devices, such as welding torches or older models of tanning beds.
The bottom line when it comes to UV protection is that anything that filters out UVA and UVB rays are considered to be completely sufficient. Designs that filter out UVC rays will not provide you with extra protection unless you plan on engaging in a little bit of welding as you exercise!
If they don’t fit your face right, you aren’t going to want to wear them.
Not everyone’s head is the same shape, and these products are one-size-fits-all. For casual styles, it’s perfectly fine if they fit just a little loose or a little tight because you probably aren’t going to be moving around that much or getting very sweaty. However, because you are going to be moving around a lot, you want them to fit snugly without strangling your face. So, how can you achieve this equilibrium? There were a few features that we considered to ensure that you get the very best fit that is going to be comfortable and easy.
Materials: We mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again. Opting for plastic (preferably TR90) is going to be the key for a good, basic fit. This type of plastic is a lot bendier and less rigid, so it can stand to have the arms bend backward so that it fits your face easily.
Rubber arms: Ideally, you don’t want the entire arm to be made from rubber, or else you will have a little bit of difficulty putting them on. What we looked for in the arms were rubber grips that were strategically placed on the back third of the arms on the backside of your ear so that it would be able to grip your head. From what we found, textured or grooved rubber grips were even better at staying securely in place without running the risk of pulling your hair.
Nose grips: No one likes their nose to be pinched, so we took a look at how each design sat on the nose. For most designs, they simply utilized a simple bridge with a line of rubber that ran along the surface to prevent it from slipping down your nose as you start to build up a sweat. Some companies went so far as to provide a series of detachable grips that you could swap out to ensure that it felt secure yet comfortable.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The sun has been around for a pretty long time, but sunglasses just hit the scene in the late 1920s and became popularized when movie stars started wearing them in public.
Early lenses used to be made out of a small pane of intricate blown glass (dating back to the 13th century!), but today most lenses are made from a form of very durable plastic.
Nike didn't just stop at making sunglasses, they have an entire line of sporty corrective lenses as well that are designed for active people that need durable and sporty frames for any and all activities!
Other Factors to Consider
Our biggest piece of advice that we could give you when selecting a design is to take into consideration what features are more important to you.
If you are training for your first marathon and want something that is aerodynamic and sporty, you may benefit from selecting a narrow design that fits closely to your face. However, you don’t want it to fit so tightly that the lenses are going to fog up as you sweat. Be sure to opt for designs that fit tightly, but that is a little open as well so that your eyeballs can breathe!
For those that was something that is casual and stylish that you would wear even when out with friends in the evening, trendy designs (like the design that we saw from Woosh) are going to give you all of the protection and stability that you want when working up a sweat when training on the track, but still look good in the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why should I wear running sunglasses?
Even if your eyes aren’t as sensitive to light as others, these products serve more functions than just reducing glare.
Did you know that prolonged exposure to UV rays may actually promote the growth of cataracts as you get older? Just like you are generous at slathering on sunscreen to reduce the risk of wrinkles and skin cancer, the same care should go into protecting your eyes. Not only will it reduce the risk of cataracts, but it can also prevent macular degeneration which can also lead to vision loss when you age.
Long-term health risks aside, wearing a pair when you are training outside can help improve your performance. Squinting in bright light may seem like it is a minor inconvenience, but squinting for just 5 minutes greatly increases the risk of developing a killer headache or migraine. When you feel good, you train harder, so it is important that you equip yourself with gear that is going to make you feel good!
q: What are the benefits of polarized sunglasses for runners?
It seems like everyone is boasting about polarized lenses, but what exactly are the benefits of wearing them? It is first important to note that on their own, they do not offer any additional UV protection. They are simply designed to reduce glare and keep your vision from becoming muddy and dark.
Glare happens when light is reflected off of horizontal surfaces. These lenses are infused with a filter that actually absorbs light that is reflected off of a surface, so why the time that it reaches your eye is completely filtered out. What this creates is a view that is crisp and clear, and isn’t washed out by glare. This means that you will have a clearer view of your surroundings, which is especially important when engaging in any outdoor activity.
q: What makes them ideal for running?
You likely have a pair of sunglasses that you picked up at a gas station on a road trip that does a pretty decent job of keeping the sun out of your eyes. While they will work for conditions such as driving or spending some relaxing time outdoors, they may not be ideal for activities that require a lot of movement.
What you are looking for in these designs is a frame shape that is made to fit your head a little tighter than most (which is why plastic frames are going to be ideal for this scenario), and that has a few extra features in the arms and the nose to ensure that they stay in place when you move. Rubber grips on the arms and the bridge of the nose typically aren’t found on casual designs, and this is the material that it really going to help it stay in place as you start to move.
q: What’s so great about TR90?
You may have noticed that most of the brands out there on the market don’t just use any old type of plastic, but rather they use a specific plastic that is referred to TR90. So, what is this material and why is it so great for these types of products?
TR90 is a type of thermoplastic that actually gets incredibly pliable when it becomes warm and stiffens up when it becomes cool. This makes this material a lot more pliable, which also means that it is going to be a lot more difficult to break.
This pliable and durable plastic is the perfect material for these types of products because it means that they will be able to bend to fit most head shapes without becoming weak and brittle with extended use. It also means that you can accidentally sit on them when climbing into your car without the risk of them breaking!
q: Will they offer a good deal of protection from UV rays?
Absolutely! Most of the designs out there on the market have lenses that have been treated with a material that is going to keep those harmful UVA and UVB rays out of your eyes that could lead to the development of cataracts as you get older.
There are some brands out there that state that their lenses not only protect against UVA and UVB rays, but they also protect against UVC rays as well. From what we have researched, designs that simply protect against UVA and UVB rays are completely adequate, and anything past that is considered to be a bit of overkill. Most UVC rays are absorbed into the earth’s atmosphere and don’t make the journey to your skin or eyes.
q: Why can’t I just wear wireframes?
Sure, you can opt for your standard wireframes, but you may run into some troubles down the road. While the lenses are going to do their job keeping glare and UV rays out of your eyes, the frames may become incredibly uncomfortable, and they may even bounce around on your face when training on a bumpy trail.
Wireframes aren’t going to have the same level of stability and comfort over the TR90 frame models, and when you begin to sweat they are going to slide down your face. You may think that your old reliable and trendy wireframes may work at the beginning of your run, but you will grow quite frustrated with them around mile 2!