The 7 Best Aviator Sunglasses for That Classic Top Gun Look

Posted by Ken Courtright on

We all have tastes and preferences where fashion and style are concerned, and sunglasses are no exception. For some folks, the clip-on shades will do just fine, while others will not leave their homes without polarized sunglasses. However, there is a decent number of people out there who won’t think twice about grabbing the best aviator sunglasses on the market.

Whether you are looking to protect your eyes from the sun, look cool, or just wear them for fun, aviators are a great option. Still, as popular as the day they were introduced, they are the perfect sunglasses to when looking to transform your look from ordinary to chic.

So, the next time you are heading outdoors, make sure you have a pair of aviators you can carry with you.

What Are Aviator Sunglasses?

Aviator glasses are a style of sunglasses that are characterized by thin metal frames and tear large, teardrop-shaped lenses that are usually reflective. They have arguably one of the richest and coolest history out of all sunglasses.

They were first produced in the 1930s, initially designed for the U.S Air Force, as a way of protecting pilots from strong glare at high altitudes.

The lighter, thinner, and more fashionable design replaced the flight goggles used by pilots at the time. They soon become popular across all arms of the military, and later spread to the public after a picture of General MacArthur's wearing them when landing on a beach in the Philippines during World War II was printed newspapers.

It was during this time that the moniker "Aviator" (derived from them being pilot sunglasses) was coined.

At the end of the war, the interest in aviators saw the design of the sunglasses being commercialized. They were then sold to the public as sporting accessories, and soon became a popular fashion item for sportsmen and fishing enthusiasts.

The style would even spread further all over the world thanks to popularization by iconic celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Elvis, Johnny Depp, and Tom Cruise.

Within a few years, the aviator sunglasses were no longer pilot glasses, but the ultimate fashion accessory for men. Despite their history of several decades ago, they have never gone out of style, and you can find them in almost every fashion accessory store.

Before Heading to That Store

Aviators sunglasses can make you look perfect regardless of the outfit you are wearing or the occasion. Sporting one of them is also going to increase your cool factor. However, you shouldn’t just pick the first pair of aviators you come across.

There are several different types, and choosing the right one is the difference between being just cool and outstanding.

Know the different styles

Aviators might be considered one type of sunglasses, but they vary greatly where style is concerned. When searching for a pair, you don't want to ignore these different styles, such as the navigators with the squared-off lenses or the traditional aviators with the iconic teardrop shape.

Below is a look at some of the different types of styles that are available and how each can enhance your look and personality.

Sporty

Are you an outdoors person? The sporty aviators are a good style to consider. Whether you are fishing, hunting, exercising, or just enjoying the weather, this style is perfect for any active lifestyle.

They feature a wide lens with a squared-off bottom that is still flashy and cool but offers you more protection from the sun.

Navigator

Is your face shape not ideal for the traditional aviators? Navigators might be a better option for you. The squared-off lens design of their lenses makes them ideal for people with longer faces.

It will also make you stand out from the rest of the traditional aviator enthusiasts.

Teardrop

Despite being around for decades, the teardrop-shaped aviators are as popular as ever. This style guarantees you instant recognition, and its rich, cool history will make you stand out for all the right reasons.

You will also enjoy maximum coverage of your face, which will come in handy if you are looking to spend some time outdoors.

Don't ignore the lens color

Aviator sunglasses also vary greatly in terms of color. Some will sport just an ordinary lens color and others featuring reflective ones in all types of colors, from the rainbow to silver. Below is a look at some of the top colors you can find.

Dark gray

If you are looking to avoid the sun's glare, dark gray is the way to go as they allow the least amount of sunlight through. The gray lens means less defined color details, though.

Green

The original color of the first aviators' design used in World War II. It is a great option if you want to block out the sunlight without missing out on the details. The color is also very striking, and it will match with any of your outfits

Brown

A classic fashion choice, these lenses will provide the best color details. They are ideal for sportspeople and outdoor enthusiasts. They are also perfect when driving or riding a motorcycle as they help to enhance your vision.

Gradated

A combination of brown and gray colors, which offers you the best of both worlds – protection from the sun and enhanced sight. With a gradient lens, you can also use your aviators outdoors as well as indoors and lowlight areas with ease.

Mirrored

Reflecting glare and making you look scary awesome at the same time, these lenses are actually the safe choice for, well, safety. And when that motorcycle cop pulls you over just look in their eyes, and you’ll know who’s at fault.

