Best Polarized Sunglasses For Runners Reviewed
If you’re a keen runner seeking eye protection, sometimes normal sunglasses aren’t enough. Glare from reflected light can be annoying, and even worse, may cause pain and damage over time. Normal sunglasses don’t block this reflected light, but polarised sunglasses do the job expertly. There are a load of polarized sunglasses on the market to suit a range of budgets. Here, we take a look at ten of the best, considering some high-end options alongside some low-cost but effective choices.
Our Top Picks For Runners
1. Native Lynx
These have good grip both on the nose and the temple to keep them in place while you’re running. They are suitable for larger profiles, which is good if you’re seeking something a little bigger than your average glasses. They are overall very comfortable and pretty lightweight.
They do the job excellently and they deliver good contrast and depth perception along with protection from glare. They don’t get steamy as many other glasses can and they’re very effective given their price point. They come with extra lenses which are handily replaceable and include a lens cleaning cloth.
A little pricey, but definitely worth it.
- Good for wide faces.
- Give good clarity and depth perception.
- Interchangeable lenses.
- They’re not as well-known or well-tested as most others on this list.
2. Under Armour Igniter 2.0 Storm
They’re more lightweight than some others on this list and the grip fit keeps them in place really effectively. They are a little tight for some, which you might want to consider if your head is wide.
The wrap-around style keeps you fully protected from the sun while the lenses keep things light and makes colours and details pop, which is good if you like to trail run in scenic conditions.
If you want something reputable and well-known for a relatively low price point, these are perhaps your best option.
- Good low-cost option.
- Colours pop in these.
- Very strong frame and lenses.
- Wrap-around style.
- Stay in place well.
- A small amount of users have found slight durability issues.
- A little tight for some.
3. Oakley Radarlock Path
These are super comfortable and the special design helps to increase grip when you’re at your sweatiest. They are designed to channel airflow properly which gives nice comfort and stops you from getting steamed up. They’re lightweight and the changeable nose pads offer a customisable fit. They are a little too narrow for some.
With Oakley, you know what you’re getting, and they block sunlight very well while offering clear vision and abilities designed for athletes. All colours pop in these for great vision. That said, the lenses are a little hard to clean.
This is the only real downfall here. Compared to many others on this list, these really are a pricey option.
- Great colours.
- Excellent grip.
- Nice airflow to prevent steaminess.
- Customisable fit with changeable nosepads.
- Nice aesthetic design.
- Very expensive.
- A little narrow for some people.
- The lenses are a little hard to clean.
4. Duco Sport
The ergonomic design of these gives flexibility and adjustability, which makes for a decent custom fit. The nose pad has decent grip and they’re a good option if you have a wide head.
For the price, if you want a basic option, they’re very good. That said, the colours aren’t as vivid with these, and they don’t offer as much clarity. The durability also isn’t the best on this list, as the polarised coating can wear away after a time.
This is where these really shine – for the price, they’re great.
- Excellent price point.
- Nice flexible ergonomic design.
- They are decent if you have a wide head.
- A nice selection of styles are available.
- Not as much colour and vividness as some other options.
- Not the best durability.
- The hinges on the frames can be a little temperamental.
5. Hulislem Blade Sport
These protect well without being too shaded, so the vision is overall pretty good. They stay in place really well when moving and sweating without any uncomfortable rubbing, which some of the low-cost options can sometimes suffer from.
They aren’t the most durable and probably aren’t suitable for really heavy rain. The material is not as strong and sturdy as other options. But if you want something that will block out glare for a low-cost price, these will do it. They sometimes can fog up a little.
A good low-price option!
- Good price point.
- The lenses stay in place well.
- Wrap-around design.
- Don’t slip when you sweat.
- Not the best durability.
- Can fog up a little.
- Aren’t suited to very heavy rain.
- Not the sturdiest design
6. Duduma Sports Sunglasses
They have a wrap-around design and seem to fit most users well. The flexible non-rigid design gives their fit a good versatility, which means that they’re a good option regardless of the size of your head. They grip at the nose and temples for non-slippage with a comfortable rubber design.
