The 9 Best Sunglasses For Running in 2023

Photo of author
Written by
Last Updated:

Sunglasses may not immediately spring to mind as an essential part of your running gear.

But if you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of squinting against blazing sunshine during a long run, you’ll know just how important they can be!

Wearing sunglasses as you train helps you see more clearly, improving your performance. Crucially, it’s important for your eye health, too.

The National Eye Institute recommends wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light.

Long-term exposure can lead to a range of problems, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • The development of cataracts
  • Growths on the whites of the eyes (pinguecula and pterygium)
  • Cancers of the eyelid

Choosing the best sunglasses for running can be tricky, however, and some terminology used to describe the lenses is hard to understand.

To make things easier, we’ve chosen our favorite sunglasses for runners and explained just why we recommend them.

But before we get to those, let’s look at some of the features you’ll need in running sunglasses and just what those confusing descriptions actually mean!

Best Sunglasses For Running Visual

Features to Look For in Sunglasses for Running

First, consider if you want to use your sunglasses solely for running, or if you want to wear them for other purposes, too.

This will influence the style you opt for. Whilst some of the sunglasses in this guide will look great worn with the rest of your running gear, they might look out of place in a more formal setting!

Other things to think about include:

Man running with sunglasses

Protection from Ultraviolet Light and Glare

Protection from UV light is the most important consideration and depends mainly on the lenses you choose.

Here’s what you can expect from each variety.

  • Polarized lenses—these reduce glare and any reflections from water or snow. Even the least expensive sunglasses may come with polarized lenses and will usually offer UV protection too.
  • Photochromic lenses—these are the most desirable, appearing clear in very cloudy conditions and deepening in color when in bright sunlight. Choose these if you enjoy running at various times of the day.
  • Standard lenses—these are non-polarized and non-photochromic.
  • Hydrophobic lenses—these have a coating to stop them from fogging up when it’s cold and prevent condensation from forming when you’re sweating.
  • Interchangeable lenses—these are an alternative to photochromic lenses, allowing you to switch styles to suit different light conditions.
Woman running with sunglasses

Shape and Fit

Ideally, choose glasses that fit well to your individual face shape so that the sun’s rays are blocked from as many directions as possible.

They should sit comfortably on the bridge of your nose, preferably with a rubber nose grip to stop them from sliding.

The arms should hold them securely in place without being too tight.

Too much pressure on the sides of the head will become very uncomfortable during longer runs.

Man running with sunglasses


Although we have included some affordable options in our guide, the very best sunglasses for running can be quite expensive.

Expect to pay more for very high-quality, durable lenses designed to stand the test of time.

The 9 Best Sunglasses for Runners

#1. Tifosi Swank Sport Sunglasses

Swank Sport Sunglasses

– Polycarbonate lenses, 100% UVA / UVB protection, and ultralight frame

– Best choice for casual runs

Tifosi makes sunglasses in a wide range of colors, with very affordable non-polarized options and slightly more expensive polarized styles.

These are ideal running sunglasses for women and men, with an average-sized frame that looks great on small to medium faces.

(There’s also an XL version, with a wider fit and larger lens).

We found these stayed securely in place as we ran, thanks to the hydrophilic nose pads that grip comfortably.

We also appreciated the integrated hinge – ideal if you have longer hair, as it prevents it from pulling.

The style is casual rather than sports-specific, so you could easily wear these out to lunch when your training session is over!

#2. Julbo Aero Sunglasses with REACTIV 1-3 Light Amplifier Lenses

Julbo Aero Sunglasses with REACTIV 1-3 Light Amplifier Lenses

– Photochromic lenses, anti-fog coating, and a suspended construction for ventilation

– Perfect for long-distance runs

Designed to help you stay cool in challenging conditions, the Aero sunglasses from Julbo are built with vents between the top of the lenses and the frame.

This ventilation is helpful for preventing fogging and condensation.

But what makes these the perfect sunglasses for running are the REACTIV lenses, that quickly and automatically adjust from light to dark.

Offering 100% UVA, B, and C protection, the mono lens also gives you a very wide field of vision.

The arms have a soft rubber coating that grips well without sticking to your hair, and we found the nose pads super comfortable, as they are adjustable in every direction.

Our only complaint is that they come with a soft bag for storage and not the hard case that we would have expected for the price.

#3. Zeal Optics Boone Plant-Based Polarized Sunglasses

Zeal Optics Boone Plant-Based Polarized Sunglasses

– Z-Resin plant-based frame, ultra-lightweight (under one ounce), and 100% UV protection

– The most eco-friendly running sunglasses for men and women

These are the only sunglasses for running we’ve listed that don’t just help you enjoy the great outdoors – they help you protect it, too!

That’s because the frames are constructed from a material derived from the sustainable castor plant, whilst the lens is made from plant-based Ellume.

The blue mirror coating is designed to increase the saturation and balance of the colors around you.

But you might also want to check out the other color options available (dark grey, copper, and rose) that manipulate light in different ways.

Despite their minimal weight, these sunglasses have a high-quality and durable feel, plus they stay comfortably in place without slipping.

