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The best sunglasses for sports don’t just shield your peepers from the sun — they might even help you perform better. Whether you’re marathon running or mountain biking, the right pair of shades should stay put no matter how much you’re moving and sweating.
Thanks to advancements in lens technology and light-as-a-feather frame materials, these days there’s no shortage of eyewear options that provide top-notch optics for active lifestyles. The best sports sunglasses keep harmful ultraviolet rays out of your eyes as well as wind, dirt, and anything else that might disrupt your race, ride, or run. They’re also designed to be aerodynamic and perspiration-friendly, so you can focus on your performance without worrying about your sweaty frames slipping down your face.
What Are the Best Sunglasses for Sports?
Sports eyewear is designed to be durable — after all, you’re counting on them to take a few knocks and withstand the elements. And depending on your activity, there are other features that you should consider as you’re shopping for sports sunglasses. Here are a few things you’ll want to think about.
Lenses: Unlike your go-to pair of summer shades, the best sports sunglasses feature lenses designed for optimal depth perception, sharpness, and contrast for a range of outdoor settings. Consider the following:
- Coating: Polarized lenses might be great for water sports (when you want to minimize glare from lakes and the sea), but they’re not always the best option for activities like running, skiing, or cycling that require good depth perception. Many companies have developed proprietary lens coatings that don’t flatten your view and are anti-reflective, prevent fogging, and can block UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
- Hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic: Both of these types of coatings keep your lenses fog-free, but they work in different ways. Hydrophobic coatings repel water and fog because they’re a soap-based material, but the down-side is that it will eventually wash off. Hydrophilic coatings absorb moisture and release it at the lens’ edge to eliminate fogging, and they also don’t wash off.
- Base tint: Those gradient colors do more than just look cool — the lens’ base tint gives contrast that can help you see better details during high-velocity activities. Neutral tints like greens and grays are great for everyday runs and rides, while colors like amber, copper, orange, and yellow work best for more rugged outdoor activities.
- Darkness: The lens darkness is usually indicated as visible light transmission (VLT), or percentage of light that can pass through the lenses. Lower ranges under 20 percent are best for bright sunlight, while higher percentages are ideal for cloudy morning weather.
- Shape: Sports sunglasses usually have wrapped lenses, which prevent eye strain while providing a wider field of vision.
Versatility: If you need a pair of shades that can go from the afternoon to sundown, you’ll want materials that can keep up. That being said, some sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses so you only need a single pair frames that suit different settings.
Activity: Consider things like the climate, terrain, and altitude that you expect to face, and whether your frames need to withstand grime, water, heat, and other elements. If you’re a cyclist, don’t forget to factor whether your glasses will play well with your helmet. Snowboarders and skiers will want to make sure that the lenses have good UV protection in high altitudes.
Air flow: A good pair of sports sunglasses will feature an aerodynamic design so that they don’t fog up or overheat.
Tired of squinting during your outdoor workouts? We’ve rounded up some of the best sunglasses for sports, ranging from snow-ready frames to shades designed for road runners and more. Check out our top picks below.
1. Oakley EVZero Blades Shield Sunglasses
Form meets fashion with these color-enhancing glasses, which feature a rimless, streetwear-inspired design that makes them incredibly lightweight. That’s why they’re great for everyday walking, hiking, running, golfing, and tennis, and Oakley’s Unobtainium nose pads and temples ensure that the frames stay secure and comfortable. They’re also available in a variety of lens tints.
2. Nike Vaporwing Speed Tint Sunglasses
Designed with runners in mind, the athletic giant’s lightweight sunglasses offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and feature Nike’s proprietary Flying Lens technology. Translation: They’re aerodynamic (thanks to temple vents and rubber channels that encourage airflow) and won’t fog up during runs.
These shades also block light reflections on running tracks and roads, and they’ve also got self-adjusting, anti-slip nose pads for maximum comfort.
