The best running sunglasses: Oakley, SunGod & more tested

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Find some shade with these top picks of running sunglasses Clear Frame Sunglasses

The best running sunglasses: Oakley, SunGod & more tested

An every-season essential, from blazing hot summer days to low winter sun, a decent pair of sunglasses has more impact than you think on your running.

Not only do sunnies protect your eyes from UV rays, but having tension in your face from squinting in bright light can create tightness in your neck and shoulders muscles, throwing off form and making a run seem harder than it needs to be. It sounds dramatic, but the advice to smile more when you run is based on the fact that it eases tension in the face and jaw and you relax your shoulders.

These are our top picks of running sunglasses at a glance. Scroll down for the full list.

Unlike regular sunglasses, sports sunglasses shouldn't just look stylish on your face - they also need to be durable, have a snug fit and shield your eyes from dangerous ultraviolet rays.

When it comes to comfort, this is down to the nose piece/bridge and the arms. You want the glasses to sit on the bridge of the nose and ideally have a rubber nose piece to aid grip. If the nose piece is too small or you have a wide nose, then the glasses will sit too high up the nose and may bounce about or pinch (thankfully most decent glasses come with adjustable or interchangeable nose pieces).

The arms need to be secure on the side of the head but not vice-like. You don't want to be half way through your run and realise you have a headache because your glasses are too tight, so make sure you try on a few pairs first.

Another nice to have feature is a low-weight pair of sunglasses. None of the below are heavy by any stretch of the imagination, but 10 grams here and there can make quite a lot of difference when it comes to running in a pair of sunglasses for several hours.

The main reason for buying running sunglasses is to keep the sun out of your eyes, and this comes down to the lens. They're there to block out ultra violet light (UVA and UVB) in all conditions and will come in a vast array of tints and coatings - some useful, some not.

The most useful is a polarised lens. This means the lens is design to eliminate horizontal light waves, only letting vertical light through. This dramatically reduces glare. They also don't have to be expensive so are well worth considering, whatever the budget.

Thankfully, all the specs reviewed below have been run in, sweated on and enjoyed by many different face and head shapes.

For those who like running sunglasses to double as lifestyle ones, the new Actuator from Oakley is a great, premium style. These feel reassuringly robust, without being at all heavy: as soon as they are, you forget about them. They stay firmly put during easy runs and all out sessions, with the (wonderfully named) Unobtainium nosepads keeping the glasses absolutely in place.

The Actuators are a classic shape to suit anyone, and offer the perfect amount of coverage for both running, and lounging by a pool. The lenses themselves are as top class as you'd expect from Oakley, the polarisation really sharpening things up so you have excellent visibility even in the strongest of glare.

The Van Rysel name is part of Decathlon's in-house roster of brands and is making serious moves in the cycling world, which seems to have boosted the brand overall. At £25, these are a very good pair of running glasses; they fit securely, the nose piece is adjustable, the bottomless frames offer a decent range of visibility and the venting does a fine job of keeping fogging to a minimum.

The lens itself is very capable in constant light, but doesn't quite compare to more premium lenses when faced with changing light conditions on varying terrain, but that's only an issue if you're constantly hitting the trails. For the fashion conscious, the styling is perhaps a little dated.

Lifestyle aesthetics coupled with some lens craft will appeal to those don't want to go for the traditional wrap around style of running sunglasses and the Koo Cosmo are a great choice.

The extra frame weight isn't that noticeable. they don't move about on the face and use the same lenses as the pure running glasses from Koo, the Nova, featured below. Kinda on the pocket too and you can wear these when not running too.

Retro styling coupled with modern frame and lens tech makes for a winning combo for these Oakley. Reminiscent of older styles like the Mumbo and Razor Blades, the bottomless frame allows for nothing to interrupt your line of sight when out running and the wrap around style gives great coverage.

We're entering into the realms of fashion and function here with the Tracksmith x AO collaboration and that comes with a hefty price tag, but if you want one pair of sunglasses for everyday use, running, holidays, driving etc, then these are a sound investment. Spring loaded arms and adjustable rubber nose bridge means no slipping or jumping about on the move, plus the lenses are polarised and clarity is superb.

Kalenji’s reputation for creating quality, budget-friendly running kit is well established. These sunnies – priced at just £14.99 – are a case in point. If you’re looking for a durable, low-fuss option to serve you well on the majority of your runs, the Runstyle 2 delivers in spades. Boasting a 100% UV filter, they will protect your eyes in bright sunlight.

While the visibility isn’t quite as amazing as in something like the SunGod, these are arguably better looking and also a tenth of the price. The only running scenarios in which we’d feel apprehensive about wearing the Runstyle 2 is on very technical descents and in low light. (But, then, should you really be wearing shades in low light? You’re a runner, not Bono.) Overall, a great pair of sunnies at an ever better price.

Although Bolle state these are for cycling, the Bolt has always performed well as a running sunglass; with a great shape, lightweight frames and decent lenses, they're pretty much the complete package. Style wise, they're not the greatest or latest, but when all you want is decent sun protection, these are well worth looking at.

With a claimed weight of 21g (our test pair weighed 23g), these glasses from Koo are impressively light and as such, are a solid option for those looking for sunglasses they can wear for extended periods.

The lack of any frame means your vision is unimpeded and the fit is good once you find the right nose bridge (it comes with two and they're a bit of a fiddle to fit). Rubber grips on arms do a nice job of keeping the glasses in place.

The lenses are excellent and there is a decent variety depending on light conditions.

One for the weight-weenies out there.

A classic shape, polarised lenses and a very reasonable price tag have seen these running specific sunglasses from Goodr become very popular. A decent fit and no bounce do make them a great option, though they are a touch on heavy side due if we are splitting hairs - which we are.

The radar is a classic running sunglass; the shape and fit are tried and tested and always perform brilliantly. This latest version, the advancer, has a slightly different lens shape (it's bigger) and the adjustable nose piece first seen on the flight jacket.

With slightly larger and interchangeable lenses, the Tempo Max works perfectly on road and trail and with many different colour ways and options, you can be as bright or as subtle as you wish with your eyewear.

Great value for technically excellent run-specific sunnies with polarised lenses that deliver precise, natural-feeling vision. They’re extremely comfortable – light, with a broad nose-bridge putting minimal pressure on your hooter but combining with a good hold from the arms to ensure no bounce. They also proved highly durable over extended miles with a few drops and bumps along the way.

Boasting a Carl Zeiss lens and environmentally friendly frames, the Blankster offers a winning combo of functional and ethical, plus some extra bits on top. The glasses are comfortable on the face even during hard efforts and though close fitting to maximise lens wrap, they didn't fog, even on hot days. The lens suits bright sunshine but can handle shady trails too. The only down side is that the retro styling might not be to all tastes.

SunGod is a British performance eyewear brand, and the SunGod was its first pair of shades specifically designed for runners. The frameless construction is designed to offer a panoramic view of your surroundings, while their light weight (26g) means they won’t weight you down at all. The shades offer 100% UV protection and the product has designed to offer bounce-free comfort on the run. We were extremely impressed by their wide-screen clarity, locked-down fit and durable construction. Meanwhile, SunGod’s lifetime guarantee means that if your Ultras break – or you break them – SunGod will repair them free of charge.

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The best running sunglasses: Oakley, SunGod & more tested

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