Prescription Running Lens Guide

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Running Lens Recommendations


Visual Light Transmisson Key

When you see the percentage numbers next to a lens tint, that describes the amount of light that is being let through the lens. For example, 8-9% is a very dark lens, 35% is a very light sunglass lens and 96% is a clear lens. The chart above shows the percentage range we would recommend for each light condition. In lens guides, Visual Light Transmission is sometimes shortened to VLT.


Lens Material

Prescription running sunglasses typically use lenses made of either high grade polycarbonate or Trivex, another composite lens material. Both are lightweight and shatterproof and provide excellent clarity. There are slight differences between the two materials, but for most people they are imperceptible and both result in excellent lenses in terms of optical quality and impact protection. Oakley, Nike and Under Armour use polycarbonate and Smith and Bolle offer Trivex as well as polycarbonate in their running lenses.


Polarized vs. Non-Polarized

We would almost always recommend polarized lenses for running, but if you mostly run early in the morning or at dusk, there are other lenses that will likely perform better for you. The polarization filter effectively cuts road glare and reduces eye fatigue, but if most of your miles are in neighborhoods or running through downtown streets, a good mirror coating on a non-polarized lens will get the job done as well. It’s hard to perform your best when squinting and if your face is relaxed your body tends to feel more relaxed as well. 


Progressive vs. Single Vision

If you normally use progressive lenses in your everyday glasses, should you get them in your running eyewear? There isn’t a perfect answer to this one, usually runners will know for sure if they want them or not. If you are on the fence, we would recommend getting progressive lenses if your “add” power (reading magnification) was +2.00 or higher. If your "add" is weaker, for example +1.50, you can likely make out the numbers on your heart rate monitor or watch without the reading magnification. In our opinion, the benefit of not giving up lens space for the magnification portion, seems to outweigh the inconvenience of squinting a little to read your watch.



If you have any other questions about running specific prescription glasses, give us a shout at 888-507-1230 or and we'll be happy to help.


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