Why Sunglasses Are So Expensive?

It is no secret that sunglasses are expensive. It seems like every place you turn, there are thousands of different colors, styles, and brands of sunglasses. So why exactly do sunglasses cost so much? Are the brand names worth the price tags? 

When it comes to prescription glasses or contact lenses, most people don't mind spending a little money on them because they have medical importance. But for fashion brands… Well, it is a little different. All of us have wondered at some point: Are expensive sunglasses really worth it?

Are You Paying for Quality or for the Brand Name

All of us who are wearing sunglasses are wondering: How much money is too much to pay for a pair of shades? Are cheap sunglasses really have lower UV protection than expensive designer sunglasses? Are people, who are spending hundreds of dollars on just a pair of shades, right or wrong for doing that?

woman wearing expensive sunglasses

Answers to all of these questions are not simple, because there are many factors that influence the cost of sunglasses. Of course, one of the most important factors is the name of the brand. But even the same brand, for example, Ralph Lauren, or Michael Kors, has different designer sunglasses with a different price tag on them. 

But except for this, factors that determine the price tag in the sunglasses industry are materials (sunglasses with higher quality materials tend to be more expensive), price increases with the more complex production process, and of course, it depends on the type of sunglasses you are purchasing, the high price tag comes with special types of sunglasses like for polarized sunglasses sportsman use. 

But how to decide if you can be happy with cheaper sunglasses or if you need more expensive ones with designer shades on details? We will try to help you by answering some questions that you need to consider when looking for a great pair of sunglasses. Stay with us!

The Cost of Sunglasses

So, are expensive sunglasses really that expensive, and what will you pay for when purchasing your next pair of sunglasses for the snow

When you are paying for the high price tag on expensive sunglasses, you are paying for materials used, manufacturing process, brands name, but also for UV protection, better vision, and less macular degeneration. All of these you have to factor in when deciding on new pair of sunglasses. 

There are different types of lenses, which have a different level of prettiness from the sun’s rays, how much money will you segregate depends on your lifestyle and the quality of your vision. If you already have some level of eye damage, an eye care professional, like Pearle Vision, will probably advise you to go for lenses that have higher UV protection, which means more expensive sunglasses.

But also, the cost of sunglasses is a matter of style and fashion statement you want to express. The prices you will have to pay for a luxury good pair of designer sunglasses are much higher than prices for cheap sunglasses without the designer signature. But you will wear sunglasses with designer shades in detail, which will really emphasize your unique style, and if this is important to you then it is not a complete rip off. 

Quality of Materials

As we already said, the materials and manufacturing process of sunglasses is important when choosing the right pair that will fully protect you from UV rays and eye damage. 

The more UV protection sunglass lenses have, the less macular degeneration sun’s rays will cause you. The recommendation is to wear sunglasses that have 99-100% protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

For that, you will need high-quality glass lenses that have implemented chemicals for UV rays protection, lenses made from polycarbonate (which already have that protection), or some polarized lenses, which are great for glare reduction. Quality materials also mean you can find scratch-resistant lenses that will last longer. And they will come in sunglass hut, which will protect them.

If you want to make one smart investment, you will look for frames made of quality materials, like some kind of metal frames, that will last much longer than some cheap material. All of this means you will probably have to spend more on some expensive sunglasses. 

Importance of High-quality Sunglasses

lady wearing expensive Ray Bans sunglasses

The answer to this is simple. If you want good sun protection for your eyes then high-quality lenses are important for you. This does not automatically mean you have to buy expensive sunglasses with a designer signature, but you will have to find off-brand high-end sunglasses.

The most important thing when looking for glasses with sun protection is to protect you from UV rays, glare, reflection, and other things that can lead to eye damage. In the past decade, the risk of vision damage, cancer, and other forms of damage have increased during ozone depletion. So it is a risky business to wear bad sunglasses. 

This is especially true for the people who wear prescription lenses, so when looking for the next pair of eyewear, pay attention to the materials used, before you look at the cost.

How Much Do You Really Save by Buying Them Online?

If looking for cheap prices to save up some extra dollars, when purchasing glasses, buying online is a good decision, since you have much more options to find sales on eyewear sites. You also can buy sunglasses from the companies directly which is usually cheaper since there is no cost you pay to the reseller. 

This way you can save up hundreds of dollars, but be careful because in most cases you will have to segregate for delivery. 

Final Thoughts

When looking for the best sunglasses that will suit you completely, there are lots of things to look for. You have to think of how much you are ready to segregate, and what is the price of your good vision. Companies sure have a prices tag for brands name, but besides that, you have to look at the grade of frames and lens, and the level of sun protection you get. Companies who care for their customers will use sunglass materials that are not cheap and will charge you extra for that. But in most cases, the great pair of glasses you will get is worth it. 


How much does it actually cost to make sunglasses?

It depends on the material the lenses are made of. Plastic is cheaper than glass. So, to make sunglasses out of plastic, the cheapest material would be worth about 20 to 40 cents.

Why are Ray Ban's so expensive?

If you live in an area where it is sunny year-round, you should invest in one company, and it is Ray-Ban's which will drastically reduce reflection. Ray Ban's are pretty expensive but they are workhorses. The prices of the frames are commensurate with the design and its function.

Ray Ban's can protect your eyes, which you might need in places where it is sunny year-round like Hawaii. Many other sunglasses brands can be flimsy which can lead to failure, but Ray Ban's are sturdy and should be durable enough to last you for at least a couple of years. Considering how often you will be wearing your sunglasses you might take into consideration the prices point to be worth it after the initial investment.

How do I know my Ray-Ban is original?

Original Ray-Ban lenses are polarized, which means that the sunglasses will reduce flare. Which type of polarization does your sunglasses have? You can check the lenses by holding them up to the light - either horizontally or diagonally. If you're looking for an authentic product, here are some general guidelines to help you spot an original.

woman camping sunglasses

Check for the number on the inside of the left arm.

Find the “RB” logo on the right arm.

Look for the words “Made in Italy” on the inside of the right arm.

Check the word “Ray-Ban” on the right arm.

Are Walmart sunglasses good?

There are really no universal, top brands of glasses. However, Walmart offers some good glasses. These glasses are offered at the cheapest price you can find this year. Walmart is offering some of the most affordable glasses, but also some of the highest quality. Whether you are purchasing these for yourself or as a gift, they are definitely worth checking out.

What is the markup on shades?

The markup on a pair of shades will depend a lot on the quality of the item being sold, as well as how familiar the retailer is with the product. If the shades are ‘fashionable’, the markup could be as high as 400%. This will vary from store to store, as well as from region to region. 

In the US, the average for a recent pair of shades was around 200%. eBay, on the other hand, is a much different story. If you want to make a profit on your shades, posting your items on eBay is a great option. Instead of a 200% markup, you can sell a pair of these shades for a margin of 35%. 

Are Cheap sunglasses harmful?

Cheap shades are actually harmful due to the harm they can cause to the environment. Only 1 in 10 plastic sunglasses make it to a recycling facility, causing the rest to clog landfills and runways. The amount of these cheap shades increases by up to 5 million pairs per year, not including the plastic lenses themselves.

There are many types of harmful chemicals found in these cheap shades like BPA, phthalates, and lead. 1 in 15 people get certain cancers from wearing shades, due to UVB damage, where 3 out of these 15 get cataracts.

Author - Fred Felton
Fred Felton          

Content Creator / Editor

Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the winter outdoors space, focussing on skiing and snowboarding. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.


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