The Best Sports Sunglasses of 2023
Four testers logged over 1,000 miles in 10 pairs of sunglasses. These stood out from the pack.
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For any athlete who subscribes to a “look good, perform good” philosophy, shades have become an integral part of their kit. But sports sunglasses are about so much more than style. This season’s best models lean heavily on eye protection and visual clarity via innovative new technology combined with tried-and-true essentials like UV400 and polarization. No matter how packed with features, however, these sunglasses won’t ever distract you from your sport of choice.
The Winners At a Glance
Best for Variable Light: Tifosi Rail XC
Best for Sport-Lifestyle Versatility: Roka Phantom Titanium
Best for Lightweight Style: 100% Legere Trap
Best Field of View: Oakley Re:SubZero
Best Value: Goodr OG
How We Test
Number of Testers: 4
Number of Products Tested: 10
Number of Miles Run While Wearing: 1,000+
Number of Pairs Lost or Broken: 0
We reached out to top performance sunglasses brands to find out what was coming for 2023, then called in 10 pairs of new and best-selling shades available for testing. We distributed those pairs to four testers based all over the country—from the high-alpine trails of Colorado to the humid hills of Atlanta to the congested streets of New York City—and instructed them to rate each pair for comfort, durability, clarity, and, of course, style.
Meet Our Testers
Ashley Mateo is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Denver, CO. She’s also an RRCA- and UESCA-certified running coach, and is known for racing in the most ridiculous oversized sunglasses she can find. Ashley recruited several testers with different backgrounds: Drew Whitcomb runs the gear review website WearTesters and is based in Atlanta; Matthew Hunsucker is a Denver-based ultramarathoner; and Jacqueline de Berry is a run club pacer in New York City.
The Reviews: The Best Sunglasses of 2023
Best for Variable Light: Tifosi Rail XC ($80)
Weight: 31 grams
Dimensions: 131mm x 52.6mm
Lens Technology: shatterproof/scratch-resistant interchangeable polycarbonate lenses
UV Protection: UV400
Frame Material: light and durable Grilamid TR-90
Pros: Three lenses included, expansive coverage
Cons: Some overheating, slight learning curve on swapping out lenses
Tifosi’s Rail XC is the new little sibling to the brand’s Rail shades, a sleek, rimless cycling lens introduced in 2022. It’s the same frame with a shallower lens cut for smaller faces (or people who don’t want as aggressive face coverage). “I felt like a total badass in these, which made me want to go faster,” said de Berry. You can choose a style that comes with three lenses (thanks to an easily removable nose piece and arms) for bright and low light conditions. Or you can select what Whitcomb calls the “one lens to rule them all” option: the Clarion Blue or Red Fototec lens that automatically adjusts from nearly clear to a sun-blocking mirror. “I liked how well the Fototec worked in all conditions,” said Hunsucker. “The lighter tint on the lenses made them awesome in low light situations, like early morning starts, but they still blocked out light when the sun was at its brightest.”
Bottom Line: Athletes who work out in varying light conditions will appreciate having three lenses to work with—or the option of a single do-it-all photochromic lens.
Best for Sport-Lifestyle Versatility: Roka Phantom Titanium ($290–310)
Weight: 20 grams
Dimensions: lens 57 mm x 49 mm, 14 mm bridge, 140 mm temple length
Lens Technology: ultralight nylon lenses with anti-scratch, anti-reflective, anti-fog, hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings
UV Protection: UV400
Frame Material: ultralight titanium
Pros: Stylish, super lightweight
Cons: Lenses smudge easily
You can’t go wrong with a classic aviator shape, which is why this is one of Roka’s best-selling designs. Multiple testers called out how stylish the Phantom Titanium was: “I found myself reaching for this pair during many of my day-to-day activities outside of exercise,” said Hunsucker. Testers also reported the glasses were exceptionally comfortable. “The titanium really cuts down on the weight and makes them feel barely there despite the strong metal build,” said Whitcomb. The no-slip nose and temple pads, made from a proprietary elastic polymer that’s hydrophilic and chemical-resistant, didn’t cause any notable pressure points, and “the frames didn’t budge,” said de Berry. The full coverage, dark carbon lens we tested was designed for bright and sunny conditions, which limited their use on overcast days, but had no negative impact on visual clarity. “These were the best-looking sunglasses I tested,” says Hunsucker.
Bottom Line: Anyone who regularly transitions from exercise to everyday life gets a sports and lifestyle lens rolled into one.
