When it comes to overall quality and performance, the Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classics don't stack up to the competition. Their large, polarized lenses help block out bright rays of sun, but their front-heavy design and pop-out nose pads create giant coverage gaps. The nose pads also got stuck in our hair when we pushed them up to head indoors. They never become a fan favorite. Their saving grace? Mad style, that's just about all our testers loved.
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
Compare to Similar Products
Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic
|Price||$153.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$249.99 at Backcountry|
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|$241.99 at Amazon||$245.00 at Backcountry||$223.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Stylish, touches only nose and ears, case is small and light, can take prescription lenses||Excellent eye protection and coverage, durable design, great contrast with minimal color distortion, superb case||Excellent optics, good wind protection, 2 lenses included, easy lens changes, quality storage case||Great lens clarity, universally flattering style, surprisingly comfortable, durable build, good eye protection||Excellent optics, storage case, modern style, good eye protection|
|Cons||Lenses distort reality, heavy and imbalanced, nose pieces catch your hair when pushed on top of your head||Heavy, large overall size and fit, expensive||Expensive, you have to take off arms to put them in their case||Not polarized, heavy, large, case not overly protective, expensive||Expensive, only comes with one lens|
|Bottom Line||We aren’t impressed by these glasses’ lackluster performance, though we felt really cool wearing them.||The Kahis are a high-performing pair of shades with great coverage and exceptional lens quality.||The Smith Attack Max checks all of our boxes and takes home our Editor's Choice Award.||These shades are protective, clear, and very cool.||The Oakley Flight jacket has a unique style, excellent optics, and good coverage.|
|Rating Categories||Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic||Maui Jim Kahi||Smith Attack Max||Vuarnet District Medium Round||Oakley Flight Jacket|
|Lens Quality (25%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Style And Versatility (10%)|
|Specs||Ray-Ban Clubmaster...||Maui Jim Kahi||Smith Attack Max||Vuarnet District...||Oakley Flight Jacket|
|Lens Tested||Green Classic G-15||HCL Bronze||Chromapop Red Mirror||Brown Lynx||Prizm Road|
|Ideal Activity||everyday||everyday||road cycling, mountain biking, running||everyday||road cycling, mountain biking, running|
|Ideal Lens Light Conditions||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light||Chromapop Red Mirror: Bright light Chromapop Contrast Rose: Low to Medium light||Medium to bright light||Medium to bright light|
|Polarized||Yes||Yes||No||No, but it is available||No|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||15%||15%||15%||9%||20%|
|VLT Protection Index||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 3||cat 2|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection||"blocks most"||95%||100%||97%||100%|
|Infrared Protection||0%||"infrared effective"||0%||93%||0%|
|Number of Lenses Included||1||1||2||1||1|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||glass||glass - "SuperThin Glass"||plastic - Carbonic||glass - mineral glass||plastic - "Plutonite" polycarbonate|
|Protective Coatings||Anti-reflective||Anti-reflective on front and back||Hydroleophobic coating||Anti-reflective back, silver bi-shade mirror||Iridium coating|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Readers only||No||No||No|
|Case Included||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth||Hard rigid clam case and soft/cleaning bag||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag||Semi-rigid flex case and cleaning cloth||Rigid zippered case and soft cleaning/storage bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
After months of testing over thousands of miles and numerous countries and even continents, we have the sunglass test results. Keep reading to learn why the Clubmasters fell short of the competition.
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 like those in the Oakley Holbrooks. 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 front-heavy and heavy-heavy (37 grams!) design encourages 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.
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.
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 thought they sported 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."
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.
These sunglasses are sure to be a hit if you're looking to upgrade to gain a super chic accessory to your wardrobe. If you want a better performing pair of glasses that still have a cool look, check out the Vuarnet District Medium Rounds.
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, check out our Best Buy award winner, the Native Highlines or even the Oakley Holbrooks. If you're willing to pay extra for the style, you might want to pay just a bit more and get the Vuarnet District Medium Rounds, which are better quality shades that still have some rockin' style.
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.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classics are sold with the Black frames we tested or Tortoise frames. Both styles use the Green Classic G-15 lenses, though you can choose the polarized option like we did or a non-polarized version that's a little bit cheaper.
Excitingly, you can also purchase the Clubmasters with prescription lenses in a much wider variety of frame and lens colors (including purple, red, green, yellow, blue or grey), for about double the price. Prescriptions range up to 6.00 or -6.00 sphere (power) and 4.00 or -4.00 cylinder (astigmatism).
— Maggie Brandenburg