The 12 Best Running Sunglasses of 2021, According to a Running Coach

Protect your eyes from the sun on your next run

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
"A lightweight pick that'll keep you comfy on casual runs or marathons, its polarized lenses cut glare and maximize definition."
"Providing all-day comfort and 100% UV protection needed for outdoor activity, it promises not to slip or budge mid-run."
"Its flexible yet sturdy build works for different size heads, and it can withstand plenty of drops and scrapes."
Best Budget for Women:
Goodr OG Sunglasses at Amazon
"Despite the affordability, they’re polarized, scratch-resistant, and have a snug frame that’s designed to prevent bouncing."
"Budget-friendly without lacking details, it features three interchangeable polarized lenses and soft, rubber nose pads."
"A pair that serves double-duty for both running and cycling, its wrap-around lenses offer plenty of coverage and protection."
"So lightweight you may forget you have them on, their lenses minimize distortion and allow for solid peripheral vision."
"A reliable option for long runs and races, its earsocks and nose pads have a coating that increases grip with perspiration."
Best for Small Faces:
Tifosi Wisp Sunglasses at Amazon
"Designed for those with narrower faces, these are comfy for long periods of wear, and work to protect your eyes from the elements."
"Complete with a large lens and frame, it's a great choice for runners who have trouble finding shades with adequate coverage."

Runners need to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful rays no matter what season it is. Wearing running sunglasses can help with sun protection, and can safeguard their eyes from wind, sand, dust, and other debris.

With such a wide range of styles, features, and prices, it can be a challenge to find the right shades. It's important to choose a pair that suits your exercise needs and budget, as well as your face shape.

Here are the best running sunglasses on the market, according to a running coach.

Best Overall for Women: Smith Parallel 2 Max Polarized Women’s Sunglasses

Pros
  • Excellent grip

  • Interchangeable lenses

  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Water- and oil-resistant

Cons
  • Lens options don’t include clear

  • Lens can pop out when cleaning

These Smith Optics Parallel Max sunglasses are lightweight and comfortable, whether you’re wearing them for a short morning run or a marathon. The impact-resistant, polarized lenses effectively cut glare, maximize definition, and enhance depth perception in low light. Plus, they have a water- and oil-resistant coating to help give you a clear view, even during long, sweaty runs.

With grippy nose and temple pads, they also stay put and won’t slide down your face when you’re running.

These shades come with two interchangeable lenses, so you’ll be prepared for bright sun as well as low-light conditions. They also come with a microfiber bag and a hard case to keep both the sunglasses and extra lenses secure and protected.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection, hydroleophobic coating | Materials: Polycarbonate lens, TR90 nylon frame | Shape: Rimless

Best Overall for Men: Oakley Men's Half Jacket 2.0 Rectangular Sunglasses

Oakley Half Jacket Sport Sunglasses
Pros
  • Secure, comfortable fit

  • Athletic design

  • Durable

  • Excellent lens quality

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not too versatile for everyday wear

A popular pick among runners, these sunglasses from Oakley provide all-day comfort and 100% UV protection needed for outdoor runs. The polarized lenses excel at reducing glare. The high-definition optics provide razor-sharp vision while amping up clarity.

No matter your pace or how much you sweat, these shades won’t slip or budge. Half Jackets also feature interchangeable lenses, so you can adjust them for various conditions to optimize your performance.

Oakley’s Three-Point Fit system holds the lenses in place for a secure, precise fit and alignment. In addition, the durable, stress-resistant frame and unobtainium temple tips and nose pads increase grip and ensure maximum comfort. 

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: O-Matter and unobtanium; Plutonite lenses | Shape: Semi-rimless

Best Unisex: Knockaround Premiums Polarized Sunglasses

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Very durable

  • Comfortable fit

  • Stylish

  • Multiple lens and frame colors

Cons
  • Less wrap-around coverage

  • Not sweat-resistant

With impact-resistant lenses and a durable frame, these Knockaround sunglasses truly live up to their name and can withstand multiple drops and scrapes. The sporty-yet-stylish shades are popular among all runners, and the flexible-yet-sturdy build works well for different head sizes.

The impact-resistant lenses offer polarized and UV400 protection—a feature not often found in an affordable pair of shades. The nose and temple pads are made with a soft, grippy thermoplastic compound that helps keep the sunglasses in place during long, sweaty runs.

While the quality may not be on par with pricier sunglasses, the Knockarounds are an excellent value option, especially if you like your running shades to show off your style.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: Plastic frame | Shape: Full-frame

Best Budget for Women: Goodr OG Sunglasses

Pros
  • Sturdy and bounce-free

  • Inexpensive

  • Durable

  • Stylish

Cons
  • Might not work for wide faces

  • Lenses are not extremely dark

If you frequently misplace your running shades, it’s smart to have several pairs on hand to avoid going outside without adequate protection. Well-built, stylish, and very affordable, Goodr OG sunglasses are perfect for stocking up and stashing in your running bag so you’re always prepared.