Designed to absorb and reflect the glare, providing you with 100 percent anti-glare protection. However, you have to be quite comfortable wearing them, as the reflected images might make you look too intense.

The material matters

When looking to purchase your perfect pair of aviators, you also want to consider the type of material used. There are different types of materials, ranging from the tough, durable metals to the flashier plastic.

You can also find others that are made of high-end materials such as titanium.

Metal

Metal frames aviators are usually heavier but are designed for durability. Therefore, they can take some pretty heavy beating and still survive. The metal frames also feature some cool finishes, such as silver and brass.

Plastic

Not as sturdy as metal aviators, but they come with more fashion options. The thicker frames offer a bolder and sportier look. They also allow for a wide range of color options.

Mixed

These are plastic and metal frames, which offers you the best of both worlds – durability, and fashion.

What’s your face type?

Something else you don’t want to overlook when looking for the best aviator sunglasses is your face type. While you might look good regardless of what you choose, some styles can enhance your look for the simple fact that they are ideal for your face shape.

Below is a look at some of the top face shapes and the aviator styles that are best suited for them.

Oval

We’ll call this the type “O” of face shapes. You can rarely go wrong with the aviators, regardless of your choice. However, it's wise to avoid super wide frames.

You should also make sure your sunglasses offer you maximum coverage for an enhanced look.

Round

With a round face, round-shaped aviators are a no go. Instead, you should experiment with contrasting styles such as navigator’s squared-off or the classic aviators’ teardrop shapes.

Oblong

The key to the oblong face is the size. Small is your enemy, but large help you cruise to victory. Go for classic aviators, and feel free to try on some more square and rectangular frames. These will compliment your appearance as well.

Square

Grab some round edges to soften your look, but avoid extremes on both ends. Edges are key here: avoid too many, and you’re good to go.

Triangular

With a triangular face, classic aviators will draw attention to your forehead, and balance with a small chin. You can also add some unique colors and frame styles to your selection, and you will still stand out.

Heart-shaped

You’re in luck! Most frames are going to look great on you, with few exceptions. Avoid oversized frames, but go with square frames or a classic aviator. You've got a unique face, so run with it, and pick striking sunglasses.

Diamond

Similar to an oval, accentuate the forehead and balance the small mouth with diamond face shapes. Avoid oversized frames and look towards the classic.

How We Ran into the Best of the Best Aviator Sunglasses

Our list is a result of exhaustive work, starting with Google search result analysis to find out which are the most popular types of aviators on the market.

We have also gone through real-user reviews from top stores such as Amazon and other leading sites to find out what other similar users prefer.

On top of that, we have researched different sunglasses brands to find out which are the most trusted and recognizable when it comes to aviators. Lastly, we have taken into consideration all genders.

Our list thus contains aviator sunglasses that are ideal for men, as well as women.

Our Top 7 Picks

We hope our list does you justice when it comes to shopping for the best aviator sunglasses on the market. They are in no particular order.

1. SUNGAIT Aviator Sunglasses Polarized Sun Glasses

One of our best aviator sunglasses, this is the Amazon off-brand. If you know anything about Amazon off brands, you know about their dedication to creating a quality product at an amazing price point.

They have glass options set on sturdy frames. The options include gunmetal gray lenses and black frame gray lenses. And it’s Amazon, so you can try them all out before you make your choice.

These classic aviator design glasses come with a lightweight balanced frame, rubber nose pads for comfort and HD polarized lenses to block harmful rays. The shades also feature lifetime breakage and money back warranties. The 100 percent customer satisfaction pledges are a bonus.

These SUNGAIT glasses boast an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, according to several online retail sites.

Pros

  • Comfy fit
  • Super light
  • Crystal clear vision
  • Couldn't be more affordable

Cons

  • Cheap, plastic lenses

2. Vintage Aviator UV400 Sunglasses

Manufactured by Denisa, these gold frames hold rimless lenses with beveled edges. The lenses themselves, tout a UV 400 polycarbonate construction for protection and durability.

Lens color options include red, blue, brown, clear, orange, and grey. Which probably is why these non-gender specific glasses can work for any occasion, anywhere for anyone.

It may be a drawback to have everyone looking at, and commenting on, your glasses. You don’t need to tell them that you only paid a small amount to look that good! It can be our little secret.

