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What are the best sunglasses for running or jogging? An optician reveals all.

best sunglasses for runningyoung fitness woman runner running on seaside bridge wearing sunglasses

Sunglasses for sporting activities such as jogging and running aren’t just a fashion accessory but also an essential piece of safety equipment.

Eyewear for high performance activities can protect the eyes from various weather conditions. For example, during the summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny, sunglasses can shield your eyes from dust, pollen, and the sun’s damaging rays. In the winter, sunglasses can provide a barrier to snow, rain and wind.

Tina Patel, Optician at Feel Good Contacts, explains that when buying a pair of shades for sports, there are various things to look out for, including the lenses, frame, sides, and nose bridge.

Tina Patel, Optician

1. Choosing between mirrored or polarised lenses

If you’re out in a sunny environment, mirrored lenses are a stylish and practical choice. However, a mirror lens isn’t suitable for dark and wet conditions.

I would recommend polarised lenses when running or jogging by the road as these provide the ultimate protection against glare and keep you safe in various weather conditions. They help filter out reflections from bright, smooth surfaces allowing you to identify risks clearly.

Polarised lenses are not suitable if you are a trail runner as there is usually very little glare out on the trail compared to running by the side of a road. Depth perception can make it harder for you to spot an obstacle or bump.

2. Opting for the right lens colour for sporting activities

Amber and rose-tinted lenses increase visual acuity, providing the most clarity and making them ideal for conditions with little sunlight. Their strength in colour contrast makes them a great choice for running and jogging by roads. These tints enable you to notice the smallest of details quickly and clearly.

When choosing coloured lenses you should avoid choosing tints that are too dark as they will make it harder for you to see in shady areas, such as under trees, tunnels, and bridges.

The following lens colours are also great choices:

·   Grey tinted lenses – reduce glare and provide true colour perception; they are great for all year round

·   Brown tinted lenses – enhance contrast in natural light and are great for low-light conditions

·   Yellow tinted lenses – these filter out blue light, allowing you to see contrast better. This makes them a great choice for sports enthusiasts who find themselves in low light conditions and overcast days

3. Does size matter?

Big frames are great for providing coverage and protection; however, some may find that they interfere with their peripheral vision.

4. Frame shape

If you find that big frames interfere with peripheral vision then you might want to consider wraparound sunglasses. These types of sunglasses offer the most coverage, protecting your eyes from sun, wind and debris, and they stay in place on the face better than other designs. By shielding your eyes from the wind, they can also reduce tear evaporation and prevent dry eyes.  Oakley and O’Neill are both popular brands for wraparound sunglasses.

45% off these O’Neil wraparound running sunglasses at

5. Prescription sunglasses

If you’re looking for prescription sunglasses, you can choose Transitions (photochromatic lens), which darken when exposed to direct sunlight, or you could opt for Sun Tints, which feature a full, permanent dark tint. Both feature 100% UVA and UVB protection and are available in 3 colours (grey, brown and green).

6. Ensuring that the sides are the right fit  

It’s important to carefully inspect the sides of sunglasses and glasses when choosing frames for sports like running and jogging. Check that the sides and hinges are sturdy enough to keep your frames firmly in place, even over the roughest terrains.

7. Straight temple tips

Also, you may want to consider frames with straight temple tips, as these are easier to take off when you have your helmet on.

8. Nose bridge checks

Sunglasses with adjustable nose pads and bridges are ideal for offering a more personalised fit. These features ensure that the sunglasses stay comfortable and in place whilst undertaking sporty activities.

9. Scratch resistance

Finally, scratch resistant coatings are always a good idea to prevent those everyday scratches on the lenses.

10. Sun protection

Finally, you can best protect your eyes by choosing sunglasses with approved markings  (UKCA and CE) and ones which reduce glare and filter out 99 to 100% of UV rays.  

Optician Tina Patel’s highest recommended sunglasses for running and jogging are;

Oakley Fives Squared OO9238-04 Polished Black

The  sunglasses are a popular choice. They provide a snug fit, block out any side glare and provide optimal functionality when engaging in vigorous activities.

They have been crafted from Oakley’s patented O Matter material which is incredibly durable and increases impact resistance. The lenses are plutonite and improve optical performance, ensuring that peripheral vision remains clear while providing 100% UVA and UVB protection.


·   Hydraulically shaped temples to match the contours of your face for comfort and a secure fit

·   Lightweight material

·   Advanced Optics: features Oakley’s HDO (High Definition Optics) to eliminate distortion resulting in clearer, sharper and more accurate vision

·   Great for bright sunny conditions as light transmission (LTF) is 17%

·   Impact-resistant lenses

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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