10 Best Running Sunglasses Reviewed in 2018

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Would you wear the same pair of shoes for trail running as you would for a day at the beach? Likely not. While it’s a little more possible to do this with sunglasses, giving some serious thought to running specific eye wear can be of great benefit.

There are a multitude of factors to think about when finding the right pair of sunglasses to meet the demands presented by your sport. We’ve made things simple and easy for you by doing all the research and scouring what is currently available on the market. Below you’ll find the top 10 best running sunglasses for women and men.

Last Updated: March 8, 2018
By Brian Price:

take a look at some of the new running shades we added to our list, including picks from Julbo and Rivbos.

Athletes Insight
  • Athletes Insight
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Very Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
Under Armour Rival
  • Under Armour Rival
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Very durable
  • Price: See Here
Optic Nerve Sequence
  • Optic Nerve Sequence
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Optic Nerve Sequence
  • Price: See Here

All you need to know before buying Running Sunglasses

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10 Best Running Sunglasses

 

1. Athletes Insight Performance

The Athletes Insight Performance sunglasses are exactly what runners need in a pair of sunglasses: ultra lightweight, UV400 protection, form fitting with a solid grip, and specifically designed for athletes. Extra bonus: the low price.
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UV Protection
The Athletes Insight Performance sunglasses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. The Dark Smoke, UV400 lenses will ensure that your eyes are protected from the sun.

Durability
The Performance sunglasses feature Athletes Insight’s PolyCarbonate lens technology, which makes them shatter resistant. They are also oil and water repellent.

Polarization & Glare protection
The PolyCarbonate lens have a anti-reflective coating on them, protecting your eyes from the sun's rays and help to eliminate glare.

Weight
Weighing in at a mere 20 grams, these sunglasses are ultra lightweight.

Cost/Value
With such high quality features, these sunglasses are a steal! The price is so low that you might even want to buy yourself an extra pair.
Pros
  • Very light weight
  • UVA & UVB protetction
  • Adjustable nosepiece
  • Shatter resistant
Cons
  • Not many color choices

2. Under Armour Rival

The Under Armour Rival sunglasses are top-of-the-line lenses meant to take on a variety of athletic activities. From the second you put on the glasses, you will notice a very comfortable and stable fit.  
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Style
The design of the UA Rival glasses are extremely stylish. The striped coloring on the frames create a quite appealing look and the lenses bring a flashy style to the table.

Fit/Size
You can just feel the sturdiness of the glasses just by folding or opening the temples. Once applied to your face, the glasses are really locked in. These glasses will fit snugly on the bridge of your nose and the top of your ears. They have a good amount of flexibility to adjust to the head shape of every user.

Coverage
The lenses of the UA Rival are fairly large compared to other glasses on the market. That being said, it works in your favor to protect your eyes with maximum coverage. It helps with protecting against wind and debris while running. Under Armour has patented these shades with ArmourSight technology which delivers up to 20% more undistorted peripheral vision.

Durability
The glasses seem to be made out of very durable materials. The ultra-light ArmourFusion frames are made of titanium and Grilamid for extended strength and flexibility.

Weight
The weight of the UA Rivals is very light which is ideal for athletes, especially runners.

Polarization/Glare Protection
These glasses repel the sun rays very well. Under Armour made sure that everything didn’t have a blue tint to it when wearing these shades, and instead, they dim bright lights into an orange shade which makes objects more visible.

UV Protection
Under Armour pledges that all their eyewear blocks 100% UVA, UVB and UVC rays. The coverage of the glasses will protect a large part of your face from sunburn as well.

Cost/Value
For their price, the value of this eye wear product is truly unmatched. They really provide everything you need as a runner or an athlete in general. The steep price is worth every penny.
Pros
  • Highly Durable
  • Very Lightweight
  • Fits Great
  • Provides Flexibility, while maintaining sturdiness
  • 100% UV protection
  • Glare protection 
Cons
  • Not too many color options available 
  • Can be seen as expensive

3. Optic Nerve Sequence

If you're tired of having a different pair of sunglasses for each type of weather condition then these are a great pick for you! They come complete with 4 interchangeable lenses that have specific tasks in mind.
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Style
These amazing running glasses are quite stylish featuring interchangeable lenses that are easily placed on and off. The mechanical switch to take them off and on allows for reduced fingerprints on your lenses as well. It's available in black, and white/red.

