The 5 Best Sunglasses for Sports
Yes, your Wayfarer sunglasses are classic. Unfortunately, they’re not the best shades to wear when you get sweaty (which you’ve probably realized if you’ve ever worn them on a jog and spent the entire outing pushing them back up your nose). But you don’t have to give up on sunnies when you’re active al fresco. Athletic sunglasses have come a long way, now sporting more fashionable designs, advanced materials, and features tailored to specific activities. Whether you’re getting outside this summer to go cycling or do some stand up paddleboarding, there’s a pair for you. Read on for our top picks.
1. BEST FOR RUNNING: NIKE VAPORWING ELITE; $320
Nike has thought of everything a runner needs with its Vaporwing Elite glasses. They’re ultra-light, so they won’t bounce with every step you take, and a floating nose pad also helps absorb shock while letting air flow—meaning your sweat won’t fog up the lenses and make the shades slip off your nose. Rubbery panels along your temples help keep them in place, too. One very cool feature: The lenses are a single piece, with no plastic bar between your eyes, so you get a totally clear view of the road ahead.
Find it: Dick's Sporting Goods
2. BEST FOR ROAD CYCLING: SMITH PIVLOCK ARENA MAX; $159
Smith added a larger, single-piece lens to these sunglasses for increased coverage and ultimate visibility on the road. This lightweight pair comes with two interchangeable lenses, so you can pop one out and slip in another based on how bright the sun is during your ride. The nosepiece is adjustable for a comfortable, customized fit, and the arms gently adhere to the skin around your temples—so they stay firmly in place as you pedal.
Find it: Amazon
3. BEST FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING: OAKLEY EVZERO RANGE PRIZM TRAIL; $170
Grippy pads on the arms and nosepiece mean the shades stay in place when you get sweaty, no matter how bumpy the ride, while Plutonite Lenses filter 100 percent of UV rays. But the best part (and what makes these a top pick for off-road riding) is that Oakley’s Prizm technology enhances the browns and reds of dirt and makes the greens of grass and shrubbery pop. So if you’re riding on dirt and grass, it’s easier to spot transitions—making you less likely to wipe out.
Find it: Oakley
4. BEST FOR TRIATHLONS: ROKA PHANTOM; $250
This pair from triathlon-gear brand ROKA looks like your typical aviators but has high-tech features that make the pair a smart pick for biking and running. For one, grippy strips on the nose pads and arms keep them in place but won’t snag on your hair. They’re also available with polarized lenses to help cut down on glare. Plus, they’re way more stylish than typical athletic sunglasses—so you’ll look good in those finish line photos.
Find it: Amazon
5. BEST FOR WATER SPORTS: VUARNET GLACIER; $640
Unlike most sunglasses, these boast lenses made of mineral glass; they’re incredibly scratch-resistant, clear, and reduce glare from the sun and light reflected off water. Plus, a coating helps prevent fog and a buildup of sweat or sunscreen. Leather patches on the sides block light (though you can pop them off if you prefer), and a cord attached to the arms can be tied at the back of your head for an extra-snug fit. Oh, and Daniel Craig wore them in the latest James Bond film (pictured at top)—so you know you’re in good company wearing these bad boys.
Find it: Vuarnet
A version of this article first ran in 2016. It has been updated to reflect current availability.
Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!