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The Best Running Sunglasses

Man running on running track wearing sunglasses
(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus / Inside Creative House)

Even if you live somewhere that isn’t renowned for its sunny weather, regular runners will know that it’s always worth having a top-quality pair of sunglasses.

Sports sunglasses serve the same basic function as standard sunnies – protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays – but they need to be lightweight, fit securely and have a ventilated design that stops the lenses fogging up when you get sweaty. That’s for starters, and you might consider getting sunglasses with interchangeable lenses suited to different conditions. And if you normally wear glasses, you may want to consider running sunglasses with an Rx option – prescription sunglasses, in other words.

Running sunnies can cost a pretty penny, especially when looking at the top options from the likes of Oakley, but rest assured that we also have some great value options in our round-up of the best running sunglasses available now.

Best Running Sunglasses

Higher State sunglasses tested by Coach

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Higher State Half Frame Interchange 4 Run Sunglasses

Best budget running sunglasses

Specifications

RRP : $80/£60
Interchangeable lenses : Yes
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Four sets of lenses

Reasons to avoid

-
Fog up more than other sunglasses

The notional RRP of $80/£60 can be ignored here, because these glasses have always been available for around $15/£10 when we’ve looked, and that is truly tremendous value. The lightweight frame is comfortable on long runs, and you get four different sets of lenses with it: clear and yellow lenses for darker days, and blue and black ones for when the sun is out. It’s easy to swap the lenses in and out, so you can choose whatever best suits the conditions without wasting time wrangling with the frames.


Tifosi Swank running sunglasses

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Tifosi Swank

Stylish and great value

Specifications

RRP: $25/£30
Interchangeable lenses : No
Rx available: Yes (US only)

Reasons to buy

+
Large range of styles
+
Great value
+
Fit is secure for running

Reasons to avoid

-
Lenses not as hardy as others
-
Can’t swap lenses

The Tifosi Swank glasses don’t look like sports sunnies, which is a plus for lots of people, since they are great to wear when you’re not running as well. Most importantly they still perform well on the run, with a secure fit and a lightweight frame that grips the skin gently to ensure there’s no slippage.

Tifosi has a big range of sunglass styles and the Swank comes in a variety of frames and lenses. They are great value, though we did find the lenses were more easily scratched or marked than others we’ve tested. But if you treat them kindly and don’t shove them into running backpack pockets with reckless abandon you’ll probably be OK.


ND:R Sports Sunglasses, a great value pair of running sunglasses

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ND:R Sports Sunglasses

Great-value sunglasses with prescription options

Specifications

RRP: £40
Interchangeable lenses : Yes
Rx available: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Variety of lens choices
+
Very lightweight and comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many frame styles

First and foremost these are excellent-value specs, with the cheapest frame/lens combination costing just £40. The frame is very lightweight and fits beautifully, staying in place no matter how sweaty you are. They never fogged up on us either.

There is also a large range of lens options to pick from, from the cheapest plain grey pair to the most expensive ultimate Reactolite lenses, which are brilliant for those who like to wear glasses all year round. They are photochromic, so they work in blazing sunshine and heavy clouds, with a yellow tint to brighten up low light conditions and a blue mirror finish to reduce glare. 

We tested them during some changeable spring weather, wearing them in rainy, sunny and cloudy conditions at various times of day, and always got a clear view. The versatile lenses are great for prescription glasses users too, and ND:R offers this with the sports frame as well.


SunGod Ultras running sunglasses

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SunGod Ultras

Top-notch running sunglasses with a lifetime guarantee

Specifications

RRP: $185/£130
Interchangeable lenses: Yes
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Light and sturdy frame
+
Customisable design
+
Lifetime guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one running style

We’ve tested and enjoyed running in SunGod’s cycling-focused sunglasses before, like the Airas and Vulcans, but the running-specific design of the new Ultras makes for a closer, better fit when pounding the pavements, and they are now the top option in the SunGod range.

