Runners spend so much time thinking about what to put on their feet, they hardly pay attention to what protects their face. Sunglasses may seem like a style flex, but the right shades can block wind, dirt, debris, glare, and ultraviolet light—things may not seem like a huge deal in the moment, but, over time, lead to irritation, infections, and cellular damage that can age your eyes prematurely and may eventually require surgery (just Google “surfer’s eye”).
A good pair of running sunglasses should, at the bare minimum, come with UV400 protection, which blocks UVA (associated with skin aging) and UVB (associated with skin burning) light, and polarization, which blocks the reflection of light off surfaces like snow or water. Then, focus on fit and comfort—but opt for larger lenses, which cover as much of your field of view as possible so peripheral light isn’t bypassing those two key features.
The good news: While some of the highest-tech frames are predictably pricey, you can get all the basics in budget-friendly sunglasses that look just as cool. With that in mind, here’s our list of the best running sunglasses.
Last updated 09.08.2023
Best Running Sunglasses
Oakley’s Sutro shades are a classic shield style, with a lens that offers oversized protection against the elements. They look big, but they’re made from the brand’s proprietary lens material, O Matter, and weigh just 32 grams. And there’s no beating the clarity of PRIZM Lens Technology, which boosts the contrast in your environment and makes it easy to spot obstacles like uneven pavement or rocks and roots. (If you prefer a rimless bottom to open up your field of view a bit, opt for the Sutro Lite.) Price: $178
Smith has been in the sunglasses game for a long time, proving it by bringing back the XC…which was originally released in 1984 for Nordic skiing. The lens tech is new. ChromaPop is built to get as close as possible to natural color and help details stand out. While the lens tech is new, the flip-up shield style and fleece pouch are right out of the 80s. They’re modern sunglasses that get an A+ for nostalgia. And while the flip-up lens can occasionally unlock on its own, the Smith XC performs well for long distance running and looks even better for casual wear. Watch our review. Price: $179
Goodr Mach G
With Goodr, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for budget. You won’t get quite the same level of light blockage or color contrast as higher-end (read: $$$) lenses, but all of the brand’s shades are no-slip, scratch-resistant, shatterproof, no-bounce, polarized, and feature UV 400 protection. The Mach Gs, with their aviator shape and mirrored lenses, boast nearly enough coverage to go head-to-head with shield sunglasses, but you’ll look a whole lot less out of place at post-run brunch or beers in these. Price: $35
Roka Matador Air
You know a product’s gotta be lightweight when the word “Air” is in the title. These sleek shades weigh 25 grams and sit flush to your face, no squeezing or pinching at your ears. And not only do the mirrored gold lenses look cool, they’re designed to increase air flow in hot and humid conditions. Plus, they work equally well in sunny or overcast conditions, and are sweat-, fog-, and fingerprint-resistant. Price: $240
Sunglasses don’t get much lighter than 100%’s Hypercraft, which weigh in at just 23 grams. The brand’s proprietary UltraCarbon material weaves carbon fiber into the nylon for a barely-there frame that’s still super durable. The lenses are just as tough, manufactured from shatterproof and impact-resistant polycarbonate with a lens treatment that repels water, dirt, and oil. Feel the air on your face thanks to aerodynamically positioned ventilation windows, and let the sweat fly off via scoops built into the arms. Price: $185
These Tron-esque frames ring up at a fraction of Oakley or Roka’s prices, but provide similar benefits: UV protection, polarized lenses, a supersized field of view. Adjustable nose pads and temples allow you to customize the fit so there’s no bounce even as you pick up the pace. At a lower price, you can go wild when it comes to the more outrageous color schemes. Price: $59
Get three lenses for the price of one. The arms and nose grip easily detach from the Tifosi Rail’s shatterproof rimless lens, so you can switch between a high-contrast reflective lens for bright light, a medium-tint lens for cloudy or foggy weather, and a clear lens for low-light conditions. No matter what lens you’re wearing, the nose and ear pads are fully adjustable for a customized fit—and since they’re made from hydrophilic rubber, the grip will actually increase the more you sweat. Price: $80
The Rudy Project Propulse
A throwback to the more traditional style of sports sunglasses, The Rudy Project’s Propulse packs a ton of tech into just 26 grams. The photochromic lenses go from dark to light depending on your surroundings, and can be easily swapped out for different sizes and types of lenses. Custom-fit the nose pads and temple tips and use the Vent Controller, which adjusts airflow, to prevent overheating, misting, and maintain comfort. Price: $185
District Vision Keiichi
Ever spent a misty run rubbing water out of your eyes? These Wayfarer-esque shades feature District Vision’s futuristic Calm–Tech, the world’s first porous lens. That means they absorb moisture—including fog and light rain droplets—to enhance visual clarity in challenging performance conditions, reduce eye strain, and help you stay less stressed during your workout. That may make the lens seem more delicate, but it’s crafted from a proprietary form of shatterproof polycarbonate. Price: $220
Knockaround Premiums Sport
Knockaround’s affordable Wayfarers hit all the necessary protective requirements for under $30. They’re made from a super lightweight polycarbonate material and impact resistant lenses, feature polarized lenses with UV400 protection, and have rubber nose pads to keep them secure. And if they get too banged up from being tossed around, you won’t feel bad about replacing them. Price: $35
Dynafit Ultra Pro
Designed for mountain sports, Dynafit’s Ultra Pro sunglasses give you the best protection during trail running. The half-rim frames hold an oversized shield lens that protects you from UV rays, glare, snow, dirt, and wind—plus, photochromic glass technology allows the lenses to adapt to variable light, so you have the clearest field of view whether you’re going in and out of tree cover or under a bright blue sky. Grippy temple tips and a rubber nose pad guarantee they won’t budge even as you navigate the gnarliest trails. Price: $220
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