The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic Review

We aren’t impressed by these glasses’ lackluster performance, though we felt really cool wearing them.
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Price:  $203 List | $153.00 at REI
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
Manufacturer:   Ray-Ban
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 22, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Lens Quality - 25% 5
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Coverage - 25% 5
  • Frame Quality - 15% 6
  • Style and Versatility - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


Beaches  deserts  boats  cars  you name it  we probably tested sunglasses there!
Beaches, deserts, boats, cars, you name it, we probably tested sunglasses there!

Lens Quality


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.

Green Classic G-15
  • 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.

Listed as green  we think these lenses are more similar to grey lenses.
Listed as green, we think these lenses are more similar to grey lenses.

Comfort


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.

Adjustable nose pads could be a blessing or a curse...
Adjustable nose pads could be a blessing or a curse...

Coverage


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 Clubmasters left something to be desired in the way of coverage.
The Clubmasters left something to be desired in the way of coverage.

Frame Quality


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.

The Clubmasters survived our journey to Vietnam in remarkable style.
The Clubmasters survived our journey to Vietnam in remarkable style.

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."

Lookin fly out on the town with the help of the Ray-Bans.
Lookin fly out on the town with the help of the Ray-Bans.

Case Quality


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.

A simple case and small cleaning cloth - just the essentials come with the Clubmasters.
A simple case and small cleaning cloth - just the essentials come with the Clubmasters.

Best Applications


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.

Enjoy your chic new look while sipping on a tasty margarita.
Enjoy your chic new look while sipping on a tasty margarita.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Even the dog thinks we're pretty hip in the Clubmasters.
Even the dog thinks we're pretty hip in the Clubmasters.

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