These fight the glare well, but are darker than some might like, which isn’t great if you often run in shadowy conditions. That said, they keep you well protected including around the peripherals. They do fog up a little at times, but the lens cloth makes it easy to combat this. The lifetime guarantee essentially means lifetimes durability!
A good low-cost option.
- Good price point.
- Great grip.
- Nice fit with non-rigid design.
- Wrap-around design.
- Lifetime guarantee on the lenses and frames.
- Come with a cleaning cloth.
- Fog up a little.
- Darker than some might like.
- Don’t give the most vivid colours.
- Not the best durability.
7. Torege Sports
They give a good fit without too much tightness or too much wobble, so they should be a good match for head of most sizes. Their sturdy but lightweight design is good for exercise, and these are indeed designed for sport.
These are one of the lighter low-cost options, which allows colours to stand out pretty well. You won’t get the vivid appearance of more expensive brands, but they’re still pretty good. The nose piece is annoyingly a little fragile but the structure and frame is otherwise good.
Another low-cost choice for budget-conscious shoppers!
- Good fit for most users.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- Have a good amount of lightness and vividness for a cheaper option.
- Come with many lenses.
- The nose piece is fragile.
- Not the greatest durability, but the lifetime guarantee covers this.
- Of all of the five lenses which come with the glasses, only the darkest one is polarised.
8. Bolle Speed
The wide lenses give good all-round protection and these are overall very comfortable. They don’t have a nose piece which is unusual for exercise glasses, but they still stay in place and won’t slip and slide when things get sweaty.
They’re great at blocking glare and their durability is excellent, so they should last a while.
Not the cheapest on this list, nor the most expensive. If you want something affordable but very good, these are a decent option.
- Fairly affordable.
- Good grip.
- Excellent vision.
- Very good durability.
- Wide lenses for all-round protection.
- Not as well-tested as others on this list.
- They don’t have a nose grip, which some people may not like.
9. Revo Descend N
Very comfortable, very lightweight, non-slip and offer a nice versatile fit. They’re made for rounder faces and they might not fit or suit if you have a particularly wide head. The frame is a little flimsy, but unless you’re prone to breaking things, these really shouldn’t get damaged.
The colours on these really are great. Things pop and shine with these, so you receive great vision. They’re also very light, which means that your vision isn’t too dark or discoloured, which is nice if you’re running somewhere with good views. The coating on the lenses stops mud and dirt from getting caught on the lens if you’re on the trails.
These are somewhat pricey, though they’re worth the investment.
- Non-stick coating means they won’t get dirty.
- Great brightness and colours.
- Lots of attractive designs.
- Lightweight and flexible.
- Not ideal if you have a wide head.
- The frame is a little flimsy.
- A little pricey.
10. Rivbos Sport
They have a snug fit and are decent on a wide face, which means they might not offer the best fit if you have a narrow face. They sit nicely on the nose and they’re fairly flexible, which gives them some versatility.
The interchangeable lenses are a nice touch if you don’t always need something polarised. The colours aren’t as vivid with more expensive options on this list and the durability isn’t the best, but they’re a quality buy and they will protect you will. They won’t slip when you get sweaty and although the frame is a little flimsy, the lifetime guarantee means that you’re covered forever. It’s a little hard to switch the lenses.
Good if you’re looking to save a few bucks!
- Good bargain option.
- Snug fit.
- Flexible, which gives versatility.
- Interchangeable lenses.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- The frame is a little flimsy.
- It can be difficult to switch out the lenses.
- Not the best for narrow faces.
Criteria used to consider when picking the best polarized sunglasses for runners
The main reason a runner buys a pair of sunglasses is to ensure they are protected from UVA and UVB radiation when running. Polarized sunglasses are able to reduce the glaring effect a runner experiences when running under direct sunlight. Sunlight glares also come from reflection of the sun from any shining surface like a pool of water, a passing car etc. With the reduction of the glare, this feature allows the wearer to have better visual acuity in even the brightest of conditions When you protect your eyes from UVA, you minimize how often your eyes strain during bright conditions and also protects your eyes from debris and other harmful flying objects.
