Running in the sunshine is wonderful, but if you don't have the right eyewear, you'll spend the whole time squinting and blinking (not to mention possibly damaging your eyes). Not all sunglasses are alike — specifically when it comes to running. The best running sunglasses require special features that you wouldn't necessarily need when you're lying on the beach or strolling through town.
First of all, they need to stay put. One of the biggest problems when you're running in sunglasses is that they tend to flop around or slide down your nose. When using them for athletics, you need sunglasses that are extra snug and secure.
Your running sunglasses also need to be extra durable, because they often taking a beating. They get exposed to dirt, dust, and other elements; plus, you sweat in them, so they get exposed to moisture, too. Materials such as polycarbonate and other tough plastics will be your best bet.
Lastly, you need exceptional visual clarity. Although it's always nice to be able to see clearly, when you're running it can be a matter of safety. On trails, you need to be able to see the terrain, and on roads, you need to be able to watch out for traffic. High-quality lens technology is essential in running sunglasses.
There are tons of options out there, so to help you make a decision, I've rounded up a list of the best running sunglasses with these factors in mind. I've tried several of these out myself, so I can personally vouch for their awesomeness on the road.
1. The Best Overall
Zeal Optics Women's Penny Lane Polarized
What's great about them: These Zeal Optics running sunglasses are both lightweight and bulk-free, according to reviewers. The frame is made from tough Z-Resin material that's hard to crack, and the lenses feature the brand's plant-based Ellume Polarized technology, which offers above-average clarity. I have several pairs of Zeal sunglasses myself, and the brand is typically my favorite in terms of staying put and not bouncing around or sliding down my nose. Best of all, they come in three cute colors to choose from.
What fans say: "These sunglasses are great for running! I'd heard about them from a co-worker and was leery about buying them before trying them on but they're fabulous. Seriously - just as sunglasses they rock but you really can go for a run and they're great! I highly recommend them!"
2. The Most Durable
Spy Refresh Collection Sundowner Sunglasses
What's great about them: I personally own these sporty running sunglasses, and I absolutely love them. They're super durable and fit securely on your face without feeling too snug. They're the only ones I feel I could throw on the ground and not worry about them cracking or breaking. This toughness is due to their tough polycarbonate frames (made from "Grilamid") and strong, shatter-proof lenses. The lens technology is exceptionally clear, and they come in a bunch of color options. Even more impressive is the price; these are one of the few performance sunglasses that come at a mid-range price point.
What fans say: "Awesome pair of sunglasses. I love Spy."
3. The Best Budget Option
Jojen Polarized Sports Sunglasses
What's great about them: These budget sports sunglasses work great for running because they're not only lightweight but snug, too, so they don't bounce around a lot. The lens technology isn't as advanced as the others on this list and won't offer the same degree of UV-ray protection, so I wouldn't recommend them for long, extended exposure in sunny places. However, if you're looking for a cheap and easy pair of sunglasses for jogging around your neighborhood — a pair that isn't too heavy and will stay on your face — these make a wonderful choice. As a bonus, they come in seven color choices, too.
What fans say: "I was looking for glasses to wear for my first half marathon. These were great! Didn't slip at all, very lightweight and were very comfortable to wear. So glad I have these because I can wear them when I'm not running too."
4. The Best For Smaller Faces
Smith Optics Parallel Sunglasses
What's great about them: If you have a more petite face, these high-quality running sunglasses won't flop around while you're trying to log a training session. They're specifically made for small to medium-sized faces, so they won't slide down the bridge of your nose, either. On top of that, they boast ultra-clear carbonic lenses and strong, eco-friendly frames. The lenses are treated with a "hydroleophobic" coating that repels water, dirt, and grease. The sunglasses come with a polarized lens for sunny days and a non-polarized version for lower-light running sessions.
What fans say: "I needed a pair of sunglasses to run in that did not look ridiculous (think razor shaped). These look great on... although they are still sporty. They are light weight on my face. They stay put without squeezing."
5. The Best For Low Nose Bridges
Oakley Unisex Flak Draft Sunglasses
What's great about them: If the bridge of your nose sits lower on your face, finding sunglasses can be tough. These Oakley running sunglasses, however, are specifically designed for wider faces with higher cheekbones and lower nose bridges (and are also referred to as "Asian fit"). That means they won't slip down your nose or create unwanted pressure around your temples.
Additionally, they have a three-point system that prevents the bottom of your cheeks from hitting the frame if that's normally an issue for you. The sleek, athletic sunglasses feature polarized iridium, tough UV-protective coating, and a strong plastic frame.
What fans say: "Best Oakley sunglasses I've had ever ... They're lightweight and stay on during rigorous activity. The lenses are also very clear. The lenses tint is more reddish than black but still work well. The lenses are the easiest I've ever taken off. My favorite pair of Oakley sunglasses to date."
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