Although both brands are currently manufactured by the Luxottica company, Ray-Ban and Oakley have been, and always will be, very different sunglasses. Luxottica only acquired Ray Bay in 1999, and Oakley in 2017; prior to this, they belonged to different companies, hence their very distinctive and highly dissimilar designs. As a result, the iconic brands have very different styles, frames and so on.
Ray-Ban vs. Oakley Lenses
Luxottica are famed for their light, durable, yet also finely crafted sunglass frames. The name of the company comes from the Italian words ‘luce’ meaning ‘light’, and ‘ottica’ meaning ‘optics’. Optics and lenses remain a consideration of the business but, of course, with big name brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley within their stable, it’s style that makes a difference here as well. Both brands have been incredibly popular since their inception, and the purchase of either guarantees wearers a long-lasting, ever-available fashion statement – along with highly important protection from UV rays and light distortion, of course.
But what are the differences between the brands? And which should you go for if you don’t happen to own either? Read on to find out more.
As well as polarized lenses, which you’ll no doubt already be familiar with, Oakley also boast four other distinct lens types.
Oakely offers a lens that they call Prizm™. These are intended as performance sunglass lenses, and are designed specifically for sports such as golf, baseball, skiing, biking, etc. The lenses work to boost specific color wavelengths, meaning that details are amplified – great if you’re on your bike, for example, as any dips or ditches in the road will be far easier to spot.
Oakley’s Iridium™ is basically a tinted lens working alongside an anti-glare coating, giving a mirrored effect. The tints come in a range of colors, each formulated for a broad spectrum of environments and activities. These lenses aim for balance between light transmission, reflection, and absorption by the lens. They’re perfect for any number of situations, from sports to driving, and for those who suffer from light sensitivity.
As well as these two trademark types, there’s a lens range called ‘Transitions’. This is a photochromic lens that adapts to different lighting conditions, from light, bright and sunny to near-dark. This lens is also suitable for what’s sometimes called ‘flat light’ - that is, lighting conditions that are marked by low contrast.
These sunglasses retain a clear, glass-like color and clarity to the lenses. They are considered one of the optimum lenses for sports, because they effectively eliminate distortion. They also block out 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC light, and are further made to withstand impacts, meaning that they are a very safe and sturdy bet for sports people and athletes.
The Ray-Ban lens range also includes polarized, as well as a number of other lens types.
This is the original lens type sold and marketed by Ray-Ban. Initially created for military use, G15 lenses are one of their ‘solid’ lens colors. The ‘G’ stands for green as these lenses are an iconic bottle green color, providing excellent color contrast, whilst the ‘15’ represents the percentage of Visible Light Transmission (VLT) that makes its way through the lens. These lenses are therefore superb light-blockers, and they also help to withstand glare.
As you would expect, the ‘B’ in this case stands for ‘brown’. It holds the same performance abilities as the G-15 but is better suited to conditions where there is lower light.
Beyond these, the brand also offers blue light filter lenses, gradient lenses, and mirrored lenses to suit different needs and tastes.
Okay, so there are a myriad of small and even more marked differences between the lenses that are offered between the two brands. But this doesn’t necessarily make one better than the other – it's more a case of ‘different strokes for different folks’, as it were.
What does make a difference in this battle of the brands is the durability of the sunglasses. In terms of their lenses, Oakley’s have a reputation for getting scratched up more easily.
However, this could in part be due to the fact that many of their range are recommended for sports, physical activity, and outdoor pursuits, which might just make scratches more likely.
What’s important to note is the fact that, when you investigate past the technological dazzle of ‘prizm’ and the uber cool, air force associations of ‘G-15’ lenses, both Oakley and Ray-Ban make their sunglass lenses from the same materials; in many cases, this will be a high-grade plastic, with both brands utilizing polycarbonate (even if they rebrand it as something else). This makes their lenses, according to their marketing, ‘shatterproof’ (if not always scratch-proof).
In terms of style, the brands are quite distinct. Oakley sunglasses are designed for all-day wear and have always been more suited to sports. Whilst Ray-Ban like to deliver a more classic, sleek and simplistic style with their sunglasses.
Ray-Ban began as military grade sunglasses – so, their root design stems from the needs of fighter pilots. The classic ‘teardrop’ shape of Ray-Ban Aviators is intended to give the wearer maximum visual coverage and clarity if they are fighting in the air. Wayfarers are also another classic design from the brand. Black lenses and black frames, with a rectangular, slightly angular shape, make these perhaps the most archetypal sort of ‘lifestyle’ sunglasses.
Oakleys are most commonly recognised for their wraparound style sunglasses, which are perfect for sports such as skiing. The business began in 1975, so they don’t possess the long history of Ray-Ban (founded in 1936) – but the grip of their frames made them suitable for sports people, with the brand originally supplying their sunglasses to motocross events. However, the need for a pair of ‘lifestyle sunglasses’ in the mid 80s prompted the creation of Oakley’s famous ‘Frogskins’, which are slightly reminiscent of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and which have graced the faces of plenty of stars and have been at the forefront of fashion ever since.
Frames and Models range
Though we’ve mentioned a few already, Ray-Ban's most popular models include Aviators, Wayfarer, Justin and Clubmaster. For Oakley, Frogskins are perhaps their most famous model, but the updated version of these, Holbrook, are an incredibly popular modern option.
Our blog post looking at Ray-Ban Justins and Oakley Holbrooks sheds some light on similarities and differences on two particular favorites.
When considering the question of Ray-Ban Justins vs Oakley Holbrooks, there’s actually very little price difference, and both, as designer sunglasses, remain within the same sort of range. In general, the price of Oakley and Ray-Ban sunglasses is fairly equal, with most standard models having a similar starting price point of around $150.
Legal requirements in most countries mean all sunglasses, no matter their brand, need to provide UV protection. Both Oakley and Ray-Ban sunglass lenses offer 100% UV wave protection. Their ultimate aim, other than making you look cool, is to protect your eyes from the sun, and in this there is no difference between the brands.
New Lenses from Sunglass Fix
You can get Oakley replacement sunglass lenses and Ray-Ban replacement sunglass lenses from us here at Sunglass Fix. We stock over 300,000 models, and even offer a bespoke lens creation service should you happen to need a more unusual lens shape.
And, when it comes to Oakley and Ray-Ban, we’ll definitely have you covered. For us, there is no ‘brand battle’ - we love them both, stock them both. It’s basically up to you as to which you prefer. And, whichever that happens to be, when your frames need their lenses replaced, we’ll be here to help you do that.
Our replacement sunglass lenses are made from polyamide, an outstandingly durable plastic that possesses the crystal clear clarity of pure glass that is also shatterproof. So when you scratch or damage your favorite Ray-Ban’s or Oakley’s we’ve got you covered. Plus, shipping is free where you are in the world.