The Cutest Polarized Sunglasses for Outdoor Workouts
Why Polarized Sunglasses?
Nothing says summer like new sunnies. But most cute frames slide right off your nose at the first sign of sweat or don’t offer nearly enough protection from the sun, making them nothing but frustrating during an outdoor workout (because no one likes squinting constantly while they’re trying to focus on exercising). Opt for functional, though, and you usually end up looking like you're in the Tour de France.
Thankfully, sunglasses companies are coming to your ego's (and your eyes’) rescue, with a ton of brands offering summer shades that are not only cute but will also stay put on the sweatiest of faces and keep your eyes fully shaded.
There is another important aspect to consider, though: Choosing sub-par shades can do serious damage to your eyes, says Sumitra Khandelwal, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine. Exposure to UV light—even when just reflected off the water—not only makes your eyes feel tired and dry, but it can also cause serious harm like retinal damage and early cataract formation. Plus, UV exposure can increase your risk for cancer on the eye as well as on the skin around them, she adds. Another factor that can cause eye damage—especially during outdoor activities—is reflected glare. Sunglasses with polarized lenses are recommended because they can effectively reduce glare and protect your eyes even further, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Bottom line: Dr. Khandelwal says all sunglasses should have 99 to 100 percent UVA/B protection, polarized lenses, and enough frame coverage to shield the skin around your eye.
Here you'll find the best good-looking polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes and stay on despite sweat. Bonus: Since they all feature polarized lenses with UVA/B protection, you can say goodbye to glare for good—and rest easy knowing that you’re taking steps to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
Great for Road Running: Foster Grant Women’s Sutton Polarized Sunglasses
This pair of tortoise shell sunnies may look too sleek to be sports sunglasses, but they're built to stand up to activity just as well as a sporty-looking pair. They're made with a flexible material that can bend without breaking, so they'll hug your face and stay put during a run. Plus, these polarized sunglasses will reduce glare and have 100% UVA and UVB protection for optimal eye protection. The kicker? They cost less than a boutique fitness class.
Great for SUP and Kayaking: Revo Greison Round Polarized Sunglasses
These super-cute classic shades were made for you to wear on the water—literally. In addition to blocking UVA/B/C light, the shatterproof lenses are specifically designed to cut through the glare of the bright ocean surface while making natural colors look more vibrant. The lightweight lenses are also made with 100 percent UV-protection coating and Revo’s lens technology for a flat fit that’s meant to mold to your face shape.
Great for Boating: Costa Del Mar ANAA Sunglasses
Costa has cult status among boaters and fishermen. And for good reason—its lens technology filters out harmful blue UV light and dulling yellow hues while enhancing the good blue, red, and green colors, delivering a view that helps you see through the water so well, they boast it compares to HD. On top of this, Costa gets seriously watersport nerdy with its lenses, specifically designing different hues for offshore, inshore, lake, and rivers. The pick for spending summer afternoons sailing or motoring around: The ANAAs, which sport a super-cute two-tone frame and polarized lens, best for filtering out the reflective light and glare off the water while enhancing that gorgeous blue—and keeping you looking fresh in all your 'grams.
Great for Hiking: Oakley Latch Polarized Sunglasses
Feel free to hit a long hike in these stylish shades—the frames are super lightweight and feature a special fit that takes the pressure off your nose and ears, so they're comfortable to wear all day. Oakley's Prizm polarized lens technology helps enhance visual details for a crystal view, and the black lenses, rather than enhancing certain hues, actually keep colors at their natural state while blocking out too much sunshine. An extra feature allows you to clip the shades to your shirt, so they'll stay secure when you're hiking under shade. And while they aren't cheap, you can bet these trendy frames will make enough appearances at brunch and on the beach to warrant the price tag.
Great for Outdoor HIIT In Style: Carfia Polarized Sunglasses
These frames are cute enough to wear inside (don't), but thanks to their polarized lens technology and 100 percent UV protection, you'll want to pop them on for your next outdoor HIIT workout. The polarization technology used in these glasses enhances natural colors while reducing any glare—great if you're swinging a kettlebell or trying to do box jumps on a bench. What’s more, the UV protection will keep your eyes safe even on the sunniest summer days, and the frames (which come in trendy two-tone colors), are durable and impact-resistant, making them even more workout-ready.
Great for Mountain Biking: Native Eyewear Acadia
Named with nature in mind, these shades live up to their rugged namesake. They have grip pads to keep them in place while you launch down mountains. The castor-based resin frames are not only eco-friendly but also super durable (especially in high-impact collisions and hot temps). And advanced N3 lens technology block four times more infrared light than regular polarized lenses. These lenses are especially great when going from sun to shadows on the trail without losing visibility. Oh, and all Native frames come with a lifetime warranty.
Best Lightweight Option for Long Walks: Sungait Aviator Polarized Sunglasses
While they may not be the most durable option for hardcore outdoor workouts, these trendy oversized aviators are perfect for low-intensity workouts when you're outside this summer. They have polarized lenses with 100% UV protection and use spring hinges that are made to comfortably mold to your face (so you won’t have to worry about them falling off). And while some aviator styles tend to feel heavy, these are actually very lightweight. With mirrored, polarized lenses that come in pink, gold, ocean blue, and other bright and fun colors, these aviators are functional, fashionable, and perfect for summer.
Great for Cycling: Nike Helix Elite
Okay, we're the first to admit traditional performance frames look, well, a bit dorky. But Nike has managed to blend those aerodynamic performance perks into a more modern form with the Helix Elite. And while you're probably not going to wear them to brunch with your girls, the ultra-light frame delivers on the bike. Part of Nike's Women's Training Collection, the Helix Elite sport a single-piece Zeiss Optics lens, which delivers extra clarity and physical coverage when you're cruising. Not only does the frame shape help reduce wind resistance, but the arms of the frame have rubber pieces to grip and strategic ventilation to prevent fogging on humid mornings. And on that morning ride, we'd argue they'll help you look way more badass than dorky.
Great for Trail Running: Spy Optic Pismo
These frames are made from high-quality aluminum and acetate materials, which means if you catch a rock on the run and these go flying off your face, they'll survive. And with spring hinges for a perfect fit on the nose, the frames will hug your temples tight as you hit the trails. All SPY frames also come with Happy Lens technology, which filters out the sun's negative short-wave blue light but lets in the long wave kind. This is super beneficial for your mood and alertness, especially in frequently cloudy areas.
Great for Triathlons: Nike Bandit
Everyone loves a classic Wayfarer frame, but these über-modern Bandits aren't your ordinary sunglasses. Part of Nike Vision's Running Collection, these frames have soft rubber channels inside the arms that increase airflow, wick away sweat, and help grip your skin as you heat up, preventing that sweaty slippage after two miles. There's even ventilation in the top of the frame to allow heat to escape and cool air to circulate. Plus, all their shades offer 100 percent UVA/B protection. (Check out even more running sunglasses for bright summer workouts.)