This is an unsolicited review of a few different running sunglasses I have worn over the years. Rock and I were recently discussing the variety of glasses we have tried and which ones have become our surprise favorites. I’m going to list these on the high to low price point along with some notes on my likes and dislikes. Any of these are great picks for yourself or to gift to a runner.
Oakley Custom Running Sunglasses: (Starts around $133 and up) Several years ago I went ahead and splurged on a customized pair of Oakley sunglasses. I can’t recall what caused me to take the plunge, but it was a really fun process to build my ideal sunglasses.
Pros: Oakley allows you to choose glasses based on your preferred activity. First you choose the type of frames you like, then start changing the color of the frames, lenses, Oakley icon, and wrap around the frame. You can go with standard lenses or make them polarized.
I initially didn’t want to spend the money for polarized lenses but when my first pair of standardized ones got scratched up, I called Oakley and was offered the option to upgrade to polarized for $40. Major bonus is that the lenses are replaceable! Upgrading from standardized to polarized was only $20 more and it made a huge difference.
Cons: Not all of the color options are great. The particular frame that I really liked only came in standard colors (black, white, blue, red, etc.). While I am not much of a girly girl, running has taught me to really embrace all colors. My favorite running shoes are the brightest. So I was a little bummed that I couldn’t go with fun shades of pink, purple, or even silver or gold.
Overall: These shades are super durable and feel great to wear. I absolutely love them and the sturdy case they come in. If I can find where I tucked them when we moved, I might give them another go.
Tifosi Optics: (Starts around $35) The first pair of running glasses that I ever purchased were from Tifosi. Most running stores carry this brand and there is a lot to like about these products.
Pros: Tifosi comes in at a moderate price point but offers a lot for what you pay. There are different frame styles to suit your preferences. I like to run without frames on the bottom of lenses. Rock prefers his frame to go all the way around the lens. Tifosi has you covered either way.
For around $45, my first pair came with three different lens types. I had the standard dark lenses, an amber color for darker or foggy days, and clear. Having the option to switch out your frames for different types of weather was really nice.
Cons: Of all of my running shades, I felt these were the least durable. The lenses scratched up easier than other pairs. The nose pieces fell off, as did the ear wraps. Both had to be replaced and are not done directly through the company. You must order replacements through other dealers.
Overall: Perhaps it is because these were my first running sunglasses, but I honestly really love these shades. You get a great product at a pretty decent price point.
Knockaround Sunglasses: (Starting at $10) Last year I forgot to bring a pair of running sunglasses with me on our annual trip to Florida. Running on the shiny sandy beach with the sun reflecting on the ocean is not a good combo for your eyes. Rock came to my aid by loaning me his Knockarounds. My apologies to him, but I never game them back! He discovered these by a friend on Facebook who posted his multiple orders and love for this product.
Pros: First of all, at this price point, you simply cannot go wrong. The one thing that will make me toss a pair of sunglasses out is if they bounce around on your face or won’t stay up on the top of your head if you need to rest them there. In fact, on our honeymoon in Aruba, I lost a super sweet pair of Ray-Bans, because during lunch they kept falling off and I set them on the table and forgot them.
These shades fit really well and although they aren’t meant to be for running, they are the lightest and most comfortable pair of sunglasses I have used. They don’t fog up when I sweat and they withstand all types of weather. For $20 you can have a great pair of sturdy polarized shades and for $25 you can fully customize them to your liking.
Cons: The only thing that we have both noticed is that these lenses tend to scratch up a bit easier than other sunglasses. However, for the price of this product, the quality far exceeds what you would expect.
Overall: These are my new go-to running sunglasses. They are so light and so easy to wear. I am still wearing the pair I “borrowed from Rock last March. I wear them to work, to run, and everything in between. They look great on me and I now have them in several different colors and styles.
Rumor has it that Fleet Feet in Chicago cannot keep these glasses in stock. People are battling to get their hands on this product. I have not tried them yet, but Rock ordered himself a pair this past summer when he kept seeing Facebook posts from runners.
Pros: For just a touch more than the Knockarounds you get another solid frame with polarized lenses. Rock feels that these lenses tend to be a bit sturdier than the Knockarounds.
Cons: At this point he hasn’t found any cons. They aren’t of the same quality as higher-end brands, but they are plenty solid for both running and daily activities.
Overall: These are now Rock’s go-to shades for running and any other time. I might just have to “borrow” his pair for a bit and see for myself.
In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of these products. I love that you can now find a quality product at all price points. I still love my Tifosi and Oakley shades, but for now, I think I am going to stick with my Knockarounds and see how they do during a full marathon training session.
What brand do you prefer most?