Best Running Sunglasses of 2024: Expert Reviews on Style & Protection

Our pick of the best sunglasses for running, whether you run roads, track or trails, with a guide on how to choose the right ones for you.

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All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. If you buy through links, we may earn a commission.

Our regularly-updated guide to the best running sunglasses highlights the highest-rated sunglasses for running, for both men and women, based on many hours of testing and sunglasses reviews by the team here at Trail & Kale.

For a pair of sunglasses to make it onto this list of the best sunglasses for runners, they must have the following essential features:

  • be comfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • be lightweight
  • stay in place while running fast
  • offer UV protection
  • have excellent lens filters/optics
  • be durable
  • look great, in our opinion (subjective of course).

All the sunglasses on this list have earned their place on this list as a result of their features and performance when worn for running on the roads and trails, for distances ranging from a couple of miles to running ultra marathons.


1. KOO NOVA Running Sunglasses [$200]

Weight: 0.7oz (21g) / Polarized option: YES / Replaceable lenses: YES

To learn more, read our KOO sunglasses review next.

The KOO NOVA are very lightweight running sunglasses, weighing only 0.7 oz, they’re supremely comfortable for active use. Their modern, wraparound aero fit lightweight frame helps ensure they’re streamlined for running, while the Zeiss lenses provide clear and broad vision, suitable for running roads and challenging trails, as well as other activities such as cycling.

These sunglasses effectively merge practicality with style, offering a solid option for athletes focused on performance and visual clarity.


2. Vinco Sola Running Sunglasses [$249]

Weight: 0.95oz / Polarized option: NO / Interchangeable lenses: NO

To learn more, read our Vinco Sola sunglasses review, next.

The Sola sunglasses from Vinco Performance cater to road runners, with lab-tested ultra-panoramic lenses that mitigate midday sun glare, wind, and debris, ensuring optimal eye protection and color enhancement in bright conditions.

They feature a lightweight design, customizable fit with adjustable temple tips, and are made from polyamide lenses and stainless steel spring-cam temple hinges for durability, impact resistance and lens retention. Handmade in Italy, the frames are constructed from eco-friendly Lignatura™ bio-resin and the sunglasses come in fully recyclable, zero-plastic packaging.

If you run trails, also check out Vinco’s Terra sunglasses range – the lens filtration on the Terra is specifically designed for use around forest canopy coverage and overcast conditions, enhancing the contrast between foliage and soil.


3. ROKA Braker 2.0 Sunglasses [$180]

Weight: 0.85oz / Polarized option: YES / Interchangeable lenses: NO

The ROKA Braker 2.0 sunglasses feature offering durability, lightweight comfort, and flexibility, with high impact strength and resistance to chemicals and sweat.

They come with adjustable temples, incorporating stainless steel core wires for a customizable fit, spring hinges, and thermoplastic elastomer pads on the temples and nose, increasing grip when exposed to sweat or water and providing enhanced shock absorption. They’re also available with a range of lens colors and properties, for different light conditions.

The sunglasses weigh 24g and are designed based on anthropometric standards to fit most head shapes, promising optimal comfort and performance across conditions.


4. Oakley Flak 2.0 XL Running Sunglasses [$200]

Weight: 28g (1oz) / Polarized option: YES / Interchangeable lenses: YES

These popular Oakley running sunglasses are a great fit for both men and women. They use Oakley’s high definition optics and the overall design has been tuned to be extremely lightweight, with excellent clarity.

Their Prizm lenses enhance color and contrast, making terrain easier to navigate at speed, and offer 100% UV protection. With interchangeable lenses and a grip-enhancing Unobtanium material on the nose and arms, these sunglasses stay secure during rigorous activities. It’s as if the more you sweat the grippier this material becomes, it’s quite remarkable!

They’re adaptable for those needing prescription lenses, combining performance with versatility.


5. Nathan Summit Polarized Running Sunglasses [$60]

Weight: n/a – but light! / Polarized option: YES / Replaceable lenses: NO

At $60 these Nathan sunglasses are great-value polarized sunglasses for running, cycling and other active outdoor pursuits.

The Polycarbonate polarized lenses provide optical quality clarity, and 100% UV Protection, plus, they’re lightweight and non-slip, so you don’t even notice you have them on.


6. ROKA Rory 2 Sunglasses [$220]

Weight: 0.7oz (19.8g) / Polarized option: YES / Interchangeable lenses: NO

The ROKA Rory 2 sunglasses stand out for their featherlight design at just 0.7 oz, making them hardly noticeable during runs or bike rides. Their stylish, durable frame is coupled with scratch-resistant lenses and a flexible fit system, ensuring a secure wear.

With C3™ Optics for clear, fog-free vision and the option for prescription customization, these glasses are a practical choice for athletes who value both function and fashion.

To learn more, read my ROKA Rory 2 review next.

Good to know: ROKA make another super lightweight pair of sunglasses for running called the Phantom Ti Aviator, also weighing in at a mere 0.7oz (20g)!


7. Zeal Boone Running Sunglasses [$160]

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

The Zeal Boone sunglasses feature lightweight Z-Lite frames and plant-based Ellume Polarized lenses, weighing in at less than an ounce. They’re built for comfort and durability, suitable for extensive outdoor activities without the worry of damage from drops.

Their design caters to athletes who prioritize both appearance and performance, with polarized lenses that reduce glare and improve clarity and contrast. Ideal for trail runners, ultrarunners, and hikers, these sunglasses ensure a secure fit for active use.


8. Julbo Aero Sunglasses [$130]

Weight: 30g (1.06oz) / Polarized option: NO / Interchangeable lenses: YES

The Julbo Aero sunglasses are crafted for runners tackling demanding activities, which can include anything from running marathons to more extreme mountain running like vertical kilometer races or skyrunning.

