When you think of the equipment you need for running, you’ll think of good shoes. You’ll think of the right socks. You’ll think of clothing that has moisture-wicking abilities. You might even think about a water bottle and perhaps a fitness tracker. If you like to listen to music, you’ll want your phone and a good pair of headphones. Yet something that can often be forgotten when you’re compiling your list of must-have items for running is sunglasses.
Sunglasses are a vital piece of equipment for runners. The sun’s harmful UV rays can be dangerous no matter what time of the year it is, no matter what time of day you go running, and even when the weather is cloudy and overcast, your eyes can still be damaged by the sun. It’s wise to wear sunglasses every time you run.
Read on for more information about exactly how to pick the right pair.
What Are Sunglasses?
Sunglasses are a kind of eyewear meant to shield the eyes from the harmful effects of strong sunshine and high-energy visible light. Spectacles or glasses with coloured, polarised, or darkened lenses are also available, making them useful as a visual aid.
Popular among beachgoers since the 1930s, sunglasses have become a fashion staple. However, it’s not just for fashion reasons that sunglasses should be worn, and if you are a runner, they are an extremely important accessory; you might even consider them to be essential.
Different Type Of Lenses
There are three main types of lenses you might consider for your sunglasses. They are:
Polarised - Polarised lenses minimise glare reflected off objects, resulting in sharper and clearer images. They are available for both non-prescription and prescription sunglasses and can be worn inside by light-sensitive persons, such as those recovering from cataract surgery or those who are constantly exposed to intense sunshine via windows. Most polarised glasses provide UV protection, which is essential for keeping good vision.
Photochromic - When exposed to sunlight, photochromic lenses instantly darken, removing the need for additional sunglasses in many circumstances. Photochromic lenses, which are available in all lens forms and materials, including bifocals and high-index lenses, are a popular option for people of all ages.
Anti-Reflective - Anti-reflective lenses may help to lessen eye strain caused by glare, reflections, and the "starbursts" that appear around lights at night. It can resist dust and water and protect your lenses from scratches and smudges. This coating sharpens your eyesight and helps your eyes look more clear behind your lenses. Some anti-reflective coatings minimise the amount of UV reflected from the rear of your lenses, giving you the highest total UV protection. They are especially useful for water and snow activities since they prevent strong light from reflecting off these surfaces into the eyes.
Can You Put Prescription Lenses In Sunglass Frames?
Can prescription lenses be used in sunglasses? Yes! You can have your own corrective prescription lenses fitted into a pair of sunglasses, giving them the same corrective capabilities as glasses worn inside.
This is particularly beneficial for people who have refractive faults in their vision since it protects your eyes from sunshine and glare without impairing your ability to see well.
Are Men's & Women's Sunglasses Different?
While the lenses used in men's and women's sunglasses are the same, the frames and overall styling may vary substantially.
One of the most distinguishing features of women's sunglasses is their excessively large frame shape or tiny frames with unusually thick arms. These disproportionate traits make women's facial features seem smaller.
More curves will be added to the general appearance of the frames, both around the eyes and along the arms of the glasses. These curves are meant to resemble the softer and curvier face characteristics of female wearers. Many women's sunglasses also have eye-catching decorations such as logos, vibrant hues, or eye-catching metal elements.
The bridge, the portion that rests over the nose, is the most obvious indication that the sunglasses are men's. Similarly, since men have bigger faces, the arms on men's sunglasses are often longer than those on women's sunglasses. Men's sunglasses are also more angular than women's.
In many situations, there are no obvious curves at the ear region on the arms. While some men's sunglasses have colourful frames, the majority of men's sunglasses have neutral or subdued finishes that do not stick out.
The Different Styles Of Running Sunglasses
You can essentially choose any particular style of sunglasses to use as running sunglasses. However, there are some specific characteristics that you should be looking out for.
