New Ray-Ban Wayfarers are a spin-off of the old Classic Wayfarers. How do they compare to the original? Find out in this comprehensive review.
The Original Ray-Ban Wayfarers are the tried and true standby sunglasses for generations of men. From the likes of Tom Cruise and James Dean to the Blues Brothers and Bob Dylan, a long list of cultural icons have sported the Original Wayfarers.
While Ray-Ban still sells the tremendously popular Original Wayfarers, they’ve also released a new version, aptly called the “New Wayfarer.”
In this review, I’ll explain the differences between the Original and New Wayfarers, and share my honest review of Ray-Ban’s New Wayfarers.
The New Wayfarers are a classic pair of shades with a modern twist. These sunglasses are perfect for most outdoor situations. While I have my doubts that their finish will last in the long run, if I had to choose only one pair of sunglasses these would be it.
How are New Wayfarers Different from Original Wayfarers?
The frames of the Original Wayfarers tilt in towards the wearer’s face slightly (this is called “pantoscopic tilt”). For some people, this causes the frames to rest on their cheeks, which isn’t ideal.
Like the Classic Wayfarers, the New version is somewhat angular and have pronounced rims near the hinges.
Unlike their predecessor, the lenses of New Wayfarers don’t tilt towards the wearer’s face. Also, the lenses of New Wayfarers are somewhat smaller (i.e. they aren’t as long vertically as their predecessors), and more rounded, lending to a slightly more modern, sporty look.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference is that the lenses of the New Wayfarers don’t tilt towards the wearer.
These few differences aside, the New and Original Wayfarers aren’t all that different from one another.
New Wayfarers, My Experience
After several months of wear, here are my thoughts on the New Wayfarer in Rubber Black.
These are some good-looking shades. Ray-Ban offers a lot of different colors, finishes, and lens styles of the New Wayfarer. I’m glad I chose the rubber black finish because I think that they’re better than the standard plastic finish in wet (or sweaty) conditions.
I feel that this style of sporty/classic sunglasses is unique because they pair just as well with athletic shorts and a t-shirt as they do with a suit and tie. Not too many other items in the menswear world can boast such a claim!
The New Wayfarers work for just about any outdoor situation except in special circumstances such as when you need eye protection from flying dirt or debris.
On the inside of the temple of my New Wayfarers are a series of letters and numbers.
- RB 2132 means “Ray-Ban” and a numeric code corresponding to the frame style.
- 6462/31 is the color code.
- 52 is the lens diameter— this means that the width of each lens is 52mm.
- 18 is the bridge width — the distance between each lens at the nose bridge
- 3N is the lens code which is a little complicated but basically refers to the type of lens. For example, 3N means that these are standard lenses for use in environments that are of average brightness.
These sunglasses fit me really well. I think that they compliment most face shapes. To find out how to choose sunglasses for your face shape check out this article. (Trust me, it’s a game-changer).
Unlike many sunglasses models, you can choose your exact size of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Before ordering online, I tried on a pair of New Wayfarers in person.
In my opinion, it would be tricky to choose the right size your first time ordering sunglasses online without trying on a pair of two in-person as a real-life reference point.
These sunglasses are very comfortable. The rubberized matte finish seems to help the temples stay in place on my ears.
When running with these glasses on they usually do bounce up and down just a little bit, but it’s not really a problem. It’s just a little annoying sometimes.
On my first day wearing my New Wayfarers I accidentally dropped them in a creek. (No they didn’t fall off my face. It’s a long story). While dropping my sunglasses in a creek was a stupid mistake on my part, I discovered that these shades don’t float. So, you could say it was part of the testing process 😉.
Due to the fall, the rubberized matte finish got nicked near the hinge on the right side. There is some white showing from underneath.
White is also beginning to show through on the nose pad. I don’t baby these sunglasses — I wear them almost every day when I go running. I imagine that the nose pad wear is caused by rubbing from up and down movement when I run.
Finally, the rubberized matte finish on both temple tips is beginning to show a pinprick of white coming through as well.
You might be able to make out this damage in some of my photos. In all three instances, the damage is very minor at this point.
That said, I anticipate that this problem will get worse in the coming months. I have a pair of Huckberry Weekenders (which are a very similar style to the New Wayfarers) that have a pretty significant color loss (i.e. where the black finish has worn off to show the white plastic underneath).
I expect that it’s just a matter of time until my New Wayfarers suffer the same fate.
Besides the wear on the matte finish, these glasses are holding up quite well. The hinges still have a good spring to them, and the black plastic finish on the inside of the glasses shows no sign of wear.
Solid construction and good design coming from a heritage brand don’t come cheap. These sunglasses cost a lot more than your run-of-the-mill gas station shades.
Depending on the exact specs you choose for your New Wayfarers, these sunglasses cost between $140 and around $200 on Ray-Ban’s site.
While they’re pretty expensive, I think the price is reasonable considering just how versatile they are. However, if the rubber finish keeps wearing off, it might not be worth it. (I’ll be sure to update this review).
Answers to Common Questions
Here’s some answers to questions about Ray-Ban Wayfarers that are frequently asked by folks on the web:
Are New Wayfarers Smaller Than Classic Wayfarers?
When Did the New Wayfarer Come Out?
Ray-Ban released the New Wayfarer in 2002.
Where Are Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses Made?
Wayfarers are made in Italy.
Why Are Wayfarers So Popular?
I think that Wayfarers are popular because they’ve been worn by celebrities and everyday people from all walks of life since the 1950s. In other words, over time celebrities have helped Wayfarers become one of those rare fashion accessories that is instantly recognizable by the average Joe.
The New Wayfarer is popular because it is a modern, updated version of the original, stylish Wayfarer design.
What Do Ray-Ban Serial Numbers Mean?
Ray-Ban serial numbers refer to the frame style, color, lens diameter, bridge width, and type of lens housed in the frame (see my detailed explanation above).
Which Wayfarer Should I Get?
Since the Classic Wayfarer is more angular, it is best for men with round facial features. The more rounded New Wayfarer is going to look more flattering on a man with more angular facial features. See this guide for more details.
Ultimately it depends on your preferences. Both the Classic and New Wayfarer styles work with many face shapes.
New Wayfarers are quality, Italian-made sunglasses. While the durability of the rubber finish of my sunglasses is to be determined, these are stylish, well-built sunglasses that I think will last a long time.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!