Aviator sunglasses date back to 1936, when the U.S. Armed Forces, seeking a solution to help fighter pilots deal with eye strain at higher altitudes, teamed up with Bausch and Lomb to produce eyewear that countered light. The result is one you’re likely familiar with: It featured convex tear-drop glass lenses made from G-15 tempered glass, which transmitted 15 percent of incoming light, and thin metal frames. Though originally called ‘Anti-Glares,’ the frames were rebranded ‘Ray-Ban’ upon release to the public. Today, aviators are offered by countless brands. While lenses, details and price-points vary widely, they all stem from the same military aesthetic — one that champions simplicity, functionality and versatility. Here are 10 to choose from.
Warby Parker Raider Large Sunglasses
Featuring scratch-resistant polarized lenses made with CR-39 for clarity, these avaitors are one of the more affordable pairs on the market. They feature a large tear-drop lens, a straight brow bar and Akulon-coated screws for durability.
Ray-Ban Original Aviator Sunglasses
The original Ray-Ban aviator is now made in Italy. It features a gold-tone metal frame, silicone nose pads and clear tips on the metal arms.
Randolph Engineering Aviator Sunglasses
Made in the USA, these sunglasses feature non-polarized, scratch-resistant mineral crown glass lenses. The have a multi-layer flash coating, a metal frame and adjustable silicon nose pads.
Persol 649 Aviator Sunglasses
Created in 1957, this pair of Italian aviators has a natural acetate frame and neutral crystal lenses. To ensure the best fit, these sunglasses feature a Meflecto flexible stems and a Victor Flex bridge.
Moscot Shtarker Aviator Sunglasses
These aviators feature brown lenses with 100-percent UV protection. The metal arms are more substantial than typical aviators and feature tortoiseshell acetate tips.
Garrett Leight California Optical Club House 50 Aviator Sunglasses
The grey lenses utilized in these aviators feature 100-percent UV protection. The frame includes acetate temple tips and adjustable nose pads for a secure fit.
Max Pittion Coleman Aviator Sunglasses
Made in Japan, these aviators have a gradient light-brown lenses. The amber acetate brow bar and temple tips compliment the throwback ’70s style.
Oliver Peoples Benedict Sunglasses
Made in Italy, these aviators feature green mirrored lenses that offer 100-percent UVA and UVB protection. The design includes clear nose pads, a brow bar and matte-beige acetate temple tips.
SALT. x Aether Apparel Scout Sunglasses
Made in Japan, these frames are made from lightweight beta-titanium and feature lenses that are chromatic filtered and polarized. Made for motorcycle riding, the extended frame top and windshields reduce airflow and peripheral sunlight.
Jacques Marie Mage Peyote Gold Sunglasses
Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, these frames are crafted in Japan from beta-titanium and utilize light green CR39 lenses. The custom 4mm rim wire features hairline engraving and the backside of the lenses have an anti-reflective treatement.
Polarized lenses are a significant investment over normal lenses. We talk to experts from David Kind, SALT. and District Vision and to learn why. Read the Story