Best Running Sunglasses For Summer 2023
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Everything from shields to classic silhouettes
Save some money or splash the cash
Go polarized for the sunniest days
Thomas is wearing the Article One x Mission Workshop sunglasses in the header photo.
We don’t pretend to know the future, and we definitely can’t sit you down, read your palm, and predict yours. However, we’re pretty confident in our own — we think it’s so bright that we have to wear shades. Oh, wait, no, that’s just summer in Baltimore. It turns out that there is a sun here in the mid-Atlantic region. Thankfully, we get plenty of sweet running sunglasses through our doors to check out (and rock out in). If you’re finding yourself blinded by the light, maybe it’s time to dig into the best running sunglasses you can buy.
This isn’t our first rodeo when it comes to running sunglasses roundups. In fact, you might even see a few familiar shapes on our list. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that — sunglasses aren’t evolving quite as quickly as running shoes. It also means you might finally decide that it’s time for something new, like swapping from shields to a more traditional shape or vice versa. Either way, we’re just here to keep your peepers protected from the sun.
As is the case with many of our roundups, we try to cover a full range of price points. Whether you’re sipping champagne or the champagne of beers, you should find something to make your wallet happy. Anyway, let’s get to our favorite running sunglasses.
Our Roka picks aren’t too much different from our Article One selections — we grabbed one round frame and one classic Wayfarer, and we’re off to the races. The quality is immediately noticeable and there’s a reason Roka gets such high praise in the industry. Roka’s Rory 2.0 and Oslo 2.0 both offer clean and modern styling that are equally at place on the run or off it. There are plenty of pre-built lens and frame combinations to check out, or if you’re feeling patient, you can design your very own pair. They also offer frames for both narrow and normal/wide heads, which is much appreciated for those of us who are differently faced.
Roka’s premium running sunglasses come with many of the high-end design features you’d expect when dropping just shy of two Benjamins (or maybe more). They pair spring-loaded hinges with no-slip Geko pads to stay perfectly in place even as you bounce along through your miles. Don’t worry if you sweat — Roka’s shades are treated with sweat and fingerprint-resistant coatings, so you won’t have to stop to wipe your frames every fifteen minutes.
By the way, the Rory 2.0 is the classic Wayfarer, while the Oslo is a much rounder shape — presumably because it has two O’s in it.
Don’t let the classic styles fool you — Article One is here to perform. Both the Avalon and the Bancroft are part of Article One’s Active Collection, which is deliberately designed to ignore current design trends. You won’t find bright colors, nor will you find shields, but you will find running sunglasses that you can wear every single day of the summer.
Article One’s Active Collection comes in a number of classic colors like Tortoise, Crystal, or Black Havana, with either polarized or non-polarized lenses. The Bancroft silhouette is a little closer to a classic Wayfarer shape, while the Avalon adopts a slightly chunkier frame, as seen above. These aren’t our first forays into Article One’s Active Collection, either — Robbe’s favorite sunglasses of all time (around his neck as he’s editing this) are the Mission Workshop collab in the feature photo for this article. He’s worn them from everything from weddings to the New York City Marathon and has no signs of stopping soon.
It’s tough for us to pick one style over the other, but Meg did tab the Avalon as one of her gear picks for the month of May, so that’s saying something. All Active Collection frames feature adjustable nose pads and rubber temple tips, as well as spring-loaded hinges for the perfect fit.
It’s time to get funky. Before we get to reviewing these unique sunglasses, though, a joke: Most people think that cobras and rattlesnakes are extremely dangerous, but in reality, they’re completely armless.
Anyway, as you can tell, we’re talking about Ombraz. That’s right, running sunglasses without arms. Even Vincent Van Gogh could wear them. Ok, but seriously, it’s almost impossible to find Robbe without a pair of Ombraz on him at any given time. He’s worn them from everything from a 50K to a swim in the ocean. Sometimes they make him look like a bank robber, while other times they make him look like a fighter pilot from a hundred years ago. How can you argue with that kind of flexibility?
Thicker, world-class, scratch-resistant, and oleophobic optics are flanked with built-in mini visors to block peripheral light. All models are equipped with a Japanese-woven, 100% recycled, marine-grade cord for unshakable security in any terrain, adding functionality to a timeless design.
