The 7 Best Sports Sunglasses for Every Activity

Photo: Rapha Pro Team Frameless Goggles

If you’re reading this, you already know how important it is to have a good pair of sunglasses for annual use — after all, the sun isn’t going anywhere. When you account for that, the next thing that comes to mind might be moving forward to the next level of eyewear: sport sunglasses. While a traditional (or polarized) pair of shades will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, not even the best silhouette from Persol or Jacques Marie Mage would bode as well on your morning jog as a pair of Oakleys. With this in mind, we narrowed down everything you should look for in a pair of performance glasses based on your go-to workouts, as well as particular things to look for in each one.

Find the Perfect Pair

Protective Performance

Cycling: Seeing as cycling is one of the more fast-paced activities here, seek a pair of glasses that feature rubber-made temple and nose grips that ensure they stay put throughout your ride. In addition to staying in place, the rubber material assists in staying grippier the more you sweat.

Golfing: As long as the sun is shining, odds are your next day on the golf course might cause eyestrain. The most important thing to look for in a pair of sunglasses for the occasion is 100% UV protection across the board and a lightweight frame. It’s worth noting that certain players may prefer to avoid polarized lenses because they can interrupt their field of vision, but go with what feels right in case eye safety is a key concern for you.

Hiking: No matter what time of year it is, you’re going to need some quality sunglasses when going hiking. Above all else, the glasses should offer UV-A, UV-B, UV-C, and blue light protection. Additionally, consider a pair with optimized stability compared to the average set of shades, preferably something with some form of protection from the elements. 

Running: Similarly to biking, you’ll want to consider materials that stabilize the glasses on your run. This notion primarily applies to rubber noseguards and temple tips, two things you have to be mindful of in your selection process, or else you’re practically buying a standard pair of sunglasses. As always, you should still account for UV protection in this case.

Trail Running: Like hiking, you’ll want a set of polarized lenses when trail running. It will reduce eye strain and glare while promoting visual clarity and optimized contrast in outdoor conditions.

As we said, the world’s most stylish shades don’t have some of these elements for a reason, primarily because high-level eyewear manufacturers don’t expect you to be running around and working up a sweat in their product, which is understandable; at the end of the day, that’s where the best performance sunglasses come into play.

the best Sport sunglasses

Photo: Native Eyewear

Native eyewear Sanitas

Best for Hiking: Native Eyewear’s sleek Sanitas silhouette is made to pave the way for glare-free visuals and look good simultaneously. Most importantly, it is ideal for warding off all UV rays while providing remarkable contrast, thanks to their polarized lenses, available in blue or bronze. Additionally, the brand’s proprietary Rhyno-Tuff Air frame is suitable for unpredictability in the backcountry. It is composed of lightweight thermoplastic built to endure high-velocity collisions and extreme temperatures.

Photo: Rapha

rapha pro team frameless goggles

Best for Cycling: Rapha is adept at making cycling gear of all kinds, and these glasses are a surefire choice for bikers. The frameless pair is composed of high-quality materials like injection-molded Grilamid, Megan arm grippers for optimized fit, and hydrophobic lenses with military-grade anti-fogging treatment. Functionally, they offer a premium field of view designed for the highest competition, but you can easily use them at your own pace.

Photo: Nike

Nike maverick free

Best for All-Day Comfort: If consistent comfort is the most important element of eyewear in your eyes, then this is the way to go. Nike’s rimless iteration of its popular Maverick silhouette has polarized lenses to reduce glare,  flexible arms to provide the perfect grip, and a ventilated rubber nose bridge to keep fogging at a minimum. Plus, it’s available in countless colors, so you can choose the one that best matches your gear.

Photo: Revo

REVO DESCEND FOLD

Best for Golfing: We think it’s best to air on the side of caution here. While we mention that non-polarized lenses could lend a hand in enhancing your depth of field, some golfers would argue that it’s not worth the risks of experiencing unwanted glare. Taking this into account, going with a trustworthy brand like Revo made the most sense. Its Descent Fold silhouette is sleek, rimless, and remarkably comfortable. Visually, it’s available in a light green mirror lens perfect for hitting the country club.

Photo: Oakley

Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

Best for Trail Running: Oakley is probably the first name that comes to mind in this space, so it was only a matter of time before one of its silhouettes appeared here. The Californian manufacturer’s Flak 2.0 boast a rectangular shape that offers enhanced lens coverage while remaining lightweight. The brand’s Prizm lens tech paves the way for low light transmission rates and all-condition performance. That said, the percentages differ based on the color you choose, so keep that in mind when considering a pair.

Photo: Tracksmith | Article One

TRACKSMITH X ARTICLE ONE The Charles

Best Overall: Tracksmith’s preppy attire is prototypical East Coast performancewear done right, and this sleek pair of sunglasses is a seamless showcase. The Charles is versatile enough to be worn on any occasion, but the collaborative silhouette (made alongside Article One) provides optimal UV protection across the board, deeming it ideal for virtually anything without the polarizing, future-first sense of sportiness.

Photo: District Vision

DISTRICT VISION KOHARU ECLIPSE

Best for Running: District Vision is one of the most prominent performance brands at the moment, and that goes beyond eyewear. Nevertheless, its D+ lens tech is touted as the “Sports Lens of the Future” thanks to its shatterproof composition, anti-reflective application, and water-and-oil-repellence. This, combined with a D+only mirror, promotes 100% UVA/B protection with 16.19% light transmission, ensuring you won’t be bothered by the sun’s rays or rainfall on your next run.

The Best Driving Sunglasses

Photo: Donkervoort Eyewear Denis

While most of these glasses can bode well on the road, drivers can use some advanced assistance with help from our guide to the best driving sunglasses.