The Best Warby Parker Competitor Out There: Cubitts Spectacles
It is no secret that Warby Parker has essentially cornered the online, attainable luxury, eyeglasses market. Not to mention the fact that they are slowly building out a physical retail space empire. Nevertheless, there are still some worthwhile competitors. Tortoise & Blonde or RAEN just to name two solid ones. But nothing comes quite as close to how easy Warby Parker is, both as far as their price, quality, selection, and home try-on.
However, it’s not all roses over in Warby land. To me, they have had two major problems as of late. One, they cannot seem to truly keep up with demand. Many, many frames are just not available for the Home Try On anymore. If you want them, you have to front the money and buy them, and then return them if they don’t work out. This should not be the case. Every frame Warby offers should be available for the Home Try On. But, second — and this is the much bigger issue — they don’t seem to really accommodate all face types. They have plenty of small and medium sized frames, but for larger heads like my own, they don’t have very many. Not to mention the fact that they have not a single pair of glasses with an arm length of more than 145mm or so, and even the 145mm options are hard to come by. In short, they don’t cater, really, to anyone outside of the majority of the demographic.
Enter Cubitts. How are the setting themselves apart? Well, I’ll tell you. For one, their quality is noticeably and instantly and obviously superior to Warby Parker’s. The materials are better, the finishing is better, and the designs are, again, noticeably classier and more unique. The colors and materials just all around look a serious step up from Warby Parker. Now, they are also almost twice the price. But even at almost twice the price, for a purchase you don’t make all too often, and that goes right on your face, all day, every day, a bit more money is reasonable and doable. And then there is the fact that they offer things like clip-on sunglasses, and even fully bespoke glasses (for quite a bit more money). It’s sort of like they are Moscot, but much more affordable, and more savvy.
But perhaps the single thing that sets them most apart is their understanding that everyone has a different shape and size head. So, they offer almost all their frames in multiple sizes, and that makes all the difference. This is something that Warby does not do at all. Even many high-end brands do not offer this. Cubitts, though, offers most of their frames in two or three sizes. Many glasses have 150mm arms, and many frames will comfortably fit a wide face (though, on the subject, why they don’t seem to have both a wide frame that is also a long frame is beyond me). So, no matter what size head you possess, most all of their frames will be available in a size that will fit you. This is huge! It’s actually a glasses company going the extra mile to offer all their frames to all head shapes and sizes.
For this review we went with the Flaxman in Large Amber ($165) and the Seaford in Regular Beechwood ($165) and both of these glasses are awesome. They fit my larger face (which usually has a very hard time finding glasses that fit), and so right off the bat are a step ahead of many others. But the construction and build quality is outstanding. For the price, you are getting well more than what you paid for. These are only about $60 more than (some) pairs of Warby’s, but they are way, way nicer. The build feel is heftier and sturdier. They feel premium and weighty, while not being too heavy at all. The screws and hinges they use are nicer, and double-re-enforced. Plus, the metal/acetate model is truly beautiful and unique. The detailing there on the arm is not something you will easily find just about anywhere else. These feel like premium glasses because they are.
There are a whole bunch of styles available on the site, as well as sunglasses, and you can sort by shapes, colors, and, most importantly for many, sizes. They have more conservative frames, as well as more trendy frames, and everything in between. At the same time, their whole stock is very manageable so as not to overwhelm.
Now, as far as trying these frames on, this is where things take a turn for the worse. Since Cubitts is a British company, they operate fully out of the UK. So, no Home Try On for we here in the US. And while shipping to you is free, if you need to return something from out of the UK, you are fully on the hook. Here is to hoping that they open up a store or two in the US sometime soon!
Finally, I would also like to point out that their packaging is absolutely phenomenal. You get a tote bag, along with a glasses carrying case, a cleaning cloth, and even a glasses screwdriver, which is a super useful tool to have around. So, major bonus points on that. (Oh, and the cleaning cloth is super rad, too.)
So, my wishes? A Home Try On option here in the US and free returns. And some more options with 150mm arms together with wider fits. Now, of course, this latter thing is something that Warby could surely do as well. They could offer way more sizing options. But they seem more concerned with other things at the moment. Which leaves the market wide open for awesome companies doing amazing work like Cubitts to fill in the niches that Warby leaves wide open. I still love Warby Parker a lot. And, at that price point, and given their Home Try On and network of stores, they are hard, if not downright impossible, to beat. But, that does not mean they are perfect. They don’t offer real sizing options, and, if you are after both more unique fits as well as higher quality frames — and don’t mind potentially needing to fork over some return shipping money — then Cubitts is the way to go, we feel. If they operated in the US, we think they’d take the cake over Warby. In the meantime, they are a breath of fresh air for anyone (like me) who has been frustrated with the sizing options at most eyeglass retailers.