By Brian Metzler
Not all sunglasses were created equal, a fact that’s evident when it comes to running – and especially obvious when trail running.
Traversing over a variety of surfaces amid ever-changing light conditions requires a high-performance lens that can adapt on the fly. One moment you’re on rocks in the sunshine, the next moment you’re on loose gravel running through a shady thicket of trees. Sunglasses with lenses that don’t adapt or don’t adapt quickly enough can lead to untimely stumbling (believe me, I have scars to prove it!) or the need to constantly flip the shades to the top of your head. And that can be tricky, not to mention tiresome. It’s a little more straightforward running on the roads, when light typically changes more gradually – at least until you turn in the direction of the rising sun while running on a busy bike path.
The good news is that I’ve found a new pair of shades I love from a brand I have never tried before. Adidas Sport Eyewear isn’t made by the same organization that makes Adidas running shoes, but instead is manufactured by Marcolin, a global eyewear giant founded in 1961 in the heart of Italy’s Veneto district. They were specifically chosen to design and become the official licensee of Adidas eyewear because of their ability to access premium materials from lenses to frames. There are nearly a dozen models in the 2022-2023 Adidas Sport Eyewear line and I especially like a couple of them for running – most notably models SP0057 and SP0063. Oddly named, for sure – it’s a European thing – but the quality and performance of these spectacles are exceptional.
My favorites are the performance-oriented model SP0063 sunglasses, which have a lens with a fast-acting photochromic application that adapts almost instantaneously to changing conditions. It also features a special curvature that extends the visual field and improves optic sensibility, offering fewer surface points for UV rays to penetrate. Running over the red rock terrain of Sedona, Arizona, through the lush green trails around Portland, Oregon and the exposed high-altitude routes of Boulder, Colorado, these shades gave me a crisp, unimpeded field of vision without fatiguing my eyes. I have also used them while mountain biking on gray, overcast days, snowshoeing in extremely bright conditions and driving into low-angle early morning sunshine.
The lightweight rim frame has rubber-end tips with no contact points along the temples, plus adjustable nose pads, that combine for an ideal, near-custom fit that hasn’t slipped once for me. They also seem to be very durable, especially because the frames bend but won’t break. They haven’t fogged up, they haven’t left any indentations in my face and they’ve never constricted my vision. And with a list price of just $99, they’re pretty affordable.
Need some reliable new shades for running? Check ‘em out! To me the best sign of a great pair of sunglasses is when you forget you're running with them on your face. That’s often been the case for the SP0063 shades. My only question is: why can’t they make me run faster?