Why Oakleys Are Better Than Ray-Bans - Once and For All (2024)

We’re talking Oakley vs. Ray-Ban and what truly separates Oakley from the pack!

Let the Battle Begin

Two highly regarded brands of sunglasses. Before we jump into comparing these two brands, its important to call out that they’re actually one company. As we’ve talked about before, Oakley and Ray-Ban are both owned by eyewear behemoth Luxottica. But that doesn’t mean they’re alike. We’ll break down the history of each company, what makes them different today, and why Oakley is the best brand once and for all.

Oakley History

Oakley was founded in 1975 when Jim Jannard created revolutionary new grips for motocross. At the time, the company’s headquarters were in Jannard’s garage. (Their headquarters sure has come a long way since then!)

Oakley eventually branched out into eyewear in the 1980s with goggles. By then, Jannard had caught the innovation bug. He moved from motocross to ski and bicycle goggles and finally into sunglasses.

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Oakley burst into the public eye when Greg Lemond wore a pair of Eyeshades during his Tour de France win in 1986. After that, the company continued with technological innovations and patents, eventually topping 600 unique materials and designs. For more interesting Oakley history, be sure to check out our

Ray-Ban History

Ray-Ban was founded in 1937 as part of Bausch & Lomb (yes, the same company you know today). Their original product was designed specifically to reduce glare and fogging of sunglasses for pilots. Thus, the Aviator was born. It became an iconic frame style that still goes in and out of fashion regularly.

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In 1952 Ray-Ban introduced the Wayfarer and once again hit a home run. It has been adapted and imitated countless times since its debut. And it was the Wayfarer that caught the eye of Hollywood. Both James Dean and Audrey Hepburn were fans of the Wayfarer, and Ray-Ban designs have been a Hollywood staple ever since.

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Oakley vs. Ray-Ban Comparison

Frames

Ray-Ban frames have a classic shape and style that define the brand. The Aviator and Wayfarer paved the way for others, like the Clubmaster, which served as the template for brow-line lifestyle sunglasses from the moment it was introduced.

However Oakley on the other hand has defied “classic” and disrupted the industry. Oakley started as a sports company and has stayed true to those roots. It offers sunglasses designed for optimal sports performance. Cyclists, runners, climbers, and skiers all rely on Oakley technology.

Oakley is the innovation king. Always researching materials and styles to optimize performance, Oakley sunglasses have some of the most cutting-edge features on the market, as seen in pairs like the Jawbreaker!

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Oakley’s styling is a mixture of classic, sporty, and disruptive. The eclectic mix makes Oakley able to offer something for everyone, from the classic Frogskins to the futuristic Eye Jacket Redux, to the fun and unique Medusa and Mars.

In terms of durability, Oakley wins with patented materials like O Matter, X Metal, and Unobtainium. Looking past the jargon, these materials are strong, flexible, and more durable than the nylon and other common components used in Ray-Bans.

Lenses

Both companies have some claim to fame when it comes to lenses. Ray-Ban Aviators were made for the military, and the company has always been at the forefront of clarity and performance in its lenses. They are particularly well suited to prescription sunglasses with both polycarbonate and glass lenses available.

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However, Oakley has stayed at the forefront of lens innovation over the years. Its Prizm lenses are revolutionary and designed to enhance clarity, contrast, and color. Originally designed for sport sunglasses, they have now expanded to Oakley’s lifestyle and even e-sports gaming lines.

In addition, all Oakley lenses are made of Plutonite (another patented material) and are highly impact-resistant as well as UV protective.

Goggles

There isn’t much to compare here since Oakley makes goggles and Ray-Ban does not. But once again, Oakley takes Goggle innovation to the next level. Offering a full range of snow sport and motocross goggles, using Plutonite and Prizm technology in models like the Flight Deck. They have even begun to include integrated technologies like bluetooth and Heads up Displays across the Goggle line.

Price

Oakley and Ray-Ban are both high-quality products and, along with that, have a high price point. Starting at around $150 (full price without customization), both companies generally have the same price ranges. We’ll be generous and call this one a tie.

Branding

One of the most interesting differences between Oakley and Ray-Ban is in marketing.

Though created for the U.S. military, Ray-Ban became the sunglasses of Hollywood. Celebrity use, as well as use in movies (who can forget Tom Cruise in his Wayfarers in Risky Business?), continues to elevate the brand.

Stars like Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston keep the classic styles in the public eye, and the company continues to appeal to high-profile personalities. Even Princess Kate wears a pair of Wayfarers.

Related: Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses - The Ultimate Guide
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Oakley was created to fill a specific need (motocross grips) and has continued to innovate for athletes. So it’s no surprise that they’ve filled their endorsem*nt roster with top athletes around the globe.

Greg Lemond was the first celebrity athlete to wear Oakleys, but not the last. What began as a somewhat organic campaign has become big business, including high-dollar endorsem*nt deals.

Patrick Mahomes became the first NFL player to endorse Oakley in 2019, but other athletes, including Michael Jordan, golfer Rory McIlroy, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, and NASCAR’s Clint Bowyer, have all represented the brand. In addition, skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White have worn Oakley goggles. It’s pretty difficult to go to a professional sporting event these days and not see Oakley gear!

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Final Thoughts

It’s fair to say that Oakley and Ray-Ban are both high-quality sunglasses with long histories and interesting stories. And we’ll admit we’re rather biased here (hint), but Oakley clearly blows Ray-Ban’s innovation and design out of the water. Just take a look at their most recent innovation with the MSK3 Mask, which has completely changed the game.

If you’re looking to break past the status quo and wear the latest designs and technology, you’ll want to ditch your Ray-Bans for a pair of Oakleys!

What do you think? Join the largest online Oakley community and let us know what you think sets these brands apart in the thread below!

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Why Oakleys Are Better Than Ray-Bans - Once and For All (2024)
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