Y&Y Classic Review: The Best Belay Glasses?


Y&Y is not the first company to stake their name on belay glasses. As the sport grows, more companies jump on the community’s lust for boutique gear.

But we’re glad Y&Y is around, and their belay glasses are a luxury we can easily recommend investing in. Y&Y’s lineup took home multiple awards in our shootout of the best belay glasses. Even better, their glasses are among the cheapest on the market.

The Classic pair is the most expensive of the Y&Y frames, but we liked them enough to give it our Top Pick award. These are the glasses that testers most consistently ranked among their favorites. Read on to find out why.

If you’d like to read more about how the Y&Y Classics compared to the other belay glasses we tested, check out our article on the best belay glasses. Or keep reading for our full review.

Belay Glasses Score MSRP Frame Material Weight
Top Pick: Y&Y Classic
90
$79.90 Stainless Steel 36 g
Y&Y Plasfun
87
$59.90 Plastic 36 g
Best Value: Y&Y Plasfun Basic
75
$19.99 Plastic 36 g
Belay Specs
68
$65.00 Stainless Steel 34 g
Belaggles
54
$89.99 Plastic 88 g

What We Like

Comfort

Not every tester ranked the Classic frames the most comfortable — the Plasfuns fit some faces better. But the Classics were consistently ranked in the top two, which made them the most versatile and widely liked frame.

Helping them along is the adjustability of the stainless steel frame. Just like most conventional eyeglasses, the earpieces, arms, and nosepieces can all be tweaked to individual specifications. For those with asymmetrical heads, this is a blessing.

Comfort turned out to be the main characteristic that separated the glasses in our test. Most of the products are strong performers — after a short learning period, it’s possible to belay efficiently and smoothly with any of them. They all take strain off the neck. But some are far more pleasant to wear, and the Classics were consistently close to the top.

Visibility

The Classics have quality prisms but don’t restrict vision around the frames.

The Classic frames also impressed testers with good visibility both through and around the glasses.

This is another key attribute of belay glasses. At the beginning of a route, the climber hasn’t yet climbed high enough to enter the field of vision through the prisms.

Until they do, the belayer must either keep the belay glasses low on the nose (to see over them) or watch from underneath the prisms. Because of the minimalist design, either option is easy with the Classics.

If the climber falls, it’s also critical for the belayer to see the wall in front of them as they’re pulled toward it. Again, the Classics make this easy.

Best of all, the design maintains outward visibility without crippling the view through the prisms. Once the climber is well off the deck, the Classics provide plenty of viewing room for easy belaying. Along with the Plasfuns, testers felt these glasses struck the best balance.

Portability

The case on a pair of glasses might seem like a minor accessory — after all, a case is a case, right? We thought so too but were surprised by how much we appreciated the Classics’ case.

The zipper runs around three sides, with a hinge at the narrow end. At the opposite end is a velcro closure strap. On the inside, accordion-like folds of fabric cradle the glasses and keep the case from opening past 45 degrees or so. At the top of the case, just above the velcro strap, is a small metal D-ring with a (non load-bearing) carabiner attached.

We appreciated the carabiner and velcro more than we expected.

Having both a zipper and velcro seems like overkill, but it allows for quick access and closure without using the zipper. We found this surprisingly handy when moving between climbs.

The dedicated carabiner is far superior to the cheap plastic clips on other cases, and the case design feels both protective and intuitive. It was by far our favorite system.

Fortunately, if you like your current pair of belay glasses but feel your case could be upgraded, Y&Y sells the case as a standalone on Amazon.

What We Don’t Like

We found very little to dislike about these glasses — outside of a few minor niggles, they’re an excellent product.

Adjustability Has Limits

Although the Classics were generally lauded for their comfort, not every tester was satisfied with the design. In particular, the nosepieces were difficult to precisely adjust. For testers with larger heads or wider noses, dialing in the fit was less successful.

Not everyone wants to spend time tweaking the fit on their belay glasses, either. Some testers preferred a one-size-fits-all design like the Y&Y Plasfun. This was a matter of personal preference — some preferred the feel and adjustability of metal frames, while others preferred simple and fixed plastic.

