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The Best Running Sunglasses of 2024 

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Every time we see runners hitting the road without a pair of sunglasses on, we say a silent prayer to the running gods, begging for them to spare this naked-eyed heathen — they know not what they do! 

If this doesn’t work (it never does), we do our best to enlighten the sunglass agnostics and bring them into a family that will have perfect vision for decades to come. The best running sunglasses are our greatest tool — their lenses filter out harmful UV rays and prevent a sunburn on the eye, which has to be one of the most painful places one can burn themselves. 

Not only do sunglasses provide optical shade, but they also tell you just about everything you need to know about a fellow runner before you even meet them. We’re not saying to judge a book by its sunglasses, but we’re not not saying that. Sunglasses are a must-have to protect runners from the sun, wind, bugs, and other various disturbances floating in the air. 

However, they also need to give runners a chance to flex their personal style. Running sunglasses come in all shapes and sizes, from wayfarer styles to frames for lounging at an ocean villa post-run to retro-futuristic shades you’d expect to see in Blade Runner. 

In a world with endless variety and new brands coming out of the woodwork each day, we have been testing dozens of sunglasses to help you pick the best ones for you. Read on for our five favorites, plus a few more honorable mentions. 

Read on to see our thorough writeups of our favorite sunglasses, or skip ahead to our buyer’s guide, comparison chart, and frequently asked questions. 

The Best Running Sunglasses of 2024

Best Overall Running Sunglasses

  • Lens Tested
    Photochromic REACTIV 1-3 High Contrast
  • Frame Material
    Bio-sourced Rilsan
  • Best use
    Long runs in unpredictable climates

  • Wide lens covers nearly the entire field of vision

  • So light you barely know they’re there

  • Photochromic lens is suited for varied conditions

  • Just on the verge of being too fragile for our liking

Best Budget Running Sunglasses

  • Lens Tested
    Non-reflective polarized
  • Frame Material
    Plastic with soft-touch coating
  • Best Use
    Weekday run club runs, a slow Sunday jog, ultra running

  • Very affordable

  • Come in a huge range of colors and classic styles

  • Excellent fit for a $25 pair of sunglasses

  • Frame coating may irritate skin at contact points

Most Technologically Advanced Running Sunglasses

  • Lens Tested
    D+ therapeutic-grade lens
  • Frame Material
  • Best use
    Long runs, trail running

  • Stay comfortable even after hours of running

  • Therapeutic-grade lenses reduce eye strain

  • Titanium frame is nearly indestructible

  • Price might turn some people off

  • Lenses are very easy to smudge

Most Stylish Running Sunglasses

  • Lens Tested
    Dark Carbon Polarized
  • Frame Material
    Injection-molded nylon
  • Best Use
    Easy runs, run club, sipping a martini in Monaco

  • Perfect blend of casual style and performance tech

  • Super lightweight

  • Frames can be a little slick when sweaty

Best Wraparound Running Sunglasses

  • Lens Tested
    Oakley Prizm Road
  • Frame Material
    Nylon composite
  • Best Use
    Road running

  • Shade the entire field of vision

  • Above average comfort at every contact point

  • Frame design may not be for everyone

  • Road lens isn’t ideal for dusk or other low-light conditions

Best of the Rest

  • Lens Tested
    ChromaPop Red Mirror
  • Frame Material
    TR90 nylon
  • Best Use
    Long outings with variable lighting, runners who like to run day and night

  • Comes with additional set of low-light lenses

  • High quality feel

  • ChromaPop lenses really do make detail pop

  • Changing lenses adds opportunity to break the frame

  • Lens Tested
    CR39 polarized lenses
  • Frame Material
    Hexetate acrylic resin
  • Best Use
    Club runs, easy runs

  • Lenses are crisp and clear

  • The fit is second to none

  • Some might not like the extra flex at the hinges

  • Less performance-oriented than others

  • Lens tested
    HiPER Lavender Mirror
  • Frame Material
    Grilamid TR90 nylon
  • Best use
    Running on high UV days or mountaineering in high exposure

  • Comes with a hard case, soft cloth, multiple nose pieces and a set of clear lenses

