If you’ve ever tried running on a bright, sunny day, you know how important a pair of sunglasses is on the road. They’re an essential part of hot weather running gear, and can make the difference between a comfortable run and an unbearable run.
They’re also some of the most fragile and easily broken running equipment. With that in mind, today we’re bringing you the best cheap running sunglasses on the market. With one of these pairs, you’ll be able to keep your eyes protected without spending a fortune.
Coming out on top are the Goodr The OGs. They’re both practical and stylish, stay on your face while you’re doing sporty things, and protect your eyes with 9-layered lenses.
While most of these are in the $50 price range, we’ve found some gems that cost much less. Let’s have a look at our best cheap running sunglasses choices.
Top 4 Best and Favorites
Goodr The OGs
Goodr The Runways
Optic Nerve Cassette
1. Goodr The OGs
These Goodr sunglasses are both stylish and practical, which is exactly what a pair of running sunglasses should be.
The thing we love most is that they don’t slip or bounce while you’re on the move. Their frame features a special grip coating to keep them right where they are, no matter whether you’re leaning or sweating.
The ear hooks are also longer and more curved than usual, to keep the glasses in position when you’re speeding down the road, avoiding obstacles on the trail, or doing some warm-up jumping jacks.
Goodrs make use of an interesting 9-layer lens sandwiched on either side by a scratch-resistant layer. Other layers include a UV400 protective layer and a polarizing filter.
These sunglasses come in a wide range of lens and frame colors, each as cool as the next. As an added bonus, according to Goodr, nobody has ever been attacked by a leopard while wearing these, so your chances of staying leopard-free are pretty good.
- Features a special grip coating for no slipping
- The overextended ear hooks help prevent bouncing
- UV400 protective lenses
- They’re lightweight enough to be super comfortable
- The outer lens tint may come off easily if rubbed or exposed to water
- May not fit larger faces
Best Running Sunglasses for Men
2. Tifosi Bronx
These sleek and masculine sunglasses come out top as our best cheap running sunglasses for men. They’re great-looking glasses, whichever color you choose. Your options are a camo frame with a brown lens, gloss black with a smoke lens, or matte gunmetal with smoke bright blue lenses.
They’re made of lightweight nylon, and you’ll hardly even feel them on your face while you’re running. Hydrophilic rubber helps the glasses from sliding down the nose and off the ears.
Tifosi Bronx are constructed out of nylon that is incredibly durable for its price. The material has a high bending strength, so they should be harder to break than others. They’re also quite resistant to UV and chemical damage.
The lenses are of good quality, made from polycarbonate material. Unlike many others, they don’t simply have a polarized coating. Their glasses use an injected layer of polarized material that offers complete UVA/UVB protection. The smoke lens also prevents colors distorting while reducing brightness.
- Very lightweight, at just over an ounce
- Provides protection from UVA and UVB rays
- Comes with case and cleaning cloth
- Rubber ear and nose pieces to prevent slipping
- The wraparound arms may be uncomfortable for some
Best Running Sunglasses for Women
3. Goodr The Runways
These funky sunglasses make the top spot for women. They’re bright and colorful, and made for women’s faces. You can choose from green, blue, or black lenses. With frames shaped slightly like cats’ eyes, these shades are both eye-catching and eye-protecting.
UV400 lenses block both UVA and UVB rays from reaching your eyes. They’re polarized and reduce glare to not only prevent harmful rays, but also help you see where you’re going (which is somewhat important too).
As with the Goodr sunglasses above, these frames have a grip coating on the nose and ears to make sure they stay where they should be. You won’t be losing these on bouncy trails or have them slip-sliding down your nose on hot days.
Great for running, great for socializing. Either way, these are some of the most stylish, best cheap sunglasses around.
- They don’t move around while running
- Suitable for running or casual wear
- Polarized, glare-reducing lenses
- Regular glasses cleaner may ruin the lenses
Best Polarized Running Sunglasses
4. Nathan Summit Polarized Sunglasses
A nasty glare can ruin a good run, but you can prevent that from happening with a great pair of polarized sunglasses.
Enter the Nathan Summit Polarized Sunglasses. These look great and feature polarized lenses to reduce glare. We really like that the polarization is embedded into the lenses, not on the outside like most polarized sunglasses.
That means the polarized film layer won’t scratch away, making them durable and long-lasting.
While these are the least expensive sunglasses on our list, they are the best value polarized sunglasses.
