Shady Rays Classic Timber Review
Cons: Not a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issues
Manufacturer: Shady Rays
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Shady Rays Classic Timber
|Price||$48 List||$74.21 at Backcountry|
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|$39.35 at Amazon|
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|$11.89 at Amazon||$13.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Solid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policy||Secure fit, great lenses, padded frame, excellent coverage||Lightweight, great coverage, flexible bows, secure fit||Truly oversized lenses, unique look, good for low light||Polarized, good contrast, lightweight, easy to wear, solid case, numerous accessories|
|Cons||Not a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issues||May be tight, style doesn't work for everyone||On the narrow side, some distracting reflections, uninspiring style||Perhaps too large, not overly protective, scratchy metal bits on the frame||Distracting back-reflection, very long bows, lenses are loose|
|Bottom Line||Good quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyone||A blend of sporty and stylish, these secure fit shades offer great protection and great value||Lightweight and less expensive, these secure shades may not be fashionably adventurous but they are comfortable||Big lenses on large frames give a specific style vibe though sun protection is limited||A budget-friendly version of a cool retro style that unfortunately doesn't follow through in performance|
|Rating Categories||Shady Rays Classic...||Native Eyewear Acadia||Suncloud Loveseat||SojoS Round Vintage||Wowsun Polarized Gr...|
|Lens Quality (30%)|
|Style And Versatility (20%)|
|Frame Quality (15%)|
|Specs||Shady Rays Classic...||Native Eyewear Acadia||Suncloud Loveseat||SojoS Round Vintage||Wowsun Polarized Gr...|
|Lens Tested||Grey||Brown||Polarized Sienna Mirror||Brown Gradient||Brown|
(tested 60mm width)
(tested 55mm width)
|Visible Light Transmission (VLT)||Not specified||13%||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified|
|VLT Protection Index||Not specified||Cat 3||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified|
|HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim)||None||94% HEV blockage||None||None||None|
|Infrared Protection (claim)||None||"up to 4X more than regular polarized lenses"||None||None||None|
|Neutral/Contrast||Neutral||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast||Increased contrast|
|Lens Material||Plastic||Crystal carbonate||Polycarbonate injection molded||Polycarbonate||Plastic (composite)|
|Can take prescription lens?||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Case Included||Yes; microfiber bag||Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag||Yes; microfiber bag||Yes; microfiber bag and cleaning cloth||Yes; semi-rigid zippered shell, microfiber bag, microfiber cleaning cloth, double-sided screwdriver|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Shady Rays Classic Timber in the Deep Timber Polarized which has Grey lenses. They're a Medium fit and come with a microfiber drawstring bag. Certain models can be fitted with prescription lenses.
Though we tested the Shady Rays with Grey lenses, our lead female tester has been wearing them with Amber lenses for years and loves them. The Grey lenses are polarized, which we always appreciate, as it cuts down on a lot of stray light reflecting off surfaces like pavement, buildings, and water. They are reasonably protective for bright light situations and our testing team generally describes them as "pretty solid".
- 100% UV Protection
- Unspecified Visible Light Transmission (Category 3)
- 0% HEV/Blue Light Blockage, 0% Infrared Blockage
- Color: Grey, Material: Plastic (Unspecified)
- Impact Resistant
These shades have an average amount of counter reflection on the backs of the lenses. That is, in certain lights, you can see your face looking back at you, but it's not horrifyingly distracting. Unless the sunlight is streaming right over the tops of the lenses when they're worn loosely, we think their reflection is totally fine. We found a small distortion along the bottom of one of the lenses we tested. However, it was difficult to detect and not the norm for the 5+ pairs of these sunglasses our main tester has been wearing regularly for several years now.
The Grey lenses we tested have a hint of blue when looking through them, which helps retain their color contrast. Things appear pretty true to color when wearing these. They're also easy to clean and simple to wear.
The Classic Timber comes in two different sizes. The pair we tested were the Standard size, meant for medium-to-large heads, and they do a great job fitting as advertised. They're on the wider side among the models we tested, fitting snuggly without feeling tight, with wide bows and a fairly flexible frame that help to keep them from squeezing. They have medium-sized lenses in their wayfarer frames that may touch eyebrows and cheeks a little bit, but not in an invasive way that any of our testers disliked. The Small size wasn't a part of our official testing but has been happily worn by our lead tester for many years now. They have slightly smaller dimensions all over and are great for folks with smaller or narrower faces.
