Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stylish, touches only nose and ears, case is small and light, can take prescription lenses
Cons: Lenses distort reality, heavy and imbalanced, nose pieces catch your hair when pushed on top of your head
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Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic
|Price||$161.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$209.00 at Amazon||$141.71 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$249.99 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Stylish, touches only nose and ears, case is small and light, can take prescription lenses||Great clarity, excellent contrast with little color distortion, flexing frames, works for most faces||Excellent protection, great clarity, extremely comfortable, good for active endeavors, good for many faces||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection|
|Cons||Lenses distort reality, heavy and imbalanced, nose pieces catch your hair when pushed on top of your head||Peripheral coverage not ideal, cleaner bag a little stiff, may be sporty-looking||Developed a slight lens defect, fit is less secure, coverage could be better||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Not an impressive performer, but these shades kept us fly||A top-notch combo of versatility, functionality, and style||Excellent protection and great comfort, though not totally perfect||A great pair with excellent coverage and top-notch lens quality, but a bit heavy||Not only do these sunglasses provide good eye protection, they also have swagger|
|Rating Categories||Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District Medium Round|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Frame Quality (20%)|
|Style And Versatility (15%)|
|Specs||Ray-Ban Clubmaster...||Kaenon Clarke||Costa Del Mar Spearo||Maui Jim Kahi||Vuarnet District...|
|Lens Tested||Green Classic G-15||Grey 12 Pacific Blue Mirror||Blue Mirror||HCL Bronze||Brown Lynx|
|Ideal Activity||everyday||water sports||water sports||everyday||everyday|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Medium to bright light||Bright light||Bright light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, but it is available|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||15%||12%||10%||15%||9%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||"blocks most"||not specified||100%||95%||97%|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||0%||0%||0%||"infrared effective"||93%|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||glass||plastic - "SR-91" polycarbonate||glass - 580 Polarized (polycarbonate available)||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||glass - mineral glass|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective||Anti-reflective back, hydro-oleophobic, mirror||Anti-scratch, hydro-oleaophobic, mirror||Anti-reflective on front and back||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered and soft/cleaning bag||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Clubmasters come with Green Classic G-15 lenses designed for everyday, casual use. They're sized medium-large and come with a semi-rigid flex case and a small microfiber cleaning cloth. They're also available with prescription lenses.
On paper, we expected the Ray-Ban Classic Clubmasters to perform better than they did. With all the protection you'd expect out of a pair of high-quality sunglasses, the Ray-Bans still fall a bit short. They're still certainly better than those grungy glasses living under your driver's seat though.
- 99% Polarization
- 100% UV Protection
- 15% Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- "Blocks Most" HEV/Blue Light, No Infrared Blockage
- Color: Green/Grey, Material: Glass
- Not Impact Resistant, Anti-Reflective Coating
We found their Green Classic G-15 lenses very similar to the grey lenses we tested, with just a hint of greenish-yellow against certain, lighter objects. The subtle difference was only noticeable when we compared these glasses side-by-side with truly grey lenses. So while the green tint adds a bit of contrast, it's virtually unnoticeable without that direct comparison.
Despite being made of glass, which typically yields crisp, clear images, the Clubmasters actually distort images. The distortion is easily visible when you shift your head from side to side. While we love the look of the anti-reflective lenses, they pick up grease like crazy. It comes from obvious sources like hair and from mysterious, ever-present, sources. They are surprisingly difficult to clean with the included microfiber cleaning cloth.
These sunnies are comfortable enough to wear all day without finding annoying pressure points. However, on a hot, sweaty day their extremely front-heavy and large weight (37 grams!) encourage them to slide right down your nose. The same is true of simply looking too far down in the Clubmasters. This was a consistent problem for our testers with smaller faces, as the medium length arms left plenty of room for movement.
We appreciate that the nose pads are fully adjustable. They help you find the most comfortable placement for these glasses, regardless of your nose size. While some of our testers think these nose pads become annoying after a while, others found them to be a nice feature. They also keep the sunnies from pressing anywhere else on your face. Depending on your personal preference about nose pads, you may love or hate the Clubmasters.
The Clubmaster's frames are made of acetate, with nylon nose pads. They aren't particularly sturdy, but they aren't overly brittle either. Though they feel thin and easy to break, we never had any problems with them bending out of shape or showing signs of overuse. Perhaps if you're constantly bending and readjusting the nose pieces, you may run into issues over time. But we didn't have any problems over the several months of hard use we put them through. Ray-Ban also offers a 24-month manufacturer's warranty. Currently, they only offer repair services through licensed dealers.
Style and Versatility
Their style was our favorite part of the Ray-Ban Clubmasters. Just about everyone who tried these on think they sport a classy or classic look. They seem to translate well across genders, face shapes, and styles. One tester put them on and said, "In another life, I'll be cool enough. Maybe."
Large lenses provide extra coverage, particularly when facing directly into the sun. The ability to adjust the nose pieces of these Ray-Bans also allows you to increase their coverage by positioning them closer to your face to close gaps. That said, these glasses are completely straight, which leaves exceptionally large gaps to close. When paired with the nose pieces, which hold the glasses away from your face, this flat shape and the glass's particularly narrow arms provide poor coverage overall. Don't count on the Clubmasters to keep that side-angle sun or dust storm debris out of your eyes.
If you're just tossing it in your purse or on the top of a suitcase, the semi-rigid, flexible case that comes with the Clubmasters is enough to protect your glasses from scratches and mild squishing. The case is lightweight, at just 54 grams, and includes a small cleaning cloth. It's not an amazing value for what you get, but it will at least help protect against most scratches. Ray-Ban also sells other cases on their website for $25. An upgraded cleaning kit with a larger cloth and lens spray is $15.
For a not-so-good performer, the Clubmasters still come with a pretty high price. For a pair of sunglasses that cost less but perform better, we think there are many better options that we tested.
The Clubmaster Classics thoroughly underwhelmed us. Their lens distortion and front-heavy, high-weight design make them less enjoyable to wear. The adjustable nose pads certainly have their benefits, but they also get caught in hair when placed on top of your head. If you're after top-notch quality and performance, we're sorry to say we can't recommend the Clubmasters. But if you dig the classic style they bring to the table, we think they are decent shades with copious swag.
— Maggie Brandenburg