- Embedded layer of polarization for durability
- Lightweight, non-slip fit
- They do a great job at reducing glare
- Sized to fit most faces
- Pricier than the other sunglasses in our list
Best for Trail Running
5. ForceFlex FF500 Sunglasses
These bad boys are the Arnold Schwarzenegger of sunglasses (just a little more sleek than muscly). You won’t have a choice of colors or lens shades, but the features you get are fantastic for an affordable set of shades.
These smooth shades don’t only look the part – they’re seriously tough. So much so, that they exceed even military ballistics impact standards. There’s no need to worry about flying pebbles or stray branches on the trail. Your eyes will be incredibly safe behind these lenses.
Not only will they keep you safe from physical debris, but they also keep out UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Once again, they meet military standards, this time for anti-scratch protection.
Don’t even worry about dropping them on the trail or accidentally stepping on them. The I-Form frame is patented and bends, twists, and generally avoids breakage far better than most.
They’d be worth the buy even at a higher price, so if you’re a trail runner, we heartily recommend these.
- Extremely tough and can handle every situation
- Soft pads on the nose enhance comfort
- Covered in an anti-scratch coating
- Protection against UVA, UVB, and UVC light
- Doesn’t come with a protective case
Best for Small Faces
6. Optic Nerve Cassette
Some of us just have smaller faces than others. This doesn’t usually make much difference…until you’re trying to find sunglasses that fit.
The Optic Nerve Cassette should solve that problem, and very stylishly too. They’re made for narrow faces, and look equally as good on women and men.
G850 nylon frames allow for flexibility and durability, as well as promoting sustainability by being made of renewable materials. They feature interchangeable lenses – a smoke lens and a copper lens, so you’ll be covered for all light conditions. Both lenses block UVA and UVB rays.
These shades meet ANSI Z80.3 requirements for impact resistance and optical clarity, so their quality is top-notch.
- Made to fit narrow faces
- Great for men and women
- Interchangeable lenses allow you to be protected in all conditions
- We like that they use renewable materials to promote sustainability
- May not fit wider faces
Best for Cycling and Running
7. Tifosi Tyrant 2.0
The Tyrant features polycarbonate lenses that are optically decentered and shatterproof, in a typical cycling design.
They feature a very durable yet ultralight nylon frame. They should be able to survive significant bending and twisting, as well as possibly being dropped or sat on accidentally.
The light weight also makes them great for hot weather. They’re not thick or heavy enough to trap heat. They get a thumbs-up for their adjustable nose piece, made from rubber for less slip and a good fit on most people. The earpieces are also adjustable, meaning you can get a really tight, comfortable fit.
The lenses are the real stand-out feature of these glasses. You’ll find a vent on each one, which serves the purpose of preventing the lenses from fogging up.
All of the lens colors are polarized. But some of them are photochromic. This is a superb feature, which allows use in both light and darker conditions, such as going off the road onto a forest trail.
Their shape, durability, and quality lenses make them our top choice for cycling and running.
- Come with three sets of lenses
- Vented lenses prevent fogging
- The nose piece is replaceable
- Super for day and night riding/running
- Not all color lenses are photochromic, so check carefully
- Without a close fit, air can flow under the glasses and hurt your eyes
Best for Running and Hiking
8. Sunski Taraval
Sunski is committed to going carbon neutral by the end of this year, and by purchasing these glasses you’ll be contributing to environmental initiatives. 1% of all their sales go towards enviro charities, and these super-light frames are made from recycled polycarbonate plastic.
The frame is flexible and light and can withstand some bumps and bashes. Polarized lenses reduce glare and block those UV rays. They’re also available in mirror or non-mirror lenses.
If you’re into hiking, you may be keen on these sunglasses for a variety of reasons. Not only are they good-looking, light, and come with a nice price tag, but they’re some of the most environmentally-friendly glasses out there.
- The frame is made from recycled plastic
- Includes a microfiber cleaning pouch
- Polarized and UV protected
- 1% of their price goes towards environmental charities
- The lenses are quite prone to scratching
Best Sunglasses for Large Heads
9. Tifosi Optics Swick Sunglasses
While it’s not difficult to wear a too-tight pair of sunglasses for an hour or so, wearing them for a long run can result in pain and grumpiness by the end of it. Some of us just have bigger heads, and these sunglasses are made for us.
Available in a variety of UVA/UVB protective lenses (and colors), there’s something for every style and taste. The lenses are also shatterproof.
The medium-large fit is designed to cater to most people, and seems to fit larger heads quite well and look great. Simply adjust the nose and ear pads to create a fairly custom fit.
