Best Running Sunglasses of 2023

Here are the iRunFar editorial team’s picks for the best running sunglasses.

By and on March 16, 2023 | Comments
Best Running Sunglasses - testing Knockaround sunglasses

iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks tests Knockaround sunglasses on an early season run at 13,000 feet. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

This is a guide for finding the best running sunglasses, one accessory that is awfully polarizing — bad pun alert! — for runners of all kinds. A pair of sunglasses is the ultimate style accessory for some of us, yet it’s a necessary and, in some cases, awfully expensive evil for others.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum — oof, another one! — the variety and depth of sunglasses options available are staggering. You no longer have to sacrifice style and flair if you prefer low-cost, gas station-style sunnies. Brands like Goodr and Knockaround have done for sunglasses what Warby Parker did for eyeglasses. And if your eyes require significant technology, a number of companies such as Julbo, Rudy Project, and Smith are making high-tech sunnies to suit you.

The iRunFar editorial team tested a wide variety of sunglasses, with the primary criteria being lens type, cost, and style for different size faces and for men and women so that we could find the best sunglasses for running. For more background information, see our running sunglasses glossary, buying advice, testing methodology, and frequently asked questions below the picks.

Best Running Sunglasses

Best Running Sunglasses - running in desert with sunglasses

Meghan Hicks testing sunglasses outside of Moab, Utah. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Best Standard Lens Running Sunglasses: Bliz Hero ($130)

Best Running Sunglasses - Bliz Hero - product photoTo rate the Bliz Hero sunglasses, we tested them across multiple sports — not just running — to find out how the sport-specific lens performed in the cold, in the wind, with heavy sweat, and in low and bright light during Nordic skiing, cycling, and running. For fans of loud frames, these hit the mark and look great on both men and women. The unique shape and angles of the lens are designed to move air and prevent fogging, and they provide a high level of protection.

At at reasonable price point of $130, these sunglasses were in the middle of the price range of the sunglasses we tested, and they performed incredibly well. The frame is very comfortable, doesn’t slip, and is flexible and light.


  • Sporty and high performing at a fair price
  • Works well as an investment in one pair of sunglasses for multiple sports
  • Comes with a hard case for storage


  • Loud frame might be undesirable for folks who prefer a more subtle style

Shop the Bliz Hero SunglassesShop the Women's Bliz Hero Sunglasses

Best Standard Lens Running SunglassesRunner-Up: Smith Reverb ($220)

Best Running Sunglasses - Smith Reverb - product photoThe Smith Reverb sunglasses have a few standout features, but most notable is the interchangeable, standard ChromaPop lens. ChromaPop is Smith’s in-house lens technology. It’s not polarized or photochromic, but it specializes in bringing out the full-color reds, blues, and greens, colors that tend to blend together to the naked eye. If you’re running in low light and still need eye protection, it’s easy to swap out these lenses to clear ones using Smith’s PivLock system. Sweating on this featherweight frame does little to move them around your face, and sweat does not build up on the lens. With almost a hydrophobic effect, sweat tends to roll right off.

The Reverb sunglasses are incredibly light, and because of the high-quality materials, many of us had no trouble with friction, especially during ultramarathon-length runs of 10 hours or more. The style of these frames is definitely on the athletic side, and they may not fit well in situations that aren’t out on the trail.


  • Many frame and lens colors to choose from
  • Panoramic, shield-style lens offers a lot of protection


  • Style will work well for many sports but not for daily life
  • High-end price for a non-photochromic lens
Shop the Smith Reverb Sunglasses

Best Polarized Lens Running Sunglasses: Smith Pinpoint With ChromaPop Polarized Lens ($200)

Best Running Sunglasses - Smith Pinpoint With ChromaPop Polarized Lens - Product PhotoTwo of our testers have been wearing the Smith Pinpoint With ChromaPop Polarized Lens sunglasses for over two years, calling these their one-and-done sunglasses for running and the rest of life. The styling is low profile enough for casual use, and the polarized ChromaPop lens adds clarity and enhances colors on the trail. These sunglasses are very light, and the nonslip nose pads work even if you’re sweating heavily. In addition to their versatility and utilitarian styling, their ChromaPop polarized lens is among the best in business right now for visual clarity and definition. These sunglasses are available with both polarized and non-polarized lenses.