If you are going to be wearing sunglasses for long periods of time whilst running or walking and you are working up a sweat, then you also need to consider comfort, fit, anti-fogging and lens tint. Finding the right pair is key to your comfort, whether you are running in the park or in the street.
The following below factors were considered when picking out the best polarized sunglasses for runners.
The Color and Type of Lenses
The color of your lenses will depend on when you do most of your running and where you do your running. There are multiple tints and styles that will fit into different running lifestyles and schedules.
Clear lenses are used primarily in dark (morning or night) conditions, especially when the wind is blowing, to protect your eyes from tearing and push away debris that may fly towards your face. Use in dark or windy conditions when you want to reduce your eyes from tearing when running. They will offer both protection from objects and clear vision.
Mirrored lenses are most effective when combined with a different tint as they can reduce the amount of sunlight that bounces off the ground or other items around you – this effectively reduces or eliminates any glare. The mirrored lenses are able to enhance the effectiveness of a tinted lens by reflecting sunlight bouncing off the ground, therefore reducing glare
If you are going to be running in different conditions, then you need to consider purchasing sunglasses with interchangeable or polarized lenses to cover all your needs. As with any other type of sunglasses, a polarized lens has a colored or dark coating that absorbs or reflects the light, meaning that less light goes into the eye. In most cases, it is best to get a lighter color of lens, which allows for more light so that you can see clearer while wearing them; however, there could be some situations where less light is preferred. Think about what you will be doing while wearing the sunglasses to determine the coloring of the lens that is right for you. Below are some of the most common colors of lenses of polarized sunglasses for runners.
Dark Tints: blue/grey/green/brown are good for bright and sunny conditions and are best recommended for the eyes in harsh light. They are the most common type of polarized sunglasses and generally come in a dark shade such as blue, green, gray or brown. You will use dark tinted sunglasses for brighter conditions to ensure your eyes are comfortable in the harsh sunlight.
Golden Tints: yellow, gold and amber tints are better for low-light conditions as they filter out the blue light and make it easier to see the bumps and edges in the terrain. Many people generally know them as amber sunglasses. They are fantastic sunglasses for runners especially for low-light running because they filter out any blue light which can make it easier to see any hazards where you are running.
Polarized/ Photochromic: photochromic lenses are great for very bright conditions as they cut down on the glare from the sun reflecting off salt flats and sand. However, their base color tends to be darker than normal lenses and so towards the end of the day they may become too dark to use as the shadows grow longer. These runners’ sunglasses are best if you are running on sand or a beach and the glare bothers you, these are the perfect lenses, just keep in mind that they are generally much darker and not good for evening or dusk running.
Most optical shops have tint samples you can use to help you decide which colors are best for you. Try to evaluate the lenses in lighting conditions that match those you will experience most often during your running. If you participate in running but in a variety of lighting conditions, consider purchasing more than one pair of running sunglasses, with different lens tints in each pair. Some sport sunglasses frames have interchangeable lenses for a variety of lighting conditions
Do they offer protection from both UVA & UVB?
You should buy sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Too much exposure to UV over a short amount of time can cause photo-keratitis, which is basically sunburn to the eyes. Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause permanent damage, so ensure that your sunglasses offer full protection. This is especially important in sandy deserts or on salt flats where the sun will be reflected off the ground almost as much as if it were snow.
In humid and rainy conditions or where you will be working up a sweat you want to choose frames that offer good ventilation to prevent your sunglasses from fogging up. Choose a set of frames that hold the lenses away from the face so that air can circulate freely, and consider anti-fog coatings.
