Summer running is a whole different ball game to clocking up the miles in the cold. The biggest factor you need to consider is protection from the sun, which, as well as covering yourself in sunblock, means picking up a good pair of shades to keep those harmful UV rays out of your eyes.
Your health isn't the only benefit you get from a pair of sunglasses though, as anyone who's run for miles on a hot summer's day will know. Constant glare from the sun is uncomfortable and can even make it difficult to see what's in front of you, especially if you're squinting your way through a session.
That's even more important under race conditions when the slightest issue can mean the difference between a PB and a disappointing walk back to the car.
But you can't wear just any old pair of shades to go running as most general options lack features specifically designed for the demands of moving at speed.
The most important of those is fit. If your sunglasses are slightly loose on your head ‚Äď which isn't a problem when you're sitting at a desk all day ‚Äď they're likely to bob about or slip off as soon as you get a sweat on. Dedicated running options should have a frame that stays in place as you move and doesn't slip down your nose as you get hot.
Here we'll dive into the best running sunglasses out there for everything from a light jog around the park to equatorial ultra marathons.
Best all-round running sunglasses
The SunGod Tempests are a great option if you want a sports-focused pair of sunglasses that you can still carry around with you for daily use. On paper, they have all the technical features of high-performance equivalents, subtly packed into a classic lifestyle design.
The arms and nose pads use SunGod's Grip-Lock build to make sure they stay on your head without any pressure points. The impact resistance frame and scratch-proof lenses also mean that you can happily use them for all of your activities without worrying about them getting damaged.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Tempests is the selection of lens options you can choose from in the same design. Those range from the standard 4KO all the way up to an 8KO version that's built to provide anti-glare and contrast-enhancing polarisation.
The other major plus point of the Tempests is the SunGod lifetime guarantee, meaning that if they break you can get them repaired for free, forever ‚Äď a bonus that makes investing in them well worth the money.
Another great option if you're looking for a pair of running shades that offer performance benefits ‚Äď as well as fashion kudos ‚Äď are the Oakley Actuators. As well as a large round lens design to ensure that you get optimum visibility, the sleek design features a clever O Matter frame material that feels both comfortable and holds onto your head tightly.
We've tested these shades over a variety of runs, covering half marathon all-out efforts to long-distance sessions across the South Downs. No matter what we throw at them they stay firmly in place without any movement, even when covered in sweat.
That's in part thanks to the soft Unobtainium nosepad that holds them firmly in place without feeling tight or restrictive, as well as an impressive non-slip material on the arms.
The Prizm lenses are some of the best we've tested and are designed to not only protect your eyes but also enhance color and contrast when you're enjoying the outdoors. You can also have them personalised with prescription lenses, so you can wear them all the time.
Best running sunglasses for daily use
Goodr has become one of the most popular brands for runners in recent years due to the fact it offers some of the best-looking shades available at an affordable price. However, although they may undercut many of the picks on this list, they're far from an inferior option.
As well as a special coating to stop slippage, the frames are built to ensure a solid secure fit that won't move around when you're pounding the streets. We've tested out various designs from across the full range and found them to be one of the best fits out there.
The lenses are also glare-reducing and polarized with UV400 protection that blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays, so you don't need to worry about losing protection when compared with more expensive options out there.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Goodr range is the frankly enormous selection of design options that you can choose from. They vary from more conventional colours and shapes to eye-catching tie-ins with bands, movies and... Greek gods.
Best running sunglasses for racing
Oakley Re:Sub Zero
Like running shoes, sometimes you want something that's going to give you the best chance to break records that you can get, that's where the Re:Sub Zeros come in.
At only 24 grams, they're one of the lightest pairs of high-performance sunglasses that you're going to find. But, despite the lean design, they're still packed with features that make them a great choice if you're primary focus is speed, at any cost.
