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How to Choose the Best Running Sunglasses for you this Summer

How to Choose the Best Running Sunglasses for you this Summer

As the clocks go forward and runners around the country are dusting off their road and trail running kit after a winter on the treadmill, it’s time to think about the key pieces of kit you need for this season. We spoke to marathon runner and writer, Mike, about how to choose one of the most important pieces of every serious runners’ wardrobe – running sunglasses.

It’s the same every year around this time. The evenings are getting longer, the days dryer and the pink-blossom-lined streets now more inviting than the winter months before. All together this makes it the best time of the year to get out of the gym and back on the road.

I’m not alone in feeling this urge to lace up and head out into the evening sunshine. Every year I hear the same questions from friends inspired to get back into running: “Which set of wireless headphones should I buy?”, or, “Should I upgrade my fitbit to the latest version?”.

My answer is always the same. Before rushing to buy the latest gadget which you will likely replace this time next year, make the decision to invest in the vital, yet often overlooked, item in every serious runner’s wardrobe – running sunglasses.

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In my opinion, a proper pair of sports sunglasses should be second only to shoes on a runner’s priority list. They provide important protection against UV rays during long runs in the summer months, help prevent glare and ensure crystal clear vision in all environments. All together maximising both safety and performance.

There are many factors that go into choosing the best running sunglasses for you, from frame shape, weight and material to polarisation, anti-fog and face shape. So, to make it simple for you, here is my advice on what to consider when shopping for your sports shades.

"Running sunglasses should be an integral part of your set up every time that you hit the road, second only to your shoes."

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What design features are important in running sunglasses?

What design features are important in running sunglasses?

Before anything else you should make sure your running sunglasses offer 100% UV protection. This should come as standard with most well-known brands like Nike, Bollé and Oakley running sunglasses. You should consider several other design features.

Firstly, you need to make sure that your running sunglasses are comfortable. It sounds like pointing out the obvious, but if they are uncomfortable you will end up not wearing them. Fit will be different for everyone, but you can make an accurate purchase by asking three simple questions: Do the they have adjustable nose and temple pieces? Does the design fit a slender or wider face? What material and how heavy are the frames?

Adjustable nose and temple pieces will help you make sure that your new running sunglasses remain stable and don’t rub during long runs. Alongside this, they are also key for those running cross country who need a pair that can withstand large and intermittent impact. Face shape and head size are also critical to choosing a fit, with some designs suiting wider faces and others slender. This is especially important when considering the difference between men and women’s running sunglasses. Lastly, weight and material are largely down to personal preference but can make a surprising amount of difference.

After comfort, the most important aspect of a pair running sunglasses’ design is the field of vision. Field of vision is determined by the size and shape of the frames and whether the glasses ‘wrap around’.

What Technology to Look for?

What Technology to Look for?

Innovative technology is a large part of what differentiates any piece of top-class running equipment.

Each piece of technology that goes into making the best running sunglasses warrants a detailed discussion, but to keep it simple there are the three things to consider: protection, durability and versatility. Having already highlighted the importance of UV protection, I will now focus on the latter two.

If you are investing in a serious piece of running equipment you need to make sure it’s durable. Strength and durability are of particular importance in running environments that cause higher levels of impact, like trail running on cross country and alpine tracks. Inner- city road runners, on the other hand, would benefit more from a lighter frame and increased ventilation.

Lens versatility is also key to ensuring visibility in all conditions. No matter the terrain and conditions you run in, you will want to check whether the lenses of your running sunglasses are grease and water repellent, as well as being anti fog and polarised to combat glare.

Runners tip: Polarised shades can make it harder to read the screens of running watches and phones.

Considering Fashion

Considering Fashion

While protection, design, and technology should be the main drivers behind your choice, it is also worth considering the way that your running sunglasses look.

Today’s market offers no shortage of stylish options, but appearance should be the last stage of your decision-making process. Fortunately, many brands like Oakley, Bollé and Nike running sunglasses offer great looking options that don’t compromise on quality.

Running sunglasses should be an integral part of your set up every time that you hit the road, second only to your shoes. Use the advice I’ve laid out in this blog to choose a pair that are perfect for you - ensuring that your next run is safe and successful.

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