The small metal loops at the nose were tricky to adjust.

The Plasfun (Basic) Also Exists

Speaking of the Plasfuns, we think the Classic’s biggest competition comes from in-house. The Classic glasses are excellent, but they’re more expensive than the Plasfuns and far more than the Plasfun Basics.

To be fair, the Plasfun Basics come without most accessories and with an inferior case. But for buyers who simply want a good pair of glasses, the Basics work well for a fraction of the price (and, once again, you can buy the Classics’ case separately).

The Plasfun frames were nearly as popular as the Classics, and the regular Plasfun comes with the same carrying system for less money.

The Classic glasses are a great product, but their price may still be a red flag for many. If that means more people buy the Plasfuns or Plasfun Basics, we’re guessing Y&Y won’t be too worried.

Durability Concerns?

To be clear, we had no quality or durability issues with our pair of Classic glasses. That said, we haven’t had the glasses for long enough to comment on their long-term durability.

The glasses do feel well-made, but some reviews on Amazon complain of crooked frames and detaching prisms. The frames feel a little less beefy than other options, although most agreed that the lightness was a virtue.

If you’re not mistreating these glasses they’ll hold up as well as any others. If you know you have a habit of abusing your gear, the concerns may be worth looking into.

Best Uses

Like most belay glasses, the Y&Y Classics thrive during single-pitch cragging. Especially for sport climbing days, the visibility and portability will make the Classics a favorite.

These glasses are light enough that they could be taken along on multi-pitch climbs. We wouldn’t usually recommend taking glasses on multi-pitch outings, but neck pain or strain may be an inhibiting factor for some climbers. If that’s the case, these glasses and their handy case are among the best you’ll find.

Value

When it comes to value, the Y&Y Classic glass are like the rabbit-duck illusion — it depends what you see.

As premium, minimalist, metal-framed belay glasses, they’re decent value. They’re more expensive than the Belay Specs, but less than the Belaggles or the expensive original CU Belay Glasses.

Then again, cheaper solutions do exist, starting with the other offerings from Y&Y themselves. For climbers who don’t need the full treatment, these glasses may seem pricey. For those who need the best, these are an excellent option.

How the Y&Y Classics Performed in Our Testing

Performance

The Y&Y Classics were a top performer. Testers appreciated their visibility, versatility, and ease of use. The thin frames look cool, but they also help keep the glasses out of the way and preserve your vision where it matters.

Comfort

The Classics scored well in this category due to their consistency. For every other frame, at least one tester felt uncomfortable. Not everyone preferred the Classics (though some did), but no one disliked them. We credit the adjustable metal frame and the flexible nosepiece, which worked with a wide range of head shapes.

Portability & Accessories

The Classics come with a plethora of accessories, but we were most impressed by the case. Small details like a dedicated carabiner and a velcro closure make minor but noticeable differences. Features like these help justify the higher price of the frames.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 36 g
  • MSRP: $79.90
  • Colors: grey, purple, green, red, gold, blue
  • Compatibility: sunglasses and prescription glasses via stacking
  • Included accessories: case, mini-carabiner, neck retainer, replacement nosepiece

The Bottom Line

The Y&Y Classic glasses are a luxury, but they’re one we were grateful to have. Of the glasses we tested, the Classics were the ones that testers enjoyed the most.

The price means they’re not for everyone — if budget is an issue, we suggest scoping out the Y&Y Plasfun and Y&Y Plasfun Basics, which offer nearly the same quality for much less money. But for those in search of the ideal glasses, these come the closest.

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About the Author:

Willis is the rare local who was actually born in Boulder, Colorado, and he has been climbing mountains since he was small. He appreciates all styles of climbing and enjoys skiing and running on the side. Favorite climbing spots include Rocky Mountain National Park, Wild Iris, and Tuolumne. He attended college in Massachusetts and currently resides in Philadelphia. He loves cats, green tea, and endurance climbs. You can check out his adventures on his Instagram account.