According to the Forbes article below from 2014, Luxottica controlled 80% of the major brands in the dollar $28 billion worldwide eyeglass industry. A few examples of these brands include Sunglass Hut, Lens Crafters, Pearle Vision, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Coach, Tiffany, Ralph Lauren and Prada, just to name a few. Many people speculate that this was a reason why our sunglasses got so expensive.
As is often the case when profit margins get too large, the disruptors were looming. Warby Parker™ started offering less expensive eyeglasses with an easy purchasing experience, and other sunglass makers weren’t far behind. As a person who had just lost a $200 pair of sunglasses, I started experimenting with less expensive options. Here’s what I found:
I started by trying Blenders™. I bought a pair, and they worked well. However, when I went to get another pair, the styles seem to have become more stylish and youthful than the models that typically work for this 45-year-old guy. It also seemed as if their prices may have increased a bit, but you can still get a pair for $40-$50.
After some more research, I found Knockarounds™, and I’m a huge fan. For around $30, you can buy a pair of their polarized glasses. In fact, they even offer custom glasses around that price where you can pick each part of the sunglasses yourself… even down to the color of the logo. Click below for an article in Newsweek where they named Knockarounds™ as their favorite affordable sunglasses.
Other thoughts: I have a friend who bought a pair of Shady Rays and really enjoyed them. In fact, he lost them, and Shady Rays™ sent him a new pair. Evidently, they have a lifetime guarantee. Pretty cool!
As a guy who is hard on sunglasses, it’s a relief to know that there are finally some good, reasonably priced brands emerging, and I won’t be returning to any of the big names anytime soon!