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Running Sunglasses Guide

June 15th, 2012

Summer’s in full swing and if you’re rockin’ an old pair of shades for your runs, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Take a look at our top picks for running sunglasses.

Best Value

Tifosi Slip Sunglasses

Tifosi Slip
Sixty bucks doesn’t go all that far these days, but it still gets you a great pair of running sunglasses. The Slip offers core features many runners want: low weight, adjustable nosepiece and temples, high lens clarity and good lens ventilation. Count on the Slip to get the job done without breaking the bank. And for $30 more, upgrade to the Polarized version.

Smith Parallel
You: “How the heck can a $129.00 pair of sunglasses be a good value?” Us: “It’s all in the details. The Parallel offers an amazing fit that feels custom-made for the shape of your face. A special lens coating repels water, dirt and grease, and the lens offers top-notch scratch and impact resistance. And of course, the view is crystal clear and distortion free.”

Best for Changing Conditions

Tifosi Tyrant (Darkening Shown)

Tifosi Tyrant Polarized Fototec
How many times have you started out on a run with plenty of sunshine, only to find clouds rolling in by mile three? And how about those squinty days when it’s just a bit overcast? This model from Tifosi features a Fototec lens that adjusts to transmit between 9 to 29% of light based on the amount of UV light the lens is exposed to.

Smith Pivlock V90
Snap in the Ignitor Red interchangeable lens that comes with the Pivlock V90 for clearer vision on lightly overcast and hazy days when the sun’s rays are refracting all over the place. The open-top, rimless design offers maximum ventilation to prevent fogging as the temperature changes.

Best for Smaller Faces

Smith Parallel Sunglasses

Tifosi Gavia SL
The Gavia is our top seller for runners with small or slender face shapes. It provides just enough lens coverage where you need it. Adjustable temples allow a custom fit for greater comfort.

Smith Parallel
Another good choice, the Parallel’s lenses are on the smaller side, and the frame features a great wrap shape that compliments smaller faces.

Tifosi Alpe
The Alpe has a smaller frame and lens design that provides just enough coverage for small to medium face shapes. It is also the only pair of running sunglasses we carry with a full frame, which can help improve durability.

Best for Larger Faces

Nike Tailwind12 Sunglasses

Tifosi Roubaix
Adjustable temples and a large lens area makes the Roubaix a top choice for runners with larger faces. It also offers one of the widest frames we carry.

Nike Tailwind12
A sizable lens with a square shape provides additional coverage on the bottom and sides of this model. The frame of the Tailwind12 is flexible enough to accommodate wider faces.

Smith Parallel Max
This model has the same temple and bridge design as the Smith Parallel, with lenses that are 2 millimeters wider on either side to provide more coverage by the temple for larger or wider face shapes.

Best Interchangeable

Ryders Hex Sunglasses

Ryders Hex
Changing out the lenses on the Hex is as simple as flexing the frame upward near the temple and pulling the lens down away from the frame. Once the lens pops free near the temple, it will then pull away from the nosepiece. You won’t need to fuss and fight with these glasses to install your lens of choice – you’ll be set to go in just a matter of seconds.

Smith Parallel
This model offers easy-to-swap lenses with three different high-quality lens options. To trade out the lenses, just hold the frame in the center between the lenses. Then pull the lens firmly and slowly in a downward motion away from the center of the sunglasses. Popping a lens in place is just as simple.

Best Ventilation

Smith Pivlock V90 Sunglasses

Nike Flying Lens
Available on the Impel Swift and Tailwind12, the Flying Lens design allows airflow and reduces fogging, but still provides a sturdy connection between the lenses and frame.

Smith Pivlock V90
The frameless design of the Pivlock V90 makes it easy for air to escape above the eyebrows. The two-piece temples provide additional ventilation on the side while maintaining structural integrity.

Tifosi Cut-Out
Available on numerous Tifosi models, the cut-outs in the lenses near the temples provide good airflow and help to prevent fogging. Look at the Pave or Envy models for the largest ventilation cut-outs.

Best Fashion

Tifosi Vogel Sunglasses

Tifosi Vogel
The Vogel is easy on the eyes, and easy on the eyes. There’s no denying this is a stylish pair of shades. We have plenty of customers wearing these for their workouts and then giving them a quick wipe-down for everyday use.

Nike Hyperion
Sleek styling and Nike logo in bold yellow on the temples make it easy to wear these on a run or just around town.

Tifosi Wisp
You won’t see too many other sunglasses with such a cool crystal brown frame, and the versatile design of the Wisp makes it a stylish choice for the runner who wants to look good while training, racing, or just spending a day relaxing.

Matt Running Accessories , , ,

  • Alex

    As a barefaced runner, it sickens me to see this sort of technology pushed on people, promising to protect and correct, when all it does is hamper and hurt. Humans evolved for millennia with our eyes uncovered, and so it’s nothing more than hubris and greed that drives the running sunglasses industry. For shame.

  • Matt

    Tell us how you really feel, Alex! Seriously though, we appreciate the comment. There are certainly some folks who run without sunglasses in bright conditions, but plenty of people prefer them. We’re just trying to offer as many good options as we can. In terms of performance, what do you see as the harm to runners who want to wear sunglasses?

  • Sky

    Matt, I think Alex just took a jab at barefoot running zealots rather than making an honest post…

  • Alex

    @Matt
    I thought it was obvious, but I was trying to satirize the zealotry one sees in the barefoot/shod debate. Maybe it didn’t come through, but I was being 100% sarcastic.

  • Matt

    Sorry Alex, apparently my sense of humor didn’t wake up with the rest of my body this morning. Thanks for the clever comment!

  • Henrik

    Haha some of those glasses are just awesome i wish i could have those for running but its always raining here so people would probably think im crazy :P

  • Theo

    The information on sunglasses guide and especially the results are quite better.

  • http://www.safetyglassestoday.com/ SafetyGlassesToday

    Superb information here. Seems like Tifosi Slip Sunglasses is the best choice for me. Thanks for the great article!

  • Alice

    Thank you for your feedback. We’re glad this article helped you choose a great pair of sunglasses.

  • mark

    I also run barefoot, but different than the eyes. Remember, peopled died a lot younger years ago. For a 56 yo trail runner/climber that was in the glaring sun way too much. Now I have to worry about cataracts. For go fashion and just get a good pair of polarized glasses, only if you want to still see in your 40′s.

  • Brandon

    Thanks a lot for this blog post. I am in need of a new pair of running shades, but it is important to me that I find a pair of polarized sunglasses that will not only fit my big (not scary big, but big) head and not slip while running. Thanks for the helpful list of glasses that will do just that.