The lenses use Oakly's Prizm technology, a feature that is engineered to enhance color and contrast on the run ‚Äď useful if you're running somewhere nice. The one-piece design also means that your field of vision is larger, which makes them a good option if you're a trail runner and need to keep your eyes on the terrain.
For serious efforts, the Re:Sub Zero is a good option, but one that comes at a hefty price. For many, the unique design may be a little bit too futuristic though, especially for general wear.
If performance is your main focus, then the Hypercraft are well worth a look. In testing we found them to be an incredibly lightweight-feeling pair of sunglasses, packed with design features that mean the sun is the least of your worries on race day.
The frame is made from a 100% proprietary UltraCarbon that manages to feel impressively light without skimping on durability. The Ultra HD lenses are also made from a crack, scratch and chemical-resistant material ‚Äď perfect if you're the sort of runner that needs to take better care of your stuff.
In addition, the 5.5-base cylindrical shield lens is designed to offer a high level of peripheral view and UV400 protection, as well as a hydrophobic and oleophobic lens treatment to repel water, dirt, and oil.
Other features include a laser-cut rimless shield with ventilation holes, temple arm scoops to deal with sweat or rain, and ultra-grip rubber nose and temple to ensure excellent grip.
As well as coming in a wide range of designs and colorways, they're also supplied with two lenses ‚Äď a HiPER lens to improve contrast and a photochromic lens.
The Boll√© Icarus may be a multi-sport pair of shades but they offer just as much for runners as they do for cyclists. The lightweight frameless design makes them almost unnoticeable on the head and, thanks to the Thermogrip rubber on the arms and nosepad, they stay in place no matter how bumpy your session is.
As well as the fancy colorways, which go from subtle to all out "I'm here and I want you to know about it", they have some of the best lenses on the market. Starting with the cheaper classic, you can also pick up the Volt+ Polarized which features 30% color enhancement and increased depth perception, and the Phantom version that has photochromic lenses, Platinum Anti-fog and High-impact resistance.
If you're looking for a pair of lean sunglasses that will cover you from parkrun to multi-day trail adventures, the Boll√© Icarus have got you covered.
Best running sunglasses for style
Izipizi is a brand better known for its wide range of fashion sunglasses, but it's no slouch when it comes to performance kit as well. The Speeds are the perfect example of that, offering a slick design that are made to cover a range of sports.
The 100% UV category 3 lenses are engineered to deal with more than just the blazing sun, with Izipizi claiming that they'll ensure natural colours are maintained in all weather conditions. You can also pick up two other lens variants built for both low light and more intense sunlight.
The sporty wraparound lens means that you get an impressive field of vision that also gives a nice bit of extra protection from the wind, or maybe the odd branch if you're out on the trails, and the curved arms offer a good secure fit without applying pressure.
Best value running sunglasses
Higher State Full Frame Run
When you pay peanuts you expect to get peanuts. Well, not in the case of these treats from SportsShoes' Higher State range. For about the same price as a craft ale in London, these budget options tick a lot of boxes when it comes to running in the sun.
Most importantly, they offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, which is more than you're likely to get from most shades at this price. They're also surprisingly lightweight for a budget pair, which makes them feel comfortable on the head and minimises any slipping or bouncing on the run.
The design may not be the most stylish out there when compared with brands like Goodr or SunGod, but for the price, you can't expect to be walking around like Justin Bieber. They do come in a few design options though, so there's bound to be something that matches the rest of your kit.
Best running sunglasses for the trails
Cimalp Vision One
Buy now: Cimalp (UK) | ¬£58.25
If you're after performance shades but don't have the cash to spend on a pair of Oakleys, these trail options from Cimalp are an impressive compromise. The lightweight design makes them almost unnoticeable on the head and the large frames are great for visibility on varied terrain.
They feature 100% anti-UV category 3 lenses that include six air vents to increase ventilation, and the nose bridge and temple ends both have a metal core design, which means you can easily modify the fitting to ensure they remain in place as you leap across the countryside.