Should I Wear Sunglasses While Running?

You’re about to go out for a run when you noticed that the sun is shining so bright that it’s painful to the eyes. You’re wondering whether or not you should wear your sunglasses while running fearing that it may affect your vision or it may hinder your run.

In general, it is a best practice to wear sunglasses when running outdoors during the daytime. It protects your eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays. Furthermore, it reduces the visual strain caused by the glare of sunlight and could help you focus more on your run.

Ahead, we will discuss in detail why you should wear sunglasses when running. We would also go over the type of sunglasses you should choose in terms of shape, fit, color, the protection it offers, and polarization. Lastly, I will give you my recommendation on the best value sunglasses you can own.

man running with sunglasses

Why Wear Sunglasses When Running

When running in sunny weather, many runners think about applying sunscreen before they even think about the importance of sunglasses. Although sunscreens are important too, we should never disregard the role of sunglasses in protecting our precious eyes.

According to an article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, too much exposure to UV light increases the risk of developing avoidable diseases such as cataract formation, pterygium, and photokeratitis.

For these reasons, experts recommend that people who are exposed to the outdoors wear sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of the UVA and UVB rays.

Runners who train for long-distance running spend many hours outdoors. This puts them at a greater risk of developing eye diseases.

Wearing sunglasses with protection every time you run is a low-cost and very effective way to prevent these eye diseases.

When To Wear Sunglasses

Many of us think that sunglasses are only for sunny days. But that’s actually not accurate.

UV light passes through and gets to our eyes even on cloudy days. Furthermore, light can be reflected on the pavement that causes glaring and affects our vision even further.

During snowy days, we still need to wear sunglasses too. UV light can be reflected from the snow which causes snow blindness, a form of photokeratitis (a painful temporary eye condition often compared to sunburn that affects the corneas of your eye).

Cleveland Clinic published an article that clearly explains photokeratitis. If you’re interested in learning more about the subject I recommend you check that out.

In short, you should wear sunglasses every time you’re outdoors, even when you’re not running.

But is there a time when we shouldn’t wear sunglasses? Well, obviously.

You shouldn’t wear sunglasses during a run if it affects your vision and can make running unsafe. You won’t need sunglasses at night, at dawn, in tunnels, or in any dark areas. When you’re running, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. If sunglasses affect your vision, then you should not wear them.

I usually bring my sunglasses at dawn so when the sun rises, I could just pull them out of my belt bag and wear them.

Characteristics of Good Running Sunglasses

Now you know that wearing sunglasses when running outdoors is a must, you must be wondering what kind of sunglasses should you be wearing?

As a general rule, you should wear sunglasses that fits well and is rated UV400 when running outdoors. Dark-colored lenses are ideal for scorching hot road runs while light-colored lenses are ideal for trail running or running in low light conditions.

Ahead we will look at how the shape, fit, color, UV protection, and polarization affects the quality of the sunglasses in detail.


The shape and style of your sunglasses play a small role in the protection of your eyes so whatever style you choose shouldn’t be a problem.

In general, sunglasses that are close-fitting and has a larger coverage offer more protection from UV rays coming from multiple angles. But you should also consider your style preference too.

Don’t wear the Terminator-like sunglasses just because it’s close-fitting if your style preference is the more modern style like the Goodr OG (link to Amazon).


The fit is an important factor that you have to consider when choosing sunglasses that you’ll use for running.

Ideally, your sunglasses should fit tight enough that it doesn’t bounce or fall even when you run hard. At the same time, it should not be too tight that it causes discomfort.

The nose pads play a role in the stability of the sunglasses too. Make sure that the whole unit fits your face perfectly before you make the purchase.

When choosing sunglasses, I recommend that you test the fit by bouncing in place. That way, you can gauge whether or not the sunglasses will do well for vigorous activities.

Color Shade

Despite what most people believe, the color of your lenses has nothing to do with its ability to block UV rays. Rather, they filter how much visible light enters your eyes.

Dark-colored lenses such as black, gray, and brown reduce the amount of visible light that enters your eyes which is ideal for scorching hot road runs. In contrast, light-colored lenses such as yellow, rose, and vermillion improve your vision by providing more contrast and better depth perception which is ideal for trail runs and low light conditions.

You should choose a color that fits your activity more. If you’re someone who usually runs on the road at 9 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon, you’re better off with dark-colored sunglasses.

On the other hand, if you’re a trail runner or you’re usually training very early in the morning or late afternoon when light conditions are low, then you should go for light-colored lenses.

UV Protection

According to an article published by, you should choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays and screen out 75% to 90% of visible light.

Most manufacturers include UV protection in the description of their sunglasses. They are usually labeled as UV400 sunglasses.

This is the most important feature of a sunglass. Anything less than the specifications given above is not very effective for protecting your eyes.


Glares are uncontrollable light with a dazzling intensity that causes distraction and discomfort to the runner. On roads, it’s usually caused by light reflecting off the roads, cars, and buildings.

Glares cause visual strain which may affect your focus and overall performance.

Polarized sunglasses reduce the amount of glare and reduce visual strain freeing you from distraction and allowing you to relax and focus on your run.

Choosing a polarized sunglass is ideal, however, it isn’t necessary for low-light conditions.

Recommended Sunglasses For Running

Goodr OG

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the UV400 protection and polarized sunglasses from all brands, and most sports sunglasses do that. These are universal features, nowadays. But you know why I love the Goodr OG more than all my other pairs?

Here are a number of reasons:

  • They are very affordable, but they don’t feel cheap
  • Simple and stylish – I’m in love with the modern design. They are great for sports but they are also great for casual wear
  • They are very light – in fact, you barely even notice you’re wearing them
  • They have anti slip-coating – they don’t bounce or slip even when you’re drenched in sweat

Unlike wearing those expensive sunglasses that you’re too afraid of losing or dropping, the Goodr makes me feel comfortable knowing I could still afford to buy another pair if I accidentally lose them or sit on them. They are so affordable… But they don’t feel cheap.

I am also in love with the versatile modern design. Unlike most sports sunglasses, you can rock the Goodr OG (link to Amazon) anywhere anytime. Going for a run? Cool, rock them. Going to the beach? No problem, rock them. Going for a date? Sure, here they go!

The design is so versatile that you can wear them anywhere, not just for sports. They come in many cool designs and colors too. You can check out all models on this link.

Performance-wise, they’re great. They have a special coating that prevents them from bouncing or slipping, they are polarized and they block 100% of the UVA and UVB rays.

Not to mention, their commercial is hilarious! Watch it below.

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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