Customer ratings from many big-box sites show an average of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • Devilishly handsome and chic design
  • Durable lenses
  • Several different lens color options
  • Unisex option

Cons

  • Frames can appear flimsy at first glance

3. Ray-Ban Mineral Flash Lenses

There's something special about this option that helped make our list of the best aviator sunglasses. First off, they’re Ray-Bans. Their dedication to upholding quality, durability is as timeless as the aviator glasses themselves.

The mineral flash adds its own flair to these classic aviators, adding funky, multicolored, striped bands of color that run horizontally across the lenses.

These lenses come in colors that accentuate certain hues while setting against bronze copper frames. Options include bronze-copper with gold, blue, and green rainbow flashes.

You can show off the style of a new generation by donning these exclusive (and inclusive) eyewear pieces that circumvent convention, showcasing progress.

According to the online stores, these shades are rated 4.4 out of 5 stars, on average.

Pros

  • Handy for most face shapes
  • Flash lenses reduce glare
  • Durable
  • Superior quality
  • Unisex

Cons

  • Color may be a bit much

4. David Kind HARTFORD AVIATOR

Another of our best aviator sunglasses, these David Kind HARTFORD AVIATOR sunglasses break the mold. A limited edition piece, these glasses are art in every sense of the word.

The frameless lenses are accentuated by a lone strip of metal connecting the two lenses in a streamlined splendor. The lenses themselves come in a variety of classic shapes and colors: Capital letters.

These glasses push convention to their classiest borders. At a mere 13 grams, these featherweight glasses come with nylon lenses, and an obvious representation of the wearers taste.

Reviewers from a decent number of e-commerce sites give this option an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • So gorgeous they belong in a museum
  • Light titanium frame
  • Lenses with anti-reflective treatment

Cons

  • Not a good fit for those on a budget

5. CARRERA 2014T/S

These teen-oriented glasses are a bit smaller for non-teen faces but doesn’t skimp on design. They certainly, make for one of the best aviator sunglasses on the market.

All the CARRERA stamps are still present from the Italian flag at the joints and the etched name at the top of the frame.

Imbued along with classic design, these lenses come in various color options: gray/brown, yellow/blue, grey/grey, and yellow/violet. Definitely, some of the best aviator sunglasses you can't wait to grab!

Customers from a number of online stores rate these CARRERAs 4.2 out of 5 stars, averaged.

Pros

  • Teens will love these
  • Unisex
  • A variety of lens color
  • Fully rimmed along the edges

Cons

  • Non-polarized lens

6. Ray-Ban Aviator Evolve Sunglasses

Yep, Ray-Ban is still your to-go brand if you're looking for best aviator sunglasses out there.

These are simply framed, teardrop shaped lenses that come in eight, yes eight different colors. Even after looking at all of these aviators, these simplistic Ray-Bans are the gold standard.

According to many e-retailers, these sunglasses feature an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • High-quality glasses
  • Durable
  • Flash lenses reduce glare
  • Crystal clear vision

Cons

  • Somewhat costly

7. CARRERA 1018/S Sunglasses

Last but not least, another one of our best aviator sunglasses is here. Yes, the future’s so bright. You gotta wear shades, and these glasses will do just fine.

Taking a glimpse into the future, the CARRERA brand peeps a post industrialist world with all the verve that comes with the 1018/S shades. Brown, grey lenses pair with yellow, grey, and black, accented with a small, single ball that points to your third eye. Haunting!

An average score of 4.0 out of 5 stars is given, based on reviews from several online stores.

Pros

  • Comfy and fashion-forward
  • Self-adjusting nose pads
  • Lightweight
  • Includes protective case

Cons

  • Non-polarized lenses

Grab Yourself a Pair

Sunglasses are not just used as a fashion accessory, but they are a great way to take care of your eyes while looking stylish at it. By choosing one of the best aviator sunglasses, you can be sure that you have purchased a classic accessory that will help you stand out.

Now it’s time to go forth and put your knowledge to good use! It’s more fun when they can’t see you comin’ anyways.

There are several types of sunglasses out there, but aviators are the holy grail. Regardless of the occasion or situation, you can never go wrong with them. And with the above tips and our top picks, you will have no problem finding a pair.

Do you have a favorite pair of aviators? Tell us about how you're styling in the comments!

 

Featured Image Provided by Pixabay

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