Smith also offers a full lifetime guarantee on their sunglasses, so while these may be more expensive than other options, they should last you forever, and you can replace them for free if they don’t.

You can read our full Smith Pinpoint Review to learn more.


  • True all-around sport and lifestyle sunglasses that work as well for running as they do for such activities as skiing, fishing, traveling, and wearing around town


  • Frame may be a little big for women or runners with smaller faces
Shop the Smith Pinpoint With ChromaPop Polarized Lens Sunglasses

Best Polarized Lens Running Sunglasses Runner-Up: Zeal Boone ($160)

Best Running Sunglasses - Zeal Boone - product photoThe Zeal Boone sunglasses carry the distinction of not only being one of our testing panel’s favorite running sunglasses overall, but they are also the only ones in this guide with a clear environmental proclivity. The frame is made with Zeal’s Z-Resin, a material derived from castor plants, and the lens is made from plant-based Ellume.

But Zeal’s anti-plastic stance doesn’t compromise technical performance. The polarized lenses do an outstanding job helping them to see obstacles on the trail by increasing color variability. Many of Zeal’s sunglasses carry a lifestyle aesthetic, but perhaps none better weave the technical performance needed for running and sport with as much off-trail style for post-run socializing or backyard partying as these. These really are a single pair of sunglasses that you can take anywhere.

What’s more, Zeal is a partner with the National Forest Foundation and 1% for the Planet, where proceeds benefit environmental projects.


  • Frame feels solid and high quality
  • Slipping during sweaty runs is minimal


  • The bigger frame is probably best suited to men or runners with bigger faces
Shop the Zeal Boone Sunglasses

Best Photochromic Lens Running Sunglasses: Julbo Aero With Reactiv 0-3 Lens ($230)

Best Running Sunglasses - Julbo Aero With Reactiv 0-3 Lens - product photoIf your run takes you through variable lighting conditions, be it open fields before entering deep, dark woods, or daytime into dusk and night, the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens is a great option. Its ability to get darker or lighter to match the ambient light. At its darkest, the lens is dark enough for bright days in the sun and even with sun glare from snow, while it’s absolutely clear during the dark of night — which we tested during many early starts over the past year.

The super lightweight Aero really sticks to your face, and the breathability of the Aero frame shines during long and slow uphill slogs. While these look a little bit more technical than other running-oriented glasses, we’ve found their sturdiness, durability, and eye protection to outweigh any limiting style factors. These glasses are also available with non-photochromatic lenses.


  • Lens works exceptionally in all conditions, in any season


  • The frame doesn’t stay put very well on your head or the brim of your running hat when you need to take them off
Shop the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens Sunglasses

Best Photochromatic Lens Sunglasses Runner-Up: Julbo Spark With Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens ($230)

Best Running Sunglasses - Julbo Spark with Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens - product photoAs a reprieve from hardcore sport styling, but with every bit of great performance for running and other endurance sports, the women’s-oriented Julbo Spark with Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens helps folks satisfy both purposes very well. The photochromic performance of the Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens isn’t as impressive as the Julbo’s Reactiv 0-3 Lens, but they’re still a great option for running in variable light conditions.

The fit was better than the Julbo Aero for some of our testers, being a little tighter and staying put better on your head or hat when not in use. The Spark has curved temples, and Julbo’s Grip Tech is a soft and comfortable rubber placed strategically on the nose bridge and temple arms. Besides being comfortable, the rubber also won’t stick to your hair, which can be an unpleasant distraction during any activity. You can get these glasses without photochromatic lenses as well.


  • Exceptional grip on sweaty or oily skin
  • Performs and looks great on- and off-trail
  • Lightweight


  • No hard case included to prevent damage during storage
Shop the Julbo Spark with Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens Sunglasses

Best Photochromatic Lens Sunglasses Runner-Up: Rudy Project Propulse ($190)

Best Running Sunglasses - Rudy Project Propulse - product photoOver seven years of testing photochromic lenses for running, one of our testers calls the Rudy Project Propulse, with its ImpactX 2 photochromic lens, the best he’s ever used. ​​The Propulse lens transitions from completely clear to a protective amber hue in seconds. The experience of the lens darkening is undetectable, and at its darkest, the ImpactX 2 lens provides a soft brown hue, which is great for picking out details on the trail.