The sunglasses should fit on the bridge of the nose and, ideally, have a rubber nose piece to enhance hold. If the nose piece is too small or you have a broad nose, the glasses will sit too high up the nose and may bounce or pinch.
Luckily, you’ll find that a lot of sunglasses do come with adjustable nose pieces to make things more comfortable. The arms must be secure on either side of the head, but not too tight. You don't want to be halfway through a run and realise you've got a headache because your glasses are too tight, so try on a couple of pairs beforehand.
Are Sunglasses Banned In Races?
No, sunglasses are not banned in races. In fact, you’ll find that many runners do opt to wear them – just as they would if they were running for fun.
Bear in mind, though, that you’ll probably want to remove your sunglasses as soon as you’re finished, as they are designed for running, not everyday wear.
Why Do Runners Wear Sunglasses?
Exposing your eyes to the sun's strong rays for a lengthy period of time might cause vision loss. It may also have an impact on your running time. Squinting runners tend to stiffen up their faces and shoulders when running.
These strained muscles may lead to slower running times and a low efficiency in your running motion over the course of a long run. Wearing sunglasses can provide much-needed stress reduction for your eyes and help your body to relax for smooth jogging. Sunglasses may help shield your eyes from wind and debris when running.
How To Pick The Right Sunglasses For Running
When searching for new sunglasses, UVA and UVB protection should be the minimum necessity, regardless of whether they are for running or regular usage. You'll also need a pair of comfy sunglasses.
Do the ones you've picked stay with you while you're running? The idea here is to have sunglasses that you forget you're wearing, even during a race.
In no particular order, we are going to cover some of our favourite running sunglasses:
- Hygge Gear Environmental Awareness Sunglasses
- 30 South Trail RX Sunglasses
- BLOC Titan XR360 Sunglasses
- Sungod x McLaren Renegade Sunglasses
- Julbo Ultimate Sunglasses
- Oakley Jawbreaker Prism Road Sunglasses
- Sunwise Breakout Sports Sunglasses
- Adidas Sport Sunglasses SP0029-H Sunglasses
- Nike X3 Elite L Elite Sunglasses
- Roka Torino Ultralight Performance Sunglasses
HYGGE GEAR ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS SUNGLASSES - £49.99
The Hygge Gear Environmental Awareness Sunglasses can be worn by both men and women.
The polarized nature of these sunglasses will help prevent glare, enabling you to perform at your best with no distractions.
Super lightweight frames will mean they won’t feel tight or heavy. The frames are also designed with a matt finish which means they won’t budge whilst running or cycling.
30 SOUTH TRAIL RX SUNGLASSES - £65
The Trail RE Sunglasses by South are unisex and are 3 in 1 glasses. This means they come with 3 pairs of lenses that can be fitted into the frame depending on the weather conditions / your preference.
The 3 types are: non-polarized mirrored lens, a grey CAT 3 polarized lens, and a clear UV400 lens.
They are interchangeable meaning you can choose the colour of your frames and lenses too! The NASA developed REVO coating on the lenses ensures enhanced vision and clarity, and they are pretty much shatterproof.
These glasses are wraparound in style for unhindered peripheral vision.
BLOC TITAN XR360 SUNGLASSES - £60
The Bloc Titan XR 360 Sunglasses are suitable for running and cycling and incredibly lightweight.
They are unisex, although do probably look more masculine in style than others on the market. The nose pads can be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit that will not budge when in motion.
The lenses can be switched out by simply folding them at the temple to unlock them and change to a different lens.
These are wraparound in style, so that peripheral vision is not compromised, something that is very important in sports such as cycling.
SUNGOD x MCLAREN RENEGAGE SUNGLASSES - £110
The SunGod Mclaren Renegade Sunglasses have 8KO technology lenses for greater clarity of vision. The unisex frames are flexible and durable, allowing them to flex on your face without snapping.
