The Cutest Sports Sunglasses for Outdoor Workouts
Sports sunglasses are usually far from chic, but these fashionable frames that double as polarized sunglasses are built to withstand tough outdoor workouts (without making you look like a dork).
How to Pick Great Sports 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.
How to pick a pair worth wearing? 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. Lenses are a big part of the shades equation, too. Pick gray for bright day, green or bronze for versatility. Rose gives leafy greens contrast; blue rules in surf or snow.
Here you'll find the best good-looking sports sunglasses to protect your eyes and stay on despite sweat.
Great for Road Running: Smith Caper Chromapop 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. Made by sports optics brand Smith (who, IDYCK, also makes top-notch snowsport goggles), these glasses are polarized for visual comfort and glare reduction, offer 100 percent UV protection and have an anti-reflexive coating on the inside of the glasses. The lenses are protected by a water- and oil-resistant coating, and the frames are made from a proprietary Evolve material that incorporates 53 percent bio-based material. The kicker? They come in 17 different colorways, so whether you're looking for something sporty and bright or low-key and lifestyle-y, Smith has got you covered with these frames.
Great for SUP and Kayaking: Maui Jim 785 Puhi
The wraparound fit and super-lightweight polarized lenses of Maui Jim’s sleek, unisex Puhi frames is what you need to shield eyes and skin from reflections on the water. All of the brand's lifestyle and sports sunglasses block 100 percent of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, as well as manage 95 of HEV and blue light. This pair also features PolarizedPlus2 technology to help cut glare and boost color, so you can protect your eyes without dampening the vivid views around you.
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. (Related: Did You Know That You Can Get Skin Cancer On Your Eyelid?)
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 running stairs 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. (Related: How Learning to Mountain Bike Pushed Me to Make a Major Life Change)
Great 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 percent 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: Roka x Machines for Freedom Oslo
Okay, we're the first to admit traditional performance frames look, well, a bit dorky. But female-led cycling gear brand Machines for Freedom has managed to blend performance perks into a more modern — and straight-up fun — form in this collab with Roka. The ultra-light frame delivers on the bike, protecting eyes from flying flecks off the trail or road while rose-gold lenses let greens pop (and look totally badasss).
Great for Triathlons: Nike Windshield Elite
Not everyone is on-board with super sporty looking sunglasses, but these über-modern Nike Windshield Elite frames aren't your ordinary sunglasses — they're ideal for all the performance needs of a triathlete. A floating nose pad helps optimize airflow when you're on the bike and absorb impact from your strides or a rough patch of road. The lens frame adds bonus ventilation both above the nose and on the top of the frame to help reduce fogging, and the single single lens means no gaps in your vision. Opt for a classic black-on-black or a brightly colored mirrored version to stand out against the competitive field. (Check out even more running sunglasses for bright summer workouts.)
Great for All-Around Training: Oakley Spindrift
Oakley's Spindrift has got game with a three-point fit: molded temples with extra grip and no-slip nose pads. The blue lenses work for bright-day play (and look super cool in photos, FTR), but they have four other color options, each using lens technology optimized for different brightness and contrast levels.
Great for Outdoor Travel: Article One Active Bird
This is the perfect pair of sport sunglasses if you're traveling (just toss them in one of these travel-friendly bags) and want a pair that works for runs, hikes, bike rides, beach walks, and more — plus, can pretend to be lifestyle shades. All of Article One's active sunglasses are made with TR90 polymer plastic, an incredibly durable and lightweight material. This pair's silicone nose pads are made to grip and hold with a wire core skeleton that you can squeeze tight during a workout and let loose afterward. The polarized lenses block 100 percent of UVA/UVB rays and prevent glare. Not to mention, for sports sunglasses, they look super chic.