December 13

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Sun Protection Gear for Runners: The Ultimate Buying Guide


As runners, we push our bodies to perform. In return, we reap the physical and mental health benefits from our workouts. Still, no matter what we do, we can’t outrun the sun.

Harmful UV rays could cause us to develop skin cancer or damage our eyes. In the summer, the risk of skin damage is even higher because we wear less clothing and tend to sweat more. Our bodies are constantly working for us, so return the favor by wearing sun-protective gear.

Sun Protection Hats

Opt for hats, not visors, because they offer better protection from the sun. If you have long hair, use a trucker hat with an opening in the back (for the ponytail) so the lip keeps the sun off your face and eyes. Shade caps are another option, as they protect both your neck and face.

Sun Protection Masks

Masks and face shields have been used by runners since way before the pandemic, although they’re mainly used to improve breathing. You could also wear balaclavas that shield your face, scalp, and torso, as it provides the most amount of protection from the summer sun and winter cold.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are designed to minimize UV rays’ effect on your eyes. Only the top running sunglasses on the market will offer enough protection, so don’t just buy any pair of shades. Make sure they’re rated UV400 or higher, meaning they’ll block 100% of UV rays.

UPF Arm Sleeves

Arm sleeves are versatile sun protection equipment that can be worn whenever you wear short sleeves. While wearing sleeves instead of a long-sleeve shirt may seem redundant, only specialized athletic wear will offer UV protection, so shop for sleeves made of 40+ UPF.

UPF Shirts

We recommend getting a long-sleeve UPF shirt, but you could combine a short-sleeved shirt with arm sleeves. Your torso holds most of your organs, and your arms are the third-most likely place to burn (next to your face and shoulders), so protect this area with layered clothing.

UPF Leggings or Shorts

Like with your shirt, you should opt for something that covers the most skin. Black leggings or shorts absorb the sun’s UV rays more effectively than pastel colors, but the thickness of the fabric is more important. If light shines through your clothing, it won’t offer the best protection.

Jacket

Although a running jacket is more important for winter runners, summer joggers may prefer wearing a jacket because it makes them sweat more and covers the most amount of skin. Buy a coat that has a long, straight collar that you can pop and keep popped during the run.

Scarf

Similar to a running jacket, scarves are essential in the winter. However, some face shields can be used as scarves if you need something to protect your neck. Only use infinity scarves because they won’t unravel as you run. Tuck the scarf into your coat for extra comfort.

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    Gloves

    Our hands aren’t the most sensitive parts of our bodies, but they are the most useful. If you get a sunburn on the back or palms of your hands can make daily actions extremely painful. Wear an outdoor sports glove marketed to cyclists, as they have the highest UPF rating.

    Closed Running Shoes

    You’re probably not running in open-toed sandals, but if you are, it’s time to stop. Not only is running in open-toed shoes dangerous, but they provide little protection against the sun. Only wear running shoes that are breathable, flexible, and supportive during your jogs.

    Sunscreen

    If you don’t want to wear anything extra during your runs, you should at least put on sunscreen. Apply sunscreen to every part of your body that isn’t protected by clothing and make sure to reapply every two hours (or every hour if you have fair skin) or after sweating profusely.

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