A good pair of running sunglasses is critical for running. On sunny days, it obviously makes the run more comfortable and keeps you from squinting. When it gets colder, running glasses are a key part of your winter running gear because you are often running in bright snow or wind. Even when the weather is more overcast and mild, it is nice to wear glasses to keep bugs and the breeze out of your eyes.
The market for running sunglasses is loaded with great products. To help you decide which to buy, here is our guide on the best running glasses in each class.
Best All-Around Affordable Running Sunglasses
Tifosi Jet Wrap. In the $26 to $40 price range, it is hard to beat the Tifosi Jet Wrap glasses. We have long loved these glasses for our runs, and find them highly-versatile. We use them on bike rides and even while skiing on warmer days.
The all-important nose grip is made of a rubber that provides just the right grip on your nose, but not too much. It is comfortable for hours. The construction is very good for the money, with tough, lightweight materials and a strong hinge. You can find the Jet Wrap glasses in at least 5 colors, depending on the model year. We like the way the temples (“arms” that hold the glasses to your head) hit our head in a comfortable way. What is best, they fit a variety of head sizes, and those with larger or wider faces will be comfortable with the Tifosis just as others are. Construction quality is an A+. We probably sound like we are paid to advertise for these guys, but it is just that we like the glasses that much.
Overall, a pair of glasses that you can’t go wrong with, and won’t break the bank. Find here.
Best High-End Glasses
Oakley Prism Flak. When it comes to higher-end running and cycling glasses, you are naturally going to be seeing lots of options from Oakley. Oakley has been making great sunglasses for almost 50 years, and they keep cranking out high-end products. Our favorite pair of high-end sunglasses on the market today are the Prism Flak model, providing a little more lens than some of the other high-end glasses. The Prism Flak is made of a very durable material that is also lightweight, making for a very good pair of glasses that can be had for $150 to $200.
What makes this worth nearly $200? To us, it is the lens. We mentioned the lens coverage, but the lens material is made of High Definition Optics for enhanced clarity. The lenses filter out all UV rays, and much of the blue light in the vicinity. We also love the nose and ear grips, made with Oakley’s famous and proprietary Unobtanium. One note — we are seeing and hearing that some folks are having trouble locating replacement lenses for these, which is one of the advantages of the Oakleys. If you buy these, you may want to order a set of replacement lenses at the same time to be sure you have them. Find Here.
Best Running Glasses That Will Also Look Great Around Town
Smith Pivlock Overdrive. A favorite with the mountain bike enthusiasts, the Smith PivLock Overdrive glasses are very high-performing for running, but have a full frame so they don’t necessarily look like running glasses if you want them to double as your “out on the town” shades.
Made of a composite frame that is durable and looks good, Oakley takes care to provide several color options, many of them subtle, so that they will go well in any setting. On the run, you will like the 3 changeable lenses which give you a nice range for various light conditions. The lenses are surprisingly easy to swap, considering that these glasses are full-frame. In particularly, mountain bikers give the Pivlocks rave reviews. We also like that they tend to fit runners of all head shapes and sizes, which is a prerequisite for making any list of recommendations we publish. Find Here.
Best Prescription Running Glasses
Rudy Project Prescription. Most runners who require eyewear to run simply use contacts, and then pair them with a good pair of glasses like the ones above. Sometimes, an athlete likes the idea of a prescription set of running or cycling glasses. Maybe contacts irritate your eyes, or you just find wearing running glasses more comfortable.
There are several companies that make prescription sunglasses, but running sunglasses need to be built differently if you want to be comfortable. We like the models made by the Rudy Project, an Italian company with worldwide distribution. They work hard on creating glasses that are functional and made of great materials, and have several options for people who need the sunglasses to either be made with prescription lenses, or be compatible with prescription glasses.
What to look for in Running Sunglasses
When looking at running sunglasses, there are several things to consider as you decide which pair to buy. Here are just a few factors you will want to keep in mind.
- Obviously, fit is very important and is not something you should skimp on. Try the glasses on, or if you are buying online look for reviews from athletes who might be your size and have used the glasses the way you would expect to.
- Rubber Contact Points. There are two spots on your glasses that are incredibly important, because they have direct contact with your face and head. One is the little grip over the nose. The other is the point of contact over your ears. Both are typically made with the best rubber that the manufacturer can afford to put on. Make sure you are comfortable with those important points of contact. It is a good idea to try the glasses on with your typical running headphones in, to make sure the two do not compete for your ear space or cause discomfort.
- Frame Materials. Most glasses you look at will have a composite frame that is both strong and light. Having a little flex in the frame is nice to avoid cracking. Everything listed above has a frame that we are really happy with.
- Look for glasses that have some engineering in the hinge – ideally, joints that are completed integrated into the frame of the glasses, and joints that can expand past 90 degrees without breaking. You don’t want to spend this much on glasses and then bust them.
- UV Ray Protection. Be sure that your glasses can block UV Rays. This is important for protecting your eyes…. and it is not just a summer thing. UV Rays are even more intense when running near surfaces where the sun can bounce, like near bright white snow.
- Price is obviously the final piece of the equation when you are buying your glasses. The budget is different for everyone, so that is where your personal situation needs to be considered. As you see above, some of these glasses may go for less than $50, while others will go for over $150. As you spend more, you should expect more. If you find a pair that fits you perfectly, consider buying a 2nd backup pair if you can afford it.