The Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer is a true classic. Originating in the 1950’s these sunglasses have outlasted trend after trend to become one of the most endearing and recognizable pair of shades there is.
In this review, we’ll test out a pair of Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers in polished tortoise. Specifically, these are glasses with the product code RB2140 902. You can check them (and four other color variations) out on the Ray-Ban website here.
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer: A Brief History
According to Wikipedia, The Wayfarer design was created by Raymond Stegemen in 1952 and the company began to sell them in 1956. The style gained traction throughout the 50s and 60s as they were worn by stars of the time including James Dean, Bob Dylan, and members of The Beatles. This began an association with rock and roll cool that lasts to this day.
Despite a decrease in popularity in the 70s and 80s (although that didn’t stop Tom Cruise wearing them in 1983 movie Risky Business), the style saw a huge rise in popularity in the mid-naughties as the indie-rock-look Wayfarers were most associated with exploded in popularity.
An Instantly Recognizable Design
The Wayfarer frame is arguably the most recognizable frame of all. It has spawned an incredible number of copy-cat glasses, as well as plenty of down-right fakes. I’m sure most of us know someone who owns a pair of wayfarer-style glasses, whether Ray-Ban or another brand.
The most noticeable thing about the style is the trapezoidal frame with raised corners. This helps them stand out from pretty much any other type of frame out there. It also helps gives the glasses the edgy rock and roll look that we’ve all come to love.
Other design features include the metal detailing in the corner and the thick temples. Personally, I love the dark turquoise color I’m reviewing today. Although, the black and lighter tortoise options are also really nice.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Wayfarers Design is the way the frame angles back in towards the face of the wearer.
While I guess I can understand why some people dislike this (Ray-Ban actually removed this feature on the updated version of the Wayfarers), I think it’s a key part of the Wayfarer’s design. The sharp angles and the raised corners make the glasses appear dangerous, like a wild predator or a stealth bomber.
Built to Last
As you’d expect from a pair of Ray-Bans, the Classic Wayfarers are built to last. I’ve had my pair for a few years now and they have been through a lot. I’m not one to obsessively look after sunglasses which means they’ve been dragged through sand, dropped on hikes, and even hit by a volleyball (ok, that actually hurt).
Despite this, the glasses are still in great shape. There are a few barely visible micro-scratches on the lenses as well as scratches on the hinge. If you’re looking for a pair of glasses that will withstand an active lifestyle, these should be more than good enough.
The thick acetate frame and temples do mean they are quite a lot heavier than other glasses, especially ones with thin metal frames like aviators. As long as you get a good fit this extra weight shouldn’t cause any issues.
Anyone who has owned a cheap pair of sunglasses knows the hinge is one of the weakest parts of the glasses. It’s often the first part to break. However, the hinge on the Ray-Ban Wayfarer is sturdy. You’d have to be either incredibly determined or incredibly unlucky to break them here. Although, the hinge does come loose over time. This is easily fixed by simply tightening the screws.
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Review: Final Word
If you get a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, you can be sure you are getting a high-quality pair of shades that are steeped in history. The shape is instantly recognizable and gives the wearer a certain rock and roll cool. The only downside is that their popularity means you are unlikely to be the only person you know who owns a pair. Nonetheless, it’s a massive thumbs up from us.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer: Specs
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers are available in Black, Tortoise, two shade of Gloss Tortoise, and Polished Tortoise. You can buy them in standard size (50-22) or large (54-18). The glasses are made from Acetate. They cost $163 on the official Ray-Ban website at the time of writing.