Should You Go Running With Sunglasses?

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Are you a sunglasses or a hat kind of person? Maybe you’re both, or perhaps you don’t like the idea of having something on your face while you’re running.

Having your eyes properly protected can make a huge difference when running both in terms of comfort and eye protection. But they can be annoying, slipping when your face sweats or fogging up on humid days.

So should you go running with sunglasses even if you aren’t really a fan of them? Well, we think so.

Let’s have a look at some of the big benefits you’ll get when you choose to run with sunglasses on. We’ll also cover some disadvantages to be fair!

Benefits of Running With Sunglasses

The benefits of running with sunglasses outweigh the cons. It’s not just about your eyes, either! Here’s why you should consider it.

Ultraviolet Light Protection

This is a big factor that makes sunglasses a more protective piece of gear for your eyes than a hat.

While hats are great at providing shade to your face and eyes, your eyes are still open to being damaged by UV rays. This can lead to problems like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and general reduction in your sight.

The other factor is that UV rays are present even on cloudy days, so your eyes still need protection on occasions when you may not be inclined to wear a hat.

Of course, not all sunglasses offer UV protection. When you’re shopping for sunglasses, make sure that the pair you buy has UV protection.

Better Visibility

Both on bright sunny days and on rainy days, wearing sunglasses can help to improve your visibility. This increases your safety on the road or trail.

Some sunglasses are made specifically for certain sporting situations. The tint on the lenses is usually designed to increase the color and contrast of what’s in front of you, so you can see hazards more clearly and avoid them.

They also usually do a good job of dimming bright light just enough so you don’t have to close your eyes more than the usual blink.

Helps Avoid Glare

Harsh sunlight can glare off of the road, vehicles, walls, or even the surface in front of you. This glare is not only difficult to look at, but it can damage your eyes.

Running with sunglasses helps to reduce the glare to manageable and non-damaging levels. The lens tint neutralizes the harsh light so you can run safely and comfortably wherever you are.

Body Relaxation

Did you know that wearing sunglasses can help you to relax as well? It’s true—if you’re squinting against the sun, your facial muscles tense up, which can, in turn, cause your neck muscles, upper back muscles, and chest muscles to follow suit.

Wearing sunglasses when running prevents the need for you to furrow your brow against the glare. When your facial muscles are more relaxed, it’s easier for the rest of the body to follow and stay relaxed and comfortable as you run.

Prevent Wrinkles

Running with sunglasses can also prevent the development of wrinkles! As you squint into the sun, the skin around your eyes wrinkles. Doing this consistently will cause those wrinkles to become permanent.

Polarized sunglasses are the best kind to keep your eyes and skin safe from the sun. They do an excellent job of reducing brightness and glare, preventing the need for you to scrunch up your eyes while running.

However, you should note that wearing sunglasses won’t prevent laugh lines!

Encourages Good Running Form

Surprisingly, running with sunglasses can help you to keep your running form. When you have sunglasses on, you need to keep your head up, or they may fall off or interfere with your vision.

Keeping your head up and your eyes forward helps you to keep the correct posture while running. This is a quick trick to help your form if you find yourself hunching your shoulders or looking too far down towards your feet when you run.

Shield Your Eyes From Bugs

There’s always a chance of something flying into your eye while you’re running, and no matter how small it is, it can cause havoc.

Wearing sunglasses helps to lower the chance of this happening. Your eyes are protected from the sun, but also from small flying bugs, wind, water, and other little hazards that you may not even think about.

It’s not a failsafe solution, because there is still open space around the sunglasses. But it makes a big difference, especially if you live somewhere that has a large population of small flying bugs!

Prevent Headaches

Squinting your eyes against the sun can lead to sore, fatigued eye muscles. This then leads to a headache, which could be a dull ache or it could turn into a full-blown migraine.

Running with sunglasses helps to keep those eye muscles relaxed, as there’s no need to squint. You should find that you get fewer headaches after running when you’re wearing sunglasses on a regular basis.

Motivation

Sunglasses come in a wide variety of different shapes, styles, and colors. You will most likely be able to find a pair that you really like and that suits your face.

As sunglasses are fashion accessories as well as running gear, wearing a stylish pair can give you a bit of extra motivation on the road. When you look good, you feel good!

Downsides of Wearing Sunglasses While Running

Expensive

Sunglasses—especially those with polarized, specially-tinted lenses—can be expensive. Many pairs of cheap sunglasses don’t offer the built-in protection that gives you all the amazing benefits above.

However, you do get some excellent sunglasses that won’t break the break. If you’re looking for high-quality, effective, and good-looking sunglasses on a budget, read our review of the best cheap sunglasses!

Slipping

Although most pairs of running sunglasses come with sticky rubber on the arms to stop slipping, not all of them will work for you. Also, if you find a pair of sunglasses you really like that’s not specifically designed for sports, they may exclude this feature.

It’s easy to fix though. There are a number of ways you can modify your sunglasses to prevent them from slipping when you sweat. They won’t damage your sunglasses, so you can try a variety of things until you find what works for you.

Fogging

This is another common problem with sunglasses that aren’t designed for sports. Sports-specific sunglasses often have strategically-placed vents throughout the design to allow for ventilation, which prevents fogging.

However, if you choose a non-sporty pair, they may not have this. You might need to carry a small cloth with you and take them off every few minutes to clean them, but the fogging should ease up as the sunglasses warm up while you run.

Size

One of the biggest challenges of finding the right sunglasses is to find a pair that fits your face properly. You will need to do some extra research when shopping for a pair to make sure the fit is correct for you.

Sunglasses come in regular fit, wide fit, and you also get sunglasses specifically designed for small faces.

Choosing a size that’s too big may cause discomfort as they’re likely to bounce while you run and are more likely to fall off, even if they have rubber arms and nosepieces.

Getting sunglasses that are too small may leave you with headaches as the temple arms press into the side of your head.

Why Do Track Runners Wear Sunglasses?

Not all runners wear sunglasses, but if you’ve seen track runners practicing or competing, they’re almost always wearing sunglasses.

There’s very little, if any, shade on a running track. The athletes are always exposed to the sun, so most track athletes wear sunglasses every time they run to protect their eyes and help them to perform at their best.

All of the benefits mentioned above are invaluable to a track athlete. Not only will their eyes be protected from the effects of the sun, but they will also perform better as they’ll be more relaxed and have better posture.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.