A blog by runners. For runners.

Running with sunglasses: 101

Sunglasses for runners

There are two items I never leave without when heading out for a run: my running shoes and sunglasses. Yes, I wear shades in all weather conditions and couldn’t imagine running without them.

Why you need to wear sunglasses
A good pair of sunglasses do more than just keep you from squinting outside. They also protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV radiation increases your risk of dangerous eye problems, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

And we can’t help but mention this other perk: wearing sunglasses on the run also keeps bugs from getting in your eyes.

Picking a pair of shades
Consider the following when shopping for sunglasses:

  • Check out wraparound lens models. Wraparound lenses shield the sun’s rays from getting into your eyes from the side. This protects your eyelids and the skin on the sides of your eyes from skin cancer.
  • Look for a sticker that says “blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays”. It’s important sunglasses guard your eyes from both types of UV rays.
  • Know the difference between lens colors. The UV protection coat that goes on lenses is clear, so how dark lenses are isn’t an indicator of how much protection they offer. Different colors are ideal in different weather and light conditions, so consider a frame with interchangeable lenses:
    • Gray, green, and brown lenses work best in moderate to bright conditions. They also distort colors the least.
    • Yellow or gold lenses are best in low- to moderate- light. They don’t offer as much brightness protection as darker lenses, but they provide the best depth perception.
    • Rose colored lenses provide the best low-light visibility, and they make objects in blue or green backgrounds appear clearer. These lenses are ideal for trail running.
    • Clear lenses are best for running in dark conditions.
  • Invest in polarized lenses if you run near water or the glare from the pavement bothers you. These lenses reduce glare from water and pavement, but polarized lenses may make it tricky to read your watch or phone.
  • Go for comfort over style. You may wear these glasses on 3 or 4+ hour runs, so make sure you choose a pair that’s light and fits well. Many people find fully-rimmed shades most comfortable.

Sunglasses FAQs
We know all runners aren’t sold on wearing sunglasses and it’s usually due to one of two reasons –fogging and sliding.

  1. How do I keep my sunglasses from fogging up? It’s a humid day and you’re trucking along until you need to stop for water or change directions. Then it happens – your sunglasses fog up and you can’t see a thing. There are anti-fog sprays and cloths available said to prevent this, but most have mixed reviews. Lenses fog up when humid, warm air stops circulating behind them. In other words, if you don’t stop moving, your lenses shouldn’t fog. Of course, this isn’t always possible. To clear lenses up, rub them with your moisture-wicking top or put a dollop of water on them and clean with any material. Then immediately start running again.
  2. How do I keep my sunglasses from sliding down my nose? Invest in a pair of shades that fit snug but not too tight. If most types slip down your nose, look for a model with a traction grip. Don’t be afraid to test out a pair in the store by running for a minute – you need to know if they really work.

What type of sunglasses do you run in?

Written by Jen Matz.

Sources 1 | 2