More importantly, no arms mean no parts to break. You can tighten and loosen the elastic band as needed, and you can replace it should it start to fray or tear. This means they’re kid-proof. This means they’re fantastic for wearing while swimming or cycling. This means you won’t lose them. This means Ombraz started out with just two frames and one or two lenses, but now the brand is up to five frames, polarized and non-polarized lenses, and even prescription options. They also offer snap-on side shields for all your snow endeavors or other glaring activities. We’re just bummed that they’ve toned down their marketing photos — bring back the dude on the toilet (real ones know).
Oh, and Ombraz is another certified B Corp. Hell yeah, B Corps.
It’s pretty safe to say that we’re in the shields section of our best running sunglasses list. Don’t worry, they’re not all as expensive as Smith or SunGod. For those of you looking to mesh style with value, there’s the Tifosi Vogel SL. We don’t really want to do the math to figure out how many pairs you could buy for the cost of one of the above shades, but it’s probably all of them.
Anyway, just because they’re affordable doesn’t mean Tifosi deserves to be overlooked. The Vogel SL takes a frameless approach to shields, slimming it down to one polycarbonate lens, a hydrophilic nose piece, and two nylon arms — that’s it. As with a lot of shield-style running sunglasses, the Vogel SL is meant for large to extra large heads, so us melon heads will be rockin’ ’em while you small-headed folk get all the cute frames and shit. I’m not bitter, just big-headed.
A super lightweight running sunglasses frame at only 0.8 oz, this shield style also comes with polycarbonate lenses in ice blue and red sunset. Adidas uses a quick-release lens system to make switching out for a clear lens for cycling easy, while adjustable nose pads provide a comfortable fit with sweat-drain lines.
We wore those for cycling while out in Arizona last year, and the frames really do disappear on the face. It’s hard to get lighter than the weight and we appreciated the double-injected temples that kept the glasses in place with a solid grip. They also stayed fog-free thanks to the ventilation holes in the temple area.
(Save 30% off all eyewear on 5/19-5/22 with code MAYSALE)Shop Adidas SP0056
You can’t go wrong with a good aviator style, and you definitely can’t go wrong if it converts seamlessly from performance to lifestyle. The SP0060 Sport has a flexible frame and adjustable nose pads for a custom fit, as well as high-contrast Kolor-Up polycarbonate lenses. Despite having a sturdy feel, they’re still pretty light at only 1 ounce.
Honestly, this is probably our favorite style from Adidas because you can wear it for everything (which is exactly what we did). Shields are great for running and cycling, but show up to a kids’ soccer game with them and everyone knows you’re “that guy.” The gold accents on the arms are a nice touch, and the adjustable rubber tips help get a full lockdown.
(Save 30% off all eyewear on 5/19-5/22 with code MAYSALE)Shop Adidas SP0060
Moving on to the top tier of things, the SP0062 looks similar to the SP0056, but the elements of the eyewear are even better. At only 0.67 oz (19 g), the frames are truly featherlight thanks to the anti-fog polycarbonate lenses.
As with the other frames, the SP0062 also comes with adjustable nose pads and rubber end tips on the arms, and ventilation holes on the temples. Is it worth the extra cost over the SP0056? It’s hard to say because we didn’t find a huge difference between the two performance-wise. But if you want the best of the best and a pair of frames that truly disappears on the face, then pick this one up (hurry up, though, there are only a few left in stock).
(Save 30% off all eyewear on 5/19-5/22 with code MAYSALE)Shop Adidas SP0062
Westcraft: From $155
Legere Round: From $110
If we had a nickel for every time Robbe has praised his Legere Round running sunglasses from 100 Percent Vision, we could probably buy him another pair. I mean, it’s not hard to see why they get compliments — the single-piece design is somehow both classic and modern. The Legere Round has just enough soft rubber details to keep them comfortable against your face, while the frameless design means that they weigh pretty much nothing. Oh, and you can swap out the lens piece any time you want to freshen up your style.
