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5 Best Running Sunglasses in 2021 – For Trail Running & Hiking Too

While the spring and summer months generally allow for a more minimal running experience, there are still some safety essentials that you should consider taking with you on your runs in order to protect yourself from dehydration, muscle cramping, and sun exposure (heat and UV). Sunglasses are one of those essential items to consider wearing. This best running sunglasses buyer’s guide highlights the top 5 sunglasses for running based on our strict criteria for trail running and ultrarunning. All running sunglasses on this list:

  • are comfortable to wear for long periods of time which makes them great for ultrarunning
  • are super lightweight
  • stay in place while running fast
  • offer UV Protection
  • have excellent lens filters/optics specific for enhancing details on the trails
  • are very durable
  • look great in my opinion (subjective of course) ?

A quick note about summer running and ways to protect yourself from dehydration, reduce the risk of muscle cramping while running, and sun exposure. Take extra water, salts/electrolytes, sunscreen, and a technical running hat with you, they could literally save your life if you’re heading out for a very long trail run or race. I have witnessed a number of runners collapse in front of me due to dehydration during a race, and countless others hobbling along, usually within the last 20% of a race due to muscle cramps. Luckily, I’m usually able to help cramp sufferers by offering them a couple of my salt tablets.

If you need a way to carry essential items like your water, nutrition, salts, mobile phone, keys, sunglasses, trail running poles, and waterproof jacket, then definitely have a read of our running hydration packs buyer’s guide for advice on which race vest will be best for you.

This best running sunglasses buyer’s guide is updated regularly, so remember to bookmark this page in preparation for when you need to buy a pair of sunglasses for trail running. Okay, let’s get to it!


1. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses front best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses have made it to the top of our best running sunglasses list for good reason. These multi-sport sunglasses offer a standard-size frame with enhanced lens coverage which increases your peripheral view while trail running, hiking, or cycling. The Flak 2.0 XL uses Oakley’s high definition optics and the overall design has been tuned to be extremely lightweight.

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses side best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

Flak 2.0 XL Prizm lenses enhance color and contrast on the trails, making technical terrain easier to analyze and tackle while running at speed. The lens material also filters out 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC & harmful blue light up to 400 nm, and is available with Oakley prescription lenses for an additional cost. Lenses are replaceable which is nice to know just in case you do accidentally damage them.

One of the lesser-known technologies that I love about Oakley’s high-end sport sunglasses is the grippy ‘Unobtanium’ material to keep them in place. There’s never a worry that these sunglasses are going to fly off during fast trail running, which is important when you’re paying a lot of money for them. It’s as if the more you sweat the grippier this material becomes, it’s quite remarkable! Oakley includes this material on the nose-contact area and frame-arms to really lock these sunglasses in place while running.

Weight: 28g (1oz) / Polarized lenses available?: YES / Replaceable lenses: YES


2. Zeal Boone Sunglasses

Zeal Boone sunglasses front best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

Zeal’s Boone running sunglasses are timeless in style and actually super technical too. Zeal uses their lightweight Z-Lite frames and Ellume Polarized sunglass lenses which are 100% plant-based.

Zeal Boone sunglasses side best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

Weighing less than an ounce, the Boone running sunglasses are designed to be lightweight, comfortable for wearing on the longest of adventures, and durable enough to not worry so much, should you accidentally drop them. They are fashion-forward sunglasses, with high enough performance that any trail runner, ultrarunner, or hikers will be happy wearing them day-in-day-out.

The lenses are polarized which helps to eliminate glare, increase visual clarity, enhance contrast, and as a result reduce the risk of eye strain.

Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)

Weight: 22.7g (0.8oz) / Polarized lenses available?: YES / Replaceable lenses: NO



3. Julbo Aero Sunglasses

Julbo Aero sunglasses front best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

Julbo Aero sunglasses are designed for runners who love intense efforts, such as vertical kilometer racing, or skyrunning, for example. The mono lens, available in photochromic Reactiv, ensures a wide, obstacle-free field of vision, regardless of light levels due to the reactive filter changing properties of Julbo’s REACTIV lenses.

