We all know that running is good for your body (save maybe your knees), but sometimes we need a little extra protection against the many and varied elements. Whether it's rain, sun, wind or dust – or a truly British combination of the above – a good pair of glasses is a must for frequent runners.
When choosing, you’ll need to consider how much running you’re doing and the conditions you plan to be out in. Lenses should at least offer 100 per cent UV protection but higher-end options will also be polarised to minimise glare. While some pairs come with interchangeable lenses, others you will need to buy separately, or, for anyone who doesn’t want the faff of switching lenses, many brands are making glasses with photochromic lenses that react to the light. If you’re worried about fit, look for grippers on the arms and nose to check they will stay on – some pairs will have adjustable nose pads for a bespoke fit.
We tried and tested a range – from budget single-lens pairs to top-of-the-range polarised options favoured by athletes – looking at lens quality, fit and any other technical features offered to bring you a range of options.
1. Dhb Ultralite Sunglasses: £14.99, wiggle.co.uk
For runners on a budget, these are a versatile option. Though not as techy or as comfortable as some, they do the basics well; defending from rain, dust and debris with 100 per cent UV protection, while smart venting keeps the lenses from steaming up during difficult runs and the rubber on the arms stops them moving too much when you’re in action. Choose from three lens options – dark, orange or clear, depending on light conditions.
2. Endura Chukar Anti Fog Hydrophobic Multi Lens Glasses: £28.49, evanscycles.com
These good-value glasses come with three interchangeable lenses so you can switch them up to suit the conditions. They’re a comfortable fit thanks to the rubber nose piece and they don’t fog-up. Created to suit a variety of exercise, they provide 100 per cent UV protection and are just as useful on a bike.
3. Sunwise Waterloo GS: £69.99, runnersneed.com
If you want serious sun protection, these have polarised photochromic lenses. The need to know: you get a super-clear view without glare and they will react to the light and become progressively darker as it gets brighter. They’re lightweight, durable and the rubber nose pads and on the arms keep them secure and comfortable. Available in three colour-ways.
4. Adidas Evil Eye Evo: £166, wiggle.co.uk
This techy pair from Adidas have larger-than-average mirrored lenses with more of a curve than most so you get a razor-sharp view of your route. The Evil Eye Evos offer an alternative to the high-end Oakley range, especially for those who aren’t keen on the space-age styling of the Oakley series, and the adjustable nose pads and temples mean you can really fit them to your face, too.
5. Oakley Radarlock Path: £247.50, wiggle.co.uk
Oakley manages to fit a lot of technology into such a small piece of gear, providing the most advanced equipment available in exchange for your hard-earned bucks. The polarised lenses completely shut out glare, wind and dust and they’re super-clear and the lenses curve right round so you get a wider-than-average peripheral view. They work with Oakley’s array of lenses for changing light, the ear grips stay fast no matter how much you sweat and they come with nose pad options so you can customize them to your face. Effectively, these are the ultimate in running performance, worn by a whole host of elite athletes and performance runners alike.
For a good-value pair that will see you through sunlight, rain and anything else the British weather wants to send your way, Endura’s Chukars, with their three interchangeable lenses, are a wise buy. If you want stronger sun protection and a fit that feels almost like you’re wearing nothing on your face, try Adidas Evil Eye Evo.
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