As for the Westcraft, well, we’re not above dressing like Molly Seidel and hoping that some of the speed wears off. The Westcraft is like the perfect cross between shields and aviators, blending one big, connected lens with the classic rounded shape. You can swap the lens here, too, and each pair comes with a set of clear lenses in case you’re wearing the Westcraft on a rainy or windy day. The sides of the frames also come back a little further than usual to keep wind and extra light from peeking around the lens.
While you could totally get away with wearing the Legere Round casually, we’re not sure we’d say the same for the Westcraft — not that it stops us from trying.
Along with Roka and Article One, Warby Parker is another brand jumping on the active prescription train with their Everything Series. Whether you’re running, hiking, or just hanging out on the beach, this line features several distinct styles and design elements that will keep the frames comfortably in place. The frames are made from ultra-lightweight TR90, but the hinges are designed for extra durability and soft rubber nose pads offer better comfort and grip. And of course, they’re all very fashion forward, from the rounded Callum to the Wayfarer-esque Betz.
Whether you need a prescription or not, you have the option of doing a home try-on or virtual test so you know you have the perfect pair. The featured pair above is the Tally (not yet available), but the other athletic silhouettes (Odell, Callum, Betz, and Wade) are equally stylish. Also, Warby Parker is still sticking to its original mission: for every pair purchased, they’ll distribute a pair of glasses to someone in need. Rest assured you can feel good and look good at the same time.
The line between running sunglasses and cycling sunglasses is, well, nonexistent. To understand what we mean, look no further than the Smith Shift Mag. Sure, it’s technically designed for cycling, but when shield-style shades are hot, they’re hot. The Shift Mag offers full eye coverage with a few different lens options for cloudy or bright days, and all pairs come with a clear lens in case it’s rainy or windy.
We can’t promise that the Shift Mag won’t completely eat up your face with its big, old shield design, but that’s kinda the point, right? Anyway, there are ventilation holes at the top to make sure your shades don’t fog up, and the rubber nose and earpieces mean that you can bomb down the road fast as can be, whether you’re pedaling or all-out sprinting.
Smith’s ChromaPop lens is apparently color-enhancing, which might be a good idea for trail runners who’d rather not step on a snake. It’s also not a bad idea for Robbe, considering his tendency to get injured on literally anything… including a car door near Patterson Park.
We (well, just Thomas) waxed poetic in our review of the SunGod Ultras. All of a sudden, this tattooed dude from Baltimore was transported back to his roots as a nerdy kid in Santa Cruz, California. We’re not gonna say that shield-style sunglasses were behind his transformation, but they do have a starring role in the story. Now, however, they’re not Oakleys but SunGod Ultras gracing his face.
The SunGod Ultras land a spot on our list of the best running sunglasses because they’re among the most customizable shades out there. Seriously, it’s almost a crime to pick one of the pre-designed pairs — almost. You can choose from ten frames, ten lenses, nine icons (little SunGod logos), and eight ear socks for a grand total of 7,200 combinations. That’s more combinations than you could probably ever wear… and coincidentally, the same number of tries it’ll take for the Sixers to get past the second round of the playoffs.
Oh, and SunGod is a certified B Corp, in which the B stands for Benefit For All. It’s a fancy way to say that every aspect of the operation is conducted with positivity in mind — for the workers, customers, environment, and the community around SunGod. B Corps are dope, and you should support them whenever possible.
Do I really need to say much about Goodr? Oh, apparently, Robbe says I do. Well, if there’s one budget-friendly brand of sunglasses knocking it out of the flock — er, park — it’s Goodr. Everything from Carl the flamingo to the wild names for each pair of sunglasses is on point. Seriously, Buzzed on the Tower? Grass-Fed Babe Steaks? Another pair of Goodr sunglasses that’s inexplicably green with blue-ish lenses?
Goodr is an old, reliable pick for great running sunglasses because not only do you not have to worry about cost, you don’t have to worry about quality. The fine feathered folks at Goodr are up to ten different frames (well, nine if you don’t count the Snow G) and a lucky 13 different lens colors. There are Goodrs for major marathons, the Rolling Stones, Marvel (because everyone needs a collab with Marvel).
Alright, enough is enough. We don’t need to run you through the specifics of each pair of Goodrs, just roll through the buttons below and pick out a flamingo’s dozen.
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