How To Choose Running Sunglasses

Thinking about wearing sunglasses when you go for a run?  If you’re going out in bright conditions, then it’s always best to wear eye protection.    

Running-specific sunglasses can cost over $200.  The good news is that you don’t always have to buy these, and you may well already have a suitable pair of sunglasses at home.  While it’s nice to have a pair of ‘sports’ sunglasses, the cost implications of buying them often make them hard to justify when compared to your existing pair of Raybans.

Here are the different criterion to consider when assessing whether a pair of sunglasses is suitable for running:

UV protection

UVA and UVB protection should be the baseline requirement when shopping for new shades, regardless of whether they are for running or everyday use.

Comfortable when running

Do they stay fixed to your head while running?  The goal here is to have a pair of sunglasses which you forget you are wearing, even in a race.

Preventing Fogging

Fogging is when your sunglasses get all steamed up.   This is caused by the layer of evaporated sweat near your body meeting the (usually cooler) outside air temperature, and causing the moisture to condensate – on your lenses.  It’s apparently at it’s worst on cool and damp days.  

Sunglasses that hug your face and provide little air circulation will fog up the fastest.  So if fogging is an issue for you, try and buy a pair of sunglasses which sit off your face a little and allow circulation, or have some form of ducts that encourage air to circulate behind the lenses.

There are now products such as Cat Crap which you apply to your lens and it discourages fogging (it gives them a small electrical charge which somehow prevents excessive condensation).  But really, you’re looking to prevent fogging by buying the right sunglasses on day one, rather than fixing it later by buying an extra product.


When preparing for a race, it’s only right to be worried about the weight of everything you take.   The good news when it comes to sunglasses is that there is a near-negligible difference between a pair of ultra-light sports shades and your buddy’s new Ray-ban Wayfarers, so don’t let this play a factor when the salesperson is giving his sales pitch.

sporty sunglasses

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Thomas Watson is an ultra-runner, UESCA-certified running coach, and the founder of His work has been featured in Runner's World,, MapMyRun, and many other running publications. He likes running interesting races and playing with his two tiny kids. More at his bio.

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