Fit & Size
Its adjustable nose bridge allows for a secure fit. They are made from tactile rubber to further your comfort while you run.

Durability
These are highly durable and made with resilient nylon resin that prevents breaking and stretching.

Polarization & Glare protection
The frames come with four lenses: polarized smoke, copper, orange and clear. The Polarized Smoke lens is for very sunny and bright conditions. The copper lens is best for a partly sunny day, where it may get dark at times. The orange lens works great for overcast days, and the clear is great for night riding or precipitation. It's pretty great to have all areas of the weather covered under one pair of sunglasses.

UV Rays
These provide 100% UV protection from the sun.

Weight
Light as a feather, they won't cramp your style as you run. They weigh in at just 0.25 pounds.

Price
They are typically priced at the average end of sunglasses and have quality, however sometimes you'll be able to find a steal of a deal by clicking on our Amazon link.
Pros
  • Quickly change lenses
  • Extremely durable TR90 material
  • Adjustable temples
  • Hydrophobic coating that wicks away water, oil and dust
  • 100% UV protection
  • Interchangeable Lenses
Cons
  • Not many color options available

4. Rivbos Polarized

For a great price you get a high-quality pair of sunglasses with a carrying case. The Rivbos are polarized and made with a TR90 frame, plus a mirror coating on the lenses to deflect as much sun as possible.
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Style
These Rivbos Polarized glasses are available in a sleek, minimalist design with nine colors from which to choose.

Fit & Size
Dimensions for these glasses are as follows: 40mm lens height, 64mm lens width, 140mm leg length, 30mm nose bridge, and 140 frame length.

Durability
Buyers get a 30-day money back guarantee and a lifetime breakage warranty on the frames and lenses. So if you accidentally drop them, step on them, or if they don't feel right when you buy them - no worries! The frames are made of high grade Swiss TR90 plastic. Each pair of glasses comes with a carrying case, cleaning cloth, pouch, and strap. What a deal!

Polarization & Glare protection
All these features include: TAC polarized, mirror-coated lenses, 100% UVA/UVB/UVC rays, protection from harmful blue light up to 400nm, restoration of true color despite colored lenses, elimination of reflected light and scattered, and perfect protection of the eyes.

UV Rays
Again, these glasses protect from 100% UVA/UVB/UVC rays.

Weight
There is no mention of exact weight, but judging by the minimal measurements, they certainly won't weigh much when wearing them.

Price
At $20 a pair, these are a great affordable choice for avid runners.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Durable frames/lenses
  • Exceptional clarity
  • Polarized and mirror-coated lenses
  • Protective coverage
  • Lifetime warrant
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Glasses come with carry case, pouch, strap, and cleaning cloth
Cons
  • Some users had issues with distortion of phone screens - we recommend find these in a store and testing them before buying

5. Smith Optics Pivlock

Pivlock provides a non-obstructed view that helps protect your face as it covers more area. They keep sweat away and fit quite nicely.
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Style
Most runners and those that frequent sports activities appreciate the larger "Max" lens because it provides a little extra coverage for high speeds or larger faces. It also provides an unobstructed field of view. There are lots of available color choices to choose from.

Fit & Size
It will fit quite securely, and both the temples and nosepiece remove easily which will make changes your lenses quite simple.Slide on temple ends provide comfort

Durability
Its TR90 frame material makes for a durable frame. Users have also noted that they seem to be scratch resistant.

Polarization & Glare protection
It comes complete with interchangeable lenses. Its Hydroleophobic lens coating wicks away water, oil and dust.

UV Rays
There is an option to purchase the UV protection if desired.

Weight
These are lightweight weighing in at just 0.54 pounds.

Price
The price of these runs average to high in cost, but seem to be quite durable and worth every penny.
Pros

Lens profile covers a larger area of the face

2-position adjustable nosepiece

Interchangeable lenses

Slide on temple ends provide comfort

Hydroleophobic lens coating wicks away water, oil and dust

TR90 frame material makes for a durable frame

Unobstructed view

Scratch resistant

Very lightweight

Cons

Nothing above your eyes to block sweat from dripping

6. Julbo Bivouak

You'll be styling with Julbo Bivouaks. They give maximum protection in the most extreme environments. They have a sleek, wrap design that keeps all dirt out of the eyes.
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Style
The Bivouak glasses come in a couple different frame and lens colors. They have extra shielding along the temples but they fit with the sleek design.