  • Removable plastic shades at the temples eliminate peripheral bright UV

  • 100% is an up-and-coming brand that folks may only know from the moto world

Running Sunglasses Comparison Chart

Running Sunglasses Price Lens We Tested Frame Material Best Use
Julbo Frequency $230 Photochromic REACTIV 1-3 High Contrast Bio-sourced Rilsan Long runs in unpredictable climates
Goodr OG $25 Non-reflective polarized Plastic with soft-touch coating Weekday run club runs, a slow Sunday jog, ultra running 
District Vision Kohei Aero Blade Ti  $635 D+ therapeutic-grade lens Aerospace-grade titanium Long runs, trail runs
 Roka Oslo 2.0 $220 Dark Carbon Polarized Injection-molded nylon Easy runs, run club, sipping a martini in Monaco
Oakley Plazma Prizm Road $202 Prizm Road Nylon composite Road running
Smith Leadout PivLock $225 ChromaPop Red Mirror TR90 nylon Long outings with variable lighting, runners who like to run day and night
Article One x Mission Workshop $255 CR39 polarized lenses Hexetate acrylic resin Club runs, easy runs
100% Norvik $149 HiPER Lavender Mirror  Grilamid TR90 nylon Running on high UV days or mountaineering in high exposure

How We Tested Running Sunglasses

The first step when sourcing new products to test for our buyer’s guides is to open the media little black book and hit up all of our friends at brands to familiarize ourselves with what’s out there and what’s coming over the next few months. 

Soon samples start coming in. Once a day, twice a day. Let’s just say our carbon footprint isn’t exactly low this year. 

Now that our testers have finally received their gear, they can unearth the sunglasses and put together a testing program. They wear them to the gym, while they’re walking the dog, while they’re driving. It’s fun to start with the mundane when you’re testing sunglasses. You can learn what the glare looks like off a chrome Dodge Ram or how your eyes adjust as the sun dips in the evening.

Once we get comfortable in our shades, we kick off our actual running tests, and the rest is history. 

While this article focuses exclusively on running sunglasses, we’ve got plenty more sunglass roundups. If you’re looking for different shades, check out our roundups of the best sunglasses for the outdoors, the best driving sunglasses, and the best fishing sunglasses.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our lead tester and writer for this guide, Will Porter, has actually just begun a training plan that lends itself perfectly for testing running sunglasses — he’s running a half marathon exactly a month from today and his first 50K in mid-August. A sunglasses requirement for that race is basically a foregone conclusion, so you can be assured that his testing is ongoing.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Running Sunglasses


Trends in running sunglasses have lately returned to the 1980s and 1990s with loud, windscreen-like shapes that dwarf even those of us with bigger faces. But we have some good news for those who prefer something more standard: there are still so many options with a more subdued shape and profile. No matter which way you slice it, style is a huge part of picking out a pair of sunglasses — look good, feel good, right? That might be a dorky mantra, but we really do think buying shades that suit your face will make you look forward to putting them on every day. 

Lens Type and Features

Running lenses fall into three categories: standard, photochromic, and polarized. 

Standard is a catchall term that is doing a LOT of heavy lifting. Generally, standard just means any lens that isn’t photochromic or polarized. But when it comes to performance sunglasses, and running sunglasses in particular, high-end standard lenses could very easily be better than their more popular counterparts.

For example, the District Vision Kohei Aero Blade Ti we spoke about above has meticulously crafted lenses that use science-based data to prove just how helpful they can be for the wearer. DV is a great example, not only because of its inclusion here but also because of its commitment to creating a better lens that doesn’t have to be polarized to be “better.”

A photochromic lens, like the one on the aforementioned Julbo Frequency, is the gold standard when it comes to running in changing light conditions because of its ability to adapt. While they’re great for those who run from daylight into darkness or from alpine environments into the woods all in one run, they are expensive.

A polarized lens, like that found on the Smith Pinpoint With ChromaPop Polarized Lens, reduces glare and highlights obstacles in the road. This can help you see roots, potholes, and variations in the sidewalk more easily. Polarized lenses appear at both the bottom and top of the price spectrum for sunglasses, but lower-quality polarized lenses are easily damaged and scuffed. Also, keep in mind that polarized lenses can affect your depth perception. 