The quality doesn’t end with the lens. These sunglasses fit securely, and their flexibility can accommodate winter hats and different face sizes. There are very effective frame cutouts to reduce weight, and both the frame and lens have a system of vents, which reduces fogging and increases airflow around the eyes. The venting is particularly effective in preventing fogging on long climbs. The high price might prevent some from investing in the Propulse, but Rudy Project includes a warranty for up to three years.

Full Rudy Project Propulse Review.


  • Exceptional photochromic transition speed in changing light conditions
  • Frame airflow channels move air around, preventing fog or moisture buildup


  • Styling is very sporty, and they are unlikely to be used as casual sunglasses
Shop the Rudy Project Propulse Sunglasses

Best Budget Running Sunglasses: Knockaround Fast Lanes ($32)

Best Running Sunglasses - Knockaround Fast Lanes - product photoKnockaround is a brand with not as much runner awareness as Goodr but is building momentum with its own Goodr-like-priced sport sunglasses, Knockaround Fast Lanes. Several of our testers were impressed with the performance of these sunglasses, especially given the price point. Like other sunglasses at this price, the Fast Lanes frame doesn’t feel quite as pliable or durable as higher-priced, dedicated sports glasses, but the lens quality is much better than expected.

The rubber grips on the nose bridge held in place during vigorous runs like speed workouts and bombing downhill. Shorter rather than longer runs might be a critical distinction because, on runs over four hours, those of us with larger heads felt the arms squeeze uncomfortably behind the ears. Perhaps more pliable rubber over the polycarbonate would relieve this pinching sensation.

The styling is a little more sophisticated than the popular Goodr OGs, and the colors are more understated, making it perhaps a more viable option for daily use, not just as your dedicated running sunglasses.


  • Better than expected lens performance
  • More durable than similarly priced sunglasses


  • Doesn’t include a hard case for storage
  • Frame may pinch the head and ears after many hours of use
Shop the Knockaround Fast Lanes Sunglasses

Best Budget Running Sunglasses Runner-Up: Tifosi Salvo ($30)

Best Running Sunglasses - Tifosi Salvo - product photoThere are five versions of the Tifosi Salvo with variations in frame and lens colors. Four of the five versions are priced at $25, while one version with a photochromic lens is priced at $50. For this guide, we recommend the Salvo Blackout frame with the non-photochromic Smoke lens because of its exceptional all-around performance at a competitive price. The shatterproof frame is made from Grilamid and is lightweight. The impact- and scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens is more than adequate, and they provide 100% protection from ultraviolet A and B rays.

The frame is best suited to a runner with a small face. The styling has led our test team to relegate the Salvo to training and racing only. It is simply a bit too sporty for some folks to wear in daily life.

Full Tifosi Salvo Review.


  • Some feel the durability is higher than comparably priced sunglasses from Goodr and Knockaround


  • Some runners might find the styling too sporty for daily usage
Shop the Tifosi Salvo Sunglasses

Best Budget Running Sunglasses Runner-Up: Goodr OGs ($25)

Best Running Sunglasses - Goodr OGs - product photoGoodr OGs sunglasses are perhaps the most ubiquitous frame in all of trail running right now and are popular all over the world, with people using them in many different climates. The very affordable OGs come with glare-busting polarized lenses, and the brightly colored frame choices on offer are just plain fun, and many will find this wayfarer style appropriate for daily life as well.

One component that has made the OGs extremely popular is the silicone inserts on the nose bridge, which are very effective at preventing the glasses from slipping in very sweaty or rainy runs. The frame is snug and lightweight, though, like other value-priced sunglasses, the field of view is square. Looking straight ahead is fine, but the lack of curvature of the lens makes peripheral viewing awkward.

For the lack of bounce while running, our team rates the OGs as one of the best in this entire guide, budget-priced or not.


  • Low-cost investment and capable frame with adequate polarized lens will suffice for many


  • Polarized coating can wear quickly
  • Field of view is limited
  • Frame is bigger than average and might be too large for small faces

Shop the Goodr OG Sunglasses

Sunglasses Glossary

Photochromic Lens: This type of lens appears clear indoors but fully changes to dark brown or black in direct sunlight.

Polarized Lens: A polarized lens reduces the sun’s glare. They don’t transition back and forth in light conditions, but they help reduce reflections from the surface of water and snow. Sunglasses across the spectrum (expensive and cheap) may come polarized. Reputable polarized sport sunglasses should also offer ultraviolet protection.

