The best sunglasses for runners in different weather conditions
Whether you’re running for fun or you’re a competitive athlete, sometimes you need a little extra help to stay protected against the elements. Sun, rain, wind or dust can impact your performance, so it’s important that you protect your eyes from whatever Mother Nature sends your way. From the levels of UV protection, to the durability and suitability of the frames and lenses you choose for your run, we’ve tried and tested a selection of popular running eyewear choices to see which ones offer the best levels of eye safety, comfort and performance.
Weather Forecast: Sun
Many people relish the appearance of a sunny day to dig out their running shoes, but bright weather conditions can often hinder your progress. If you’re heading to a hot climate or planning a series of summer runs, we recommend eyewear that can adjust to changing conditions.
Overexposure to the sun can be extremely damaging and you need to ensure that the eyewear you choose for sunny runs protects you against harmful rays. Choose a sturdy frame with comfortable temples and secure ear grips that won’t become loose with sweat. If running outdoors, polarised lenses will help eliminate the glare that comes from roads or concrete, while a photochromic lens will help combat rapidly changing light conditions.
Bloc Eyewear is a firm favourite with athletes and The Titan is a great choice for those looking for versatile, high-performance glasses. The innovative lens replacement system makes it easy to switch between lenses whenever you need to, with XTR Karbon8 lens technology that optimises vision in virtually all light conditions. The frames and temples are light and comfortable, making this a great option for those taking part in outdoor sports. The Titan boasts maximum protection against UVA/UVB and harmful blue light up to 400nm.
Weather Forecast: Rain
Just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean that you can leave your eyewear at home. When pounding the pavement in the rain you need to be aware that rain can reflect UV rays off the ground, so it’s just as important to opt for running sunglasses that provide top UV protection.
In the rain, runners need to consider lens colour as well as the technology needed to stop your eyes being pelted with rain. A pair of lightly tinted or clear glasses is ideal here as you will maintain a good level of vision even in a low light. Look for lenses that offer a strong anti-fog cleaner, this will ensure that any moisture that collects inside the lens with clear quicker, leaving you with clear vision to continue your run. As with sweat in the sun, you need to make sure that your glasses are fully secure, ideally in a wrap-around style to get your eyewear in place. A strong, durable frame will also combat any accidents if you do happen to drop your glasses mid-run.
For runners on a budget, we think the Endura Anti-Fog single lens sunglasses are a great buy. The high definition, low distortion polycarbonate lenses come with an anti-fog finish and the ergonomic wrap-around style will also help protect from wind.
Fully UV compliant, these lightweight sunglasses are ideal for when you’re facing adverse weather conditions and will ensure your vision stays clear even in the heavy rain.
Weather Forecast: Dust
If you’re heading to very dry conditions, dust can severely impact your experience. Wind, dust and flying debris can make eyes dry, irritated or even cause injury so it’s important to keep your eyewear close when heading out on a run. Opt for wrap-around or very close fitting styles that will shield your eyes physically, and strong lenses (such as polycarbonate lenses) to protect them optically. If conditions are hazy or overcast, look for sunglasses that have yellow or orange tinted lenses, these will filter out any blue light and give you a sharper focus on the road.
The polarised Radarlock lenses are designed to completely shut out dust and curve right round to offer a wider than average peripheral view. The ear grips are designed to keep your eyewear safe and secure on the face, regardless of how much you may sweat plus, the O-Matter stress-free frame is durable and ideal for long distance runners looking for comfort and protection. With top UV protection as well as filtering out all UVA, UVB, UVC and blue light up to 400nm, these are a great option for a serious runner
Weather Forecast: Wind
One of the biggest problems for a runner facing windy conditions is finding sunglasses that fully protect the eyes. Windy conditions can leave eyes feeling dry, sore and watery, not the ideal situation for anyone out on the road! As with dusty conditions, you need to look for frames that are designed to stay put, whatever the weather. Wrap-around styles are great here, but similarly a sturdy close-fitting frame will help block off areas where wind can sneak in around the face.
The Revo Baseliner is a fantastic choice for windy conditions. The 8-base wrap design performs in even the windiest conditions, offering solid coverage for the runner. As well as being a great choice for wind, the Baseliner has a stable, solid fit that stays in place when running. These polarised lenses are engineered to absorb 89% of visible light and eliminate 99% of glare - a great way to ensure you have enhanced definition when out on the road or trail.
Naked Runner Blue Streak £40
Tested over ultra-marathons, these good-looking sports sunglasses are supremely lightweight and flexible, allowing them to contour to your face for maximum comfort. The frames are made from TR90 composite material making them incredibly robust, and the design ensures they don’t bounce on the nose as you run – handy when on rough terrain. And they won’t break if you drop them either. Air ducts placed around the frames stop them from misting up and the non-slip nose pads allow for a snug fit. The lenses are made from Polycarbonate and give the very important 100% UV-400 protection.