The woodgrain patterning on these frames somehow manages to feel both smooth and very slightly matte textured at the same time. This combination texture makes them comfortable to put on and wear while adding just a hint of staying power on sweaty faces. They weigh 27 grams, putting them about in the middle among the women's sunglasses we tested. They have excellent balance though, which, if anything, is skewed slightly toward the bows, helping them to feel light on the face.
Style and Versatility
It's hard to go wrong with a well-done classic wayfarer frame, which is exactly what these are. They're the right size and shape for mass appeal, while the woodgrain patterning adds a touch of added style without the cost or maintenance of actual wood frames. Not all wayfarers hit quite the right balance of shape, size, and proportion, but these Shady Rays really do. They look great on a wide range of head shapes and sizes.
Of course, they're not the most stylistically adventurous pair of women's sunglasses we tested. These unisex shades are a safe choice — they look good on just about anybody and with just about any personal style. It's not necessarily a bad thing to have a low-key style like these do, as it adds to their versatility and crowd appeal.
The Classic Timber plastic frames feel just fine, sturdy but unremarkable. They offer an above-average amount of flexibility, adding to both their level of comfort and our confidence in their durability. The frame is fairly thin, from inside to outside, yet still wide from top to bottom, maintaining a good amount of structural integrity. Classic five-barrel metal hinges are wider than many and feel solid, without wobble. They can be easily tightened if need be, though, in several years of wearing them, we've never needed to. They don't have autolocking hinges but still manage to stay put.
In a unique twist, Shady Rays offers what they call a "Live Hard Warranty". This warranty policy covers not only the typical manufacturer's defects but also lost or broken shades, which they promise to replace for just the cost of processing (under $10). We don't typically like to mention policies (or anything) we haven't tested, but we have tested this policy numerous times in the past several years. Our lead tester has gotten replacements for her Shady Rays twice: once when she lost them kayaking a river, and once when a 2+-year-old pair started losing its woodgrain pattern. Both times, the process was simple and painless and she got replacement sunglasses in her hands quickly.
If you've ever owned a pair of classic wayfarers before, you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect when it comes to coverage. The Shady Rays are exactly that, with medium-trending-large lenses that provide a good area of coverage with wider(ish) frames that tack on a little extra. They're fairly flat across the front, which of course leaves some gaps around the edges. With mostly straight bows, these glasses can be worn however you find them the most comfortable — which, for some of our testers, means a little farther from the face, allowing sunlight to creep over the top as well. On the other hand, wearing them close to your face offers great coverage, as they can connect with both your eyebrows and your cheeks, leaving just the sides open.
If you're after a pair of performance shades to stay stuck to your head on trail runs, these aren't necessarily the best option. They lack any wrap or rubber padding to really grip tight when you're pouring sweat. On the other hand, they stay put better than average wayfarers. Something is challenging to define about their texture: it feels smooth, yet somehow, perhaps microscopically, slightly matte, which adds a bit of grip that we don't find in glossy smooth glasses. The bow-centric balance also adds to their staying power, helping them not slide down the nose as easily. They may not be the ideal choice for intense activities, but they're far from the worst options we've tested. We enjoy wearing them during midsummer backpacking trips, hot afternoon paddle adventures, and sunny summer vacations.
The Shady Rays Classic Timber come with just a simple microfiber bag with a double drawstring top. It won't stop them from getting crushed, but it does a good job of cleaning the lenses.
Retailing on the low end of the spectrum of prices for women's sunglasses, these already have our attention. The Shady Rays offer well-above-average performance for a far below-average cost. Even before factoring in their impressive Live Hard Warranty, they're a great value pair of sunglasses.
The Shady Rays Classic Timber are a solid pair of sunglasses that offer good quality protection for your eyes and a level of comfort that makes them easy to wear all day. With an upgraded woodgrain twist on the classic wayfarer style, it's easy to love these simple shades on pretty much every face and with every style. They're a high-value pair of sunglasses with a low cost and above-average performance.
— Maggie Brandenburg