Standard Lens: These are non-photochromic and non-polarized. Running sunglasses with a standard lens will often include multiple lenses to swap out based on conditions.

Ultraviolet (UV) Protection: Some lenses will include a UV protective coating or are made with a UV protective compound to protect your eyes from solar radiation.

Hydrophobic Lens: This lens coating prevents your sunglasses from fogging up in the cold or from condensation buildup when sweating.

Anti-Scratch Lens: Look for sunglasses with a polycarbonate lens; they are more durable and wear-resistant than plastic.

Interchangeable Lenses: These are commonly included with sunglasses that don’t have a photochromic lens and allow you to easily swap in a different lens based on light or weather conditions.

Best Running Sunglasses - Beth Pascall 2021 Western States 100 wearing sunglasses

Beth Pascall at the 2021 Western States 100, wearing bright-colored sunglasses. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

How to Choose: A Buyer’s Guide for Running Sunglasses

We acknowledge that sunglasses are a very subjective and personal purchase, and choosing the best running sunglasses isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. The size, shape, and style preferences are different from person to person. Some people like big and loud lenses, like the Bliz Hero, while others prefer something that can be worn socially after a run, like the Zeal Boone. But what is more objective than appearance when evaluating sunglasses are the features and versatility. So, which sunglasses are best for you? To find out, you should consider a few of these factors.


Ideally, we would have one pair of sunglasses for running and daily life. Unfortunately, the characteristics of the best running sunglasses don’t always align with those needed for driving, socializing at the park, or on a business trip. But fortunately, there are some options that offer a running-ready lens with more casual styling, like the Knockaround Fast Lanes and the Zeal Boone. That being said, there are people out there who don’t mind going to a coffee shop after a run in some of the louder sunglasses that we’ve included in this guide.

Shape and Style

Running sunglasses fashion lately has returned to the 1980s and 1990s with loud, windscreen-like shapes that dwarf even those of us with bigger faces. The Bliz Hero is a perfect example of this, and whether you love the style or hate it, it appears to be here to stay, at least for a while. There are still many options with a more subdued shape and profile. Some sunglasses in this guide are women’s-specific, and some have a more general appeal, with colors and shapes to suit all runners.

The shape of sunglasses also affects their performance. More technical sunglasses, like the Bliz Hero, are designed with a focus on performance. The shape of the lenses and frames allows them to move air through them and prevent fogging. Other sunglasses that may have a more traditional lens and frame shape might not perform quite as well when you’re running in sweaty conditions, but they can be more comfortable to wear in social situations before or after a run.

Best Running Sunglasses - Anthony Fagundes 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k wearing sunglasses

Anthony Fagundes at the 2022 Canyons by UTMB 100k wearing sunglasses. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Lens Type and Features

Running sunglasses have three types of lenses: standard, photochromic, and polarized. While a standard lens will generally include at least 99% ultraviolet light protection, it might also include a second or even a third pair of interchangeable lenses (clear and brown or black). Many sunglasses come with an array of lens options, so it’s important to make sure that you’re choosing the lens that you want when you’re making the purchase.

A photochromic lens, like the one that comes on the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens, is really the gold standard because they change color as light increases and decreases and are great for running in a variety of lighting conditions, but they are expensive. A polarized lens is very helpful in reducing glare and can help bring out the contrast on obstacles in the trail. This can help you see roots, rocks, and variations in the trail more easily. Polarized lenses appear both at the bottom and top of the price spectrum for sunglasses, but lower-quality polarized lenses can become damaged easily.

Fit, Adjustability, and Comfort

As with all running gear, comfort is a top priority when choosing a pair of sunglasses. Pressure around the head, especially at the ears, is a common complaint when wearing sunglasses in excess of four hours. This can be made worse if a runner is wearing a hat or headphones that wrap around the back of their ears. You’ll want sunglasses that have frames that fit your head well, and this isn’t necessarily correlated with the frame material or cost. Sunglasses that are too tight on your head will eventually cause pain, while frames that are too big can flop around on your face when you’re running.

If you’re someone who wants a single pair of sunglasses for all of your running needs, you might want to get a pair with interchangeable lenses, like the Smith Reverb. You can swap out the lenses of these frames based on the light conditions. A photochromic lens, like the one on the Julbo Spark with Reactiv 2-3 Glare Control Lens, will be your best bet for runs starting or finishing in the dark because the coverage will vary depending on light conditions.