Fit & Size
Users praise these glasses on fitting well with large heads.

Durability
These are quite durable and will not deteriorate quickly.

Polarization & Glare
No mention of exact UVA protection, but the Spectron 4 lenses will keep sunlight out of your eyes.

UV Protection
Although there's no mention of UV protection most sunglasses do offer this feature.

Weight
These are extremely lightweight making it hard to remember that you are wearing them.

Price
The cost runs around $100, but judging by the positive reviews, they are well worth the money.
Pros
  • Reduces dirt and light in eyes
  • Nosepiece keeps glasses from slipping
  • Glasses don't easily fog up
  • Automatically adjust to light
  • Provides great ventilation
  • Magnetic side shields for extra protection
Cons
  • A couple users had issues with amounts of light affecting the lenses

7. Oakley Radar Shield

Many sports enthusiasts find these quite beneficial while on the move and enjoy its extended range of view in the upper peripheral region.
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Style
It has a sporty style to it and 4 color choices to choose from.

Fit & Size
It has Unobtanium earsocks & nose pads that keep glasses in place, a three-point fit that secures placement and reduces pressure points, and an extended peripheral view making it easier to see what's around you.

Durability
It comes with an extremely durable O-Matter stress-resistant frame.

Polarization & Glare protection
These are non-polarized glasses with no mention of glare protection.

UV Rays
They have 100% UV protection coating so you can rest assured the sunlight will be blocked quite well while your running.

Weight
They are extremely lightweight so you don't feel like they are wearing you down while your run.

Price
They can be quite expensive due to their name brand, but most agree they are well worth the money spent.
Pros
  • 100% UV protection coating
  • Plastic Frame & Lenses
  • Very Lightweight
  • O-Matter stress-resistant frame
  • Unobtanium earsocks & nose pads keep glasses in place
  • Three-Point Fit secures placement & reduces pressure points
  • Extended Peripheral View
Cons
  • Some had issues with them moving around while running
  • May be seen as expensive

8. Tifosi Wisp Warp

Built for smaller faces - the Tifosi Wisp stays nice and snug on petite faces while you run.
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Style
The design is quite simple, cute and petite for smaller sized heads and persons. It's available in 5 different color options. Its interchangeable lenses make it quite easy to swap out lenses that you need. It's well ventilated so you won't be irritated by sweat dripping off your face into your eyes.

Fit & Size
It is for smaller sized faces and should fit snug around the face. You may want to check the dimensions prior to ordering if you're not sure you have a "small" face. Some users were displeased by the narrowness of the bridge for the nose. Its adjustable temple arms allow you to get the secure fit you need. It has Hydrophilic nose pads that help to prevent slipping.

Durability
It comes complete with a TR-90 frame which is highly durable.

Polarization & Glare protection
These are non-polarized with no glare protection.

UV Rays
They are 100% UV protection coated.

Weight
They are extremely lightweight weighing in at just 0.7 ounces.

Price
The cost of the Tifosi's is average to inexpensive in cost.
Pros
  • Fit nice and snug
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Adjustable temple arms
  • 100% UV protection
  • Hydrophilic nose pads prevent slipping
  • Scratch-resistant lenses
  • Well-ventilated
  • TR-90 frame is highly durable
Cons
  • Run narrow along the bridge of the nose
  • Girp for lenses is a bit weak
  • Don't sit well on top of your head

9. Duduma Polarized

While some of the higher range models have many benefits, you don’t always have to spend the big bucks to get a bit of performance out of your sunglasses. Here we have a solid, stylish, and strongly constructed pair of multi-use sunglasses that are great for running.
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Style
The design is quite unique and stylish allowing you much versatility while you engage in running activities.

Fit & Size
Although these are lightweight, some dislike the bulkiness of the design.

Durability
They are relatively durable with bendable frames made of a flexible material. The frames are unbreakable and will return to the original shape even after being bent.

Polarization & Glare protection
They are HDPolarized lenses that filter out 99% of reflected glare without the haze and optical distortion that can come with polarized lenses.

UV Rays
They offer 100% UV protection.

Weight
Their super light TR 80821 frame can hardly be felt on your face, although some did describe the overall feel of them as bulky.