Despite the low price tag, they’re polarized, scratch-resistant, and have a snug, lightweight frame that’s designed with a comfortable fit to prevent bouncing. Goodr sunglasses also have a special grip coating on the frame to eliminate slippage when sweating. Plus, they’re stylish and can easily transition from a morning run to an outdoor brunch.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection, scratch-resistant | Materials: Not disclosed | Shape: Full-frame

Best Budget for Men: Torege Polarized Sports Sunglasses

Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Durable

  • Lifetime breakage warranty on frames

Cons
  • Switching out the lenses takes some practice

  • May not work for larger faces

These Torege sunglasses are affordable yet extremely durable and versatile. They come with three interchangeable polarized lenses for different light conditions, so it’s like getting three pairs of shades in one.

Made of Grilamid TR90 nylon, the frame is lightweight and comfortable for running, but also works well for cycling, water sports, or regular casual wear.

The scratch-resistant lenses are designed to block 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays and the soft, rubber nose pads provide a secure fit to prevent them from sliding down. On top of being a comfortable pair of shades, Torege sunglasses also come with a lifetime breakage warranty on the frames.

Coating: Polarized, scratch-resistant | Materials: Grilamid TR90 nylon | Shape: Wrap, rimless

Best for Running and Cycling: Rudy Project Propulse Sports Sunglasses

Pros
  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Don’t fog up

  • Good for triathletes

  • Stellar lens quality

Cons
  • Expensive

  • No hard case included

If you like sunglasses to serve double-duty for both running and cycling, you’ll appreciate these shades from Rudy Project. Although they’re designed with runners in mind, they’re lightweight and comfortable, even with a visor or bike helmet on.

Wide, wrap-around lenses ensure you’ll get plenty of coverage, protection from wind, and a deep field of vision, which is beneficial whether you’re on foot or on your bike.

The soft, adjustable nose piece and grippy arms deliver a compression fit and keep the frames in place, without being too constricting. The vents on the front chassis, lenses, and temples prevent fogging and overheating during muggy runs or rides.  

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: Composite frames and lenses | Shape: Semi-rimless, wraparound

Best Lightweight: Tifosi Seek Wrap Sunglasses

Pros
  • Reasonably-priced

  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not polarized

  • Lenses are not replaceable

These affordable shades from Tifosi are so lightweight you may even forget you have them on. They feature shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, help to minimize distortion, and allow for good peripheral vision.

The tough, durable frame resists chemical and UV damage, while the adjustable temple and nose pad keep them in place.

These shades also allow for good air circulation, so you don’t have to worry about overheating or fogging issues. Sleek and comfortable, they’re a good value and ideal for runners who prefer streamlined, light shades.

Coating: UV Protection | Materials: Grilamid TR-90 Nylon frame; Polycarbonate lens | Shape: Rimless

Best for Distance Running: Oakley Men's Flak Jacket Rectangular Sunglasses

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable for long runs

  • Exceptional lens quality

  • Durable

Cons
  • Might look too sporty for casual wear

  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable option for long runs and races, these popular Flak Jacket sunglasses from Oakley are a solid choice. They’re made with Oakley’s proprietary O-Matter frame material for a lightweight, durable design.

The shatter- and scratch-resistant lenses feature the superior clarity of Oakley's High Definition Optics, as well as curvatures that enhance peripheral views.

The comfortable earsocks and nose pads have a coating that actually increases grip with perspiration, allowing for a secure fit. While they’re ideal for running, these sporty and durable shades also work well for other activities, including cycling, golf, and water sports.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: Not disclosed | Frames: O-Matter and unobtanium; Plutonite lenses | Shape: Semi-rimless

Best for Small Faces: Tifosi Wisp Sunglasses

Pros
  • Sporty look

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable and durable

  • Great lens quality

Cons
  • Not enough coverage for larger faces

  • May not work for casual wear

The Tifosi Optics Wisp sunglasses are designed specifically for those with narrow faces, so you can get an optimal fit if you have a smaller head. In addition to providing 100% UVA and UVB protection, the shatterproof polycarbonate lenses help to eliminate visual distortion and unwanted magnification, and the coating reduces glare and decreases eye fatigue.

With a sleek, streamlined design, these shades also protect your eyes from the elements and are comfortable enough to be worn for hours at a time. Plus, they fit nicely underneath a hat or visor. Made with Grilamid TR-90 nylon material, the frame is incredibly light and durable enough to resist chemical and UV damage.

The hydrophilic rubber ear pieces and adjustable rubber nose pieces also limit slippage and keep these sunnies secure. If you’re prone to accidentally sitting or stepping on your sunglasses, you’ll appreciate the included hard-shell case that keeps them protected.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: Grilamid TR-90 Nylon material; polycarbonate lenses | Shape:  Semi-rimless

Best for Large Faces: Oakley Men’s Radar EV Path Rectangular Sunglasses

Pros
  • Large, wraparound lens provides maximum coverage

  • Rubberized nose bridge keeps the large frame in place

  • Durable

  • Great lens quality

Cons
  • Expensive

  • May not work for casual wear

The Radar EV Path sunglasses are another top choice from Oakley. They have a large lens and frame, which makes them a good choice for the runner who has trouble finding glasses with adequate coverage and a comfortable fit.