What’s also important to consider is how well the sunglasses will stow when not in use. Do they stash easily in your running vest? Will they stay in place when you store them on your head? How do the arms fit with a hat? Our testers found that the flexibility of the Rudy Project Propulse helped them stay in place, whether they were wearing them during a hot summer run or had them on over a thick hat.


Best Running Sunglasses - Hillary Allen 2021 UTMB wearing sunglasses

Hillary Allen racing with sunglasses atop her head at the 2021 UTMB. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks


You won’t find any infomercial-type sunglasses in this guide — you can’t run over these sunglasses with a car or throw them from the top of a mountain to the bottom and expect them to survive. But all the sunglasses in this guide should be reliably durable — they don’t scratch easily or break under normal wear and tear. Even the budget Goodr OGs and the Tifosi Salvo performed well in the durability department. If you’re someone who frequently drops their sunglasses or has a habit of stashing them in a pack without putting them in a protective case, you might want to err on the side of buying less expensive glasses and replacing them as they get damaged.

The biggest difference in durability comes with polarized lenses. Less expensive polarized lenses can be damaged easily and can get distorted over time. More expensive polarized lenses still need to be protected from abrasion, but they should last for a long time.


Although the best sunglasses for running are now a lot cooler and more durable than ever before, the adage “you get what you pay for” is still relevant. All sunglasses are somewhat fragile, but it’s the lens quality and durability that can really make or break the price. Goodr is a very popular brand of sunglasses, but its polarized lenses don’t stand up over time the same way more expensive brands like Zeal and Smith do. If you want the best running sunglasses with polarized lenses that you can count on to perform for a long time, it could be worth shelling out for Rudy Project Propulse. But some runners accept that they often handle their sunglasses roughly and drop them frequently, and for these people, a less expensive pair of sunglasses could be the way to go, even if they have to be replaced occasionally.

Best Running Sunglasses - Annie Behrend testing Tifosi sunglasses

iRunFar’s Annie Behrend testing Tifosi sunglasses. Photo: iRunFar/Annie Behrend

Running in Unpredictable Light Conditions

For a lot of people, their runs occur during the day with relatively stable light conditions. For these situations, one set of lenses that don’t change will be plenty. Even if it starts to get dark on you on the occasional run, you can put your sunglasses on your head or in a pack to finish off a run. If you’re running a lot early and late in the day and go from darkness to daylight, or daylight to darkness, it could be worth investing in a pair of sunglasses with a photochromic lens, like the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens, so that you can keep your eyes protected regardless of the light conditions.

Interchangeable Lenses

Several of the sunglasses in this guide come with interchangeable lenses, some of them polarized. These are not as convenient as photochromatic lenses, but they can allow one set of sunglass frames to work under various light conditions. The idea is to choose from your multiple lenses to match the specific condition. A pair of sunglasses like the Smith Reverb comes with two different lenses, a dark one and a clear one, and they are easy to switch out. Switching lenses may be more of a hassle than having photochromatic lenses, but the price difference between the Smith Reverbs and some of our photochromatic options is significant.

Anti-Fogging Features

To keep lenses from fogging, they need to keep moisture from building up on them. Many lenses have a hydrophobic coating on them to help with fogging. This coating helps move moisture from the lens by not allowing the moisture to stick to the surface. The moisture will usually move in a downward direction from your brow. Other anti-fogging features found on sunglasses include air vents in the frame or lens and lens shapes that strategically improve airflow. The lens of the Bliz Hero is specifically shaped to prevent fogging, and our testers found that they performed well in a variety of weather conditions.

Best Running Sunglasses - filtering water while wearing sunglasses

Sunglasses are even more important when running at high altitudes. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Why You Should Trust Us

iRunFar’s gear testing team is based all over the U.S.’s Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest, areas that over-index in sunny days and gloomy ones, respectively. Our team’s sunglasses preferences are based on needing everything from a high-performing photochromic lens to varying frame sizes for women’s and men’s and different-size faces to affordability and crossover styling.

Many of the best running sunglasses in this guide have been tested for more than a year and, in one case, two years consistently. We also tested newcomers to the running sunglasses scene.

