It was back in 1936 when Bausch & Lomb, a large manufacturer of eyewear health products, concluded that pilots at the time were over exposed to painful and sometimes blinding sunlight while operating an aircraft. This obviously led to a dangerous scenario up in the air. So, in order to mitigate this issue, they developed a style of sunglasses to protect the eyes of these airborne aviators. Out of here, this style soon took off, keeping the original namesake as the years worn on. The purpose here was initially to replace the outdated, bulky and unstylish flight goggles that were used up until this time. Soon enough, even the likes of General Douglas MacArthur were dawning a pair during the Second World War.
Today, aviators are often referred to as a stylish 80s throwback lens or a style particular to law enforcement. One thing’s for certain, though, the look has not faded over the years, remaining popular amongst civilian, military and law enforcement personnel to this day. And with longer days, warmer afternoons, and vacations ahead, you’d best prepare yourself with a new pair. As far as options are concerned, this list of the 10 best aviators should get you started.
Jeepers Peepers Aviator
With form, function, and affordability in mind, this pair of aviators from Jeepers Peepers could soon enough be your go-to pair this summer. They come complete with dark tinted lenses, total UV protection, and a vintage-inspired design that’s sure to please. That scorching sun never stood a chance.
American Optical General
A favorite style for military officers and civilians alike, the General serves as tribute silhouette to the pair that General MacArthur wore himself during the Second World War. They feature a True Color Grey glass lens, are engineered to rigid military specifications, boast a 58-mm frame that’s perfect for medium to large faces, and come with distortion-free and polished lenses to boot.
Le Specs The Prince
Featuring the timeless combination of gold and green, The Prince sunglasses will soon have you feeling like royalty. Its dark green lenses provide 100 percent UV protection, the gold tone frames look great in that afternoon or early morning sunlight and with a soft case and cleaning cloth, they’ll remain like-new as long as you treat them how they treat you.
Ray Ban Metal Aviator
Nothing beats a classic. And believe us Ray Ban is a classic, modeling their well-known aviator sunglasses after the Bausch & Lomb originals. These here are made in the US, boast a metal frame, synthetic polarized lenses, and 100 percent UV protection coating to keep that summer sun from burning your retinas.
Randolph Engineering Concorde
Offering their take on the iconic military-spec eyewear, Randolph Engineering created these Concorde sunglasses equipped with the classic aviation silhouette. They come with 24K gold plated frames, mineral crown glass lenses, surpass mil-spec standards, are made right here in the USA, and boast UV protection help keep those eyes safe on those late afternoon drives.
Persol knows shades. This is fact, especially seeing that the likes of Steve McQueen used to rock his pair of Persols on a regular basis. This pair features a gunmetal frame color, blue internal lenses complete with anti-glare treatment, and look ready for just about anything from a casual day outdoors to high-octane drag racing. The choice is yours.
Designed with the allusion of vacations along the Italian coastline in mind, these stylish aviator sunglasses are the perfect option for those bright and sunny afternoons along the waterfront. Each pair features a curved brow bridge, metal frames, lenses with 100 percent UVA/UVB protection, and are made in Italy.
Garrett Leight Van Buren Sun
For a little extra style in the sun, there are the Garrett Leight Van Buren sunglasses, complete with a lightweight metal frame, flat lenses and a compact fit. They feature the iconic aviator shape, the come equipped with CR-39 lenses with UV protection, and are available in a multitude of colorways that will fit just about any style.
Oliver Peoples Kannon
With a timeless silhouette, this pair from Oliver Peoples serves as a tribute to vintage American style thanks to the lens’ classic teardrop shape. Each pair comes equipped with polarized lenses, 100 percent UVA/UVB protection, a three-barrel hinge for durability and strength, and adjustable silicone notepads for a bit of enhanced comfort in all-day wear.
Tom Ford Erin Aviator
Equipped with both retro styling and sophisticated appeal, these could be one of the more luxurious pairs of aviators you’ll come across. Complete with a tan leather broadband, mirrored lenses, gold-tone frames, 100 percent UV protection and a hard velvet case in which to store them, these Italian-made sunglasses are about as classy as you can get.