The original Ray-Ban Wayfarers were maybe too closely associated with Tom Cruise’s toothy, underwear-clad uber-bro from Risky Business, so an update was in order. The New Wayfarer, which was released in 2008 and is not actually so new anymore, is slicker aesthetically and more ergonomic than the original. Plus, the lens polarization is somehow, to my eye, more seamless than any other pair of shades I've worn. The highest compliment I can pay might be to say that I don't notice when I'm wearing the New Wayfarers. That is, until I catch a reflection of my mug in a car window and think, "Tom who?"
As an Outside editor, I've been trained to think that durability and performance reign supreme over style, but there's no sacrificing with these glasses. I've had the same pair since 2013. The tortoiseshell veneer is peeling and chipping off the temple tips, one of the hinges is sticky, and the lenses are scratched to hell—one of them is even cracked from a time I dropped the glasses on a rock during a backpacking trip. But somehow I haven’t noticed the wear and tear enough to feel compelled to buy a new pair. They've survived pool water so chlorinated it acid-washed my boxers from black to purple, salt water plunges in the Pacific, constant tosses and rough landings, a thousand thumb-inside-of-shirt lens scrubbings, and hours spent smashed in my pocket next to my car keys.
I don't do a good job of taking care of my sunglasses, and I probably never will. I don't schlep around a leather case or use one of those microfiber cloths that always come with a new pair of shades. These aren't baby bunny rabbits. They're a tool. Some people enjoy thinking about their possessions and relish opportunities to contemplate shopping for new ones. I don't. My favorite part about these glasses: I never have to think about them.