Since their launch ten years ago — in a GQ article branding it “the Netflix of eyewear” — Warby Parker have disrupted the industry and cut out the middleman to offer great-looking, affordable eyewear.
Many of their prescription glasses are just $95 including lenses, but look like they could cost at least three times as much. Our personal favorites include the sophisticated Durand which elegantly walk the line between round and squarer frames. They are particularly good for guys with larger or broader face shapes and the single-vision and readers are just $95.
Another classy-looking pair that look a lot grander than their $95 price tag is the squarer Hughes frames in crystal chestnut.
Warby Parker offer a free home try-on service — where up to five pairs are delivered to our homes to choose from — as well as a very accurate virtual try-on feature on the app. They have also started offering frames in various width options from extra narrow to extra wide due to customer demand.
Their shake-up of the industry is showing no signs of letting up. They recently launched a contact lens service Scout and are disrupting healthcare too with their online eye-tests.
For every pair of glasses sold the company previously donated a free or deeply discounted pair to someone in need, but are now directing some of their charitable contributions to offer PPE and health supplies to those affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Warby Parker led the way in the online eyewear revolution — but there are other good options out there.
Unlike Warby Parker who just sell their own line, Coastal offer glasses from a variety of brands including Ralph Lauren and Ray-Ban. So if we have a sunglasses shape we know suits our face — like the classic Ray-Ban Aviator — we can buy the prescription equivalent, like these Ray-Ban 6489 for $183 with standard prescription lenses.
Some of the frames have a virtual try-on option using the camera in our mobile devices. The site and service does not feel quite as bespoke or user-friendly as Warby Parker, but shipping is fast and the return service solid. And they can come in cheaper with some frames without lenses starting at $9.
Perhaps the most outwardly eco-friendly brand on our list is Proof Eyewear. Three brothers — Tanner, Brooks and Taylor Dame — pitched their brand on Shark Tank in February 2013 and while they didn’t seal that deal they have built an admirable business.
They craft their products from sustainable materials including sustainably-sourced wood, cotton-based acetate, recycled aluminum, and repurposed skateboard decks. They are known for their wooden frames like these $180 Boise Wood frames.
Proof also give $10 from each frame sold to those in need via their Do Good Program supporting worthy causes around the world and you can see where that money goes here.
But Proof do not include prescription lenses — customers have to get them switched out at the optometrist which make these less convenient than the other options on this list.
Australian start-up Dresden Vision are bringing a bright new perspective to the industry with their colorful, interchangeable frames.
The modular frames come in four sizes — XS, S, M, L — for the frame and arm. We can mix and match the frame and arm color and they are all the same shape which allows the pop-out lenses to be interchangeable between the frames. Frames with standard prescription lenses are just $40 and come with a lifetime warranty and they’ll deliver to the USA for and extra $27.
And the frames are all made from upcycled plastic — essentially recycled trash.
The company launched in Sydney and the product is Australian-made and influenced by modern and functional German design. They have expanded with stores now in New Zealand and Canada — and have the rest of the world in their sights.
Vintage is a cool way to go for eye-catching sustainable glasses and Deadstock Eyewear is one of the many independent brands offering retro frames.
The UK-based online store promise all their frames are more than 25 years old and have never been worn. And unlike many other web-based vintage eyewear stores, these are delivered complete with prescription lenses.
We like the two-tone DS02 BR from their carefully curated collection, which are all just $45 with lenses, plus shipping from the UK.
For every purchase they donate on your behalf to Vision Aid Overseas to cover the cost of an eye exam and a pair of spectacles for a child in Africa. If customers don’t love the frames they can send them back, and they’ll refund what we paid but not recall the charitable donation.
If you make a purchase through a link on this site we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, which helps us to continue to produce our content.