If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
The weather is finally starting to get pretty sunny right now. While that means it’s going to be pretty darn hot soon, it also means it’s about time to pick up some sunglasses.
We know it can be a struggle to choose the right style of sunglasses, which is why we want to recommend you pick up a pair of aviator sunglasses.
Yeah, yeah, we know that feels like a cop-out, but trust us, it isn’t. Aviator glasses are flattering for most faces and at the end of the day, they’re just really good at doing the one thing they’re actually supposed to do: block the sun from hitting your eyes. The large teardrop lenses common to most aviators effectively cover your eyes and with the right specs in your lenses, they will protect you from harsh sunlight and dangerous ultraviolet rays.
But before you go dropping big money on a pair of Ray-Bans, you should know the important features of sunglasses to help you buy the right pair.
First, you need to know what the three measurement numbers stamped on the sunglasses or listed online mean. They represent:
- the length of the eye
- the bridge
- the temple of the sunglasses
Usually measured in millimeters, the eye is the width of the lens at its widest length, the bridge is the distance between lenses and the temple is the length of the temple piece, also known as the arm or earpiece.
It also helps to understand the difference between polarized lenses and lenses that offer UV protection, which are commonly mistaken to mean the same thing. UV protection helps protect your eyes from the dangerous rays of the sun while polarized sunglasses eliminate sun glare. That’s why pretty much all legit sunglasses offer 100% UV protection, but not all offer lens polarization. This is important because polarized lenses typically cost more.
When shopping around, you’ll also see that brands will sometimes list a category for the glasses. Categories run from zero to four and they indicate the amount of visible light let through the lenses, with four offering the most reduction of light. Most common sunglasses are a category 2 or a category 3, which is enough light reduction for most everyday tasks.
Alright, now that we know what to expect and how to shop a little more smartly, we rounded up a few of the best aviator sunglasses out there. We made sure to include a variety of styles and price points so whatever your needs you’ll be able to protect your eyes in style.
1. Ray-Ban Aviator Classic
Ray-Ban’s Aviator Sunglasses are the original aviators, so they are the real deal. So many people wear them because the brand not only represents a piece of American history but because the sunglasses just offer an accessible piece of classic cool. The Aviators come in metal frames and offer traditional frame and lens color pairs, like gold and green, gold and brown, and silver and grey mirror. As category 3 sunglasses, they block most sunlight. All the lenses offer 100% UV protection, and for more money, you can buy them in polarized varieties. For our recommendation, we really dig the Ray-Ban Aviators with silver frames and grey mirror polarized lenses.
2. Ray-Ban Aviator Gradient
The Ray-Ban Aviator Gradient sunglasses deserve their own space because they offer all the same pros and cons as the traditional Aviators and the gradient lenses are as cool as the traditional lenses. Some of the color schemes are the same, but not all. Among the differences, we really dig the gold frames with the polarized blue/grey gradient lenses. Something about them just says, “Let’s get to the going already!”
3. Randolph Engineering Aviator
Randolph Engineering Aviators truly walk the walk. The brand’s mineral glass lenses offer enhanced contrast, reduced glare and offer more impact resistance than competing lenses. Temple tips also help keep your sunglasses in place no matter what you’re getting up to. Specs aside, Randolph Engineering offers multiple colors of high-quality frames and lenses, so you can get the perfect colors for whatever look you’re going for. We personally like the gold frame and tan lens style. Taken altogether, it’s hard to deny Randolph Engineering makes some of the best aviator sunglasses available. But, you get what you pay for and make no mistake, these high-quality sunglasses come with an appropriately expensive price tag.
4. Privé Revaux The Commando
The Privé Revaux Commando sunglasses are stylish and cheap as hell. But despite the price tag, these sunglasses are polarized and offer 100% UV protection in multiple colors. The best part is if you lose or break them, a common occurrence for even the sturdiest sunglasses, they do not cost much to replace from either Amazon or Privé Revaux’s main website. Sure, they’re definitely not among the best aviator sunglasses and the quality is definitely wanting over the long term, but these sunglasses more than get the job done.
5. Warby Parker The Raider
If you already have a relationship with Warby Parker, you might consider the Raider Sunglasses in polished gold with brown lenses. These all-metal frames are basically Warby’s take on the classic aviator and they look ultra-cool.
6. AO Eyewear General
If you choose to trust one company to make your aviators, you might as well trust one of the oldest American glasses makers and the original manufacturer of some of the very first aviator sunglasses for the U.S. military, AO Eyewear.
The General aviator sunglasses from AO Eyewear are high quality from top to bottom, with a classic all-metal gold frame and grey lenses.
7. QUAY Australia High Key
For reliable sunglasses, there’s some logic to buying from one of the sunniest places in the world, Australia. These High Key aviator sunglasses from Quay Australia are ready for the beach or the road. They’re polarized to protect your eyes and come in gold all-metal frames and gold-tinted lenses. But be aware, these bad boys are oversized, so make sure your face can handle the big teardrop lenses before buying.
8. Costa Del Mar Men’s Piper Aviator Sunglasses
These Costa Del Mar Men’s Piper Aviator Sunglasses are stylish and made to last. The titanium frames, polarized lenses, multiple colorways and eye-popping temple sleeves all add to an enticing package. For our pick, we like satin rose gold frames with grey polarized lenses.
9. Lacoste Men’s L177s Aviator Sunglasses
If you want a classy brand name, but don’t want to pay in the three-figures range, there’s always the Lacoste Men’s L177s Aviator Sunglasses. The soft gold, almost silver-looking, frames and green polarized lenses are classic, and you get some subtle branding with a lasered-on Lacoste logo on one of the lenses.
10. Under Armour Getaway Sunglasses
If you want some of the best aviator sunglasses for exercise, like a sunny jog outside, it would make sense to turn to an athletic brand. The Under Armour Getaway Sunglasses will fill that need, no problem. They come in multiple colorways — we love the glossy rose gold frames and gray with blue mirror lenses — and feature big temple sleeves to help keep the sunglasses in place.
11. J+S Classic Aviator Sunglasses
We’ve thrown quite a few premium, brand-name options around here, but now it’s time for some love for the cheap aviators out there, like the J+S Classic Aviator Sunglasses. Are they the best aviator sunglasses? Probably not for durability. Will they look cool, block sunlight and UV rays and leave you with no regrets when you lose or break them? Absolutely. Pick them up in all black or a variety of other classic colorways.
12. SOJOS Classic Aviator Sunglasses
SOJOS makes all kinds of quality but cheap sunglasses and the SOJOS Classic Aviator Sunglasses are exactly that, quality and polarized but cheap. Sure, they will eventually break down over time because little details matter in the long run, but we’d bet you’ll more than get your money’s worth by the time they do. We dig the silver frames with silver mirrored lens but the frames come in all the classic colors you’d expect.
13. Pro Acme Aviator Sunglasses
Is there anything greater in this world than a two-for-one deal? Maybe, but unlikely, especially when you’re getting two pairs of aviator sunglasses with the Pro Acme Aviator Sunglasses.
You can choose among 27 different pairs of two, but we’re drawn to the classic black frames with black lens aviators and the gold frames with pink lens aviators. All the frames are polarized and pretty darn cheap, and if that doesn’t make them some of the best aviator sunglasses, what could?
*Disclaimer: Looking for Spy Optic? Click here: https://www.spyoptic.com.