You probably know that wearing sunscreen is essential when running outdoors. But before you pound the pavement, trail, or track, you'll also need a good pair of sunglasses—and not just in the summer. "No matter the season or the location, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends wearing high-quality sunglasses that adequately protect the eyes by blocking out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays," confirms Robert C. Layman, OD, president of the AOA.
That said, your everyday eyewear might not be ideal for jogging. Certified running coach Lauren Sheu, RRCA, recommends looking for a non-slip material while prioritizing fit and durability. Also, according to Australian marathon runner Dale Erdmier, a lightweight design is key. "Ideally, you want to forget you're even wearing sunglasses at all," she says.
You also might want to look for a polarized pair. "I find that with polarized sunglasses, I squint less, and it helps filter the harsh sunlight,'' says Audrey Bowman, RRCA, a certified running coach and fitness trainer. "The lenses filter out rays better than non-polarized ones and reduce glare on the run."
With all these expert tips in mind, we round up the best running sunglasses.
Meet the Expert
- Robert C. Layman, OD, is a board-certified optometrist. He serves as president on the executive board for the American Optometric Association (AOA).
- Dale Erdmier, NASM, CPT, CYT, is an endurance athlete coach and marathon runner based in Sydney, Australia.
- Audrey Bowman, RRCA, of Audrey Bowman Fitness is a certified running coach and marathon runner.
- Lauren Sheu, RRCA, is a certified running coach and the owner of Running for Wellness.
Tifosi Alpe 2.0 SingleLens Sunglasses
Adjustable ear and nose pieces
Bowman is a fan of Tifosi Sunglasses, which she says are super lightweight and stay in place during her runs and workouts. This pair also boasts scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses with enhanced visibility, plus adjustable ear and nose pieces. Plus, they're water-resistant and exceptionally durable, surviving inevitable knocks and drops on the pavement, and come in a range of colors including black, classic tortoise, pink, and blue, with amber or black-tinted lenses.
Price at time of publish: $40
Shape: Form-fitting oval | Material: Grilamid nylon, polycarbonate, hydrophilic rubber | Benefits: UV protection, better visibility
Jojen Polarized Sports Sunglasses
Lenses prone to clouding
On a budget? Don't sweat it! These sporty wayfarers boast highly durable TR90 (super-elastic memorized resin) frames and polarized lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays while you're on the road.
Price at time of publish: $26
Shape: Wayfarer | Material: Super-elastic memorized resin (TR90) | Benefits: UV protection, glare filtration
Lenses prone to scratching
Sheu, Erdmier, and Bowman are all fans of Goodr, and we can see why. The lightweight frame is comfortably snug, so you don't have to worry about them slipping off. "They have a slight grip to them that keeps them from falling down your nose or bouncing around," says Erdmier. Plus, she adds, they're not so spendy that you'll worry about getting them all sweaty. "They're stylish, polarized, and affordable," adds Sheu. "The website also allows you to do a virtual try-on to see what they will look like!"
Price at time of publish: $25
Shape: Wayfarer | Material: Copolyester, silicone | Benefits: Glare filtration, UV protection
Oakley Radar EV Path Sunglasses
If you're open to splurging on a high-end pair, go with Oakley Radar EV Path. These futuristic sunglasses have stress-resistant frames with a non-slip nose pad and ear socks, plus polarized prism lenses for improved visibility.
Price at time of publish: $211
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Plastic, metal, rubber | Benefits: UV protection, improved visibility, decreased light transmission
Nike Skylon Ace Sunglasses
If you prefer a sporty wrap fit, we recommend Nike's Skylon Ace Sunglass. Thanks to the ergonomic secure-wrap frames and temple arms with rubber grips, you can count on them staying put until you're ready to take them off.
Price at time of publish: $100
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Plastic, rubber | Benefits: UV protection, improved visibility
BeaCool Polarized Sports Sunglasses
Lenses may pop out
Your best bet for polarized lenses is this pair from BeaCool. Glare is no match for the super-reflective mirrored plastic, and the rimless frames offer an unobstructed view when you're on the trail.
Price at time of publish: $23
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Plastic | Benefits: UV protection, glare filtration
Smith Haywire 55mm ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses
Non-slip nose pad
If you're not into the overly sporty look, go with these vintage-inspired wayfarers by Smith. You can count on 100 percent UV protection, plus glare filtration from polarized lenses and a grippy nose pad for a secure fit.
Price at time of publish: $74
Shape: Wayfarer | Material: Castor-based polymer, thermoplastic | Benefits: UV protection, glare filtration
Rad + Refined Sport Shield Sunglasses
We're also loving these ultra-trendy, 80s-inspired running sunglasses from Rad + Refined. With lightning-bolt temples and futuristic rainbow-tinted opalescent lenses, you'll look undeniably cool and fashion-forward as you pound the pavement.
Shape: Square goggle | Material: Plastic | Benefits: UV protection
Best with Mirrored Lenses
Rivbos Polarized Sports Sunglasses
Lenses prone to clouding
Rivbos Polarized Sport Sunglasses have a mirrored coating over the scratch-resistant lenses, offering a crystal-clear reflection for anyone looking your way. What's more, the extra-durable TR90 frames are flexible and resistant to stress.