Materials used in Making the Sunglasses
Sport sunglasses also typically feature very firm grip nose pads and temple ends, a feature that helps keep the frames in place even when you’re sweating. Some sport sunglasses include interchangeable lenses so you can make adjustments for different light conditions If you are taking part in sporting activity it’s sensible to make sure that your lenses are made out of a shatter-resistant material, a poly-carbonate rather than traditional glass or plastic for example. Also consider what the frames are made out of – the more flexible the less likely they are to break when dropped or squashed into a fully packed race backpack. Designed for activities such as running, hiking and biking, sport sunglasses offer light weight and an excellent fit for fast-paced adventures. High-end frame and lens materials are more impact-resistant and flexible than casual sunglasses. Specialist running glasses now feature non-slip nose pads, super-lightweight adjustable frames, interchangeable lenses and careful design to ensure ventilation and prevent fogging
Very important factor is the fit and comfort of wearing your sunglasses for a long time, you want something lightweight, maybe with rubberized nose-pieces and potentially with adjustable earpieces to keep the glasses in place when running. You don’t want your sunglasses falling off your face each time you start to run. The major difference between running sunglasses and the normal sunglasses we wear is that they need to have the best grip and fit on your face. The golden rule is that they are not supposed (especially when doing any running) to come off unless you are removing them from your face. Here are some tips when trying on a pair of sunglasses:
- Frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears, but not pinch or rub.
- The weight of sunglasses should be evenly distributed between your ears and nose. Frames should be light enough to avoid excess friction on these contact points.
- Your eyelashes should not contact the frame.
- You may be able to adjust the fit of metal or wire-core frames by carefully bending the frame at the bridge and/or temples.
- You may be able to adjust nose pieces by pinching them closer together or farther apart
Next, you should consider the type of lenses. Many types are available, including plastic, glass, and polycarbonate. Hard plastic resin lenses are generally preferred when the sunglasses are going to be used in sporting activities, because they are shatter resistant. Many types of lenses are scratch resistant; this is extremely helpful for those who tend to throw them in the car “just in case” or leave them lying around the house.
Typical glass lenses have a light blue flash coating and can come in mirror coating. They may also have a gold or silver coating. These are generally anti-reflective as well. These types of lenses have a better chance of shattering if dropped, so if you are using your sunglasses outdoors, you might not consider glass lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are the most durable and lightweight.
Any of these types can have mirror coating. They can also have single or double gradient coatings. Single gradient lenses are shaded from the top to the bottom, getting darker toward the bottom while double gradient lenses are shaded at both ends. Photochromic coatings will darken and lighten depending upon how much light is present. The amber tinted ones can help to reduce glare, while brown lenses will help to lessen strain on the eyes while outdoors. New lenses that are grey neutral in color are for general purposes, while the rose colored lenses are perfect for use in the daylight. Yellow lenses can be used in low light conditions.
Other factors worth considering
However, there are other features that can make a simple pair of sunglasses truly spectacular.
It is advisable to consider purchasing the highest quality sunglasses possible, since these items are the only thing keeping your eyes from the harsh UV sunlight. Lower quality sunglasses could distort the image you see or simply might not provide you with the protection you need.
Sunglasses Frame Materials
Choosing a frame is nearly as important as the lenses, since it contributes to your sunglasses’ comfort, durability and safety. Also, consider the type of frame you purchase. Frames can be made from very different materials, including plastic, metals, carbon, nylon, or a combination of many materials. A popular option is a hard metal frame. This type of frame is made to withstand certain hazards that could occur outside when running, climbing, or hiking. Below are some of the most common types of runners’ polarized sunglasses frames’’ types:
Metal is easy to adjust to your face and less obtrusive to your field of vision. It’s more expensive and less durable than other types, and it’s not for high-impact activities. Keep in mind that metal can get too hot to wear if left in a closed-up car. Specific metals include stainless steel, aluminum and titanium.
Nylon is inexpensive, lightweight and more durable than metal. Some nylon frames have high impact-resistance for sports. These frames aren’t adjustable, unless they have an internal, adjustable wire core.
Acetate: Sometimes called “handmade,” these variations of plastic are popular on high-style glasses. More color varieties are possible, but they are less flexible and forgiving. Not intended for high-activity sports.
