How to Choose Sunglasses for Running: Stay Ahead of the Sun

How to Choose Sunglasses for Running

“How to choose sunglasses for running?” A question every jogger out there has asked at least once. The sun’s intensity during the summer, paired with long days and high temperatures make sunglasses an amazing accessory to have for every jogger, marathon runner and Forrest Gump larper out there.
Choosing the right pair for running might be tricky. A good pair of running sunglasses needs to be lightweight and tight-fitting while still providing adequate protection. To top it off, they have to be comfortable to wear; comfort being the whole point of sunglasses. So, how does one make sure that the future pair of specs will be a perfect running or jogging companion?

The UV Rays of the Sun: The Basics

Here are some facts about the UV rays.

  • UV can deal the most damage between 10 AM and 4 PM
  • Radiation is more intense during summer
  • On cloudy days, UV radiation is only reduced by 20-40%
  • At higher altitudes, UV radiation increases by 4% for every 700 meters
  • Reflected UV rays are as harmful as direct exposure, water reflecting 100% of the rays, snow 85%, and sand 25%

UV rays are split into two categories:

  • UVA are long rays with deep action. Long exposure to this type of UV ray can lead to aging skin, skin cancer and damage to the structure of the epidermis
  • UVB are short-action rays which lead to skin burns, also contributing to skin cancer. They increase the production of melatonin in the body and are responsible for the tanning effect

As such, when shopping for a pair of eyewear, make sure to get 99 to 100% UV filtering lenses by checking the label for UV and 99% or 100% UV protection (for both types of rays). If the glasses can’t block 99-100% UV rays here’s what happens: the user’s pupil will react to the shade brought by the tinted lenses, opening up to let more light pass. When this occurs, UV rays can deal a lot more damage than usual, since the eye’s natural defenses are down. Extended exposure to UVB radiation can lead to cataract and all sorts of other related conditions.


How to Choose Sunglasses for Running: Things to Consider

Apart from UV protection, you must also make sure that you have a sturdy and comfortable pair of glasses. You can do so by considering the guide below.

  • Pick a Good Frame

When learning how to choose sunglasses for running, one of the essential points is to pick a good frame. For the best, most durable features, the frame of choice can be made using a light metal. A metal frame won’t break so quickly, but it might bend easier than a composite one. This boils down to personal preference.

For extra flex, composite frames are the way to go. They will act as a spring in case they’re dropped; reflecting the impact. They’re also lighter, something that’s important when choosing a good pair of running glasses. The frame should also be a tight fit. While composite frames are not as sturdy, they usually keep their initial shape even after years of wearing. On the opposite end, metal frames will need to be constantly tightened and adjusted.

  • Great Protection

Scratch-resistant coating is the perfect feature for a pair of running sunglasses. Small scratches can occur on glasses from virtually anything: dropping them, cleaning them with something other than microfibers, you name it!

  • Go for the Right Fit

Sunglasses should be comfortable, but if the user is looking for a pair that will hold their own during some intense running sessions, they must have a firm fit. That being said, there’s a fine line between firm and uncomfortable. If they stretch out too much, then they’re not really the right choice, the same being true for looser models.

Owning the Perfect Sunglasses: Other Tips
Apart from evaluating the running sunglasses that you are about to buy, you should also take a look at these tips below for you to make the most of your sunglasses.

  • Try to Get Creative

If, by chance, the purchased sunglasses are too loose or too tight, there are some simple ways to remedy this. A heat gun or a powerful hair dryer can generate enough heat to safely bend composite plastic materials, either to stretch them out or to make them fit better.

Ear hooks are another great way of making sure that the glasses stay in place. Ear hooks are small silicone buds that can be threaded onto the temple tips. They will lock in place and prevent the sunglasses from moving. They’re inexpensive, easy to clean, and a great way to ensure a comfortable and firm fit.

  • Try not to Cheap Out

Sure, everybody is on a budget. Good sunglasses are expensive, but they will definitely be worth the investment. Buying from a reputable seller will only work in the buyer’s favor. In addition to year-long warranties and premium quality, purchasing from a well-known brand will ensure that the product went through the proper channels before being put on the market.

  • Shop for the Right Season

Getting adequate eyewear for different types of environments is important. For instance, running in the winter season can be very hard on the eyes since snow reflects a lot of the UV rays back at the jogger.
The coating and tint type will determine the perfect weather or environment in which the glasses will provide the most utility.

  • Polarized tint glasses are best used in very bright environments. In snow or at the beach, these puppies will provide the most relief. However, the dark tinted glasses aren’t a great choice for cloudy days or evenings, they only work in powerful daylight
  • Golden and yellow tints shine where the polarized tint variants fail. They provide a beautiful change in tone during cloudier days. While this type does provide some sort of UV ray protection, it’s important to note that they’re not as “heavy duty” as darker models
  • Dark tint glasses are similar to polarized tint glasses. Both these models have darker tones, but the dark tint usually is a bit softer than the polarized version. This is more of a fashion choice than a practical one.


It’s not hard to pick the right pair of sunglasses since the same rules apply for jogging, trail running and any other type of sports. As a general guide, make sure that the sunglasses have a firm and comfortable fit. You must also pick the right type of lens for the season and environment. In addition, make sure to purchase from a reliable and reputable manufacturer. The frame should also be durable, and the lenses should have a scratch-resistant coating.

8 thoughts on “How to Choose Sunglasses for Running: Stay Ahead of the Sun”

  1. Great post! Now that summer is closing in on us I’ve started thinking about getting myself a pair of sunglasses for running.

    I’ll definitely refer to this when I finally go and get them!

    I think you’re spot on when you say they have to be firm, my main fear is the glasses flying off as I’m running. What sort of price range would you say is normal for a decent pair?

    • Thank you, Stephen.

      I understand you very well, using glasses myself. Actually, I wrote an article about  this problem, you can see it here:

      You are right; the firm is critical. And the fact is that it is the most crucial thing in my opinion.

      Everything which helps you to focus on the run itself is so vital to get maximum out of it whatever your goal is.

      About the prices. It´s a little difficult to say because there are many factors which come in. But you can get excellent for 13 to 50$ dollars.

  2. I will move to a city in Romania and that place has always sun. And I also love running so I want to get good sunglasses.
    My skin is quite sensitive and I get redness all the time while I am wearing sunglasses. How should I choose the frame? Do you have any recommendation for me?

    • Thank you, Furkan.

      It will be to run in the sun in Romania. And I´m agree, it would be much better to run with running sunglassess in that circumstances.

      Because your sensitive skin I would look for ventilated nose pads with light metal frame.

      Yes, I have one recommendatition building on my view for you skin, what to you think about this one

  3. Having eye sight problems is common in my country among people at a certain age. And it’s basically due to our latitude. So, selecting the right sunglasses, specially when daily training outdoors, is something that should never be overlooked.

    Thank you for giving us these tips. I didn’t know that on cloudy days UV radiation is only reduced by 20-40%. I’ll bear this in mind from here on. And I’ll share with some friends that will also find your post useful.

    • Hello, Henry, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Great to hear about your benefit of reading the article too.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.

  4. Thanks for all the information that you have provided especially the facts about UV rays these were all new to me. It only proofs how vital it is the wear sunglasses even when running. Although I am currently nursing a knee injury and my running has been affected I am in training for a marathon walk (26.2 miles) in September. So I will be taking note of all your information and recommendations before purchasing.

    • Hello, Martin Burt, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Great to hear about your benefit of reading the article too.

      If I can help you with anything else, or if you have any questions, don´t hesitate to contact me.


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