I’m a thrifty person, so I was always under the impression it’s better to spend less money and not worry about sunglasses getting broken than spend a lot of money and worry. But, I’ve been through so many pairs of sunglasses I wanted to see what I was missing, so I decided to look into the differences between a high end pair and inexpensive ones.
Labels Don’t Matter As Much As You Think
Buying sunglasses shouldn’t be all about the brand. You don’t have to spend the most money in order to get the best eyewear. To get long-lasting quality, you may have to spend a little more money, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend several hundred (or more).
The quality of sunglasses is often tied to the brand, but it’s not always that way. In fact, some of the high end glasses only have moderate quality while some of the midrange glasses ($80-$120) have all stellar reviews and can last through just about anything. these aviators from American Optical would be a perfect example of this.
When You Spend Too Little
Inexpensive glasses often have lenses without appropriate scratch-resistant coatings, so they can scratch easily and become difficult to see through. Many of the Maui Jim glasses are made with coatings that allow them to remain wearable for many years because you’re less likely to end up with an unsightly gash on the front of your shades.
Meanwhile less expensive glasses like the JiMarti JM01 (reviewed here) can hardly get through a single jostle without coming through the other side donning some sort of battle wound.
Pay For Customization
High quality glasses are more often than not, customizable. The flexibility can come in a variety of ways. Oakley glasses like GasCans or Flak Jackets have different lens options that can be changed out on the fly. Other sunglasses like Oakley BatWolfs, make it possible for you to change out the icons on the side of the frames so you can physically make the shades look different. Less expensive glasses don’t have these options.
Spend To Put Glass In Your Sunglasses
Some of the more expensive designs come with glass lenses that can last for decades without getting scratched. However, if you do pick-up the right pair with polycarbonate lenses they won’t be the kind you see in a drug store. Instead, they’ll be highly formulated plastics with a variety of coatings that keep them from becoming marked, and this helps them last longer.
More Money Helps You See
If you love sunglasses but you need correction, high end sunglasses take prescription lenses, or at least allow you to make the lenses prescription. That’s a huge thing for people like me who can barely see right in front of their faces without the help of correction. Glasses you’ve paid real money for are designed to be taken apart and put back together without losing the integrity of the frame.
Spend A Little More! Last A Whole Lot Longer!
You’re more likely to have a $100 or $200 pair of sunglasses for many years compared to a pair you bought off the rack for $10. While the $10 pair can be replaced over and over, a good pair of sunglasses won’t need to be (which may end up cheaper in the long-run).
You’ll have them for a long time because they are made with high quality hinges, like the Spy Optic Dirks that are protected by a wall of plastic and unable to rip your hair out when they’re taken on and off your head. They have stronger frames that don’t bend as easily or, in some cases, bend on purpose because they’re made to be flexible like Oakley Whiskers.
Don’t Go Broke, Make An Investment
While I’m a thrifty person, I am starting to understand why sunglasses with such high price tags exist. You really do get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands to get good shades, but it does mean that by investing a little more money you won’t need to change them so often. Do your homework and find a resilient pair that won’t have to be replaced quickly. A good pair of sunglasses should last a minimum of 5 years or more.