More glasses: Zenni Optical review

Years of riding a bike has put my glasses through some serious shit.  My aviators managed to stay on my head through repeated close calls, and my backup normal glasses stayed on my face even through the rest of me flying ass over head during a dooring.  So keeping all that in mind, when it was time to find a new pair I was a little dubious about finding something that would meet my high expectations at a reasonable price.

"Reasonable price" being the key phrase there.  Warby Paker was going to cost me around $95 for an everyday pair.  Not terrible, but with my current glasses rapidly deteriorating I knew I'd have to get multiple pairs to work for all the different conditions I wear them in.  That put some budgetary constraints on what I was looking at.

I was initially interested in a pair of oakleys so I could switch between clear and tinted lenses depending on conditions without resorting to transition lenses.  Interestingly enough, shopping for prescription oakleys landed me a price quote of nearly $1000--$200 for the frames, $410 for tinted lenses, and another $385 for clear lenses, both in my prescription.  OUCH!  And not being able to use insurance?  No thanks.

So it was time to research some cheaper options.  Thankfully, after much searching I came across the sports section of Zenni Optical.  I guess this site used to be $19glasses or something like that, until they started offering even cheaper (!) frames.  They have frames starting at $8, and even though the two I ended up liking were $28 I wasn't going to complain.  Even having had some luck ordering glasses online before, I was a little dubious of another site I'd never heard of.  But the majority of reviews on the site are overwhelmingly positive, which makes sense for something saving you so much cash.  You're either going to love them if everything works out, or hate them if anything at all goes wrong.

If I can't get interchangable lenses, transitions make for a good compromise, and the first pair came to just over $50.  And that's with UV and anti-reflective coating.  So cheap in fact, that I decided to add a second pair to my order, straight up sunglasses.  With 80% tinting for $4.94, the second pair came to around $35.  Insanely cheap.

I mentioned in the WP review that virtually trying glasses on can seem like a roll of the dice, but at that price for two pairs of glasses I was willing to take a chance.  You pay to wait as well, since even though it's a California company the glasses ship from Hong Kong.  So for a 2/4 order I waited until 2/19  for them to arrive.  I completed the order the day before I submitted one to WP, and they didn't actually ship until the day the WP order arrived, 2/14.  Not the best packaging for two pairs of glasses but they were fine.

Only two weeks but christ that felt like a long time.  It didn't help that the order went from "processing" to "manufactured" fairly quickly, but took forever to go from that to "shipped."  But again, you're not paying for expediency.  What really made it stretch was the fact I didn't want to be bouncing between two different prescriptions, so until the zenni order showed I didn't want to wear the new WP pair either, even though they looked great and I felt like I had superhero-level vision clarity in them.

Turns out I'm split on how much I like each pair.  The transitions pair is perfect--they feel sturdy as hell and are exactly what I was looking for to ride with.  I haven't had them in the sun yet to see how much they darken but the fit is great.

transitions pair: A+
The straight up sunglasses not so much.  The lenses and prescription are fine, but the frames themselves feel awfully flimsy.  If I had gotten the same frames as the first pair I'd have nothing to complain about at this point.  Still, $35 for a pair of prescription sunglasses is a steal, and they're a fine back-up pair.  I'll probably just go to zenni to get a different pair anyway. 
sunglasses: C-
And that really says it all.  Overall I'm very happy with the experience and will definitely be trying them again since their prices are unbeatable.  Who knows, I might end up loving the sunglasses after wearing them a few times.  I'm just happy to have spent less than $200 on three pairs of glasses that have me seeing really well.

Current beer-scale: 5.6

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