Price
Very inexpensive running glasses that you can't help to overlook any cons listed.
Pros
  • HD Polarized Lenses
  • Has 100% UV400 protection
  • Very light and relatively durable
  • “Unbreakable” Frames
  • Very affordable
  • Unique versatile style & design
Cons
  • Some dislike the plastic matte finish
  • May be seen as bulky

10. Revo Descend E

The lightest in their class these will hardly be noticeable on your face and their polarized lenses will give you great clarity.
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Style
These are a simple, but quite stylish design.

Fit & Size
They have nose pads that increase the grip so that they don't slide around easily. Their Motion-fit technology allows you to move easily without worrying about glasses slipping. You'll want to keep in mind, however, that some users stated the opening in the peripheral did not block wind adequately, and allowed light to get in.

Durability
Although these are quite delicate glasses, if cared for properly they can last a long time and are quite durable.

Polarization & Glare protection
These are polarized and will help to increase the clarity of objects as you run.

UV Rays
They offer 100% UV protection coating so you don't need to worry about the sun being bothersome to your eyes.

Weight
These are the lightest in your class and you'll have difficulty remembering you put them on your face.

Price
The cost runs average to quite expensive in price.
Pros
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Polarized lensaes give great clarity
  • 100% UV protective coating
  • Nose pads increase grip
  • Anti-reflection & glare provided
  • Motion-fit technology allow you to move easily without worry of glasses slipping
Cons
  • Doesn't seem to block wind well
  • Delicate and need to be protected
  • Light seems to get in on the corners

 

The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of the Best Sunglasses for Running

We want to ensure that you’re seeing the best of the best when we shuffle through thousands of  reviews provided by runners just like you. These are the areas that we concentrate on to give you the most accurate list:

Best-Running-Sunglasses-1

Style: We all have our own style preference!

Some like a sporty style, while others prefer simple. This is definitely a personal and preferential decision that most runners decide on prior to making a purchase. We give you information in regards to the style and design so that you can decide if they are right for you.

Durability: You need them to last!

How long will they last? Some may want to spend the extra money in order to ensure they are getting a quality product. Are the frames flexible and/or adjustable. Will they stand the test of time? How about the lenses? Are they made to last with scratch  resistant materials? These are all things we include when discussing each of the top 10.

Best Running Sunglasses 6

Polarization: Glare protection is a game changer!

There’s no doubt adding a pair of sunglasses that provide polarization and glare protection can be quite beneficial. If you’re looking for clarity and reduced glare you’ll find that listed among our featured sunglasses as well.

UV Protection: Protect your sensitive eyes from the sun!

Most runners put on sunscreen prior to going out for a run in the sun and most sunglasses provide 100% protection  from UV rays as well. This is a great benefit to have while you are running and we’ve included it.

Fit & Size: A perfect fit is critical!

Are they too big, too small? Do they fit too tight or fall off? These are such important factors to know about when you’re running with a pair of sunglasses. You don’t want them bouncing all over the place so we’ve gathered valuable intel that allows you to make the best decision based on your face size.

 

Best-Running-Sunglasses-4

 

Weight: A heavy pair will not do!

No one wants a bulky pair sitting on top of their nose. That would just be distracting and weigh you down. From lightweight to extremely lightweight we’ve listed them so you can feel content that you won’t be bothered by the weight.

Price: Is the performance worth the cost?

Some are willing to pay an arm and a leg for a pair of really amazing sunglasses, although that’s not always necessary. If you peek at our reviews on affordable sunglasses you’ll find that a lot of them stand the test of durability as well and you’ll save a bit of money in the process too.

Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Sunglasses for Running:

When making your purchase for sunglasses it’s important to take some things into consideration. Let’s review why we should wear sunglasses, the value of frame material, sweat proof glasses, lens colors, and lens features. Below you’ll see that these are the topics we are covering:

 

Why Wear Sunglasses?

 

Best-Running-Sunglasses-2

 

An effective pair of sunglasses will allow you to partake in your activities without the sun’s glare affecting visibility, and subjecting you to danger or lack of awareness. Additionally, harmful UV rays can be nullified, depending on the lens. According to the American Optometric Association sunglasses are critical to protect the eyes from these Ultraviolet rays. Reasons to wear include:

Ultraviolet Ray (UV) Protection, which could cause serious eye damage, ultimately leading to cataracts.
Enable a higher range of vision, increasing overall safety and awareness of surroundings.

