Direct-to-consumer sunglasses brands promise to sell you high-quality frames without the markups associated with third-parties brands. In this list, we’ve gathered some of the top D2C eyewear brands so you can see whether they are worth choosing over one of the traditional sunglasses heavyweights.
Why Buy Direct-to-Consumer Sunglasses?
The theory goes that by bypassing third-parties and selling products straight to the end-user, direct-to-consumer brands can offer the same (or better) quality than non D2C brands at a cheaper price.
Of course, it isn’t always this straightforward. Direct-to-consumer brands can differ in quality just as much as any other type of product. The quality you get will depend on the brand and product you choose. That’s why it’s important to know what the best brands are.
The benefit of buying sunglasses from D2C brands is that they typically offer shopping experiences that are optimized for buying online. The websites are easy-to-use and they often have generous returns policies.
The brands also have features that make choosing glasses easier. For example, Warby Parker lets you try on frames at home for free, and most of the other sites have virtual try-on tools that create a 3D model of your face so that you can see what the glasses look like.
6 Great Direct-to-Consumer Sunglasses Brands
Warby Parker is perhaps the most well-known direct-to-consumer sunglasses brand. The company was founded in 2010 and offers a place to buy stylish sunglasses at a reasonable price. The brand’s website is its main sales channel, although it also began opening up physical locations across the U.S. and Canada in 2013.
The brand makes quality frames from acetate and various metals. They’re easy to customize with prescription lenses. Beyond its good selection of frames and style, Warby Parker stands out due to its try-on-at-home feature that lets buyers try on five pairs of shades at home, for free. You just have to pay for the ones you keep. It also has a cool virtual try-on app that lets you see what glasses look like before purchasing.
With a history that goes back to 2003, Zenni Optical is one of the longest-standing direct-to-consumer sunglasses brands on this list. The site is best known for its huge range of affordable frames, which can see you pick up a pair starting at under $10.
Beyond its price, the highlight of the Zenni Optical experience is the huge range of glasses customization options available. You can add prescription lenses, polarized lenses, blue light blocking lenses, and more. It makes it easy to make your pair exactly as you want it to be.
The downside is that the more advanced features you add, the more you’ll end up spending. But if you want to browse a huge range of glasses at an affordable price point, Zenni Optical is a good way to go.
DIFF Eyewear was founded in 2015 and sells acetate and steel frames. The company has a good variety of styles, from classics to more modern designs that are sure to make you stand out. Check out the Lenox deconstructed aviator style frames in the image above as an example, or the Alden frames with their super heavy browline.
The glasses are pretty affordable with most styles coming in at around $100. You can customize the glasses with regular sunglasses lenses, polarized lenses, blue light blocking lenses, or even prescription lenses. The company donates part of its profits and it says that it’s provided 1.6 million people with reading glasses since it was founded.
EyeBuyDirect is part direct-to-consumer eyewear brand, part online eyewear mall. The majority of the brand’s site is dedicated to its in-house brand. This produces low-cost sunglasses and eyewear in various shapes and sizes. As long as your tastes aren’t too avante-garde you should be able to find something you like. And the great thing is that the majority of the in-house brand frames come in at under $50. With some costing well under this.
The company also has a premium brand called RFLKT at a slightly higher price point. It’s also possible to add prescription lenses for an extra fee. All the glasses have free returns. Interestingly enough, the website also has a decent selection of frames from Luxottica brands Ray-Ban and Oakley.
Blenders Eyewear sells surf-inspired sunglasses. The brand distinguishes itself with it’s unique lenses which come in a variety of colors and heavily mirrored styles. As well as its line of sunglasses, Blenders sells snow googles, helmets, facemasks, and beanies with the same style.
The glasses are affordable with most pairs coming in at between $30 and $70. Most of the glasses also come with polarized lenses to avoid glare when at the beach or on the slopes. You can also choose from a selection of prescription frames. Blenders has a generous 45-day return policy for its sunglasses.
Kits is an eyewear and contact lenses brand. It’s website sells both designer brands such as Dior, Alexander McQueen, and Bottega Veneta as well as its own in-house brand—which offers a variety of frames for under $100. There are a lot of interesting frame shapes which makes Kits a good option if you can’t find what you want on other sites. Kits was founded in 2020 making it a relative newcomer to the direct-to-consumer eyewear world.