The 5 best aviator sunglasses for men

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by Anne Loreto Cruz

Aviator sunglasses aren’t just stylish — they can also provide much-needed eye and skin protection in the sun. The best aviator sunglasses for men have lenses that help with glare and eye strain, along with UV protection to minimize the sun's harmful rays.

Long-term UV exposure can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts in your eyes, so it’s important to find a pair of sunglasses that adequately block the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Darker tinted lenses don’t necessarily mean more UV ray protection, so it’s a good idea to look for glasses that block 100% of UV rays, or have a rating of UV400 or higher.

Another rating you may see when shopping for sunglasses is visible light transmission, which describes how much light gets filtered through the lenses. Higher VLT ratings (in the 3 to 4 range) are great for bright environments with plenty of sun reflection but aren’t suitable for activities like driving. Weaker VLT ratings still filter out some sunlight but allow you to see more details in less bright environments or while driving.

Polarized lenses reduce glare from horizontal sources (like water, snow, or lights from oncoming traffic) and help reduce eye strain, while still making it easy to see details and colors, even in bright environments. Fit is also important: wider lenses will cover and protect a larger area of your face but might feel too heavy or cumbersome for those with narrower faces. Additional features like adjustable nose-pads and a lower nose bridge will also affect overall comfort and how well your aviators stay put in active or windy conditions.

Like any other accessory, aesthetics are also key. Most aviators have a standard wire rim and dark tinted lenses, but you can find style variations like highly reflective mirrored lenses and tortoiseshell accents. Read on for five pairs of aviators that’ll look stylish and help keep your eyes protected.

1. A classic pair of Ray-Ban aviators

The gold frame and olive green lenses of these Ray-Ban aviators are timeless, so you’ll never have to worry about them going out of style. They feature Ray-Ban’s proprietary G-15 polarized lenses that were designed for the bright conditions pilots face while flying, offering 100% UV protection. The lenses are 58 millimeters wide, but there are also 55 millimeter and 62 millimeter versions available to help you find your best fit. The nose-pads are also slightly adjustable, which helps create a comfortable fit for longer periods of wear.

One reviewer wrote: “I had been considering getting a pair of aviators for a while and the price here was too good to pass up. They are very well made and have a good weight to them without feeling heavy on your face [...] I get a lot of compliments on them which is surprising because most sunglasses look terrible on me. If you're even considering getting a pair, I highly recommend getting polarized. They're only a few dollars more and it makes a world of a difference when you're driving or out on the boat. Many imitations out there but these are the real deal, totally worth the price tag and will hold up well if you take care of them (and don't lose them).”

  • Available colors: 32

2. A sleek pair of aviators for under $20

These all-black aviators have plenty of fans on Amazon, with a 4.4-star overall rating and more than 17,000 reviews. The composite lenses are made with a blend of impact-resistant plastics, so they feel light on your face and are durable enough to withstand drops. The polarized lenses are rated for UV400 protection, so they’ll allow you to see contrast in brightly lit conditions, and protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays. Reviewers noted that the 56-millimeter-wide lenses are perfect for those with smaller faces and offer a great value at less than $20 a pair.

One reviewer wrote: “I ordered these glasses for my husband and he instantly loved them!! He was very happy about the “cool case” that it came with and the cleaning supplies! He uses them almost everyday!”

  • Available colors: 19

3. A modern take on Ray-Ban’s classic frames

If you are looking for a pair of modern Ray-Ban aviators, these sunglasses have the classic gold and green elements with tortoiseshell details on the nose bridge and ear pieces. The 62-millimeter lenses are best suited for larger faces but also could worn by those with smaller faces who like an oversized look. The non-polarized crystal lenses are still rated for 100% UV protection and have a green tint that filters out blue light for more clarity in bright conditions. Reviewers attested that these aviators look and feel great while blocking bright sun rays. These are also a great pick if you’re prioritizing comfort, as the wide opaque nose-pads can help support the frames and alleviate some of the pressure on your temples or ears.

One reviewer wrote: “Very nice sunglasses, what I like the most is that lenses are glass and not plastic, it won't scratch. If you take care they will last for many many years.”

  • Available colors: 4

4. These sunglasses that fold for easy storage

These foldable aviator sunglasses are perfect if you often misplace or forget your shades — the frames fold down to the size of your palm to easily fit in a shirt pocket or into your everyday carry bag. The polarized lenses are 60 millimeters wide, offering a good fit for most faces, and they’re rated UV400 to block out a wide spectrum of harmful UV rays. These folding aviators have discreet hinges that are barely noticeable when the sunglasses are worn, and they come with their own leather carrying case.

One reviewer wrote: “These polarized sunglasses are great. The quality is as good as more expensive brands like RayBans or Maui Jims, with the added benefit that they fold, and are very compact. They come with a black leather case and cleaning cloth, The size of the case is a little less than half the size of regular sunglasses. My husband loves them because they fit in his shirt pocket. I ordered the silver mirrored for him, and I am seriously considering ordering a pair for myself.”

  • Available colors: 9

5. A pair of impact-resistant Oakley aviators

Crystal lenses look sharp for casual wear, but you’ll need a tougher material if you plan on wearing your aviators for more extreme sports or conditions. These Oakley aviator sunglasses have a more modern square shape with Prizm polarized lenses, which help you see vivid colors and contrasting details while blocking out harmful UV rays. The 61-millimeter lenses are made from Plutonite, Oakley’s polycarbonate blend that has been rigorously tested to withstand high impact without shattering. Reviewers love how clearly they can see in ultra-bright conditions with these aviators, and how lightweight and comfortable they feel to wear.

One reviewer wrote: “These glasses are lightweight and very comfortable. I got the pewter frame with the prism polarized lenses and they are awesome. Optics are very clear and they handle full sun conditions very well. I highly recommend these if you’re looking for a good pair of affordable aviator style glasses.”

  • Available colors: 3

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