The tall, wraparound lens offers excellent coverage from the sun, as well as protection from wind and debris. Oakley’s stress-resistant, thermoplastic O-Matter frame is strong, flexible, and designed to withstand shifting or deforming over time.

Despite the size and durability, these glasses are lightweight and still have a “barely there” feel. You can also find a pair to fit your style needs thanks to a wide range of frame colors and lens options.

Coating: Polarized, UV protection | Materials: O-Matter and unobtanium; Plutonite lenses | Shape: Semi-rimless, wraparound

Best for Trail Running: Julbo Aero REACTIV Performance Sunglasses

Julbo Aero Zebra Sunglasses
Pros
  • Photochromic lens

  • Wide lens with plenty of coverage

  • Comfortable, secure fit

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Not versatile for casual wear

  • Expensive

If you like to stick to trails while running, you’ll want a pair of shades with lenses that provide excellent contrast, especially for technical trails. These versatile Julbo Aero sunglasses fit the bill, thanks to a photochromic lens that gets lighter or darker depending on the amount of sunlight.

Lightweight and comfortable, they’re perfect for a day on the trails, even if you’re starting early or the weather and light conditions are constantly changing.

With a 3D-fit nose piece and flexible rubber earpiece, you can get a custom, secure fit. The wide mono lens gives you plenty of coverage and protection from wind and debris, while the shock-absorber insert enhances the overall comfort. Plus, there’s ample venting to prevent fogging and to help keep you cool on the trails.

Coating: UV protection | Materials: Polycarbonate | Shape: Semi-rimless

Best Anti-Fog: Nike Tailwind Road Tint Sunglasses

Nike Tailwind Road Tint
Pros
  • Excellent ventilation

  • Adjustable fit

  • Sleek design

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • May not work for large faces

  • Not polarized

You won’t have to slow down to wipe your glasses when you’re wearing these Nike Tailwind Road Tint sunglasses. With a sleek, contoured design and engineered air circulation, these shades will keep you cool and focused. The ventilated temple arms prevent fogging and moisture accumulation, and the floating nose pad also helps to optimize airflow.

The lenses’ speed tint blocks bright sunlight on the roads, tracks, or trail, while Nike’s MAX Optics provide precise clarity from all angles. Made of acetate plastic, the frame can be easily adjusted for a perfect fit. If you sweat a lot on the run, these shades are a smart choice.

Coating: UV protection | Materials: Acetate plastic frame and lenses | Shape: Semi-rimless

Final Verdict

If you’re new to running or you don’t want to invest a lot of money in a pair of shades, we recommend Goodr OG sunglasses (view at Amazon) and Torege Polarized Sports Sunglasses (view at Amazon) for their affordability, comfortable features, and durability. They’re also stylish enough for casual wear and can be used for other sports, so you’ll definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

For experienced runners and those who have high expectations for their running sunglasses, you can’t go wrong with the Oakley Half Jacket 2.0 Sunglasses for men (view at Amazon) and the Smith Parallel 2 Max Polarized Sunglasses for women (view at Amazon). These high-quality options from well-renowned sports sunglasses brands will give you the peak performance, comfort, and versatility you need in a pair of running shades.

What to Look for in Running Sunglasses 

Coating 

Make sure that you choose running shades that have 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses help reduce glare and haze, making them a good choice if you frequently run near water or in very bright conditions. Some higher-end running sunglasses may also have anti-fog and water-and oil-resistant coatings.

Lenses

Different colored lenses can improve visibility under certain conditions, so when choosing your tint, you should consider where and what time of day you typically run. If your daily runs are usually in bright sun or on blacktop roads, you might want to opt for an extremely dark lens. Yellow lenses work better in low-light conditions, and rose-colored ones provide greater contrast, which is useful for those who do a lot of trail running.

If you want versatility in your running sunglasses, look for ones that come with or sell interchangeable lenses that can be switched out based on the conditions or activity.

Shape

When choosing running sunglasses, look for a pair that offers the best protection for your face shape and size. Wraparound style glasses usually offer the most protection and have the widest field of vision, but other styles will still offer defense against the sun, wind, and debris.

Fit

Your sunglasses should fit snugly without slipping, bouncing, or pinching above the temples. Look for sunglasses that have grippy nose pads and temple tips for a secure fit.

FAQs

Why should you wear sunglasses when running?

In addition to sharpening runners’ vision and keeping them from squinting in the bright sun, sunglasses can protect their eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays that are dangerous even when the sun is behind the clouds. They also shield runners’ eyes from debris, bugs, wind, rain, and other irritants.

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

Certified running coach and fitness writer Christine Luff has spent years researching, testing, and recommending fitness and athletic products and knows that the right gear can tremendously improve performance and comfort.

Was this page helpful?