Every man loves to wear a pair of sunglasses once the summer rolls around. It is one of those accessories that look alpha male and really add to a man’s confidence.
However, you need to get the right pair.
Aviator sunglasses are a particular style of glasses that were originally developed for pilots. Over the years, they developed, and now they are some of the most popular sunglasses in the world. Their design is distinctive, with dark, large lenses and “bullet hole” metal frames.
The design itself was an attempt to cover pilots’ eyes completely, preventing any light from impairing their skills.
Grabbing a pair of aviators can be a great idea. Ray-Ban sells some of the most famous ones, with the Ray-Ban RB3025 Metal Aviator Sunglasses being one of the best aviator sunglasses for men in 2019. Combining quality, style, and comfort all in one.
However, while in an ideal world we would probably all own a pair of beautiful Ray-Ban’s, we recognize that it is not that easy.
Instead, we want this to be a place that you can go to find your perfect pair of aviator sunglasses easily. In this article, we will be giving our recommendations for the 11 best aviator sunglasses for men. These recommendations will be sandwiched between a discussion on some purchasing tips that will be sure to shape your decision making and some advice on how to wear aviators and look good doing it. We will finish off by looking at how aviators differ from other types of sunglasses.
- Before you buy: 8 things to consider when purchasing aviator sunglasses
- 11 Best aviator sunglasses for men 2019
- How to look cool wearing your aviator sunglasses
- Aviators vs other types of sunglasses
- How we chose the best aviator sunglasses for men
Before you buy: 8 things to consider when purchasing aviator sunglasses
Sunglasses are one of those items where we really can’t understate the need for quality. People make a bad habit of replacing their sunglasses once or twice a year. When you think about it, that’s a really awful ratio.
You only wear sunglasses for about 4-6 months of the year, so, if you need multiple, then you’re doing something wrong.
Other than the fact that they’re quite easy to lose and misplace, poor quality is probably the second reason why they break. Flimsy frames and badly-designed lenses can cause glasses to break under the smallest pressure if they are not built with quality in mind.
Given that sunglasses are worn on your face, comfort should be one of your top priorities. There is no point in having a good-looking pair of glasses, if it means that you’re going to be feeling like you want to take them off all day.
There’s an easy solution: find a pair that combines style with comfort. It is possible, and a lot of brands try to go that extra mile to ensure that you’ll enjoy wearing their sunglasses for the entire day.
If you happen to buy a pair of sunglasses that are uncomfortable, then you may want to look into buying a new pair. It is easy for us to say, but having a comfortable pair of sunglasses is absolutely imperative as they can really help to protect you against the dangers of the sun – from the glare whilst driving to just general UV protection against skin cancer and other health issues. If you have some that are uncomfortable, then you’ll be much more likely to take them off.
The style of your aviators can differ a surprising amount. Whilst the frame is typically always going to look the same, the thickness can vary. Some people prefer the narrow, thin frames, and some prefer composite, thicker lenses. Either way, they both serve their purpose well and can look great on the majority of people. It comes down to preference.
Another style point that comes down to preference is the color of the lenses. Some aviator sunglasses will just have a classic, general lens style, whereas some will be completely reflective and come in whacky colors – from grey to rainbow.
A further thing to keep in mind could be that you want an extra bit of protection. For that, you may want to look at polarized aviator sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce glare from surfaces such as water, snow, and glass, protecting your eyes from UV damage and any other distractions whilst driving, walking, or riding a bike, for example.
Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing a pair of cool aviator sunglasses will be yourself.
What do we mean by that?
You matter a whole lot more than you’d think. Similar to the way in which your body shape can alter what t-shirt style you go for, your face shape can really change the aviator sunglasses you go for.
As a brief explanation, if you have a particularly round face, then aviators may not be a great choice for you. If this is you, then maybe look for something square or rectangular to try and even things out.
However, if you have a chiseled face, a square face, or just a strong jawline, then aviators will more than likely be perfect for you.
Either way, you’ll want to take your own face shape into consideration when making your final decision. Aviators are a universally popular style, because they suit so many faces, so you may be in luck regardless.
When shopping for sunglasses, you want to take the occasion into consideration. Suppose you are just looking for a pair of sunglasses for your vacation to Mexico with the boys, then maybe you shouldn’t go and drop a couple hundred bucks on Ray-Bans. Instead, you may be better off looking for the best aviator sunglasses under $100.
What we are trying to explain is that your final decision should be made with the occasions you’ll be wearing them in mind. If they are for general wear, then you should buy for longevity, but if you’re going to be going somewhere that could see them lost easily, a budget option could be best.
The durability of your aviator sunglasses is a key factor in what makes them worth buying. Unfortunately, sunglasses are known for falling apart easily, but this is down to a multitude of factors, from flimsy frames to just all-around clumsy care.
Whilst you can’t buy sunglasses that will survive a 200-lb. male sitting directly on them, you can buy sunglasses that are made with a high enough build quality to survive many of the natural ways in which they typically break.
Sunglasses that have good quality frames and lenses should be more durable than most, and this will increase their chances of surviving many years.
Another key tip will be to buy a pair that come with a good case. Putting your sunglasses back into a case after wearing them will go a whole lot further when protecting them.
We have already discussed Ray-Bans in this article, and whilst they are the most famous, there are multiple other brands out there, such as Armani, Oakley, etc.
Whether we mean to or not, we all like to buy things based off of brand perception. If you have the money, you are more likely to shop at Whole Foods than Walmart. Why? Because they have the perception of healthy eating and upper-class living. When it comes to sunglasses, if you’ve got the money, you’ll go for Oakley or Ray-Ban, why? Because they have that perception of being the best that money can buy.
Ultimately, you should be able to find a brand of sunglasses that you recognize and that you trust. We agree that it is sometimes difficult to just turn around and spend a whole load of money on a product from a brand that you don’t trust, so it is worth looking out for brands with a reputation when making your final decision.
Another key factor when buying aviator sunglasses is the price. Many people have different budgets and different reasoning for buying them.
Without going into much detail, we recommend that you push for the upper limits of what you’re willing to spend. Whether that is $10 or $100, you should get the best available ones for that price range.
The 11 best aviator sunglasses for men 2019
It almost feels like a cop-out choosing to include Ray-Bans in a list of the best aviator sunglasses of 2019. However, the quality that they consistently provide etches them as one of the first names on any sunglasses list, and unsurprisingly ours is no different.
They are one of the most iconic sunglass models in the entire world. Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses are a timeless model that every man longs for at least once in his life. They look sleek, come in multiple color options and, to be honest, just make you fall in love.
It must be noted, however, that these sunglasses are non-polarized. For many people, they won’t see the difference. There’s not a huge amount of discrepancy between them, but some people will prefer to go with polarized anyway, just to be safe. If you are one of them, then perhaps stay away from these.
In terms of accessories, these come with a free eyewear care kit – including warranty, cleaning cloth and case. For maintenance of your aviators, this is great, and just another reason why buying Ray-Bans is a great idea. Getting a warranty with your purchase shows that they care about what service they are providing and feel like it will be worth your purchase.
- Iconic style – designer aviator sunglasses
- Look great
- Come with a full warranty and eyewear care kit
- Expensive option
For most men, Ray-Bans are the epitome of excellent aviator sunglasses. They are the most iconic ones on the market and they always look excellent, regardless of who you are. If you can afford to spend up to 200 dollars on sunglasses, then these should be on the top of your wish list. No doubt about it.
These budget sunglasses are an excellent option for the majority of men who just want a pair of aviators to tide them over for the summer months. Coming with a metal frame and composite lenses, they look great and come in a vintage design.
There are plenty of reasons why these are worth more than the money that you are paying, and the first comes in the form of polarized lenses. Having polarized lenses gives you an extra layer of protection against glare and scattered light, increasing comfort.
MERRY’s have even described their sunglasses as suiting any face shape. This eliminates any worries that you may not be able to wear them.
Another thing that really drew us towards these was the customer reviews. With over 2,500 reviews at the time of writing this article, the overwhelming majority are entirely positive. Having that many people happy with their purchase is only indicative of their quality, and we feel that you would not be disappointed with the purchase.
- Excellent budget option
- Polarized lenses
- Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews
- Some complaints about durability over the long-term, but to be expected at this price point
Getting a pair of cheap sunglasses for the summer is a past-time of many men, but these make it a genuinely attractive proposition. Instead of the usual ‘fall apart in 2 weeks and not actually provide any eye protection’ glasses that you’ll find men buying, these actually seem to be of top quality and with reasonable durability for the price.
3. American Optical Original Pilot Eyewear 55m Silver Frame with Bayonet Temples and True Color Gray Glass Lens
These aviator sunglasses are built based off of the classic, original pilot eyewear style. They look authentic and original whilst still modern, thanks to the silver frame.
Looking at the lenses, you can choose from 7 colors, including some that are polarized. Again, if you are someone who looks to buy polarized glasses, then you will not be disappointed by the options here. If you are not bothered, then you can save a bit of money by selecting the ones that are non-polarized.
On the off-chance that one of you reading this is a genuine pilot, Air Force or otherwise, then you’ll be impressed to know that many Air Force test pilots completely love these American Optical glasses and recommend them for others. Even if you are not a pilot, that should give you an indication of the quality.
- Great and solid sunglasses
- Nice, modern style
- Both polarized and non-polarized options
- They are heavy sunglasses
These aviator sunglasses go back to their roots ,as they are the American standard for Air Force test pilots. Other than that, they provide you with a great pair of sunglasses with a lovely-looking silver frame.
For those of you looking for good, solid protection against the sun, these aviator sunglasses claim to block 100% of all UVA and UVB radiation. This is key to protecting your eyesight against long-term UV damage, and you’ll be more than pleased that you looked after your eyes in the future.
The glasses themselves are made from high-quality metal that is reinforced and durable enough for long-term use. This makes them perfect for any climate and weather condition, plus any activity, like walking, shopping, skiing, and general traveling.
- Full protection against UVA and UVB light
- Durable material
- Many color options
- The frame bends quite easily
Getting yourself a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes against UV light is a great idea long-term, and these aviator glasses should last you a long time, providing you with protection for longer.
Making its return to this list, Ray-Ban has a slightly more expensive version that do provide you with polarized lenses. Having these polarized lenses will protect your eyes just that little bit more against glare. If you are driving often then these are absolutely perfect for you. The more that you drive with a glare in your eyes, the more dangerous it is.
Other than that, the lenses in these sunglasses are prescription ready, meaning that you can take them into your optician and get them sorted to match your regular prescription glasses. This immediately signifies how durable they are and how long they should be able to last you, if treated correctly.
- Iconic Ray-Ban style aviator
- Polarized lenses
- Prescription ready
- Quite expensive for what you get
If you are looking for designer aviator sunglasses, then you should look no further. Ray-Ban provides you with excellent quality and, despite the steep price tag, they are typically worth the money.
The designer options don’t stop at Ray-Ban. Another great option for many sunglass enthusiasts has to be Oakley. They provide similar quality to Ray-Ban at a similar price point.
The Oakley aviator design is reminiscent of the classic pilot design, but they have altered the frame to be made from lightweight C-5 alloy, providing the user with excellent comfort.
The lenses themselves are fully polarized and give 100% UV protection. This double protective layer means that you’ll be keeping your eyes healthy at all times, which is worth the money in itself.
- An alternative designer aviator sunglass
- Excellent lightweight alloy design
- 100% UV protection and polarized lenses
- Out of many budget ranges
If you’re willing to go designer but looking to avoid Ray-Ban, then Oakley is where you should go. They match the quality stride for stride and even make their own improvements. The lightweight alloy design is enough to make any man feel like he needs a pair, and we are no different.
Grabbing yourselves an alternative to designer brands is an attractive option, especially if you’re at a budget price point. These aviator sunglasses come with all of the advantages of a designer pair, yet with the bonus of saving a whole lot of money.
These sunglasses come with a high-quality metallic allow frame that is ultra-lightweight yet durable. The legs are spring-loaded, and the silicon nose pads allow maximum comfort and flexibility.
The lenses themselves come with a specialized multi-layer lens formulated to block out over 99% of all glare. Not only that, but you have the bonus of a 400UV rating, giving you protection against at least 99% of all UVA and UVB radiation.
All purchases from J+S sunglasses come with a 1-year warranty on frames and lenses, so it’s essentially a free hit at a good investment.
- Designer quality at a fraction of the cost
- 1-year warranty
- Not massively comfortable
Not everyone can afford a pair of designer glasses, and we understand that. Instead, feast your eyes on these aviator sunglasses that give you the advantages of designer with a budget price.
If you’ve got a reasonable budget, and you’re perhaps looking for the best aviator sunglasses under $100, then you may be able to stop looking.
These Serengeti aviator sunglasses come in the classic timeless and sleek design but have a feel that has been fully updated with modern technology and premium materials.
Impressively, all of the lenses come with photochromic technology, meaning that they automatically adjust throughout the day to let in more/less light when needed.
Many of the reviewers are completely in love with these sunglasses, and we see no reason why we should doubt their opinions.
- They are built to last
- Come with photochromic technology
- All-rounders, from walking to riding motorbikes
- Quite a large nosepiece fit
A strong contender for the best aviator sunglasses under $100, these Serengeti aviator sunglasses have gone above and beyond in their technology and style.
These sunglasses take a unique approach to their manufacturing process in that they have tried really hard to be as friendly to humans as possible. The durable and shatterproof frame is made with antioxidant plating and has been anti-allergy tested.
A great little feature to these sunglasses is the skin-friendly nose pad. As you’ll all have seen hundreds of times before, wearing glasses can leave marks either side of your nose that look like you’ve had it clamped in a vice. The material chosen on these sunglasses completely evades this problem, and it enables you to wear them for hours on end without worrying.
The lenses are polarized and have 100% UV400 eye protection – a welcome bonus on any budget sunglasses.
- Completely skin friendly – harmless to skin
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Full UVA and UVB protection as well as polarized lens
- They can bend out of shape over time
These sunglasses from LUENX take a unique yet welcome approach to the manufacturing process. In the production of these highly-efficient sunglasses, they have taken time to make sure that none of the materials will be irritating to anyone’s skin.
If you are hunting around for a fully retro, vintage-style pilot aviator, then this could be your ideal purchase.
The metal frame with bayonet temples is sturdy. It is made to be durable, and the bayonets are held in place with bump metal blockers to prevent you from having that annoying realization that you’ve lost one in transit.
The manufacturers have made sure to use skin-friendly nose pads. For anyone with blackheads or general skin issues like eczema, this could be perfect. The glasses are also environmentally friendly, so no one has to feel bad about the potential consequences that their buying habits have caused.
- Great retro design and style
- Solid and sturdy design
- Environmentally and skin friendly
- Lenses can scratch easily if not looked after well
These will go down as the best pilot sunglasses, as they have gone for the full retro style. They haven’t just borrowed the look, they have taken on full responsibility of it. On top of that, they have gone the extra length to provide skin-friendly material and UV protection.
Carrera is a pioneering Italian brand that made their name producing sunglasses, so these are of the highest quality.
The style of the sunglasses is modern, and they look especially sharp. We can picture almost any face shape looking great in these glasses, and it is easy to see why.
The composite frame and lens give the glasses a bit of extra oomph, and they are included to prevent them from breaking easily due to a flimsy frame. Instead, they should be able to withstand quite a bit of trauma.
A case is included, which is always an added bonus. However, if you’re looking for anti-glare, polarized technology, you will not be finding it here.
- Great mid-price option
- Composite frames
- 100% UV protection
- Non-polarized lenses is surprising, particularly for the price
As a mid-point item, this pair of aviator sunglasses sits between many of the budget options and a designer option like Ray-Ban. The style is excellent, but there are some clear areas in which they lack the next level of production.
How to look cool wearing your aviator sunglasses
So, you’ve now bought yourself a brand new pair of aviators. Great. But what next?
Whilst just putting them on will be a great start, you won’t be doing yourself full justice. A few small tweaks and style changes can really make the difference in whether or not your sunglasses look good on you.
Pick aviators that suit your face
Unfortunately, you can’t choose the shape of your face. No matter the amount of jaw clenching you do to try and make it more pronounced, your genetics will have decided the shape of your face a long time ago.
Fortunately, aviator sunglasses are one of the only types of sunglasses that genuinely do look good on a majority of faces.
However, if you are worried, then check out this video, so you can learn what will suit you the best:
Picking colors that suit your outfits
Like wearing the right pair of shoes, the right pair of aviators will be ones that seamlessly slide into the rest of your outfit. You don’t want to have an all navy outfit and then a bright yellow pair of sunglasses, it’ll look silly.
Instead, think about what the majority of your outfits involve and try to cater to those. If you are just going to be using your aviators on vacation, then things are a bit looser, and you can get away with just picking whatever you want.
Know when to wear them
An art to aviator wearing is knowing when is a good time to wear them and when is a bad time. For example, if you are talking to your friends at a party, then you would probably be best just taking them off.
Also, if you are inside, then it really depends on the situation. Sometimes, you may just intuitively feel like you are trying too hard. After all, wearing reflective lenses indoors can honestly look pretty bad.
With a smart outfit
If you want to go full James Bond, then you can pair your aviator sunglasses with your smart-wear for added style points. Not only will you look like you know how to buy sunglasses, but you’ll look like you also know how to dress and combine outfits well. Win-win.
Exuding confidence is your best bet to looking cool with aviators. Wearing your new pair of sunglasses outside for the first time can be a daunting experience. You have just spent some hard cash on them, so you are desperately hoping that people like them. Instead of just looking around wondering what each person you see thinks about them, try to relax and be confident.
Knowing that you look good in them can go a long way toward looking cool. Of course, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but, either way, it is a lot better than being shy, reserved, and looking like you don’t want to be wearing them.
Aviators vs other types of sunglasses
As previously discussed in this article, aviators were originally pilot glasses that, over time, have been produced as fashionable sunglasses, instead.
Nowadays, aviators are some of the most popular sunglasses in the world – not thanks to the fact they were made for pilots, but primarily because they suit the majority of face shapes.
Standard aviators include thin metal frames and big lenses that are generally designed to cover as much real estate across the eyes as possible. The purpose for this was originally to prevent pilots from getting any residual light inside of their eyes whilst flying, but it has been extended to regular people and the dangers of UV and glare.
Wayfarer sunglasses (a Ray-Ban copyright) are the typical style that you find around. If they’re not aviators, then they’re probably wayfarers.
The frame of wayfarers are distinctively square and bold and considerably thicker than the style aviators tend to go for. With that being said, there is definitely some merit to the style that wayfarers bring you. If your face is quite an oval shape, then these will probably be your best bet as they balance it out perfectly by providing some sort of square illusion.
The final type of sunglasses that we’ll be discussing are the round sunglasses. Round sunglasses are more popular without the sun part. Round glasses are becoming increasingly popular year by year but were originally popularized by musicians like Elton John and John Lennon.
The sunglasses are slowly making their way back, and most designer brands at least have a few round options. However, they are a difficult shape to pull off. Unless you are a wildly famous celebrity, then you’ll probably have a hard time convincing anyone that you actually look good in them.
How we chose the best aviator sunglasses for men
To choose the best aviator sunglasses for men, we actually followed a pretty simple formula, and it primarily involves everything that we told you earlier.
The purchasing tips that we gave you earlier hold the key to much of our secret. We wanted to find sunglasses that were top quality, durable, stylish, and, most importantly, reflective of their price point.
On top of that, we placed a considerable importance on customer reviews. Not only do we believe it is important that we find the sunglasses nice, but knowing that thousands of others agree is enough to give us the indication that we weren’t wrong. Having that second opinion really helps when deciding what to put in our definitive list.
Finally, it is not a list of the ultimate best 11. We could have just chosen all Ray-Bans, if we wanted to do that. Instead, we wanted to find the best aviator sunglasses at multiple price points. That way, regardless of whether you were looking for under $20, $50, or $200, there are options for all of you.
To conclude, we believe that aviator sunglasses are a great choice for the majority of males. If you are undecided on what type of sunglasses to go for, then you will find it hard to go wrong with a solid pair of aviators.
Getting sunglasses of the best quality is the most difficult task and that is where we have tried to help. In this article, we have given you purchasing tips, styling advice and, most importantly, our recommendations of the 11 best aviator sunglasses for 2019.
However, we know that we may have missed a popular choice from our list, or perhaps missed out on a purchasing tip that you always think of. If we have, then let us know below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!