- The medium-to-large fit caters to most faces
- Adjustable for as custom a fit as possible
- Optically decentered lenses for no distortion
- Various lens tints available, so whatever sport you play, there’s one for you
- Obviously, these may not work for those with smaller faces
Best Anti-Fog Sunglasses
10. Optic Nerve Variant Polarized
Fogging can be a problem while on the road, and you may as well not be wearing sunglasses if you can’t see where you’re going.
The Optic Nerve Variant Polarized make the cut as our best cheap running sunglasses for those who have fog issues. Their large side vents ensure a consistent airflow, so there’s no time for the lenses to mist up.
In addition to the vents, the lens sport a hydrophobic coating that repels sweat and water, so your vision will always be as clear as possible.
Although there are no color or lens tint options choose from, you’ll receive two sets of interchangeable lenses with these shades. A smoke lens with a red mirror and a copper lens will cover you in just about all lighting conditions.
You’ll be safe from UV rays and fog with these on your face!
- We like the hydrophobic lens coating for keeping sweat and water away
- They come with interchangeable lenses
- Purchase includes soft and hard cases
- Side vents help prevent fogging
- The lens coating can be scratched easily
Sunglasses aren’t just sunglasses. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about using shades while running.
How to Choose Running Sunglasses
If you want your sunglasses to be effective as well as stylish, here are some factors you should consider when shopping:
A huge part of comfort is just choosing the right size sunglasses for your face. You may buy that cool pair of shades thinking that they’ll look so good you won’t notice they’re the wrong size, but this is a mistake you only make once.
Make sure the fit is tight but not restrictive. You should not be left with indents in your temples when you take them off!
Another thing to look at here is what they’re made of. The frames should be light, so you don’t feel like you’re top-heavy on the road. Comfortable and adjustable nose and ear pads are a must.
Different tints serve different purposes. While it may be tempting to go for those amazing green lenses, it might serve you better to choose something else, depending on when and where you’ll be using them.
You’ll most often see brown (amber) or gray, both of which are suitable for most weather conditions. Gray does a good job of reducing glare, while amber enhances vision in overcast conditions.
Green helps with glare too, and it’s great for precision activities. Blue eases brightness, so it’s wonderful for extremely bright conditions. Yellow, orange, and red help reduce blue light and increase contrast.
How dark do you want your lenses to be? Polarization is the darkening effect on the lens that provides protection from glare. When you’re running in sunny and bright conditions, this is important.
While lenses are also there to prevent debris from getting into your eyes while you run, the glare protection factor is crucial. It saves your eyes from becoming fatigued too quickly and prevents lasting damage.
Fogging can ruin a good run just as much glare can. You can’t exactly stop sweating while you’re running, and taking your sunglasses off defeats the point. This is where ventilation comes into play.
Some lenses have vents directly in them, which are simply holes in the material. Others have vents in the frame next to the lens. Either way, choosing a set of shades with a vent will help immensely with the fogging problem.
What are Polarized Sunglasses?
Polarized sunglasses have a layer on their lenses that acts as a light filter. This darkens the world slightly, reducing glare and brightness and essentially making it easier to see everything without straining your eyes.
A polarized layer is a filter that blocks some light and lets some light through. Only rays of light that come at you vertically will be able to get through the filter. Horizontal rays won’t make it through, which reduces brightness quite dramatically.
The Difference Between Polarized & Photochromic Sunglasses
You may have seen the phrase photochromic floating around in talks about sunglasses. This is a superb feature that we’d recommend.
The lens is fairly light and clear when indoors or in shaded areas such as forests. When exposed to the sun, the lens darkens to protect from glare. This is awesome if you tend to run through darker and lighter areas on the same run.
It’s also important to note that just because lenses are polarized or photochromic, it doesn’t mean they have UV protection. You’ll need to look for this as a separate feature.
How Do I Keep Sunglasses From Falling Off While Running?
Many sunglasses offer features that help prevent this exact problem. I think we all know a runner (or are a runner) who’ve lost a good pair of shades to slippage.
Sweat, humidity, or bouncing can cause sunglasses to slip off your face, which defeats the point of having them in the first place. Many new manufacturers are including non-slip, rubberized nose and ears pads, and if your glasses don’t have these, it’s as simple as making your own out of thin rubber and glue.
Also, make sure your shades are the right size for your head. Too big, and the chances of them falling off will increase a whole lot.
If you still have issues, try these ideas:
Bounce: Wear a hat to prevent the sunglasses from lifting too high.
Slip: Use a lanyard that you can tighten behind your head to keep them in place.