Assuming you like the style, they are essentially perfect running sunglasses. The fit is excellent, the variety of lenses is impressive and you can customise the design of the frame at no extra cost. SunGod also offers a lifetime guarantee (though note that this doesn’t cover scratches on the lenses, but that shouldn’t matter much because they’re impressively scratch-resistant in our experience), and you can choose a frame made from 100% recycled materials.


Oakley Plazma sports sunglasses in black with polarized lenses

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Oakley Plazma

Versatile sunglasses for running and more

Specifications

RRP: $169/£142
Interchangeable lenses : Yes
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Great for sports and general use
+
Prescription available
+
Wide range of lenses

Reasons to avoid

-
Unusual style won’t suit everyone

The Plazma sunglasses have an unusual-looking frame that doesn’t immediately suggest what sports they are best for, and in truth they are a terrific all-round pair that we’ve used for cycling, strength workouts and yoga, as well as running. However, we definitely recommend them for the latter, having used them extensively in both light and dark conditions thanks to the photochromic lenses that are available. You can also get the Plazma with prescription lenses, and they are a great option for runners looking for a set to use all year around.


Oakley Re:SubZero sports sunglasses

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Oakley Re:SubZero

Lightweight glasses with a stand-out style

Specifications

RRP: $246/£201
Interchangeable lenses : No
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Very light
+
Notable style
+
Range of Prizm lenses

Reasons to avoid

-
Won’t suit everyone
-
Expensive

The Re:SubZero design revives and updates the distinctive SubZero glasses, with larger lenses and a less angular design that retains the bug-like look but makes them even better for sports. The glasses are exceptionally light at 24g and use Oakley’s Unobtanium nose-pads to ensure there’s no slipping on the run.

While the look won’t appeal to everyone, we love the eye-popping design and the Prizm lenses available with the frames are among the best we’ve tested, enhancing colours and contrast to make the road or trail ahead of you clearer. The downside to all this fun is the price, which is high even by Oakley’s standard.


Bose tempo sunglasses with built-in speakers

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Bose Frames Tempo

Sunglasses with built-in speakers

Specifications

RRP: $249/£239.95
Interchangeable lenses: Yes
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in speakers
+
Range of lenses
+
Secure fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Bigger and heavier than most sunglasses
-
More expensive than buying glasses and headphones

Sunglasses can be expensive, but these are in an entirely different league. That’s because you’re not just getting a pair of sunglasses, you’re also getting a set of headphones. The Bose Frames Tempo glasses have speakers in the sides that direct surprisingly clear and high-quality sound at your ears, while those ears remain clear so you’re more aware of your surroundings. You can get both a set of the best running headphones and sunglasses for less than the £240 these cost, but having both in one package is undeniably useful at times.

Read more in our Bose Frames Tempo review


Buying Guides

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Engo Eyewear

Sports tracking sunglasses with a heads-up display

Specifications

RRP: €395 (around $423/£338)
Interchangeable lenses: Yes
Rx available: No

Reasons to buy

+
Heads-up display to show stats
+
Secure fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Tech makes glasses heavier
-
Very expensive

The star feature of these Bluetooth-connected sunnies is their heads-up display, which shows your key running stats (though it was missing lap pace when we tested them, a serious omission in our opinion). The display sits just out of your eyeline so it isn’t distracting when you’re looking ahead, and you can take in your stats with a quick glance rather than looking down at a watch. It’s a small enhancement to a run, but on treacherous trails in particular being able to see your stats without looking down is a bonus.

For that bonus you will have to pay through the nose – the Engo glasses cost €395 (around $423/£338) – and speaking of the nose, the glasses have big attachments around the nosepiece to house the tech required to power the display. In general we found this wasn’t a problem: they weren’t quite as comfortable as a lightweight set of running sunnies, but that’s the trade-off required for that impressive display.


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Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.