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No matter the season, sunglasses are an essential accessory. Among the various designs that have gained popularity over the years, aviator sunglasses are a style everyone should own. Whether you’re out working in your garden or headed to the beach, aviator sunglasses offer eye protection all while sprucing up even the most casual outfits.
Invest in a pair of the best aviator sunglasses, and you’ll be able to wear them for years to come. With their sleek design and flattering shape, it’s understandable why aviators are still a popular style. They look good on most face shapes and aren’t too heavy or bulky.
When shopping for aviator frames, don’t be tempted to sacrifice quality for a lower price point. Though you may think you’re saving in the short term, you’ll actually find that investing in quality aviator glasses once is better for your bottom line.
If you want a new pair shades for the season, check out the list of the top aviator glasses in 2022 below.
Editor’s choice: Pro Acme Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
These unisex aviator sunglasses are an affordable option that doesn't sacrifice quality or style.
If you’re a bold creative and want to mix things up with a bit of color every now and then, then these aviators by Pro Acme are a smart buy.
Priced at just under $11, these aviators are one of the most affordable options for both men and women. The aviators come in various lens tints including black, mirrored and even green. If you’re feeling a little ambitious, you can even swap a pair of lenses from one pair of aviators and put them on the frame of another – essentially creating a pair of aviators that are unique to you and you alone.
Great for both men and women
Comes in many colors and tint options
Can feel a little cheap
Most versatile fit: JOOX Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
If you’ve done a bit of research when it comes to sunglasses, then you’ve probably heard of the term polarized before.
To those who don’t know what it means, polarized sunglasses are sunglasses that get rid of that annoying glare that comes from interfering light sources, typically those that come from bodies of water.
Polarized aviators such as these are especially useful for beach trips. Sure, people wear sunglasses on the beach because it keeps their eyes relaxed, but polarized sunglasses will help sharpen the water’s surface.
Various tint options available
Limited frame options
Best military-style: J+S Premium Classic Aviator Sunglasses
Aviator sunglasses may have an iconic look to them, but not all of them look the same. In fact, the look of aviator glasses has changed slightly over the years.
If you want a pair of aviators that’s closer to what the original pilots wore back when they were first made, try these aviators by J+S. They’re made to emulate that signature military style, with an emphasis on bold, striking looks.
The aviators come with a thick metal frame that ties together the whole look. The lenses are also polarized, meaning that you can look at the sea and other reflective surfaces without having to squint.
These aviators are pretty large, and while they do have a medium option available, don’t be surprised if they feel a little loose around your head.
Classic aviator design
Thick and durable frame
A bit too large for some people
Best for gifting: SOJOS Classic Aviator
It's important to ensure you have a safe and secure place to store your sunglasses when you're not wearing them.
This is because shades and eyeglasses can easily be scratched by things inside your bag or purse – including your car keys, credit card, and other loose items.
To prevent further damage, you’ll either need a case or a pouch.
Aviator pouches provide your frames with a safe and soft place to rest when not in use. You can close up the pouch to make sure that it just won’t fall off. These shades come with a pouch, so they make a great gift, especially during the summer.
Comes with pouch
Great as a gift
Best frame: Livhò Sunglasses
While it may seem little counterintuitive, thin frames have become quite popular recently.
The thin frame gives even more focus to the lenses and the rest of the face, which is perfect for those with a smaller face shape or those who prefer their frames not steal the show of their #OOTD.
Though they may be a little easier to bend or break, having aviators with thin frames ultimately makes them cheaper, lighter, and even more stylish.
Should you opt for a pair of these sunglasses, be sure to use them with care. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to bend these by hand, so you want to make sure you’re storing them safely at all times. This may seem like too much work for a $10 pair of shades, but if you care about your belongings you’ll be able to save quite a bit of money in the long run.
Sleek, thin frame
Frame more fragile than other aviator frames
How to find high-quality aviator sunglasses: a buying guide
This guide will help explain why aviator sunglasses are so appealing.
