The sun is shining and the weather is sweet for fitness enthusiasts of all kinds, from runners to hikers to kickball players.
But the return of long, sunny days also means the return of glare and squinting, not to mention those tiny gnats that have a tendency to lodge themselves in runners' eyes come summertime.
Carl Schmieg, accessories buyer for Potomac River Running, says the right pair of sunglasses can make the difference between a comfortable day playing outside and heading home early. And with the wide variety of sunglasses on the market now, there's a pair for every face.
"It really is all about what fits your particular facial structure," he says.
Schmieg suggests the following models, which offer protection from harmful UV rays and will keep your face comfortable, no matter what outside activity.
"Photochromic" lenses adjust to different light conditions, darkening with brighter sunlight. Schmieg says Tifosi glasses represent the lower end of those lenses, which multiple brands offer under different names. These also let you adjust the nose and temples to get the perfect fit.
Get the same "photochromic" lens technology in Tifosi's Pave model with a sleek design that pairs as well with a dress or suit as it does with your grubbiest workout gear. Schmieg says Tifosi's Slip ($60) and Dolomite ($70) models are also popular.
Oakleys are tried-and-true high-end sunglasses, and this model, which Oakley debuted last season, lets users easily change from daytime to low-light lenses (great for nighttime protection against the aforementioned gnats). Schmieg says the glasses have two clips on each side, making it quick and simple to switch from one lens to another. Oakley has introduced more colors this year, making these an even more popular buy than last year.
As far as Oakley goes, "these are the dead middle," Schmieg says. "They're a mid-range price, and tend to fit most people. These are some of the most popular ones we sell." You'll see three-time Ironman world champion Peter Reid rocking the Half Jacket, while the Flak Jacket's hydrophobic lens coating prevents water and residue from compromising vision.
Schmieg says Ryders, which will be offered in Potomac River Running stores within the next few weeks, offer high-tech, high-quality lenses with a lower price tag than Oakleys. He says any of the "photochromic" models offer the same benefits as the Tifosi lenses, and darken when exposed to sunlight. The Caliber's rimless design makes it an especially good pick for runners and others looking to avoid too much glasses-to-cheek contact.
Amy Reinink is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Backpacker magazine, Runner's World, and Women's Running. She's also a marathon runner, an open-water swimmer and a ski patroller who blogs about her training adventures at amyreinink.com.
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