AMR GEARS UP: SUNGLASSES
By Sarah Bowen Shea
Is it just us, or as the climate warms, does it seem like the sun is getting brighter, too? Whether it’s true or not, we know our eyes need protection from harmful rays just like our skin, thus an UV-blocking pair of sunglasses is a critical piece of our running “kit” along with a GPS watch and running shoes.
We enlisted BAMRbassadors from variously sunny settings to run-test a variety of sunglasses. Before their sweat even had a chance to dry, they gave us feedback to help you find the perfect pair. Here are reviews of six sunglasses. Because let’s be honest: Given how reasonably priced many sport sunglasses are these days—and available in a rainbow of colors—we completely understand if your gear drawer ends up having numerous pairs of shades!
Tifosi is a slightly higher-end brand, yet the Swank is Tifosi’s entry into the $25 running sunglasses market. Some standout features include integrated hinges on the arms that never pull hair and hydrophilic nose pads for a no-slip fit. Raved our tester: “I have an abundance of running sunglasses, but these are my new go-to shades!”
Pros: The fit of these lightweight shades is “perfect and comfortable.” The smoke-colored, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses provide 100% protection from UV rays. “I love the lenses: I can still read my phone/watch while wearing them when checking my pace or mileage.”
Cons: The lenses fogged up a bit on our tester in her half marathon—just a minor annoyance.
Take it from a mother runner: “I usually never change anything up before race day, but I wore these shades on the drive from Canada to Duluth and loved them so much, I took a chance and wore them on race day without a problem!”
There’s a reason some gals get a bit addicted to Goodr glasses: At $25 a pop and available in scores of frame-lens color combos, it is tempting to get a pair for every running outfit! Our tester wore the popular A Ginger’s Soul colorway—matte black frames with UV400 black polarized lenses—yet she admits, “I have a version of these in several different colors.”
Pros: The price tag: Our Denver-based tester said that with 300+ days of sun per year, her glasses take a beating yet she doesn’t mind replacing these for 25 bucks. The snug, lightweight frames, “don’t slip or bounce.”
Cons: One larger-headed runner reported she, “got a headache wearing these for more than a few miles.”
Take it from a mother runner: “I recommend Goodrs to everyone for running sunglasses, as well as just everyday, cute sunnies to protect your eyes.”
Zeal Optics Aspen
The Aspen are the “greenest” sunglasses in our review, as they are crafted from recycled plastic and grass fibers (!). The polarized lenses are available in prescription. These shades come with a hard “sport case,” not just a fabric pouch like less-$$$ options.
Pros: These “very lightweight and comfortable” glasses “didn’t bounce around at all.” Our tester told us she “barely noticed” she had these on, in the best way possible. She appreciated they came with both a soft and a hard case so they stay protected.
Cons: “I didn’t love them when I first put them on, because they tilted inward slightly toward my eyes, but once I started running, they were perfect.”
Take it from a mother runner: “I ran in these on a 90-degree day in Alabama. They did not slide at all, even though I was super sweaty!” Price: $179
While not as well-known as Goodr, Knockaround also puts the “fun” in functional sunglasses at an appealing, buy-several price. One tester who owns both brands finds the Knockarounds more comfortable than Goodr.
Pros: Two bragging points on these lenses: They provide UV400 protection with FDA-approved, impact-resistant lenses. One tester reports: “The fit is perfect for wearing on a run: They don’t bounce, and the lenses don’t steam up.” Also, “they fit perfectly and stay on during the longest of runs,” says a tester who is starting to train for the New York City Marathon. She also told us these, “fit well with a hat and headphones.”
Cons: Wish we didn’t have to pay an extra $3 for the Sport version to get rubberized nose pads.
Take it from a mother runner: “They are perfect for active people and are available in so many options that everyone is bound to find the
The spendiest sunnies in our review, the Basecamp feel as high quality as they are. For instance, they have “AutoLock” hinges that hold frames open for easy one-hand on and off. Says our tester: “I tried Smith glasses a decade or two ago, and didn’t dig ’em, but I love this pair—they are all-day comfortable!”
Pros: The ChromaPop™ lenses in these shades, which provide 100% UV protection, are a cut above: They enhance contrast and natural color. “These protect my eyes well without distorting how the world looks!” A slight curvature in the lens provides a modest wraparound fit—subtle, yet it makes an appreciable difference.
Cons: Given the price tag, we’d expect a hard case to be included.
Take it from a mother runner: “Quality worth paying for.”
Price-wise, these are the Goldilocks of our review: Not expensive, not bargain priced, just in the middle. Their higher quality is evident in their heft: “I love that they feel a little heavier and more substantial than some of my other running sunglasses.” This same tester mentioned they hold her long hair back better than flimsier glasses, key for post-run selfies!
Pros: Rubber grips that sit flush with the frame are placed at the nose pads and temple ends to ensure “they don’t slip or fall down when I’m sweaty.” Polycarbonate polarized lenses provide welcome optical clarity, plus 100% UV protection. “I’ve worn these for many miles, and they don’t get scratched.”
Cons: Only available in two colors.
Take it from a mother runner: “These are so lightweight and comfortable, yet not flimsy at all.”
Did we miss your farvorite pair of sunglasses?
Let us know in the comments below!