Last updated: August 25, 2021

The classic pilot's glasses for men, also called Aviator, appeared as early as the 1930s as practical sunglasses for pilots. As many cockpits were still open at that time, the particularly large and curved lenses of the glasses also served as wind protection. With the introduction of closed cockpits on aircraft, men's sunglasses remained as an unmistakable trademark of pilots in the Air Force and civil aviation and, at the latest with the cult film "Top Gun", they became a cult object.

Today, they can be found almost everywhere where sunglasses for men are in fashion: On the beach, in the mountains, as a sign of recognition for action stars or amateur daredevils, if you wear pilot's glasses, you look like a much tougher dog. However, buying them can be tricky. To counteract this, we have listed a few things you should look out for when buying a pair of aviators for men.




The Best Men's Aviator Sunglasses: Our Picks

Buying criteria: What to look for when buying aviator glasses for men

Buy the glasses, put them on, stare at the sun and increase your coolness factor by 200%... Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. The cult status of the Aviator for men has unfortunately led to a large number of cheap imitations in recent decades, which, as is so often the case, have placed quantity above quality. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises when buying, we have listed some buying criteria below, according to which both the quality and the features of your men's glasses can be evaluated.

  • Tint
  • UV protection
  • Polarisation
  • Visual acuity
  • Material
  • Size

What sounds like a lot at first can be broken down to a small note with numbers. Don't worry, after all, we are only talking about sunglasses for men.

Tint

The tint indicates how dark the lenses of your men's sunglasses are and how much light they should absorb, which can vary depending on the weather and season. Five categories are listed below:

tint light absorption suitability
very light tint 0 to 20 per cent for cloudy skies and evenings
light to medium tint 20 to 57 per cent for overcast days and changing weather
darker tint 57 to 82 per cent for summer, ideal glare protection for central European latitudes
very dark tint 82 to 92 percent for southern climes, bright water surfaces, trips to the beach and mountains
extremely dark tint 92 to 97 percent for high mountains and glaciers and in snow, not suitable for road traffic

In addition to these five categories, there are also men's glasses with lenses that automatically adjust to the brightness. Such lenses are generally referred to as "self-tinting".

UV protection

Although it should make sense that pilot glasses for men designed as sunglasses should protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation, this is not always necessarily the case. What is important at the very beginning is the following: The tint of your men's glasses has nothing to do with protection against UV radiation! Glasses that are too dark without UV protection can even be harmful, as they dilate the pupils without filtering out harmful radiation. For optimal protection, make sure there is a UV400 marking or at least the European CE mark on the inside of the frame. Anti-reflective lenses are also recommended for your men's glasses, as even reflected UV radiation can still be harmful.

Polarisation

Polarisation is a special feature of sunglasses designed to protect against strong reflections and glare. Polarised aviator glasses for men are well suited for drivers and... pilots.

Visual acuity

Pilots need perfect vision to get their licence. Good taste is all that is needed for men's aviator glasses. Like most other sunglasses for men, there are special versions for pilot glasses that also serve as a visual aid. Just enter your diopter number and go!

Material

A fashion piece as iconic for men as aviator sunglasses has naturally found imitators. But unfortunately also many cheap copies from the costume industry. It practically goes without saying that you're unlikely to make an impression with a plastic piece for under 5 euros. A metal frame is more stable anyway, and if you want to be on the safe side, you can go for a titanium model.

Size

The measurements of glasses, including those for men, are given in three numbers: Lens width, bridge width and temple length. The lens width, as the name suggests, describes the width of the lenses. The bridge width refers to the distance between the support and the nose, and the temple length describes the distance from the ear to the folding joint of the men's glasses. With these three measurements, which are usually found on the inside of the temple, it is easy to find a perfectly fitting pair of men's glasses.

Aviator sunglasses for men: the most important questions answered

If there are still some unanswered questions, we will try to give you some clarification in the following.

What are aviator glasses?

Aviator glasses are special sunglasses with large, curved lenses designed to protect the wearer's eyes from both sunlight and wind. Since they were originally designed for pilots, they are also called aviator glasses.

Are there pilot glasses with built-in vision aids?

Yes, there are! Pilots need to see perfectly, but enthusiasts can also get a pair of men's glasses with pre-fitted diopters.

Conclusion

Protecting your eyes from wind and sun while looking cool is easy and not even expensive. The Aviator for men is a classic that has always remained timeless, no matter how old it is.

Whether as a maverick in "Top Gun" or even as a real pilot, flying is a vocation that makes an impression everywhere, and if you don't have the qualifications for a pilot's licence, you can get off the ground a bit with a pair of good-looking aviator glasses for men, at least in the fashion sense.

Contributed image: unsplash.com / Carl Nenzen Loven

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