They are also very lightweight, so they won’t distract you when out running. They provide 100% UV protection and come with a lifetime guarantee. The lenses are scratch resistant and interchangeable.
This company has the most amazing reviews, with most people commenting on their exceptional customer service.
SunGod also has great sustainability credentials so if you want to purchase a product with less impact on the environment, these glasses are a good purchase.
JULBO ULTIMATE SPECTRON SUNGLASSES - €124.95
The Julbo Ultimate Pushing the Limits glasses are high end sports sunglasses with a variety of interchangeable lenses. The lenses come in a few different colours, but there are two main types: Spectron lenses and reactive photochromic lenses.
The Spectron lenses are light and offer good shock resistance meaning they are good for outdoor sports, and the reactive photochromic lenses get lighter or darker depending on weather conditions.
The special nose-pads are adjustable in every direction so that glasses fit every type of nose shape and ensure unbeatable hold in all conditions, and the glasses are designed to still be comfortable when wearing a helmet.
The wraparound style means your vision isn’t impaired, soft grips on the arms mean they stay in place but won’t snag hair and there are connectors to attach a neck chord to if you want. The design includes vents to prevent fogging.
OAKLEY JAWBREAKER PRISM ROAD SUNGLASSES - £185
The Oakley Jawbreaker Matte Black Prism Road Sunglasses are aggressive in their styling and look very cutting edge. These glasses are designed with Prizm lenses which provide unprecedented control of light transmission resulting in colours precisely tuned to maximize contrast and enhance visibility.
The function of these lenses is to enhance vision in both bright light and shadows, helping riders and runners spot changes in the texture of road and trail surfaces. They sharpen visual accuracy to help you see more clearly and react faster.
They are shatter proof and have nice little features like soft hydrophilic synthetic on the ear socks and nose pads, a unique material that actually grips better when wet (when you perspire). These glasses use Switchlock lens change technology too.
SUNWISE BREAKOUT SPORT SUNGLASSES - £24.99
The Sunwise Breakout Sports Sunglasses are lightweight durable and flexible and light on price too! They come in 3 colours, and are wraparound in style.
They give 100% protection against harmful UVA/UVB sunlight and are designed to still remain comfortable when worn with a cap or cycling helmet.
The nose pads and ear socks are designed to grip and stay in place while you work hard running or cycling or playing sports. Unisex in design style, these glasses can be worn by men and women.
ADIDAS SPORT SUNGLASSES SP0029-H - £140
The Adidas Sport Sunglasses come in 4 colours and are designed specifically for competition.
They feature a vented aeration system suitable for any sports, designed so that they don’t fog up when the heat turns up. They also have an interchangeable sweat blocker across the top.
To ensure a good fit that doesn’t slip these glasses have adjustable nose pads and grippers on the arms. The lenses can be changed easily and are made of polycarbonate for enhanced visual clarity
NIKE X3 WINDSHIELD ELITE SUNGLASSES - £139.99
The Nike X3 Elite L Sunglasses are streamlined and designed for sport. With black lenses and frames they look like smart and no-nonsense.
They have a very lightweight frame designed to stay put and withstand wear and tear.
Rubber pads on the nose and temples help them grip during the most rigorous exercise. These sunglasses offer a high level of UVA / UVB protection.
ROKA TORINO ULTRALIGHT PERFORMANCE SUNGLASSES - £180
The Roka SR-1X Sunglasses are designed for athletes and road cyclists who are looking for enhanced clarity of vision and field of view and a secure fit when in motion.
Specialist lens coatings include front and back-side hydroleophobic coatings to keep moisture of any kind from sticking on the lens; front and back-side anti-scratch protection; a multi-layer anti-reflective back-side coating; an anti-fog coating on the back of the lens; and a multi-layer mirror.
These glasses are made from titanium core wires to provide ultralight stability while also allowing the wearer to adjust the temple pieces for a precision fit.
DO YOU WEAR SUNGLASSES WHEN RUNNING?
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