Please note that in the running world, product models are routinely discontinued, while new ones frequently come to market. At the same time, we here at iRunFar often keep using our top picks in our daily running … they’re our top picks, after all! Sometimes that continued use results in uncovering product failures. With all this — product discontinuations, product introductions, and product failures — in mind, we routinely update our buyer’s guides based on past and ongoing testing as well as research by our authors and editorial team. While these updates can appear to be us pushing the newest product, it’s anything but that. When we update any buyer’s guide, most of the products are likely to remain the same. That matches our goal: to get you in the best gear that you’ll be using for a long time.

Best Running Sunglasses - Bryon Powell testing Smith sunglasses

iRunFar’s Bryon Powell testing sunglasses in the desert. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

We tested these glasses across multiple sports — not just running — to find out how the fit and sport-specific lenses performed in cold, wind, sweat, low light, and bright light in sports like road running, skiing, cycling, and fishing. We also attempted fastest known times in these glasses, starting in the dark and finishing under the stars. This helped us figure out how well these sunglasses accessorize.

The fact is, as ultrarunners, we’re often running in the dark … so how well do your sunglasses store on top of your head, hat, or in a vest when you’re not wearing them? We considered these factors as part of a sunglasses’ overall performance, not simply their ability to block or enhance light conditions.

Sunglasses used to come in just two varieties: cheap — often called gas-station glasses — and expensive — giving many of us pause at their high cost — but with the much-disrupted optics industry starting with direct-to-consumer eyeglasses companies like Warby Parker, we now have greater choice in high-performing yet more affordable sunglasses.

Some very expensive sunglasses are included here because they may offer more durability, higher performance, and better warranty coverage. We gave as much priority to budget options — which we defined as $30 or less — as we did to expensive options — defined as $150 and above in this guide. There are high performers across both ends of the spectrum, so it’s a great time to be a sunglasses consumer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Running Sunglasses

Why is it important to wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses protect your eyes from ultraviolet A-rays and B-rays, help reduce eye fatigue, and improve clarity when running across terrain with different surfaces, as we find in the mountains, forests, and on the coast. Even budget sunglasses like the Tifosi Salvo can provide 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses also physically protect your eyes from tree branches and more. An errant branch to the eye can end your run prematurely and, in some cases, permanently damage your eyesight. Wearing clear lenses at night may seem like overkill, but they can save you from injury.

Best Running Sunglasses - Meghan Hicks testing Knockaround sunglasses

iRunFar’s Meghan Hicks testing Knockaround sunglasses. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

How do sunglasses protect my eyes?

Sunglasses protect your eyes because the lens keeps ultraviolet rays from penetrating. Sunglasses are the equivalent of sunscreen for your eyes. As a literal barrier, sunglasses protect your eyes from wind, dust, sand, branches, and other debris that could scratch your corneas, causing serious damage. Sunglasses with a large lens, like the Bliz Hero, can provide a high level of protection from errant branches and debris flying through the air. Wearing clear lenses at night can also provide a barrier against unseen branches, flying bugs, and more.

What is a polarized lens, and is it better for running?

A polarized lens is great for any sport requiring terrain distinctions because they help you pick out differences in trail conditions. When your running sunglasses also act as your sunglasses for other sports, a polarized lens will be very useful for water-based activities like fishing or snow sports. Polarized lenses make it easier to see into bodies of water, and many people simply like the way the world looks through polarized lenses. Our testers loved the performance of the Smith Pinpoint with ChromaPop Polarized Lens sunglasses and found that they helped them pick out features on the trail.

What is a photochromatic lens, and why are they good for running?

Photochromic glasses are particularly good for trail running and all-day-and-night running because of their ability to alter their darkness based on ambient light. When you’re out in the sun, and the lens is in contact with ultraviolet A and B rays, a chemical reaction darkens the surface of the lens. When not in contact with these rays, the coloring fades to clear, making it easier to see in darker conditions. Sunglasses with a photochromatic lens, like the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens, allows you to use one lens no matter what time of day or night you’re running. They take the hassle out of swapping between dark and clear lenses and will allow you to keep your eyes protected if your run has gone longer than normal and you find yourself out in the dark.

Best Running Sunglasses - running on slickrock in sunglasses

Sunglasses are important for protecting eyes from damaging sun rays. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

How long will my running sunglasses last?

In many ways, you get what you pay for when it comes to running sunglasses.

