- Shopping at direct-to-consumer eyewear brands means you can save serious money
- Other benefits include try-on options and eco-friendly materials
Gone are the days when you had to shell out hundreds of dollars at the optometrist's office if you needed a new pair of prescription glasses. Thanks to a number of companies -- including Warby Parker, which helped popularize the direct-to-consumer eyewear movement -- you can shop prescription specs and sunnies from the comfort of your home.
Better yet, because you're shopping from direct-to-consumer sites, you can avoid the middleman markup, and save yourself some cash.
Take these five companies, for example. Each of them is an innovator in its own right, whether by offering competitive pricing, allowing you to try on multiple specs at home, or creating designs from sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
Ahead, learn more and shop these direct-to-consumer businesses that are changing the eyewear game for good.
By now, when you think of affordable, chic eyewear, you probably think of Warby Parker. This direct-to-consumer glasses brand, which debuted back in 2010, was created with one clear mission in mind: to make eyewear less expensive. And the company has done just that, with many pairs starting at just $95. Simply choose up to five frames online to test out at home and get them delivered to your door for free. You'll then have five days to pick a pair (or two) you like, sending back whatever you don't. Warby Parker also offers a quick online quiz that can help you determine the best frame shapes to test out with your face, if you're a bit overwhelmed with all the choices. All options come with anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings at no additional cost. Better yet, when you do decide to buy a pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses, Warby Parker will donate a pair to someone in need. Now that's paying it forward.
By far one of the most affordable brands on this list is Zenni. The company, which prides itself on its ultracompetitive pricing, features hundreds of pairs for men, women and children, for a steal. Some of them even start as low as $7, which is a great excuse for you to stock up on multiple pairs of glasses and sunglasses. While you won't be able to try these specs on at home, Zenni does offer the Zenni Frame Fit, where you can upload a photo of yourself to the site and try on different pairs virtually to find what looks best.
Looking for an eyewear company that has an eco-friendly bent? Meet Proof Eyewear, a company that focuses on using sustainable materials, such as FSC-certified wood, recycled metal, and repurposed skateboard decks, to craft its designs. It even has an ECO collection (standing for Environmentally Conscious Optics) that features renewable and biodegradable frames. And like Warby Parker, Proof donates a portion of every shopper's purchase to a worthy organization, ranging from disaster relief to nature conservancies. But the real highlight for us with Proof is its sleek designs, which are both trendy and subtle enough for everyday use. And designs for both sunglasses and optical lenses start as low as $90.
Another socially conscious company on our list is Coastal, the eyeglasses and contacts site that partners with Essilor Vision Foundation to give away a pair of glasses with every purchase of one. While Coastal isn't the cheapest company on the list, it's not the most expensive, either, and many of the options start as low as $19. Free shipping and returns are standard. Better yet, Coastal regularly has discounts that you can cash in on. Currently, the site is offering a buy one, get one free promotion on the site, when you use the code BOGO at checkout. It's the perfect excuse to get a few pairs of optical lenses and sunnies for this season.
Rounding out our list is Eyebuydirect, a company that, true to its name, creates its glasses completely in house. That means that when you purchase a pair, you're going direct to the company, which ultimately will save you money because there's no middleman markup. The site offers a number of frames that vary in size, shape, rim, material and color for as low as $6. Right now it's also offering a 30%-off sale, using the code MUSIC at checkout.
Eyebuydirect offers more lens options than some other sites. Shoppers can find bifocal, progressive and transition lenses on the site. It also offers Digital Screen Protection Glasses, which can block out blue-violet light emitted from digital screens.