How to Choose Running Eyewear

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Running Eyewear


One of the main accessories to running is the eyewear component. In this article, the eyewear term refers to sunglasses or spectacles.  This category of eyewear also includes prescription glasses that are meant for vision correction.


UV Protection

The sunglasses consists of two components: the lens and the frame.  The sunglasses are primarily meant to shield the eyes from sunlight.   Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, reduce eye strain in bright conditions and protect you from flying debris and other hazards.

Choose eyewear that offer protection against UVA and UVB sunrays.



The first step in buying sports eyewear is to choose the style that appeals to you.  What style of frame do you prefer?   What lens shape do you prefer (oval, rectangular, or cat eye)?

There are also some general guidelines about how to pick a frame shape that looks best on your face. If you have an oval face shape, rectangular glasses look best, and if you have a rectangular face, oval glasses look best.

Usually your eyeglasses fit without any adjustments needed.    Of all the clothing and accessories that you hang on your body, eyeglasses are among the easiest to customize and adapt to your body.

Getting the right size glasses for you is a combination of choosing the right frame style and then fitting the glasses to your face. You can measure your current eyeglasses with a ruler and use them as a guide.


Size of Glasses:

Running Eyewear  frames have four basic measurements:   the eye, bridge, temple, and B measurements (measured in mm):


The Eye - The eye size refers to the horizontal width in millimeters of one of the frames lenses. The measurement is taken from the inside of one side of the frame to the inside of the other side of the frame.

The Bridge - The bridge measurement is the distance in millimeters between the two lenses. It is measured between the two closest points of the two lenses.

The Temple - The temple length is measured along the length of the arm, from one end to the other, including the bend.

The B measurement  - The B measurement refers to the vertical height of an eyeglasses lens, and is measured from the tip to the bottom of the lens aperture of the frame.


Running Eyewear Measurements



Most glasses frames have some size information printed on the inside of the frame, although the lettering can be worn away with use. To find all the lettering, you must look on the inside of both temples, and on the inside of the bridge. The numbers usually look something like this:

Example:   54-18-135

Eye 54
Bridge 18
Temple 135

In this case, the brand Oakley has the eye size is followed by bridge size, sometimes with a small square box in between. The arm length could be printed after the eye and bridge sizes, or elsewhere. Other letters and numbers could refer to the color of the frame. The B measurement is never written on the frame.

To determine the size of Oakley sunglasses you need to measure the size of your face. A small or thin face would require eye size frames between 40 and 48 mm. A medium to large face would require eye size frames between 49 and 58 mm. Extra wide faces would require eye size frames above 58 mm.


Lens Type:



Next, once you know your eyewear size, you need to determine the lens type. For most runners, Poly carbonate lenses are the most impact resistant lenses available and are always the lens of choice for active runners. Poly carbonate lenses are high index and are usually the lightest, most comfortable lenses. They absorb all harmful UV light and can be made with ultra thin edges because of their unique strength.



The more advanced lenses use Polarized lenses which is  a great feature if you are sensitive to glare.  When light reflects off of flat surfaces, such as the ground, the light waves align in horizontal patterns, creating intense glare.  The filters in polarized lenses block these horizontal light waves, substantially reducing blinding glare and its resulting eyestrain.



Next in the eyewear is the frame.  The lower end sports eyewear use plastic eyeframes which can break.   The more mid to high end sportswear eyeglasses use Nylon frames because they are lightweight and flexible. They are able to bend slightly and return to their original shape instead of breaking when pressure is applied to them. This flex can also help the glasses grip better on the wearer's face.


Half Frames

Sports Eye Frames can be made to hold the lenses in several different ways. There are two common styles:  full frame and half frame. Full frame glasses have the frame go all around the lenses.  Half frames go around only half the lens; typically the frames attach to the top of the lenses and on the side near the top.  The best frame type to get is the half frame since you can interchange the frame lens.


Interchangeable Lens:

The best sports eyewear use the half frame type since you can interchange the frame lens to different colors for a different style look.    Each manufacturer makes multiple colors and types of interchangeable lenses.


Eyewear Manuafacturers:

There are many sports eyewear companies who make the half frame type and are shown below:

Under Armour


Fit Tips

Here are some tips when trying on a pair of sunglasses:

  • Frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears, but not pinch or rub.
  • The weight of sunglasses should be evenly distributed between your ears and nose. Frames should be light enough to avoid excess friction on these contact points.
  • Your eyelashes should not contact the frame.



Running Eyewear can run you anywhere from around $50 for Tifosi Half Frame Interchangeable to $180 for Oakley Half Frame Polarized Interchangeable.





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