Castor-based polymer is a light, durable, non-petroleum-based material derived from castor plants.
It’s important to note that models that are hydrated will return to their original shape even when they are stepped on or crushed. If you are constantly dropping your sunglasses, consider the hydrated version. If you are afraid of them bouncing off when doing outdoor exercise activities, consider the Aviator frame that wraps around the entire head.
Polarized sunglasses for runners can be costly, but then they tend to do a very good job. They protect your eyes and make sure your workout and sporting activity run smoothly with no any interference. They are a very good investment, that every runner should have. Though the above sunglasses are a little costly, they are the best in the market and provide the best protection and user ability in terms of making your running experience safe as possible.
UV protection and the type of tint are the most important characteristics of running sunglasses. Other features include:
Anti-fogging: For a consistently clear view.
Scratch-resistant: For durability.
Adjustable nose pads: For customization comfort.
Interchangeable lenses: For different light conditions.
Lightweight frames: For comfort.
We know all runners aren’t sold on wearing sunglasses and it’s usually due to one of two reasons –fogging and sliding. But then getting a runners’ sunglasses is not an easy task. Several questions always pop up before a runner makes this costly investment as part of their running gear.
Q. How do I keep my sunglasses from fogging up?
A. It’s a humid day and you’re trucking along until you need to stop for water or change directions. Then it happens – your sunglasses fog up and you can’t see a thing. There are anti-fog sprays and cloths available said to prevent this, but most have mixed reviews.
Lenses fog up when humid, warm air stops circulating behind them. In other words, if you don’t stop moving, your lenses shouldn’t fog. Of course, this isn’t always possible. To clear lenses up, rub them with your moisture-wicking top or put a dollop of water on them and clean with any material. Then immediately start running again.
Q. How do I keep my sunglasses from sliding down my nose?
A. Invest in a pair of shades that fit snug but not too tight. If most types slip down your nose, look for a model with a traction grip. Don’t be afraid to test out a pair in the store by running for a minute – you need to know if they really work.
Q. If the sun doesn’t bother my eyes, do I still need to wear sunglasses?
A. Yes. The sun has damaging UV rays that can cause photokeratitis, pingueculae and permanent retinal damage.
Q. What exactly are UV rays?
A. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are located just past the violet portion of the visible light spectrum; sunlight is the main source. UV light is broken into three different types: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA has longer wavelengths and passes through glass easily; experts disagree about whether or not UVA damages the eyes. UVB rays are the most dangerous, making sunglasses and sunscreen a must; they don’t go through glass. UVC rays do not reach the Earth because its atmosphere blocks them.
Q. Which lens color is the best?
A. Lens color is a personal choice and doesn’t affect how well sunglasses lenses protect your eyes from UV light. Grey and brown are popular because they distort color perception the least. Athletes often prefer other tints for their contrast-enhancing properties.
For example, yellow lenses are popular with skiers and target shooters because they work well in low light, reduce haze and increase contrast for a sharper image. As a runner before you pick the lens color consider your running patterns and the environment where you usually do your running.
Q. Are the more expensive sunglasses of better quality?
A. Not necessarily. While expensive sunglasses usually are high quality, you can also get an affordable but still good pair if you’re a careful shopper. Just make sure to check that the lenses provide adequate protection from UV light and are free of distortions. You can also take them to your eye care professional to have the lenses metered to determine the amount of UV that passes through the lenses. That way you can be sure you are getting the most from your sunglasses.
Your vision is perhaps the most important sense, and when it is degraded it can create a chain of events that increase stress levels that affect your performance during a race. Poor vision created by water ingress due to having leaky seals, lenses that are too dark or light for the conditions or lenses that fog up during a race create anxiety and stress. This will distract you from focusing on the most important aspects of your race such as your pace, rhythm, your position in relation to other competitors and the next buoy. If you can’t see the next buoy you are not going to make the most direct line to it.
There we have them! Get glare-free, protect your eyes and step up your runs!
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
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