Sports sunglasses are usually far from chic, but these fashionable frames are built to withstand tough outdoor workouts— without making you look like a dork.
What Should You Look For In Sunglasses?
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Nothing says summer like new sunnies. But most cute frames slide right off your nose at the first sign of sweat, making them nothing but frustrating during an outdoor workout. Opt for functional, though, and you usually end up looking like you're in the Tour de France.
Thankfully, sunglasses companies are coming to our ego's rescue, with a ton of brands offering summer shades that are not only cute but that will actually stay on the sweatiest of faces.
There is one other factor 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.
So how do we make everyone happy? Well, for starters, here's what the doc says all sunglasses should have: 99 to 100 percent UVA/B protection, polarization (which helps block reflected light), and enough frame coverage to shield the skin around your eye.
We've rounded up the best good-looking shades to protect your eyes and stay on through sweat, for every summer sport.
Photo: Getty Images
Great for SUP and Kayaking: Revo Aston
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These super-cute shades were made for you to wear on the water—literally. In addition to blocking UVA/B/C light and protecting against blue and HEV light, this blue lens is specifically designed to cut through the glare of the bright ocean surface. It's coated to repel water and sweat on the back, oil and fingerprints on the front. Plus, they have slip-reducing nose pads to keep them up while you're looking down. And while they aren't cheap, we'll bet these trendy frames will make enough appearances at brunch and on the beach to warrant the price tag. ($240; revo.com)
Great for Boating: Costa Del Mar ANAA
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Costa has cult status among boaters and fishermen. And for good reason—their 580 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 their lenses, specifically designing different hues for offshore, inshore, lake, and rivers. Our pick for spending summer afternoons sailing or motoring around: The ANAAs, which sport a super-cute two-tone frame and green 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. ($219; costadelmar.com)
Photo: Costa Del Mar
Great for Hiking: Oakley Latch
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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 lens technology helps enhance visual details for a crystal view, and the gray 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. ($190; oakley.com)
Great for Triathlons: ROKA Phantom C3
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Triathletes are perhaps the most resistant to veering from traditional performance eyewear—understandably so, considering the only thing that could make 8 to 16 hours of racing more painful is battling with your gear along the way. But don't judge these beauties at face value. ROKA just launched their sunnie line last fall with only three styles, but all were created, tested, and approved by real triathletes. The Phantom C3 in particular are ridiculously lightweight and sport grip technology designed to mimic a gecko foot, so they will hold onto your nose and ears through blood, sweat, and tears (though we hope you only have to test them against the last two). The lenses are glass, making them highly scratch resistant and helping dust and water bead right off. Yes, these classic frames come with a seriously steep price tag, but their performance and style is one hundred—so if you can swing the price, you won't be disappointed. ($275 to $325; roka.com)
Great for Outdoor HIIT: Smith Feature
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These frames are cute enough to wear to any day of summer, but thanks to their ChromaPop lens technology, we highly suggest you pop them on for your next HIIT sesh. ChromaPop's filter system enhances natural colors (beyond even what our eyes can see) and heightens the definition of objects—great if you're swinging a kettlebell or trying to do box jumps on a bench. The technology also cuts color confusion to the brain and reduces eye fatigue, which can be invaluable when you're hitting burpees at lightning speed and your eyes are trying to take it all in. Designed for smaller female faces, the Features not only hug your face with grips on the nose but also come out wide enough to prevent too much side light. ($169; smithoptics.com)
Great for Mountain Biking: Native Eyewear Ashdown
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Named for the remote Ashdown Gorge Wilderness in southwestern Utah, 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 did we mention that all Native frames come with a lifetime warranty? ($119; nativeyewear.com)
Related: Budget-Friendly Sunnies Under $100
Photo: Native Eyewear
Great for Urban Cycling: POC Require
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Most POC frames come with crystal clear Zeiss lenses and the ultra-durable Grilamid plastic frames, but the Require have special gray lenses specifically designed for urban cycling. The tint favors red wavelengths, enhancing contrast in grayish environments, while adding small peaks in blue and yellow wavelengths. Translation: The lenses are designed to highlight contrast on the road so cyclists can spot potholes and bumps before they ride over them, and to make the yellow and red lights of cars and stoplights pop. Safer eyes and a safer ride. ($230; pocsports.com)
Great for Road Cycling: Nike Helix Elite
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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. ($195 to $210; nikevision.com)
Great for Trail Running: SPY Allure
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These frames are made from a nearly indestructible thermoplastic called Grilamid, which means if you catch a rock on the run and these go flying off your face, they'll survive. And with rubber pieces on the temple and nose, the frames will hug you 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 cloudy parts of the country. ($100; spyoptic.com)
Great for Road Running: Nike Bandit
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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. ($166; nike.com)