3. ROKA CP-1x Advanced Sports Performance Sunglasses
These full-frame CP-1x sunglasses are incredibly lightweight, thanks to the titanium core wires wrapped in Roka’s patented Geko technology — which allows for durability and a precise, comfortable fit. That proprietary material is made of a special chemical-resistant, hydrophilic, flexible elastomer which helps prevent the lenses from fogging.
They come with interchangeable lenses (which are fingerprint- and scratch-resistant) so you can swap them out as you switch activities, making this a versatile option if you’ve got a multi-sport lifestyle. These glasses also include three nose pad styles for different sizes of faces.
4. Goodr Running Sunglasses
We’re partial to these Goodr running sunglasses for everyday jogging and neighborhood runs. The frames boast a comfortable yet fitted design to keep them from bouncing while you’re in action.
They also feature polarized, glare-reducing lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. If you’re not into the all-black look, these sports sunglasses come in a variety of colorways, such as orange/blue, purple/teal, and flamingo/blue, to name a few options.
5. JOGVELO Polarized Sport Sunglasses
We like the adaptability and affordability of these light and flexible sunglasses, which come with a standard polarized black lens and four interchangeable lenses. Each is designed to withstand wind, sand, and fog, and there are options for bright days on land and sea, nighttime, cloudy or foggy weather, driving, and other environments where you need to be mindful of natural elements.
All of the lenses are also shatter- and scratch-resistant, and the frames are made of a durable and flexible material that allows them to stand tough if they’re dropped or damaged.
6. 100% SpeedCraft SL Sport Sunglasses
Mountain and road cyclists alike will find that these sports sunglasses by 100% can help them take on the day with clarity. The wrapped, single-lens design allows for obstruction-free vision, and this pair includes two anti-fog lenses so you can switch between low-light or sunny environments. The frames feature hydrophilic nose pads that keep your glasses firmly in place when you’re sweating.
7. Julbo Eyewear Aerospeed Sunglasses
Weight just one ounce, these high-performance sunglasses by Julbo feature panoramic lenses that are suited for cyclists, runners, triathletes, and endurance athletes. The aerodynamic frames allow for durability in the wind, and the 3D-fit nose allows these to adjust to a range of face sizes.
The polarized, polycarbonate lenses offer 100% UV protection while eliminating glare, resulting in crystal-clear optics.
8. Oakley Flight Jacket Sunglasses
Beloved by cyclists and runners, these Flight Jacket sunglasses are outfitted with Oakley’s Prizm anti-glare lenses that enhance vision from dusk to dawn. The brow-less silhouette allows for a better upper field of view, and these frames are also designed to prevent overheating and fogging while still allowing for plenty of air flow.
The lightweight frame and comfortable, no-slip fit make these glasses comfortable and durable enough for all-day wear, though it’s worth noting that they’re best for medium to large faces. They’re also available in a range of tints and a photochromatic option, so you’ve got options depending on your sport of choice.
9. Smith Optics Wildcat ChromaPop Sunglasses
These goggle-like sunglasses offer full protection for your eyes in shaded to sunny settings while still welcoming good airflow. You’ll get two interchangeable lenses (one clear lens and a bright light lens), Smith Optics’ ChromaPop technology give wearers the benefit of clarity, natural colors, and sharp definition no matter the sunlight level.
The hydroleophobic lenses repels dirt, moisture, and grease, and the moisture-absorbing megol temple and nose pads ensure a secure and proper fit for medium to XL-sized heads.
10. Oakley Canopy Ski Goggles
If you’re looking to hit some fresh powder, look to Oakley’s Canopy goggles for skiing and snowboarding. They’re designed for high altitudes and the extreme cold, and the flexible frame features notches so you can insert prescription eyewear. The low-profile design means compatibility with most helmets and better visibility.
These goggles are outfitted with triple-layer face foam with moisture-wicking fleece lining that will keep you cool and comfortable on the slopes. They also have injection-molded Plutonite lenses that protect your eyes from 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays and blue light up to 400nm. A wide 400-millimeter strap with a silicone lining offers a snug fit.