They feature a single, photochromic Reactiv lens that adjusts to varying light conditions, offering a broad and clear field of vision. Ventilation is built into the design, with gaps between the lens and frame to prevent fogging and ensure airflow, and the adjustable, grippy nose pads provide a comfortable fit for any nose shape, enhancing comfort during intense efforts.


9. Ombraz Armless Sunglasses [$140]

Weight: n/a / Polarized option: YES / Interchangeable lenses: NO

Yes, you read that right – these sunglasses do not have arms!

The Ombraz sunglasses are a great alternative to regular sunglasses if you like to wear a hat while running or doing other outdoor sports and adventurous activities – they free up that space behind the tops of your ears.

They stay on your face while you’re running, using an adjustable cord that goes around the back of your head, and because there are no arms, there are no arms or hinges to break.

To see more photos and learn more about these armless sunglasses, head over to our Ombraz sunglasses review.


When you may want cheap sunglasses for running

If you’re on this page as a new runner, a new trail runner, or simply a little worried about dropping your sunglasses while running, then a less expensive alternative may be the best running sunglasses for you.

This will be especially so if you’ve just spent some cash on new running shoes and clothes, too.

While the more budget running sunglasses brands listed below may lack the durability and optics quality of more expensive running sunglasses, 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. Tifosi Swank XL [$30+]

The Tifosi Swank XL sunglasses feature large lenses for a great field of vision, making them perfect for running. They feature a budget-friendly price, non-slip hydrophilic rubber nosepieces, and durable, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses with 100% UVA/UVB protection.

Rx is available, and all 5 colorways are available when you purchase directly from the tifosioptics.com website or sportrx.com.


Bonus 2. Sunski Sunglasses [$58+]

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 browse their online store.


Bonus 3. Goodr Sunglasses [$25]

The Goodr OG sunglasses offer a budget-friendly option for runners, featuring polarized lenses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, despite their lower price point. With a grip coating and lightweight design, they stay in place without bouncing, making them a solid choice for those seeking affordable running eyewear.


Choosing the best running sunglasses for you

If you’re going to be running outside for extended periods of time then it’s worth taking a bit of time to select the right pair of sunglasses to wear when running.

If you’re uncomfortable or the sunglasses aren’t doing their job of staying put while protecting your eyes from glare and particles in the air then you’re really not going to enjoy your run.

Why running sunglasses need to be lightweight and well-fitting

As well as being comfortable to wear for long periods of time, it almost goes without saying that a great pair of running sunglasses are also going to be super lightweight, and stay in place while you are running fast or over technical trail terrain.

You basically don’t want to know that you have your sunglasses on, and this means they stay put and don’t bounce up and down or slide down your nose when you move rapidly.

Choosing the best running sunglasses to protect your eyes

From a technical eye-protection perspective, the number one criteria we have used to select the best running sunglasses for this list is excellent UV protection.

In addition, we also like running sunglasses to have excellent lens filtering and optics to help you clearly see details on the trails, such as obstacles and the profile of the ground even when obscured by shade or dappled light.

From a more simple perspective, a pair of running sunglasses is also going to help protect your eyes from dust and dirt that can blow into your eyes, especially on windy days.

Which are the best running sunglasses for women

Running sunglasses do not have to be gender-specific, because after all, the best running sunglasses for you are going to be those that have the right technical features you need, and fit comfortably on your head!

With that said, as women tend to have smaller (or at least narrower) heads than some men, the close-fitting wraparound sunglasses like the Oakleys and Julbo are often a great choice for women, as well as the smaller width frame sizes of the other more square-shaped sunglasses like the ROKA options above.

Why choose running sunglasses with polarized lenses

Most of the running sunglasses for men and women on this list are also available with polarized lenses, which can be a nice-to-have if you’re particularly sensitive to glare or run near snow, water, or in very sunny locations with reflective light concrete pavement.

Having polarized lenses in your sunglasses helps to eliminate glare, increase visual clarity, enhance contrast, and as a result reduce the risk of eye strain, especially when you’re running on or near reflective surfaces, such as water, snow or light bouncing off rocks or glass in intense sunlight.

Buying running sunglasses with prescription lenses

If you are looking for prescription sunglasses for running and you’re in the US, eyewear store SportRX is a great port-of-call for you if you’re looking for corrective versions of the sunglasses mentioned above.

They sell prescription sunglasses for running and other sports (or just daily life) and regularly offer great deals – and they also sell regular non-prescription versions of those sunglasses.

Why durability is important when it comes to running sunglasses

While it’s easy to think that you’re better off with a cheap pair of sunglasses for running, this may turn out to be more expensive in the long run (pardon the pun).

This is because the higher-priced, more technical running sunglasses also generally are more durable, in terms of the robustness of the frame and how flexible it is (i.e. they can bend rather than snap if put under abnormal pressure), as well as the scratch-resistance of the lenses themselves.

As mentioned above, for your first pair of running sunglasses you may want to start out with a cheaper pair if budget is a concern.

In our opinion, however, you will enjoy your runs more, and ultimately get more miles and use out of your running sunglasses if you invest and look after one of the pairs of sunglasses that made it onto our main list of the best sunglasses for running.

If you have any questions while you try to choose the best running sunglasses for you, drop a comment below and we’ll do our best to help!

Lastly – a quick note on summer running

If you’re researching running sunglasses the chances are summer is here, or approaching. Here’s 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 or running cap with you (and your sunglasses, of course), 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. Otherwise, many good energy gels like these also contain electrolytes to help ward off cramping when running.

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.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This material is fabulous! It’s full of incisive information and the points you make are rational and solid. As a result of this article, I learned Running Sunglasses

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