I used to hate running in sunglasses. The Kona sunnies from Roka totally changed my mind.
During college, an acquaintance who took her wrinkle-fighting regimen very seriously told me she purposely didn’t spend much time outside. I couldn't relate when she confessed this to me. Conjuring up visions of the soccer camps of my youth, my family's many ocean-side vacations, and the countless outdoor runs I had racked up over the years, I remember thinking,You’re really, really missing out. Not to mention, we’re only in our 20s!
Now, on the other side of 30, I’m still not down to limit my time in nature for the sake of my skin. (That’s what sunscreen is for, isn’t it?!) But as fine lines (and, frankly, some deeper wrinkles, too) have started to set in, I began wondering if there were skincare habits I should have been practicing more religiously in my 20s.
Since I can’t go back in time and provide 25-year-old me with some retinol cream, I recently decided to make some small skin-friendly changes. I caved in to decades of nudging from my mother and started wearing hats on those afore-mentioned beach trips, and I learned how to sleep on my back. I even took to running with sunglasses, which I sure hope is resulting in less crow’s-feet-inducing squinting (and, of course, protection for my peepers).
For the longest time I couldn’t understand how people ran in sunglasses comfortably. Anytime I had tried it, the shades either slipped down my nose, bumped around on my face, or simply obstructed my vision–not OK when you're already dodging New York City traffic. But when I was sent a sample of Roka Kona glasses to try, they totally won me over.
The Kona sunglasses come in a handful of color options, but I've been rocking the sleek shadow frame with bronze polarized lenses ($210; roka.com, amazon.com), pictured above. Roka is a performance brand, with loads of products geared toward swimmers, cyclists, runners, and triathletes, so it’s no surprise that the features on these babies deliver.
For starters, they weight just 24 grams, light enough to forget they’re on your face, but sturdy enough to stand up to the elements. I love the patented GEKO pads on the nose and at the temples–they’re designed to actually grip better once you start to sweat, so the sunnies seriously don’t slip or bounce. The polarized lenses not only cut glare, they're also formulated to block damaging UVA and UVB rays. I also happen to find the square shape flattering on my longish, roundish face (a Klein family trait if there ever was one!).
At $210 a pop, Kona glasses are certainly an investment–but they’re worth the splurge, especially since it’s not like you have to only wear them for working out. If your budget's a little tighter, you might want to consider the non-polarized lenses instead, which will run you $170.
Since my own pair of Konas was a gift, I recently decided to spread the love and purchased the stylish white frames for a dear friend who was relatively new to running and needed some great gear. So far, she's been loving hers too. Be sure to wave if you spot us running together in our matching sunglasses in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this summer!