The original versions of aviator sunglasses (sometimes called pilot shades) were specifically designed to provide maximum eye protection. All early versions of these glasses had a tear drop shaped lens designed to completely cover the eye to protect it from bright sunlight and dangerous UV (ultra violet) rays.
The tear drop shape is still the most popular but modern versions can also be found with different lens shapes depending on the intended use for the glasses.
Modern materials mean that these glasses are lighter, stronger and more comfortable to wear for hours than the originals. Polycarbonate lenses are the most popular now because they are shatter resistant and provide the best protection from flying debris. The best aviator sunglasses have light, comfortable frames with earpieces that fit snugly.
Be Sure They Fit Right
It does not matter how good the glasses look on you if they do not fit right. People come in different sizes and shapes and so do good sunglasses. The most common complaint from people who buy sunglasses on line is that they do not fit correctly. The best suggestion is that you try the glasses at a local retailer before buying them. You may finally decide to buy online, but be sure you are buying the correct glasses for you.
Should You Get Polarized Sunglasses?
The answer to this may surprise you. Polarized sunglasses are not the best choice for most people.
Polarized sunglasses make a lot of sense for people who spend a lot of time on the water where sun glare from the water can cause a lot of eye fatigue. If you'll be on a boat for hours at a time you will find that polarized sunglasses keep you more comfortable.
The problem with polarized lenses is that they do not work well when viewing LCD (liquid crystal display) screens such as you have on your smart phone and many other modern devices, like the instrument panels on newer cars or airplanes. LCDs use a polarizing filter which conflicts with the polarization in the glasses.
How Expensive Are They?
When it comes to price … "you get what you pay for". You can find inexpensive aviator sunglasses for less than $ 40.00. If you buy them you'll probably be buying a replacement pair pretty soon. Good quality glasses will probably cost you from $ 60.00 to as much as $ 250.00, depending on what you are looking for. You can also pay a lot more than $ 250.00, but that means you are in the designer range where the name of the designer is more important than the functionality of the glasses.
As with anything else these days the list price for sunglasses is higher than what you will need to pay from a retailer like Amazon or its' competitors. Again, just be sure the glasses you buy really do fit correctly and are the right choice for you.
Well Known Manufacturers
There are a lot of companies who sell aviator sunglasses and many of them have good quality products. Unfortunately some of the products out there really do not measure up to the rest. It's best to stick with manufacturers with a solid reputation for quality, customer service and value.
Two companies with an excellent reputation are Ray-Ban, the original designer and producer of aviator sunglasses, and Oakley, with a strong background in providing equipment for a many different sports.
Ray-Ban – The Traditional Leader
Ray-Ban was founded in 1937 when the US government asked them to develop a replacement for the traditional pilot's goggles which were all that was available to protect pilot's eye from bright sunlight and UV rays. Originally owned by Bausch & Lomb, Ray-Ban was sold in 1999 to the Luxottica Group, a high-end Italian company.
Another popular style of sunglasses called the Wayfarer was also developed by Ray-Ban. Ray-Ban is considered a leader in the development of innovative approaches to eyewear.
The Ray-Ban website shows a very wide variety of styles, materials and color combinations, including polarized and non-polarized lenses. The list prices on polarized lenses in any particular style are typically $ 40.00 to $ 90.00 more than for non-polarized.
Among the most popular (best-selling) Ray-Ban models are:
• Aviator Large Metal – with prices starting at $ 99.00 for non-polarized.
• Aviator Small Metal – shown as "Petite Fit". List price is $ 129.00.
• Cockpit – start at $ 139.00.
• Aviator Titanium – pricing starts at $ 165.00
• Aviator Tech – pricing starts at $ 189.00. Newest models, with even lighter materials.
• Outdoorsman – start at $ 145.00
• Other models are available as well but these are the most popular.
The Ray-Ban reputation for quality is one reason that they are so very popular.
Oakley – Known for Innovation, Quality and Style
Unlike Ray-Ban, Oakley did not start as part of a large corporation. In fact, Jim Jannard started in his garage with $ 300.00. Jannard believed that he would be able to build a company that could "work better and look better than anything else out there". His first product was a motorcycle grip that with a tread and shape that was unique and fit the rider's hand better than anything else.
Oakley is now a company with a wide variety of products that are well regarded by people devoted to many different sports. Their line of sports glasses, based on the original design of aviator sunglasses, is very successful and highly regarded. Oakley glasses feature maximum eye protection, a streamlined look and excellent performance. Oakley sunglasses do not necessarily conform to the original tear drop shape lenses but they are very effective as good looking eye protection.
With Oakley you have a wide variety of materials, colors and styles available. On the Oakley website there are 7 best-selling styles displayed, with a range of color combinations between frame and lens colors. List prices are shown but you will probably be able to buy for pretty good discounts from list:
• Plaintiff – Starting at $ 160.
• Polarized Probation – $ 240.
• Polarized Inmate – Starting at $ 220.
• Probation – Starting at $ 160.
• Polarized Crosshair 2.0 – Starting at $ 220.
• Crosshair 2.0 -Starting at $ 160.
• Inmate – Starting at $ 170.
You'll notice that the polarized glasses are significantly more expensive than the non-polarized. Why pay the extra money without you really need polarization?
You may find you prefer aviator sunglasses from another manufacturer. That's fine. The intent of this report is to give you an idea about the characteristics of the best aviator sunglasses, particularly for men. Shop carefully and you will have sunglasses that you will feel good in and will be proud to wear.