Julbo Aero sunglasses side best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

The suspended construction includes vents at the top that provide ventilation, and prevent fogging, by encouraging air to pass between the lens and the frame.

I really like the nose-pads on these running sunglasses because they’re grippy, and offer adjustability in every direction which means that they fit all nose shapes and are extra comfortable because of it. A good fit also means they stay in place while running.

Weight: 30g (1.06oz) / Polarized lenses available?: NO / Replaceable lenses: YES


4. ROKA Halsey

ROKA Halsey sunglasses best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

The iconic Wayfarer style Halsey Sunglasses by Roka take a different approach to lightweight running sunglasses, by fusing modern lifestyle fashion with pure functionality. Made for intensive activity, the Halsey offers a polarized lens and multi-directional GEKO padding technology that is designed to stick on your face no matter how sweaty you are as you move.

ROKA Halsey sunglasses side best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

The Roka Halsey only weighs 26g (0.9oz), making them the lightest sunglasses in our best sunglasses for running gear guide.

Roka does, however, make an even lighter pair of sunglasses for running called the Phantom Ti Aviator, weighing in at a mere 20g (0.07oz)! Although insanely lightweight, they’re a little more delicate and so I chose not to include them in this list when in truth they probably should be. To learn more about those, read my full review here.

The Halsey lenses have a protective coating to help keep your vision clear during your trail running or hiking adventures.

Weight: 26g (0.92oz) / Polarized lenses available?: YES / Replaceable lenses: NO

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5. Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Classic

Ray Ban New Wayfarer Classic sunglasses best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

The New Wayfarer Classic sunglasses are Ray Ban’s latest rework of the Wayfarer Classic. They now have a smaller frame with a softer eye shape, which leads to a lighter overall weight and a new look that’s more fitted. At 1.4oz, the New Wayfarer Classics are the heaviest running sunglasses on this list (although still pretty lightweight) however I like that they’re versatile enough to wear running and look good for everyday wear, too.

Ray Ban New Wayfarer Classic sunglasses side best running sunglasses Trail and Kale 1

The New Wayfarer Classic comes with scratch-resistant polarized glass lenses that offer excellent visual clarity at the small cost of additional weight. The frames are very lightweight and made from a polycarbonate which boosts comfort for all-day usage.

Ray-Bans are known for their quality and with alloy hinges, these wayfarers are durable to stand the test of time, trail run after trail run.

Weight: 39g (1.4oz) / Polarized lenses available?: YES / Replaceable lenses: NO



BONUS Alternatives – A selection of cheaper sunglasses for running

I hope you enjoyed our best running sunglasses buyer’s guide, however, if you’re on this page as a beginner trail runner, new to the trails, or a little worried about dropping your sunglasses while running, then a less expensive alternative may be of interest to you. While this selection of sunglasses brands may the lack durability and optics quality of more expensive options, they do however offer a much lower price point which means you won’t have to worry so much about losing them or an accidental drop.

Bonus 1. Sunski

Sunski Headland best running sunglasses Trail and Kale

Sunski is a trendy company based in San Francisco, that wants to make a difference in the world by donating 1% of all sales to environmental non-profit organizations. We particularly like the Headland frames pictured to the right (above on mobile) but there are so many styles to choose from that you should definitely have a browse of their online store.

Sunski has also started using recycled plastic for their frames, which we approve of. If you would like to learn more about their sunglasses for running, then have a read of our detailed article all about Sunski.


Bonus 2. Goodr

Goodr OG best running sunglasses Trail and Kale 1

Goodr OG’s are sunglasses for the wild amongst you! Don’t expect much in terms of build quality and durability, I mean they are only $25 a pair, but they are cheap sunglasses for running that offer polarized lenses that block 100% of those harmful UVA and UVB rays. They are grip coated and light enough that they don’t bounce while running either. Worth a go if you’re on a mega-budget.



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Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. I started Trail & Kale to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. This site now inspires hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle. It's also a place to learn how to chase your dreams, untether from convention and live more self-sustainably.

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