Ray-Bans vs. Oakleys: Battle of the Titans

ray-ban vs oakley

Ah the eternal debate when it comes to sunglasses: Ray-Ban vs. Oakley.

They both make high quality sunglasses using the latest designs with superior lens technologies, so which is better?

We’ll compare the two brands side by side based on style, frame, and lens offerings so you can decide which is right for you. Finally, we’ll also look at pricing to determine which brand provides better value.

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Ray-Ban vs. Oakley: Which Is Better?

Comparing Ray-Ban and Oakley is definitely a battle of the titans. Both brands are well-known for their stylish, high quality sunglasses, with a cool factor that’s second to none.

In truth, it’s not really an apples to apples comparison as Ray-Ban is more of a fashion and style brand while Oakley is a sport and performance eyewear company, though it does have a lifestyle collection that’s geared to everyday wearers too.

Both are actually owned by the same parent company – Luxottica – the eyewear conglomerate that owns a huge portfolio of famous glasses brands and retailers like Costa, Persol, Michael Kors, Sunglass Hut, and LensCrafters.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of their most popular models:

Ray-Ban Aviator Classic

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Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer

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Ray-Ban Clubmaster

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Oakley Holbrook

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Oakley Gascan

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Oakley Flak 2.0 XL

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In short, Ray-Bans are better for fashionistas and style trendsetters, while Oakleys are better for sport and active lifestyles.

Ray-Ban: Short Backstory

woman wearing rayban wayfarers

Ray-Ban launched in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb with aviation sunglasses designed for military pilots.

The initial prototype was a plastic frame with green lenses before it was redesigned using metal and eventually patented as the Ray-Ban Aviator.

Aviators became a sought-after style after images of General Douglas MacArthur wearing Aviators during WWII created his signature look in uniform.

In the 1950s, Ray-Ban came out with the Wayfarer, a bold, trapezoidal-shape frame made out of plastic.

It had it’s day in the sun but didn’t become truly iconic until Tom Cruise’s character in Risky Business made it skyrocket in popularity in 1983.

Ray-Ban cemented it’s place as an iconic brand once the company used product placement of their sunglasses in movies and tv shows in the 80s.

Ever since, Ray-Bans have been fixtures on celebrities from Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber to Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé.

Persol vs. Ray-Ban

Oakley History and Founding

motocross jumper

Unlike Ray-Ban, Oakley wasn’t born out of an optical lab. Founded in 1975 by Jim Jannard in his garage, the fledgling company initially sold handlebar grips for motocross.

Oakley didn’t even create eyewear until 1980 when the company launched a pair of goggles called O-Frame.

From there, Oakley branched out from motocross to ski goggles and eventually into sport and tactical sunglasses.

Best Oakley Sunglasses For Fishing

Despite it’s humble beginnings, Oakley ended up becoming an official eyewear provider for the U.S. military given it’s technological innovations and rigorous impact-testing in the field. 

Oakley SI (the Oakley Standard Issue division) actually produces ballistic and tactical-approved eyewear for both the military and law enforcement agencies.

For regular civilians, Oakley offers a wide range of ANSI-rated athletic and safety glasses for everything from cycling and skiing, to shooting and training glasses.

Best Ray-Ban Alternatives

Ray-Ban vs. Oakley: Style

man wearing ray ban clubmasters

When it comes to style, both Ray-Ban and Oakley have plenty of it. There’s no denying that sporting a pair of Ray-Bans or Oakleys automatically adds glamour and sex appeal to both men and women (and all genders) alike.

For Hollywood royalty or a rock n’ roll vibe that will dazzle poolside or make a fashion statement for a night on the town, Ray-Ban is where it’s at.

Ray-Ban Justin Sunglasses

The New Wayfarer, the Justin, or one of their round metal frames always hit the mark.

And if you’re wearing a leather jacket? Gotta pull a Top Gun with a pair of mirrored Aviators.

On the other hand, Oakleys are more biker-chic and cool-kid athletic.

You’re not laying out in the sand, you’re playing beach volleyball with the Half Jacket 2.0 XL or the EV Zero Blades.

Or, you’re hitting the road with the wind in your hair and the wraparound Fuel Cell or Shocktube.

man playing beach volleyball

Maui Jim vs. Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban vs. Oakley: Frame

Both Ray-Ban and Oakley use high quality materials in the making of their frames. Ray-Ban’s frames are built for everyday use while Oakley is more focused on protection and performance with durable, flexible frames that can withstand impact.

Ray-Ban uses various materials including acetate (a plant-based synthetic plastic), nylon, titanium and other metals in their sunglasses and eyeglasses.

Best Ray-Ban Sunglasses

Acetate frames like the Wayfarer are smooth and seamless because they cut them from a single block.