Where did aviator sunglasses come from?
When aviator sunglasses were first made in 1936, they weren’t designed for fashion or style. Instead, they were designed as a form of eye protection for pilots so that they could see better during the day. The aviators made it easy for pilots (and sailors, as well) to see more clearly in conditions with lots of light.
Now, let’s fast forward to 1986. It’s May 16th, and a brand-new Tom Cruise movie came out called Top Gun. Cruise is a Navy pilot in the film, and his character frequently wears aviators.
While this movie isn’t the only reason why aviators became so popular, it shows how the shades garnered this much fame – through cool actors, artists and trendsetters wearing them.
Design of aviator sunglasses
The frame of an aviator is responsible for holding everything in place. It’s what holds the lenses in front of your eyes, and it makes sure that the aviator sunglasses don’t just fall off your face whenever you move. Like eyeglass frames, aviator frames can be made out of a number of materials, but most aviators usually made out of metal.
Of course, metal isn’t the only thing that’s used in the frame. You also often have rubber or plastic around the edges of the frame, giving the aviators a firmer grip around the head while also making it more comfortable to wear. Aviator sunglasses also have a unique double bridge between the lenses, and this is one way of easily telling which shades are aviators.
The lenses are what cover the eyes and protect them from light and glare, and they also contribute heavily to the “cool factor” of the shades. For aviators, you will usually get them in a tint or gradient which works to block out some of the light that passes through.
Aviator tints cover the entirety of the lenses evenly. No matter where you look or where you place your eyes behind the aviators, you will get the same color. With gradients, however, it’s a different story. Gradients transition from one color to another, or from one intensity to another. Some gradients can even make certain tints look darker, whereas other gradients actually change the color of the tint as you look up or down.
Finally, aviator lenses are often polarized. Polarized lenses prevent horizontal light and glare from bouncing directly onto your eyes. Even with shades, this type of glare can be an issue, which is why polarized sunglasses and aviators are often recommended by eye doctors.
Places to wear aviators
A casual day out
If you’re heading to a restaurant or some other outdoor location during the day, then this is a great time to wear a pair of aviators. You’ll be thankful that you wore them, as they’ll give you a much clearer vision. Whether semi-casual or formal, aviators also work well with a variety of outfits.
By the beach
Shades and sunglasses are most commonly worn at the beach or lakes. This is because these areas are full of glare, and having something to protect against that can be a real lifesaver. Going a full day at the beach without eye protection can result in future eye issues. And while these issues may not be immediate, knowing you can prevent premature blurriness should be enough to convince you to wear a good pair of frames anyway.
Comparing aviator sunglasses and other styles
There are two things that separate aviators from other types of shades: the frame and the lens shape. Aviators have a unique and iconic bridge between the two lenses with one straight and one curved frame. In terms of lenses, aviators are somewhat flat at the top and curved at the bottom, with the curve being most prominent on the outer sides of the shades.
On the other hand, other sunglasses come in all shapes and sizes – including rectangular and circular.
People also asked
Q: Are aviator sunglasses in fashion?
A: Aviators are generally considered to be timeless. When you buy a pair of aviator sunglasses, you can rest assured knowing that they’ll be just as popular as in a few years as they are now.
Q: When should I wear an aviator?
A: Aviators are best worn outdoors during the day with semi-casual or formal business clothing. If you’re unsure if your aviator sunglasses are appropriate for your upcoming event, consider consulting the event coordinator (or a trusted co-worker or friend) prior to attending.
Q: Are aviators expensive?
A: Despite being held in high regard, aviators are actually fairly affordable these days with many pairs costing less than $15. Generally speaking, if you’re on a budget you want to look for aviator frames that don’t sacrifice quality for the price. Sometimes, you may just end up losing more money by purchasing cheap frames that will ultimately need replacing in the next few months.
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