Training for a marathon at 50 years old has posed an unexpected challenge. How do I read my sports watch or phone when I'm 10 miles from home? With my fanny pack, nutrition bar, GU, bottle of water, tissues, phone arm band and blue tooth headphones, I travel heavy compared to most distance runners. The last thing I want to do is shove another item, my reading glasses, into an already stuffed pouch or pocket. Though I've been using readers for a few years now, it has become impossible to see certain things without them this year. Never mind my pace (slow) or heart rate or making sure I hit the "save" instead of "delete" button. I live in NYC, and I can't see where the nearest subway station is! I decided to test out some products that could help.
Slim Lens wallet readers
were my first experiment. Overall, they have the #1 most compact design. I've made a video so you can see how easily they fit into 1. The key pocket in the back of my arm band and 2. They key pocket in my running pants. As you know, key pockets can be too small to fit certain keys, so you can imagine how portable these are!
The price is less expensive than the other products, at just $14.95 One downside...or maybe this is kudos to their compactness....I lost mine! My technique for finding things is to stop looking. It usually works. However, it's been a month, and I've still to get re-united with these awesome readers. Maybe they're so small they went undetected through a washer cycle? Maybe I walked by them 5 times, but they're too transparent for my middle aged eyes to see. I do wish they'd send up a flair, which is pretty dumb, because glasses are intimate objects and they can't launch flairs.
The optics and the nose pinch aspect worked spot-on before my runs, either when I needed to set my gps or when I was in the corrals checking instagram while waiting for a race to start. However, after a run, I found them slipping off my nose from the perspiration. I had to hold them up, sort of like a lorgnette, until my body temperature completely cooled down. It may be a unique characteristic of my nose shape & skin oils. Still, I feel this negative aspect is outweighed by their incredible portability and clear vision.
Thin Optics are another arm-less pince nez style reader. The frame is made from surgical materials, so the fit is comfortable and wow, do they grip! Even on my post run sweaty nose, they are hard to shake loose. I also did get a compliment on them on the subway platform the other day. I must say, the Slim Lens and Thin Optics styles are not the most flattering (I think they make my face look much older) but heck if I care, my midriff is getting slimmer and if I have to sacrifice my facial appearance in the hour after my run, so be it. The downside to the thin optics is it's slightly bigger than the aforementioned Slim Lens, making it slightly awkward to put it back. But it does, nevertheless, fit in the key pocket of both my jogging shorts & arm band, and only takes a second or two of fidgeting. It's a tough call to decide between the Slim Lens or the Thin Optics.
Keep in mind both of these come with a case and double sided tape, so you can tape it to the back of your phone. I have not used this feature. I don't want to have to slide my phone out of the arm band just to reach my glasses. The case of the Thin Optics will not fit in the key pocket, so I just slip them in solo. The polycarbonate lenses do tend to easily "smudge", so this does create a need to wipe them clean more often. The Slim Lens (previous product) & its slip in case case fit into the key pocket. To me, convenience and ease to grab is my #1 priority, so I actually don't use the case on either. Again, this is at the expense of occasionally smudgy glasses, which could be a deal breaker for some people. If you can't deal with wiping your glasses clean 1.The Slim Lens & case (previous) will fit in your key pockets or 2. These Thin Optics with case will fit in your fanny pack but not your key pocket
Now the arm-less readers above are hands down the most portable, but you just may not be able to cope with wearing them. As great as the grip is, they are simply not by nature as stable as normal glasses with temples, and they also are not...gasp...the most flattering. Swing Time are an awesome solution, although personally, I would only recommend them if you carry a some sort of fanny pack. They would work even in the slimmest of fanny packs. When folded, they're so slender that they will stay on the bottom under all your stuff, and won't interfere when you retrieve your gels, money, keys, tissue, etc,. Even for the longer pants pockets, though they would technically fit, they will slide around and even slide out. They won't fit in your arm band. They are very comfortable, and they actually look kind of contemporary cool. The optics are better than what you'd find in a drug store reader.
Stick On Bifocals
This "reading glass" is the size of a coin. In your mind, imagine you are "undressing" a pair of reading glasses. Take away the stems, the frame, then wipe away most of the lens until you are left with the bifocal. If you're unfamiliar, that's the bottom part of those clear on top reading lenses. Even if you don't ordinarily wear bifocals, these might be an occasion to use them. That's because they STICK on, without glue, to your regular sunglasses! Of course you wouldn't want to jog in bifocals. You wouldn't be able to see properly through the bottom of your lens, which could cause you to fall. Wait until you're done running, stick them on your regular sunglasses and voila! You'll be able to see your phone, Garminwatch, Fit Bit, etc. Peel them off when you don't need them anymore, and re-use them anytime, on any of your sunglasses. Obviously, they're super compact and will fit in the smallest of smallest compartments. I haven't tested these out yet, but plan to bring them on this weekend's long run.
In a million years, I never would have thought to add Clic glasses to this category....until I saw a man jogging up the West Side Highway in them. I caught up to him to ask him a few questions between my labored breaths. (He was quite a bit faster than me, but I managed.) He reported that they were actually very comfortable to run with, and that overall he loves his Clics. Again, I tend to travel heavy. I already wear sunglasses, a visor, and "behind the head" bluetooth earphones so I imagine it would annoy me to have one more thing around my ear / head / neck area. I will test these out on a shorter run and report back.