100% Legere Trap ($140)
Weight: 17 grams
Size: one size
Dimensions: 144.7 mm x 42 mm
Lens Technology: HiPER lens with anti-reflective, scratch-resistant coating; hydrophobic and oleophobic
UV Protection: UV400
Polarization: partial available as option
Frame Material: UltraCarbon
Pros: Super lightweight, interchangeable lenses
Cons: Smaller lenses than competitors
The rectangular shape of the Legere Trap is a fresh departure from ubiquitous shield sunglasses, even if they initially call to mind the tiny specs favored by supermodels—except these actually do shade the eyes. (We tested them in blue, but interchangeable lenses in other colors are sold separately.) The Legere Trap combines sport and style in a sharp, street-savvy silhouette, with a snug, super grippy nose piece to keep them secure. What really sets these glasses apart, though, is their weight: The UltraCarbon frame combined with Ultra HD lenses made from crack- and chemical-resistant nylon weighs in at a scant 17 grams, the lightest of all the shades we tested. They were so light, testers hardly felt like they were wearing anything at all. “I was surprised by how little pressure I felt on the ears,” said Hunsucker.
Bottom Line: If the weight of heavy sunglasses on your nose and ears has turned you off in the past, these are the solution.
Sunski Tera Stone Alpenglow ($89)
An ultralight backcountry kit isn’t complete without the Tera from Sunski. The comfortable and protective round lens shape features removable sun shields for glare protection during snow travel and sunny adventures. Plus, these shades come in two colorways: black gold and stone alpenglow. So whether you’re on the water this summer or summiting a snowy peak, the Tera protects your eyes in classic Sunski style.
Best Field of View: Oakley Re:SubZero ($234–244)
Weight: 24 grams
Dimensions: lens height 53 mm, frame width 137.2 mm, arm length 120 mm
Lens Technology: Prizm
UV Protection: UV400
Frame Material: O Matter frame
Pros: Unparalleled visual clarity and an unobstructed field of view
Cons: Unconventional shape and style off-putting for some
What’s old is new again—like, really new. Oakley reimagined one of its most iconic models, the Sub-Zero, for modern sport. The ultralight weight and oversized lenses are an homage to the OG design, but the brand’s latest innovation, PhysioMorphic Geometry, extends the wraparound, frameless design to open up your field of view, and follows the curvature of your face to not distort your vision. “They were one of the only pairs I would feel safe wearing on a technical trail run,” said Hunsucker. Testers all thought they worked exceptionally well in bright light and raved about the clarity of the lenses. That’s thanks to Oakley’s PRIZM technology, which ensures you’re getting the proper light transmission, colors, and contrast for whatever environment you’re in. “Literally everyone told me they looked ridiculous,” said Whitcomb. “But on humid summer runs, the anti-fog coating and lens quality was next level compared to everything else I tested.”
Bottom Line: Athletes looking for top-of-the-line lens tech and unapologetic ’80s nostalgics will go nuts for the Re:SubZero.
Best Value: Goodr OG ($25)
Weight: 22 grams
Dimensions: 139 mm width, 131 mm length from frame front to temple tips
Lens Technology: scratch-resistant and shatterproof
UV Protection: UV400
Polarized: yes, except blue light lens models
Frame Material: copolyester with soft touch coating
Pros: Comfortable, complete protection for an affordable price
Cons: Lenses can be difficult to keep clean and are easily damaged
The OG is Goodr’s best-selling style, and for good reason: The frame is almost universally flattering, they come in 25-plus colorways, and ring up at a mere $25. “I don’t usually race in sunglasses, but I wore these in the 2022 Berlin Marathon,” says de Berry. “I thought for sure I would get annoyed by them towards the end of the race and want to toss them away—and I wouldn’t even have minded due to how affordable they are. But they were so comfortable I wore them to the finish, and they helped me score a new PR.” Hunsucker, who has logged over 1,000 miles in the OGs, points out that they’re best when it’s super sunny. “They can affect your depth perception in the shade, so I only wear them on sunny, non-technical trails,” he says. They may not be as high-tech as other lenses, but they’re lightweight, don’t budge, and offer plenty of eye protection for an attractive price.
Bottom Line: Any athlete with a penchant for losing or damaging sunglasses should consider having a pair or two of Goodrs on hand.
How to Buy
It’s easy to get swayed by style, but the most important feature of any sports lens is ultraviolet light protection. Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV light; they should say UV400. FYI: A darker lens tint doesn’t necessarily offer better UV protection. Polarization—a coating on top of the lens that blocks the reflection of light off of surfaces—is another helpful feature.
As for size, generally, when it comes to sunglasses, bigger is better. Larger lenses offer the most coverage, not just for your eyes but for the surrounding skin, too.
Finally, make sure the glasses don’t slip, bounce, or fog up due to sweat. That’s going to feel different to every athlete, since face shapes differ. Take the time to try on multiple models and find the pair that feels best to you.
When it’s time to upgrade your gear, don’t let the old stuff go to waste–donate it for a good cause and divert it from the landfill. our partner, Gear Fix, will repair and resell your stuff for free! Just box up your retired items, print a free shipping label, and send them off. We’ll donate 100 percent of the proceeds to The Outdoorist Oath.