Warby Parker vs Zenni: The Sunglasses Showdown

Summer is finally here, and it’s time to put cold lemonade in your fridge and hot sunglasses in your pocket. Awesome eyewear can be tricky to find, though. You might even be wondering which glasses are in style and where to pick up a pair or two.

To begin with, aviator sunglasses are as trendy now as they’ve ever been ― and they’ve been trendy for a long time. Such sleek shades will stand out on any beach. Round sunglasses, for their part, are also cool in a retro sort of way. They’ll look great no matter the shape of your face or the outfit you have on.

As far as shopping for glasses, two brands have lately been making Oahu-sized waves in this market: Warby Parker and Zenni Optical. Zenni is a San Francisco-based brand that debuted in 2003. Warby Parker has been around since 2010, and its corporate home is New York City.

Below, we offer a Warby Parker vs. Zenni comparison so you can figure out which of them would better suit your needs.


Zenni and Warby Parker both boast about their low prices, but when it comes to value, Zenni is the hands-down winner. A pair of its sunglasses could be priced at less than $10, and none of its glasses should cost you more than $50, which represents a remarkable value. By contrast, a pair of Warby Parker glasses could easily cost $100 or more.

At the same time, Warby Parker offers free shipping. Even more impressive, for every pair of glasses that this company sells, it supplies a pair to a person who can’t afford to buy one, so you may wish to pay a little more to support this worthy cause.

Customer Service

Warby Parker’s customer service is generally excellent. It doesn’t rely on robots to field calls. Its representatives are friendly, efficient and well-trained and you can expect personalized help whenever you’re using the live chat feature.

Zenni’s customer service is a little spottier. For instance, once you’ve purchased a pair of glasses, it can sometimes be difficult to reach someone to answer a question or address a complaint. With both companies, you can order sunglasses by supplying your prescription details online. They both have a convenient system.

Trying Your Glasses On

Warby Parker is willing to send you a bunch of sunglasses at one time so you can try them all on, keep the one you like the most and ship the rest back for free. As a result, you’re almost certain to get a pair that fits well. It’s another aspect of the Warby Parker vs. Zenni competition that Warby wins.

With Zenni, you can’t test sunglasses at home. In fact, if you order a pair and it doesn’t quite fit, you won’t be able to receive a full refund unless the company somehow made a mistake with your prescription. Instead, you’ll have to settle for getting half of your money returned, and you’ll need to cover the cost of shipping the product back.

A Few Examples

For a more concrete idea of what these companies offer, let’s compare some representative products:

Warby Parker Lionel Aviator Sunglasses

Price: $145 and up

These sunglasses have narrow frames made out of titanium; silver and blue are the color options. The lenses here are also teardrop-shaped. Moreover, if you scratch them within a year of your purchase, the company will replace them free of charge.

Zenni Premium Round Sunglasses 1130521

Price: $29.95

These acetate sunglasses are available in tortoiseshell and black and each pair’s bridge resembles a keyhole. As for the frames, they’re not quite medium-sized, not quite wide.

Warby Parker Hayes Sunglasses

Price: $145 and up

A post shared by Warby Parker (@warbyparker) on Jun 15, 2017 at 9:06am PDT

Take a step back in time with these square lenses cut from a single sheet of acetate. They’re light, polarized, comfortable and available in jet black and tortoise.

Zenni Premium Aviator Sunglasses 1130325

Price: $35.95

A post shared by Zenni Optical (@zennioptical) on Apr 29, 2017 at 1:42pm PDT

These sunglasses provide mirrored lenses shaped like teardrops. The frame is made of stainless steel and tortoiseshell. The arms, meanwhile, have hinges so you can easily adjust the glasses’ position.

Quality and Variety

It’s hard to go wrong when you’re buying from either Zenni Optical or Warby Parker. They both offer consistently high quality and an outstanding variety of sunglasses. Given that Warby Parker lets you sample its glasses for free, it’s easier to find a pair that fits perfectly. On the other hand, Zenni’s prices are so extraordinarily low that you might not mind purchasing a pair from that brand and returning it for half the price if it doesn’t fit quite right.

Naturally, different consumers have different impressions of brands. With that in mind, your best course of action might be to try both companies and see how your personal Warby Parker vs. Zenni experience turns out. In any event, as soon as you slip on a pair of fashionable sunglasses, your look will sizzle like a city sidewalk in the summer sun.

designer menswearImage credit: Warby Parker

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