Ray-Ban Erika Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good case
Cons: Not polarized, may be loose on top of head
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|Pros||Great lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good case||Protective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activities||Secure fit, great lenses, padded frame, excellent coverage||Solid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policy||Very lightweight, great contrast, good in low light, flexible frame, neat style|
|Cons||Not polarized, may be loose on top of head||May be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleaner||May be tight, style doesn't work for everyone||Not a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issues||Narrow frame, small lenses, not great in bright light|
|Bottom Line||Excellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable price||A sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikes||A blend of sporty and stylish, these secure fit shades offer great protection and great value||Good quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyone||Narrow fit shades that offer good contrast and funky style in a flexible, less expensive frame|
|Rating Categories||Ray-Ban Erika||Smith Caper Chromapop||Native Eyewear Acadia||Shady Rays Classic...||Sunski Dipsea|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Style And Versatility (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Ray-Ban Erika||Smith Caper Chromapop||Native Eyewear Acadia||Shady Rays Classic...||Sunski Dipsea|
|Lens Tested||Grey Gradient||Opal Mirror ChromaPop||Brown||Grey||Brown|
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||Not specified||15%||13%||Not specified||15%|
|VLT Protection Index||Cat 3||Cat 3||Cat 3||Not specified||Cat 3|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||None||None||94% HEV blockage||None||None|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||None||None||"up to 4X more than regular polarized lenses"||None||None|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||Polycarbonate||Carbonic||Crystal carbonate||Plastic||Triacetate cellulose|
|Protective Coatings||None||Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating||None||None||None|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Case Included||Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth||Yes; microfiber bag||Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag||Yes; microfiber bag||Yes; microfiber bag|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Ray-Ban Erika with Grey Gradient lenses. They're a Standard/Medium fit that can take certain prescription lenses and come with a semi-rigid snap shell case and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The lenses we tested are exactly what we want from a pair of gradient lenses. Unlike many others, the gradient on the Erika transitions very smoothly from darker on top to lighter on the bottom without overshading any portion or leaving any part too exposed. This even balance is ideal on both bright, cloudless afternoons and when navigating shadowy paths.
- Not Polarized
- 100% UV Protection
- Unspecified Variable Visible Light Transmission (Gradient; Category 3)
- 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Grey Gradient, Material: Polycarbonate
- Impact Resistant
From the outside, these lenses appear to have an almost purple hue. Looking through them, they add just a touch of blue to the world, trending warmer (or more purple) near the top of the lenses. Though they don't increase the contrast as much as many brown lenses do, they do add a little bit to your view and certainly don't detract from the surroundings in the way that some overbearing grey lenses do.
Though we found no mention of a specifically anti-reflective coating on these lenses, they do a well-above-average job of not reflecting your own eyeballs back at you. They're not perfect, but their size and curvature also help here. What reflections we could see weren't distracting, and were mostly not noticeable. All in all, these lenses are a unique color and gradient with great eye feel — they are very enjoyable to wear.
The Erika prove themselves easy to love when it comes to comfort. Their thin metal arms fold securely out and, without autolocking hinges, stay in place so they are easy to put on and take off one-handed. The bows' flexibility adds to their comfort, as they easily conform to pretty much any head size and face shape, holding securely in place without squeezing and becoming uncomfortable after long hours of wear. Smooth, covered back ends sit pleasantly on top of the ears.
Weighing just 22 grams, the Erika are among the lightest women's sunglasses we tested. What could be a front-heavy pair of shades is surprisingly well balanced by the longer (but not too long) bows with wide tips, keeping them perfectly poised on the face. The section of the frame surrounding the lenses is glossy, translucent nylon with shaped nose pad sections and a keyhole bridge. Even without any rubber or silicone padding, they feel excellent and stay put even on hot days when sweating. The Erika are advertised as a "Standard" fit, which roughly translates to Medium. Our team of testers, ranging from small to large heads, all found them to be exceptionally comfortable.
Style and Versatility
The Erika bring exceptional style and a level of versatility that many others strive to achieve. They're classic wayfarers with a feminine twist that looks upscale and contemporary without being so bold as to go out of style immediately. The semi-transparent nylon front is a more modern style, with just a touch of rounding on the top of the lenses and the merest hint of cat-eye. They're available in numerous color combinations, and the pair we tested had plum purple metal bows
We love the toned-down style of the Erika. It adds a spin to a classic look that's well-loved by most people. We think they look great on women of all ages and personal styles, which is an impressive level of versatility. More than a few of our male friends also liked how they looked in these shades, adding further credibility to their versatility.
The Erika frames are a combination of materials, with metal arms and a nylon front. The nylon portion has a slight amount of flex and lacks any additional sections like rubber nose pads that might come off over time. The metal arms are surprisingly flexible yet sturdy for being so shockingly thin. The ends are covered in a widely flared section that adds comfort around your ears and makes them easy to put on or remove.
Though not flexible, the standard triple barrel metal hinges seem very stable. Even after wearing them and carting them around for months, they had no wiggle in them at all. The backsides of the metal arms extend all the way to the edge of the nylon front portion, taking the pressure off of the hinges in the event they're stretched to be wider than normal. By transferring the possibility of overextension away from the hinges and onto the flexible metal arms, the frames offer an extra layer of durability and hope for longevity. We have no complaints about the design, construction, or materials of these frames.
Larger than average lenses help the Erika sunnies to be more protective and offer more coverage than many others. They also have a very usable curvature that follows the general shape of an average face. This curve plus the large lenses combine to provide pretty solid coverage. There are still some gaps at the sides, as you would expect from sunglasses of this general design, but they're fairly minimal compared to similar models.
Some of our testers experienced a small gap along the bottom of the lenses, but this varied with specific face shapes. The specific combination of narrowing bows with just the right level of flexibility helps keep the Erika securely attached to the head. We were pleasantly surprised that this effect extended to their ability to stay put when sweaty or moving — at least to some extent. We might not choose these for a run, but they're still pretty solid.
The Erika come with a snapping clamshell-style, felt-lined case, and a fairly large microfiber cleaning cloth. You can also get upgraded styles of cases from Ray-Ban, but we like the standard model quite a lot.
For as much as we liked the protection, comfort, style, and experience of wearing the Erika, we expected them to cost more than they do. Just keep in mind that if you're really set on polarized lenses, you'll need to pay a little extra for the upgrade. But for everyday wear, performance, and a very pleasant wearing experience, we find these to be well worth their cost.
The Ray-Ban Erika are a great pair of sunglasses that come in a ton of colors. We love the Grey Gradient lenses we tested, despite their lack of polarization, and find these frames to be especially comfortable and stylish, across folks of many ages, sizes, and personal styles. If you want a pair of shades that deliver quality performance and are stylish without feeling over the top, these are our favorite of the bunch.
— Maggie Brandenburg