Price at time of publish: $23
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Super-elastic memorized resin (TR90), polycarbonate | Benefits: UV protection, minimized light reflection, glare filtration
Smith Parallel 2 Unisex Polarized Sunglasses
If you want something that'll stand up to impact, check out this sleek pair from Smith. The TR90 frames are impressively sturdy, and the polarized polycarbonate lenses offer enhanced visibility and resistance to clouding.
Price at time of publish: $139
Shape: Oval | Material: Polycarbonate, super-elastic memorized resin (TR90) | Benefits: UV protection, impact protection, glare filtration
Under Armour UA Playmaker Sunglasses
Non-slip nose pad
Under Armour's Playmaker Sunglasses have an adjustable, grippy nose pad and non-slip rubber temples with auto-lock hinges for a secure fit. Not only that, but the smudge-resistant lenses ensure a clear view while you run.
Price at time of publish: $130
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Super-elastic memorized resin (TR90), plastic, rubber | Benefits: UV protection, impact protection
Best for Small Heads
Nike Flip 53mm Mirrored Sunglasses
Good for small heads
For folks with smaller faces, we suggest Nike Flip 53mm Mirrored Sunglasses. The slightly narrow width ensures a secure fit when you're on the move, and the clear plastic frames are pleasantly lightweight and casually cool.
Price at time of publish: $69
Shape: Square | Material: Plastic | Benefits: UV protection
Pepper's Breakers Polarized Sport Sunglasses
Lenses prone to scratching
We're also big fans of Pepper's Breakers for running. The polarized glass lenses have a sleek mirrored coating, and the exceedingly sturdy Grilamid frame meets the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for impact resistance.
Price at time of publish: $50
Shape: Wayfarer | Material: Tuff-core Grilamid plastic, glass | Benefits: UV protection, impact protection, glare filtration
Bevi Polarized Sports Sunglasses
Not ideal for wider noses
Corded sunglasses are ideal for running because you don't have to worry about them falling off and breaking or scratching when they hit the ground. That's why we love Bevi Sports Sunglasses, which boast polarized lenses and flexible, lightweight thermoplastic frames.
Price at time of publish: $31
Shape: Sport wrap | Material: Super-elastic memorized resin (TR90), triacetate cellulose | Benefits: UV protection, glare filtration, increased visibility
The best sunglasses for running are Goodr OGs Bosley's Basset Hound Dreams, which boast 100 percent UV protection, polarized lenses, a comfortably snug fit, and a stylish, wear-anywhere design. However, if you're looking for more of a sporty shape and can swing the price tag, you can't go wrong with Oakley's Radar EV Path Sunglasses.
What to Look for When Buying Sunglasses for Running
"The most important thing to look for in running sunglasses is a non-slip material so that they don't bounce or slip while running," Sheu tells Byrdie. To ensure a secure fit, go for a model with a grippy rubber nose pad and potentially rubbery temples as well.
Fit also has a lot to do with ensuring sunglasses stay put while you're running. "You want to find sunglasses that fit your face well so that they don't bounce around but aren't too tight," explains Sheu.
Additionally, according to Erdmier, smaller frames usually stay put a bit better on women's faces, though everyone is different. She recommends wayfarers, but a sport-wrap fit is ideal for many runners.
"UV protection is especially important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays," Sheu says. That's why wearing sunglasses while running outside is crucial.
"Wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, whether you are working, driving, participating in sports, taking a walk, running errands, or doing anything in the sun," says Dr. Layman. "The sun's UV rays can damage the skin of the eyelid as well as the cornea, lens, and other parts of the eye."
"Polarized sunglasses help to substantially reduce glare that reflects off of certain surfaces (including cars and light-colored pavement) and help you see objects more clearly," Dr. Layman says.
Sheu adds that polarized lenses also assist in reducing eye strain and improving visual clarity. "These benefits can all be very helpful when running on a bright day," she says.
What types of running sunglasses for women will stay on during workouts?
Sunglasses with rubbery nose pads and non-slip temples tend to stay on during workouts because the grippy material won't slide off when you sweat. Additionally, you might want to look for an ergonomic sport-wrap fit, as this will allow you to move around with the frames securely on your face.
There are lots of excellent unisex designs out there, and many work just fine for most people. However, since women's faces are smaller than men's on average, slightly narrower frames may offer a more secure fit.
Do running sunglasses need to be polarized?
Running sunglasses don't necessarily need to be polarized. "I think non-polarized sunglasses are OK, but if you can find an affordable polarized option, why not?" says Erdmier. And, as Dr. Layman points out, "Anyone who is bothered by outdoor glare can benefit from the special filters in these types of sunglass lenses."
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer specializing in lifestyle and fitness. For this story, she interviewed an optometrist and three running coaches before wading through high-quality running sunglasses from a wide range of brands and retailers. She pored over user reviews, researched key features, and considered the price and style of each pair before making her final selections. From this list, she is partial to Goodr, Nike, and Pepper's. Theresa has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, where she covers workout apparel, fitness equipment, and cosmetics.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any running sunglasses from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.