John M. White

The Naked Truth About Why A Good Pair Of Sunglasses Are So Expensive

Dec 8, 2021

A man wearing a pair of American Optical AO Saratoga sunglasses 

We all understand why sunglasses are an essential accessory for anyone who spends a great deal of time outdoors. But do we really need to purchase an expensive pair of sunglasses? Do a good pair of quality sunglasses really make a difference to us?

As I walk through our local drug store or grocery store I see racks of sunglasses of all shapes and sizes. As a pilot, I am always attracted to an interesting-looking pair of pilot aviator sunglasses.

I will stop, look, and try on a pair to see how they look and how much they cost. These sunglasses typically are inexpensive, very light, and look really cool. Considering how many times I have lost my sunglasses perhaps spending a lot of money on some really high-quality sunglasses is not the best use of my money.

So, why do a good pair of sunglasses cost so much? 

Expensive Sunglasses

What makes sunglasses so expensive?

Is it the cost of manufacturing? The raw materials? The labor?

Well, the truth is it depends.

It is not terribly difficult to find cheap sunglasses, and of course, most of them come from China where companies are supported by the government which allows them to sell their products cheaply.

But if you do a quick search for sunglasses on Google you can find sunglasses for anywhere from $ 0.49 to over $ 550 for a pair of Gucci sunglasses.

Today most of the sunglasses you will find are made either in China or by Luxottica. 

Luxottica is an Italian company that over the last twenty years has been slowly buying up sunglasses manufacturers like Ray-Ban and other name brands. In fact, they manufacture most of the common luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, Versace, etc.

The reason those brands are so expensive is not the quality of the sunglasses, but rather the design and look. So you pay for the name and the fancy frames, but the lenses are no different than any other sunglass lenses.

Made In The USA

For my money, however, I prefer Made in America sunglasses.

As a pilot, I recognize the importance of protecting my eyes with the best pilot sunglasses I can find.

And, those pilot sunglasses are not inexpensive!

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