It’s a question for the ages, are expensive sunglasses worth it? Sure they make you look cool, but do they last any longer or hold up better? With spring and sunny weather just around the corner - we had to find out.
We decided to do a test. We gathered all our staffers and a couple of friends asked them what sunglasses they own. Our sample pool of ten sunglass wearing people included 4 high end, 4 cheap, and 2 mid grade price wise.
The results were sorta shocking.
The expensive sunglass wearers (think Ray Ban or high end designers) said that they did enjoy the status and appearance of high priced shades, but admitted that you could get the same look for much less. They said that the shades did hold up well, often to repeated drops, and remained relatively scratch free. Two wearers said they lost the shades and had to replace them. One almost cried that a day of pay went down the drain. All agreed that as styles changed, they found that they needed to keep up with trends which meant they spent on new pairs to stay fashionable - and keep getting compliments.
The mid grade people (think Oakley or surf wear brands) all agreed that the shades looked good and added to their 'self esteem' since they felt their outfits were more on point. Not a surprise in the Hollywood driven culture we live in. They also admitted that they rarely noticed other peoples shades, so didn't know if their return on investment was worth it. They did believe their eyes were better protected, so the glasses should be worth the extra price.
The cheap sunglass wearers (think Walmart) said that they never paid more than $15 for a pair and buy multiples in case they forget and leave their sunglasses at home. They also didn't feel any guilt for losing them - such as one user who said his glasses fell off the boat last summer. He did say that he makes sure that even his cheap sunglasses are UV rated or polarized for skiing, but admitted that the cheapies tend to crack around the lenses after about six months. That was a common answer among the four cheap sunglass wearers. All admitted that fashion was secondary to function, but thought the knock offs were usually close enough to the originals to work for the season.
So when it comes to sunglasses, buy what you can afford - but don't break the bank or rack up credit card bills to chase the latest fashion trend. Our sample size was small, but what we took from our testers was that more expensive brands offer little more than a small amount of extra durability that probably doesn't justify the price.
What do you think? Are expensive sunglasses worth the extra price?