Protecting your eyes is a very important aspect of running, not just in terms of comfort but in terms of protecting your health beyond. Sun glasses that are not polarized or lack UV protection shade your eyes but only give the illusion of security. You can now look directly into harmful rays without protection, this can have serious consequences down the line.

Frame Material

 

Best-Running-Sunglasses-3

Frame material can be a preference, but it can also affect the durability of the glasses. Let’s take a look at the 3 categories: Plastic, Metal, and Hybrid:

Plastic

Sunglasses that have plastic frames tend to be inexpensive.  While there are many different types of plastic materials, however, the most common one is zylonite. Zylonite  frames are easily adjusted. Another popular choice is polycarbonate, which is used in frames made for sports activities  or for safety glasses. Polycarbonate provides eye protection and is impact resistance, perfect for sports. Plastic frames typically don’t come equipped with nose guards which can make it difficult for those with small bridges or little noses.

Metal

Sunglasses made from metal materials are typically high in durability. Metals used in frames include, titanium, stainless steel, nickel, and aluminum. The frames of metal sunglasses are often thin. They have nose guards and pads that allow for comfort. The arms that go around the temples can often be flexible as well.

Hybrid

This is an idea that is becoming more popular, with metal and plastic materials being combined to give you a hybrid material. Typically they have a metal frame with plastic arms.

Sweat Proof

If you’re a sweater then you’ll want to look for glasses that are textured, and provide a grip for the nose. Some also provide temple pads to keep them from sliding off your face or nose while you run. Additionally, you’ll want to seek glasses that feature hydrophilic attributes that will assist in keeping sweat away.

 

Best-Running-Sunglasses-5

 

Lens Materials

There are 3 different types of lenses that you can look for. They are polarized lenses, photochromic lenses, and interchangeable lenses. Let’s take a look at the differences below:

Polarized lenses:

These will provide great clarity while reducing glare when you run. If you are sensitive to glare you’ll want to invest in these. Mirrored lenses can be an alternative if polarized ones cause problems for you.

Photochromic lenses:

These lenses adjust to the changes in light intensity automatically. For example, on bright, sunny days, the lenses get darker while on dark, grey days, the lenses get lighter.  It can take longer to adjust in cold weather and doesn’t work for driving in your car, but other than that they are pretty fantastic.

Interchangeable lenses:

Removable lenses are pretty cool. You can choose which lens you might need for a specific weather condition, or for a specific activity.

Lens Colors

What do the colors of lenses actually mean? They are built to provide different functions. Dark colors and light colored lenses will make a difference in different weather conditions while you run.

Dark colors (brown/gray/green):

These are great for using everyday and for outdoor activities. They will reduce glare and reduce your eyestrain in brightly lit areas.

Light colors (yellow/gold/amber/rose/vermillion):

These will work great in low light conditions. People often use them for winter sports. They provide a great amount of depth perception, enhance contrasts, and improve the visibility of objects. Your surroundings will appear brighter.

FAQ

 

Q. What does VLT stand for and mean?

A. VLT stands for “Visible Light Transmission”.  This is how much light pass through the lenses and reaches your eyes.  It’s measured by the thickness of the lenses.  The different VLT percentages work well for certain conditions.  A VLT of 0-19% is good for sunny and bright conditions.  VLT 20-40% is good for every day use.  40-80% BLT works best for overcast or low light conditions.  80-90% VLT is good for dark or night time conditions.

Q. What are the differences between sport, casual, and glacier sunglasses?

A. Casual are for everyday use and blocking the sun while doing normal activities. Sports sunglasses are specifically engineered for running, biking and other sports activities. Glacier are highly advanced to protect your eyes from the glare off of snow which can be quite intense.

Q. What is a hydrophobic coating?

A. It’s a substance placed on the glasses that can help keep sweat away, or repel water.

Q. Can anit-scratch and anti-fog coatings be helpful?

A. Absolutely! Anti-scratch coatings can allow your glasses to last longer since they are protected , and anti-fog coatings will allow you to run easily in the most humid of conditions.

Here are some sources we used while conducting our Research:

Sources

  1. Jeff Burke, 12 Best Sports Sunglasses, Staying active website, May 16, 2013
  2. Troy Bendinghaus, Sunglass Frames & Styles, Informational blog, Jul 06, 2016
  3. Sunglass Picks, Frame Material and Construction Differences,
  4. REI CO.OP, Sunglasses: How to Choose, Informational website,
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