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Shady Rays Classic Timber Review

Good quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyone
Shady Rays Classic Timber
Photo: Shady Rays
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $48 List
Pros:  Solid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policy
Cons:  Not a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issues
Manufacturer:   Shady Rays
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Lens Quality - 30% 6
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Style and Versatility - 20% 6
  • Frame Quality - 15% 6
  • Coverage - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Shady Rays Classic Timber are simple, straightforward shades that are easy to wear and feel great on the head. They offer solid, polarized protection to keep your eyes comfortable. The classic woodgrain patterning and timeless wayfarer style may not be the pair to turn heads but it still looks great on pretty much everyone. These shades come with just a simple microfiber bag for a case but are backed up by a warranty program that we've come to appreciate over several years of wearing these shades. They're inexpensive, fairly lightweight, and full of reasons to love their simplicity, functionality, and style.

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Pros Solid protection, look good on most faces, comfortable, well-priced, great warranty/exchange policyGreat lens quality, excellent gradient, very comfortable, versatile style, good caseGreat contrast, comfortable, easy style to loveProtective lenses, good contrast, secure fit, versatile use across lighting and activitiesBold style, great narrow fit, adjustable nose pads, good protection, sturdy build, cool case
Cons Not a bold style, unimpressive case, minor longevity issuesNot polarized, may be loose on top of headA bit small, translucent frame magnifies light, expensiveMay be tight, mirror lenses collect smudges, case is a poor cleanerNarrow fit, not great directly into sun
Bottom Line Good quality, inexpensive shades with a classic style that works well for just about everyoneExcellent quality shades that are protective and stylish, offering top-notch quality for a reasonable priceThese are great quality sunglasses with excellent contrast and a superb face feelA sporty yet chic pair of cute, comfortable shades that can keep up with you from casual brunches to afternoon hikesA great set of aviators for smaller faces with good protection and a brazen style
Rating Categories Shady Rays Classic Timber Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper Chromapop Costa del Mar Fernandina
Lens Quality (30%)
6
8
9
8
7
Comfort (25%)
7
9
8
8
7
Style And Versatility (20%)
6
8
8
8
9
Frame Quality (15%)
6
9
7
8
8
Coverage (10%)
7
8
8
7
4
Specs Shady Rays Classic... Ray-Ban Erika Maui Jim Honi Smith Caper... Costa del Mar...
Lens Tested Grey Grey Gradient Blue HCL Bronze Opal Mirror ChromaPop Green Mirror 580P
Polarized Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Fit Medium Standard Narrow Medium Narrow/Small
Weight (grams) 27g 22g 35g 27g 32g
UV Protection 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Visible Light Transmission (VLT) Not specified Not specified 12% 15% 10%
VLT Protection Index Not specified Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3 Cat 3
HEV/Blue Light Protection (claim) None None "HEV reduction" None 100% HEV blockage
Infrared Protection (claim) None None None None None
Neutral/Contrast Neutral Neutral Increased contrast Increased contrast Increased contrast
Lens Material Plastic Polycarbonate SuperThin glass Carbonic Mineral glass
Impact Resistance Yes Yes No Yes No
Protective Coatings None None Anti-reflective, anti-scratch, hydroleophobic Anti-reflective,hydroleophobic resistance, mirror coating C-WALL (anti-scratch and hydroleophobic), mirror
Can take prescription lens? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hinge type Standard Standard Flex Standard Standard
Case Included Yes; microfiber bag Yes; semi-rigid snapshell case and microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; rigid triangular collapsible case, microfiber cleaning cloth Yes; microfiber bag Yes; cork box, microfiber bag

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.

Performance Comparison


We're big fans of the classic look and low price of the Shady Rays.
We're big fans of the classic look and low price of the Shady Rays.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Lens Quality


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".

Deep Timber Grey Lenses
  • Polarized
  • 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.

Solid grey lenses that do pretty well - though we like the amber...
Solid grey lenses that do pretty well - though we like the amber lenses a little more.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


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.

Well-done wayfarers that are comfortable and easy to wear for pretty...
Well-done wayfarers that are comfortable and easy to wear for pretty much everyone.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

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.

Anytime, anywhere, with the Shady Rays.
Anytime, anywhere, with the Shady Rays.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Frame Quality


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.

Pretty good frames, though after a few years, we've found the...
Pretty good frames, though after a few years, we've found the woodgrain pattern may start to wear thin.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Coverage


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.

Good sized lenses help add coverage to these fairly flat glasses.
Good sized lenses help add coverage to these fairly flat glasses.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Case Quality


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.

Just a simple microfiber bag. Nothing fancy.
Just a simple microfiber bag. Nothing fancy.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Goofing around in the comfort of the Shady Rays.
Goofing around in the comfort of the Shady Rays.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg