Tuesday, September 26

21 Best Aviator Sunglasses for Men in 2022: Ray-Ban, Persol, Warby Parker, and More

All shades are some degree of cool, but the best aviator sunglasses for men might be the absolute coolest. Originally developed in the 1930s, aviators were designed to replace the bulky goggles worn by military pilots, which would frequently fog up at high altitudes. They were crafted with a lightweight metal frame and brow bar that could easily fit under a helmet, teardrop lenses which covered the wearer’s entire field of vision, and green lenses to reduce blue light eye strain and cut through glare. Soon after, Bausch & Lomb introduced the style to the civilian market, dubbing them the Ray-Ban Aviator. Sound familiar?

From there, aviator sunglasses for men exploded in popularity, worn by flannel-suited Mad Men in the ‘60s, bell-bottomed disco dancers in the ’70s, and just about anybody who watched Top Gun in the ’80s—or the sequel this year. In 2022, superstars like Jay-Z, Timotheé Chalamet, and the entire cast of Fast & Furious are keeping aviators trending, and you’re as likely to spot them on the runway of a Gucci show as you are on the streets of Manhattan. Their unending popularity comes down to their endless versatility: the teardrop shape means they look great on virtually all face shapes, and pair well with everything from party-ready shirts and fancy leather loafers to flared jeans and fuzzy cardigans.

Whether you’re in the market for club-ready frames, hyper-luxe shades, or a clean and classic statement piece, there’s a pair of men’s aviator sunglasses that’s just right for you. These are 21 of the slickest, high-flying-est, most badass pairs to buy right now. 

The O.G. Aviators

Ray-Ban RB3025 classic aviator sunglasses

Ray-Ban damn near invented aviator sunglasses nearly a century ago, and the original design remains as handsome and timeless as ever. They come in dozens of frame and lens combinations, including a slew of gradient lenses, but this gold frame and black lens pair is the preferred pairing for our Commander-in-Chief and Maverick from Top Gun. Whether you’re piloting a jumbo jet or nursing a hangover, these polarized aviator sunglasses will keep you looking fly.

The Aviators That Look Good On Everybody

American Optical original pilot sunglasses

These sunglasses have literally been to the moon. American Optical’s sunglasses were worn by the entire Apollo 11 crew—and DeNiro in Taxi Driver, in case that weren’t enough. The Original Pilots are built to U.S. Military specifications, so you’ll lose them long before you break them. While standard aviators feature a triangular teardrop lens, AO’s version are a touch more square, making them ideal for a variety of face shapes.

The Aviators Real Pilots Wear

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Randolph USA classic aviator sunglasses

As far as quality goes, you can’t do better than Randolph Engineering—the official sunglass supplier to the Air Force since 1982. Their signature model, which requires six weeks to build a single pair, is nicknamed “The Tank,” thanks to its near-indestructible frames. They’re a bit more expensive than the other big-name options, especially for non-polarized lenses, but the quality and pedigree is worth it.

The Affordable Aviators

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Warby Parker “Hatcher” aviator sunglasses

Not only do these aviators pack the kind of timeless cool made famous by Hollywood stars of old, they do it via a handsome acetate frame that’s sleek, sturdy, and above all, affordable. (It helps that you can add your prescription to them with a few lazy clicks.) At that price, you can snag a pair for multiple occasions and still have enough cash left over to re-up on poolside aperol spritzes (the preferred adult beverage—and the preferred place to drink ’em—among aviator-wearers according to, you know, science.)

The Old-School Movie Star Aviators

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Persol PO0649 aviator sunglasses

Synonymous with Steve McQueen, the Persol 649 aviator sunglasses were designed more for riding in road-ripping sports cars than high-flying planes. With its dashing, iconic keyhole bridge and sharp arrow hinges, they’ll bring some serious Old Hollywood flair to a casual golf jacket and jeans or a smart turtleneck and dress pants.

The New-School Movie Star Aviators

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Cartier silver aviator sunglasses

Cartier is king when it comes to the kind of seriously decadent jewelry and retro-leaning timepieces celebrities (and their deep-pocketed imitators) can’t get enough of, but who says the rush of slipping on one of the brand’s legendary Love bracelets or Tank watches has to stop at your wrist? If you’re prone to losing your knockabout shades at the end of a boozy night out, the $1,000+ asking price might make you blanche. But if you’re looking for aviators oozing in right-now Tinseltown charm, their classic shape and luxury pedigree will imbue your plainest fits with the breezy swagger of a newly-minted A-Lister waltzing down the red carpet.

16 More Aviator Sunglasses Worth Rocking

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Carrera II aviators sunglasses

’80s Miami meets ’80s summer blockbuster in one handsome pair of black shades.

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Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli polarized aviator sunglasses

The perfect sunnies to wear with your handmade (in Italy, of course) unstructured blazer.

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Oakley “Crosshair” aviator sunglasses

Sunglasses that find the sweet spot between sporty and sophisticated.

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Spitfire Mexico 89 sunglasses

Are you the kind of guy who wears all-black, regardless of the season? We respect the commitment, and these are the aviators for you.

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Selima Optique “Money 2” sunglasses

Iconic aviators for the strong, silent, type.

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J.Crew “Airman” sunglasses

For the penny-pinching aspiring pilots among us—or any folks who want sunglasses that will look cool without breaking the bank.

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Jaque Marie Mage x George Cortina acetate aviator sunglasses

What happens when one of the buzziest sunglasses brands in the biz teams up with one of the most stylish men in the entire world? This: aviators that will instantly make you feel fashion week-ready.

Akila “Alias” sunglasses

If Enzo Ferrari was dropped into the Tron universe, he’d be wearing these violet-soaked aviators.

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Dita Eyewear flight aviator sunglasses

You can’t be Dwayne Johnson, but these shades will get you a little bit closer.

Moscot “Korva-TT” aviator sunglasses

If blacked-out sunglasses tend to conjure up references to dystopian sci-fi movies in your mind, worry not: Moscot tempers the dark vibes with a touch of gold.

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Garrett Leight “Roku II” aviator sunglasses

A rounded shape and smaller size have helped average Joes look movie star-handsome since time immemorial.

Tom Ford “Falconer” aviator sunglasses

Ideal for getting your Studio 54 on, silk shirt and flared pants not included.

Salt Optics “Francisco” sunglasses

Salt Optics crafts its classic aviators in Japan for maximum form and function.

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Matsuda aviator titanium sunglasses

Why not match your lenses to the sunny skies above?

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JW Anderson x Persol 0649 aviator sunglasses

Jonathan Anderson’s take on the most famous silhouette in Persol’s arsenal cranks up the volume on the tortoise pattern for bonus style points.

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Bonnie Clyde “Maniac” sunglasses

Yellow-lensed, fashion week-ready aviators, for less than 200 bucks? Dreams do come true.

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