If you’ve ever owned or tried on a pair of Ray-Ban knockoffs, you’ll see and feel the difference in the details – the real thing has perfectly aligned fit and edges with hinges that open and close smoothly.

Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses

Oakley makes frames with the same basic components, but they also create their own proprietary materials like the lightweight, indestructible O Matter™ frame and Unobtainium™ temple and nosepad grips.

They also utilize a special “3-point fit” technology, where the frame only makes contact with your head at 3 points:

oakley 3 point fit
3-point fit touches your head on your nose and behind both ears

Oakley’s signature straight temple arms work because the temple tips hug your head rather than holding on behind your ears.

You’ll also find several wraparound shield frames in addition to low-profile half-rim sports sunglasses, whereas the majority of Ray-Bans are full-rim frames.

Ray-Ban vs. Oakley: Lenses

Ray-Ban and Oakley both produce excellent lenses, giving you high-definition color vibrancy as well as crisp, crystal-clear views.

Naturally, their sunglasses provide 100% UV protection and both companies offer polarized lenses for even more clarity in bright conditions.

Let’s take a look at their most popular lens technologies: Ray-Ban’s Chromance and Oakley’s Prizm.

Chromance lenses are made out of polycarbonate and enhance color and details so your world looks more vivid and high-def.

They are also polarized and have anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.

What you might not know is that Chromance lenses use the same technology as Oakley’s Prizm (courtesy of the fact that they’re both Luxottica companies).

So what’s the difference?

Prizm lenses come in both polarized and non-polarized options, plus there are sport-specific Prizms that cater to the visual environments of each activity.

For example, Prizm Golf lenses enhance greens and browns while Prizm Deep Water filters out blues, adding reds and greens for better contrast on the open ocean.

Bottom line? Given that Chromance and Prizm lenses use the same technology, there isn’t a huge difference between the two unless you need sport-specific lenses.

Best Oakley Alternatives

Ray-Ban vs. Oakley: Price

black dog wearing $ sunglasses

Let’s face it, a pair of Ray-Ban or Oakley sunglasses isn’t going to come cheap.

You’re going to have spend 3 figures on either brand no matter how you slice it. But is one a better value than the other?

In general, you’ll find both brands pretty neck and neck in price for their everyday eyewear collections, setting you back between $150-$175 per pair.

Oakley might have a slight edge over Ray-Ban here as some of their most popular frames like the Gascan start a little over $100.

Save over 30% on Ray-Ban Sunglasses

However, if you’re getting one of their performance sport sunglasses, Oakley will definitely get more expensive than Ray-Ban.

Their highly technical lens and frame innovations start to add up, with a base price range between $180-$220.

One good way of getting a good deal on Ray-Bans or Oakleys is by buying through an authorized retailer that offers discounts and promos.

Check EyeBuyDirectGlassesUSA, Gaffos or SmartBuyGlasses for the best deals.

You can also get prescription lenses through any one of these shops too.

Deals on Oakley Sunglasses

Which Brand Is Better For You?

If style and fashion is your thing, Ray-Bans are a no-brainer. Their iconic frames never get old – plus, they come out with modern versions that look fresh and new even though the “bones” of the original is still in there.

On the other hand, for an active adventurer or endurance athlete, Oakley is your jam. Between their ergonomically-designed wraparound frames and precision performance lenses, you’ll be better equipped to go faster, longer, and harder in one of their sunglasses.

5 thoughts on “Ray-Bans vs. Oakleys: Battle of the Titans”

  1. I wear both pairs and I love them both I own the ray ban wafers also own the cliffden Oakley glasses with prism lens prescription with the water polarizing lens done by Oakley and I love them either pair work amazing. They style of the Oakley are cool and comfortable also the ray ban make you look a bit more dresser.

  2. My Oakley sunglasses lenses after 3 years start peeling but 10 years old Ray Ban which I’m using even on hiking are still like new …

    • I’ve had Oakley glasses, Authentic Oakley at that, get salt spray, snow, dirt, mud, harsh sun, and that’s over 15yrs of use on some of my lenses… Not sure what fake lenses you got that are peeling but I’ve never had Oakley lenses peel…and considering the same lab makes both…

  3. I can’t afford a genuine pair of either, thankfully there’s endless knockoffs at endless department stores between $10-$20 on average. That said, I’ve rocked almost every style imaginable over the years, but seem to keep going back to a simple yet stylish aviator style, which is one of Ray Ban’s specialties. However one of the few times (over a decade ago) I was able to pay up for the name brand I got Oakley’s and never had any regrets. I guess if there was a reason it was simply because practically everyone in my family who can afford designer sunglasses goes with Oakley’s, however as iconic as Ray Ban’s are there really is no wrong answer and it’s all about personal preference and perhaps your lifestyle. They both rock


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