While less expensive glasses will perform well and look good, the implicit agreement is that they won’t stand up to much abuse, and the lens quality may deteriorate quickly. Many of us will be ok with spending $25 on sunglasses like the Goodr OGs, knowing it’s not a big deal if we damage them or lose them.

If you’re looking for the best running sunglasses, though, you’ll have to be prepared to pay more. A more expensive pair of sunglasses will be much more comfortable, and the lens will offer higher performance. Perhaps you’ll even be more inclined to care for your sunglasses better when you know how much money you’ve invested in them.

How do I prevent scratches on my sunglasses?

Dropping your sunglasses in abrasive dirt and mud will certainly impact the lens. But one particular way to keep your sunglasses scratch-free is to use a glasses-specific cleaning cloth. Use the included soft bag or lens cloth that comes with your sunglasses. When covered with dirt, mud, or sweat, it’s ok to wash your frame and lens with mild soap and water. Dry with a sunglasses- or eyeglasses-specific lens cloth. A higher-quality lens on a more expensive pair of sunglasses, like the Smith Reverb, will be more resistant to scratches than a lower-quality one. Inexpensive polarized lenses are particularly prone to damage from abrasion.

Best Running Sunglasses - running in mountains with sunglasses

Ben Kilbourne tests sunglasses outside of Silverton, Colorado. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

How do I stop my sunglasses from fogging up when I run?

When you’re choosing your sunglasses, look for two features: hydrophobic lens coating and a frame with cutouts to let the air flow between your face and the glasses. The Smith Reverb has a great hydrophobic coating, making them a great option for people who sweat a lot and are worried about their sunglasses fogging up from the moisture. Our testers also loved the breathability of the Julbo Aero with Reactiv 0-3 Lens and found that they didn’t have any issues with fogging with them.

I always lose, drop, or damage my sunglasses — help! How do I store my sunglasses when I’m not wearing them to prevent their loss and damage?

It’s best to treat your sunglasses like you would your puppy: don’t leave them in the car on a hot sunny day; make sure to clean them gently with mild soap and water; and give them protection from the elements. Most sunglasses come with at least a soft pouch and, at best, a hard case; use them! It’s a good policy to always travel with the hard case and keep it in your car when you’re driving to your run and then back home.

Only clean your glasses with the soft case or when really dirty with some water and soap. Avoid trying to clean your sunglasses with your shirt when you’re out on a run.

If you’re someone who frequently drops their sunglasses or can’t be bothered to put them in a case when not in use, buying budget sunglasses like the Knockaround Fast Lanes or the Goodr OGs could be a good idea. That way, when your sunglasses get damaged, it doesn’t cost much to replace them. For some of us, the best running sunglasses are the ones that we don’t particularly care about.

Why are running sunglasses so expensive?

As with all technical running gear, the research that goes into making a high-quality pair of technical glasses ends up leading to a high price point. Fortunately, several brands have emerged recently offering low-price sunglasses specifically for runners. You might sacrifice some of the durability and high performance of more expensive sunglasses like the Smith Reverb, but lower-cost sunglasses will certainly stand up to most runners’ needs. When it comes to versatile sunglasses, where you can use the same sunglasses for running as you might skiing, cycling, or traveling, sometimes paying more is really worth it.

Can I use the same sunglasses for different sports?

Most sunglasses on our list will perform well for many types of athletic endeavors. The key to multiuse sunglasses is to find a pair that are breathable and hydrophobic so that they don’t fog when on your face. Different sports may need different levels of coverage, and our testers found that the reasonably priced Bliz Hero performed well skiing, running, and cycling.

Call for Comments

It’s time for you to weigh in on your favorite running sunglasses! Leave a comment to share what sunglasses you love to run in, and be sure to tell us in what conditions they perform best for you. We’ll continue to update this guide as this gear category evolves and we test more running sunglasses.

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Best Running Sunglasses - Bryon Powell testing Knockaround sunglasses

iRunFar’s Bryon Powell testing Knockaround sunglasses. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Craig Randall

Craig Randall is a Gear Editor and Buyer’s Guide Writer at iRunFar. Craig has been writing about trail running apparel and shoes, the sport of trail running, and fastest known times for four years. Aside from iRunFar, Craig Randall founded Outdoor Inventory, an e-commerce platform and environmentally-driven second-hand apparel business. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Craig Randall is a trail runner who has competed in races, personal projects, and FKTs.

Craig Randall

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.