Fit, Adjustability, and Comfort

As with all running gear, comfort has to be a top priority when choosing sunglasses. A poor fit leads to pressure points and endless distractions throughout your run. Throw on a running hat and some headphones, and suddenly, the space around your head is heavily congested. If you love to wear a hat when you run, make sure the shades you pick can peacefully coexist with your hat or other accessories.


All the sunglasses in this guide are reliably durable, but even the most bulletproof frames are susceptible to heavy damage. Make sure you really get your hands on a pair of shades before you buy them. Move them around in your hands, play with the temple hinges, listen for squeaks, and try to sneak a peek at how locked-in the lenses are.

As we said, most running sunglasses are at least passable in the durability category and will treat you well for a long time if you pay attention and care for them. 

The component with the widest spectrum of durability is the polarized lens. Cheaper polarized lenses can be scratched with ease and can be distorted or warped over time. Higher-quality polarized lenses still need to be protected from abrasion, but they will last a long time if you pay attention.

Unpredictable Light Conditions

For many of us, a majority of runs take place during the day with stable light conditions. For times like these, you’ll be all set with just one lens. Couldn’t run until the evening? Wear your shades ‘til you see the sun fall below the horizon, and just pop your sunglasses up onto your head.

However, If you’re someone who will run at dawn one day, 2 p.m. the next, and mix in a bandit race on the city streets late at night, it could be worth investing in a pair of sunglasses with a photochromic lens, which will adapt to the light around you. 


Sunglasses protect your eyes from ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays, help reduce eye fatigue, and improve clarity when running across terrain with different surfaces and flat light, scenarios that we find in the mountains, forests, and on the coast. Even budget sunglasses like the Tifosi Sanctum can provide nearly 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Sunglasses also physically protect eyes from tree branches and more. An errant branch to the eye can end a run prematurely and, in some cases, permanently damage eyesight. Wearing clear lenses at night may seem overkill, but you can’t put a price on protecting your eyeballs.

Sunglasses keep ultraviolet rays from penetrating your eyes and are the equivalent of sunscreen. As a literal barrier, sunglasses protect your eyes from wind, dust, sand, branches, and other debris that could scratch your corneas, causing serious damage.

Sunglasses with a large lens can provide a high level of protection from errant branches and debris flying through the air. Wearing clear lenses at night can also provide a barrier against unseen branches, bugs, and more.

A polarized lens is a great tool for activities that require keeping a keen eye on terrain distinctions, like driving, fishing, or golfing. They increase contrast and can help you pick out inconsistencies that lie a few steps ahead of you.

We love a polarized lens, but when it comes to running, it really isn’t a requirement. Some of the best brands out there are making super high tech lenses that aren’t polarized and, in many cases, these are the ones our testers love the most.

Photochromic sunglasses are basically the elite version of those old transition shades all the old folks in your life were wearing. When they’re inside reading a book, their glasses are clear. Step out into the sun for lunch and BOOM, they’re dark gray now. There was something both awesome and awful about those lenses. 

Anyway, for our purposes, photochromic lenses are used to allow runners the freedom of running in varied light conditions without having to change their sunglasses, swap lenses, or pack their frames away completely. The lenses are designed in a way that allows them to soak in both UVA and UVB rays at the same time, resulting in a chemical reaction that darkens the surface of the lens.

When the light is reduced, the coloring fades to clear. Next thing you know, you’re crushing a nighttime trail race. With the hassle of swapping lenses out of the picture, you’re free to focus on the task at hand.

Much like what happens to your body when you fall down, sunglasses can easily scratch or ding if they hit the deck from any substantial height. Even if you only drop them from waist level, chances are you’re going to pick them up with a new ding.

Our best recommendation is to treat your shades like you treat your phone: set them down, and don’t toss ‘em all over the place. Keep the lens clean with a microfiber cloth, and break out the soap and water when necessary. Treat your shades right, and they’ll last forever. Or at least until you lose them.

We tested eight of the best sunglasses for women to help you find the right pair to protect your eyes, see more clearly, and look good doing it.

Cycling sunglasses do so much more than protect eyes from bright sunlight or make a fashion statement. Whether road cycling, gravel grinding, or shredding trails, a good pair of cycling sunglasses can add safety, performance, and enjoyment to your ride.

Read the full article here

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