#4. Oakley Radar Ev Path Rectangular Sunglasses

Oakley Radar Ev Path Rectangular Sunglasses

– Prizm lenses to enhance color, strong molded thermoplastic O-Matter frame, and 100% UVA, B, and C protection

– The best running sunglasses for men

Available in a range of colors and with both polarized and non-polarized options, these sunglasses feature taller-than-usual lenses.

Combined with the wrap-around style, these deliver a significantly wider range of coverage than you’ll get with other styles.

The lenses also feature the brand’s ‘Prizm’ technology, which is designed to make colors look brighter and enhance both detail and contrast.

The shape is definitely suited to a larger face (which is why we wouldn’t really recommend these for women) and the fit is good, so there’s no bouncing or sliding.

In fact, the nose pads and earsocks actually become grippier when wet, making these perfect for sweaty runs!

#5. Smith Reverb Sunglasses

Smith Reverb Sunglasses

– ChromaPop lenses with hydroleophobic coating to repel moisture, grease, and grime

– Best sunglasses for enhancing colors

You can probably tell just by looking that these glasses were designed by a company with a background in skiing and snowboarding!

But that panoramic coverage offers great eye protection for runners, too, blocking the majority of the sun’s rays in every direction.

What sets these sunglasses apart from the rest are the brand’s proprietary ChromaPop lenses.

Designed to help you see an incredible depth of detail and color, they filter two particular light wavelengths that tend to make colors appear muddled.

This gives you a view with significantly better definition and clarity.

With a unisex fit and size, the Reverb uses PivLock interchangeable lens technology, which makes changing the lenses a breeze.

They are very comfortable to wear, too, with two-position soft rubber megol nose pads and temple grippers that hold them securely in place.

#6. Knockaround Fast Lanes Sunglasses for Men and Women

Knockaround Fast Lanes Polarized Sunglasses for Men & Women

– Polarized polycarbonate lenses, UV protection coating, and available in a range of colors

– Ideal for medium to large face shapes

If you’re looking for a versatile pair of sunglasses for running that won’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with these stylish shades from Knockaround.

The lightweight frames are comfortable to wear, although not quite as flexible as we would have liked.

But we didn’t experience any sliding or bouncing, thanks to the rubber grips on the nose bridge that held them gently but firmly in place.

The lenses are polarized for excellent protection against the sun’s glare and can filter out up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays.

Add to this the classic design that looks good on pretty much anyone and you have an affordable pair of running sunglasses that you can use for everyday wear too.

#7. Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL Rectangular Sunglasses

Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 XL Rectangular Sunglasses

– Polarized lenses, ultralightweight design, and durable O Matter frame

– Best interchangeable lens sunglasses for running

Made for men and with a bigger frame to suit larger face shapes, Oakley’s Half Jacket 2.0 sunglasses are the perfect shades for running in different light conditions.

That’s because the clever design allows you to change the lenses with ease, giving you the option to choose from a wide range of colors for your specific needs.

All lenses provide full UV protection and filter 99% of glare, but without the optical distortion and haze that you sometimes get with other brands.

The frames are pretty flexible so they fit well to the contours of your face, and the Unobtanium earsocks grip securely, even during the sweatiest runs!

What’s more, the design is sporty but understated, so you could easily use these for everyday wear.

#8. RUDY PROJECT Propulse Sports Sunglasses

RUDY PROJECT Propulse Sports Sunglasses

– Quick change photochromatic lenses, secure wraparound fit, and vents to reduce fogging

– Best sunglasses for trail running

The natural compression fit of these sunglasses makes them perfect for longer distances, as they remain stable and comfortable over the miles.

They are also very flexible, conforming well to any face shape, and fitting comfortably over a hat in the winter!

Meanwhile, the vents – located on the chassis, temple, and lenses – mean you won’t have to worry about fogging or condensation, no matter how cold the conditions or how challenging your run.

The wide lenses provide superior eye protection – just what you need if you regularly run in windy or dusty terrain.

And the lenses are simply excellent, transitioning rapidly from clear to dark when the light changes.

The only thing we found disappointing about these glasses was the soft pouch that came with them, rather than a hard protective case.

#9. Goodr OG Sunglasses

Goodr OG Sunglasses

– Classic design, lightweight frame, and sturdy temples

– Best budget sunglasses for runners

Last but not least are the excellent OG Sunglasses from Goodr, a company dedicated to making stylish, fun, functional, and affordable shades for runners!

As you might expect from their popularity, their low price is no indication of their quality – these are durable glasses that look great and stay in place throughout your run, even without nose pads.

This is thanks to the grippy non-slip coating and snug-fitting frames, which ensures they won’t bounce as you move.

The scratch-resistant lenses are polarized to save you from glare and have a UV protection coating, blocking 99% of the sun’s harmful rays.

Just be aware that these are better for small to medium head sizes and are a bit too snug for larger face shapes.

The Best Sunglasses for Running: Key Takeaways

Sunglasses for runners don’t just LOOK cool – they actually help you perform better and protect your eyes from the hazards associated with UV exposure.

We hope this guide has helped you choose the perfect pair of shades to keep you comfortable on your next outdoor run!

Woman running with sunglasses
Photo of author
Christine Albury is a dedicated runner and fitness nerd: when she's not working out she is studying the latest fitness science publications, and testing out the latest running gear!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.