Are you a pilot in need of a new pair of sunglasses? Look no further!
In our Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Pilot Sunglasses, we’ll provide you with all the information and tips you need to make an informed decision.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- Whether sunglasses are necessary for pilots.
- What to look for when purchasing sunglasses.
- The best sunglasses on the market for pilots in 2023.
With so many options available on the market, choosing the best pair for your needs can be overwhelming. But fear not; by the end of this guide, you’ll identify the perfect pair of pilot sunglasses for your needs.
Buckle up; you’re about to start your journey to looking 10x cooler in the cockpit.
Here’s a quick summary:
- The classic look: Ray-Bans Classic Aviator
- Durable and stylish: Oakley Holbrook Square Sunglasses
- A classic look, made for pilots: Randolph Aviator Sunglasses
- An affordable classic aviator design: Flight Gear Captain’s Sunglasses
- A stylish choice for female pilots: Coach Pilot Sunglasses for Women
- Added sun protection: Carrera 166 Pilot Sunglasses
- Sleek, functional, and fashionable: Warby Parker Raider Sunglasses
- Comfortable and premium: American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses
- Lightweight and stylish: Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses
Are Sunglasses Necessary for Pilots?
As a pilot, you may wonder if sunglasses are essential or just an optional accessory. The short answer is that sunglasses are necessary for most pilots.
Not only do they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and glare, but they also enhance your vision and situational awareness while flying.
With every 1,000 feet of altitude gain, the sun’s UV rays become 8-10% stronger because of the thinning of the atmosphere, making it even more critical to have proper eye protection.
But not just any pair of sunglasses will do. Choosing a high-quality pair with specific features (or lack of features, more on that later) is essential.
While it is important for pilots to have a high-quality pair of sunglasses for protection against harmful UV rays and glare, some pilots choose to fly without sunglasses and instead use sun shields or other forms of sun protection in the cockpit.
Sun shields are attachments that can be placed on the inside of the windshield to block out the sun’s rays and are often used in conjunction with sunglasses or as an alternative. Many aircraft feature built-in sun shields and other forms of sun protection.
Other pilots may use clip-on visors or specialized films on their cockpit windows to reduce glare and UV exposure.
It’s important to note that while these methods can provide some sun protection for your eyes, they may not offer the same level of protection as a proper pair of pilot sunglasses.
What to Consider When Buying Pilot Sunglasses
Now that you know sunglasses are essential for pilots, let’s look at what features and qualities you should consider when selecting the perfect pair.
Pilots should not wear polarized sunglasses while flying because they can cause problems with the cockpit instruments. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare by blocking light that is polarized in a particular direction. Polarized lenses can help reduce glare from the sun while flying or engaging in outdoor activities, but they can also interfere with how some cockpit instruments are designed to be read.
For example, many cockpit instruments use polarized filters to help improve visibility and reduce glare. If a pilot is wearing polarized sunglasses, it can cause the instruments to appear dark or difficult to read, which can be dangerous while flying. In addition, polarized sunglasses can also cause problems with the way that LCD screens are displayed, making it difficult to read important information.
In general, pilots should wear non-polarized sunglasses or eyeglasses while flying. This will help to ensure that they can see the instruments clearly and make informed decisions while in the cockpit.
Look for frames made from lightweight yet durable materials such as aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. The frame should fit snugly on your head and provide sufficient protection from wind, dust, and other particles.
Sunglasses come in various colors, such as grey, brown, copper, yellow, and blue. Choose one that complements your skin tone and matches the rest of your attire.
As a commercial pilot, choosing a color of sunglasses that conveys professionalism is vital. Black, grey, silver, and brown colors are often considered the most appropriate and professional-looking colors for pilots. However, other options can create a more fashionable look while appearing professional. Copper and yellow hues will add vibrancy to your style, while blue lenses are perfect for a more laid-back look.
Some pilot sunglasses come with accessories such as a carrying case, cleaning cloth, and replacement parts. These extras can help you keep your sunglasses in top shape for longer.
Pilot sunglasses come in various price points ranging from less than $100 to hundreds of dollars. Finding the right balance between cost, quality, and features is essential to get the most bang for your buck.
Now that you know what characteristics and qualities to look for, it’s time to find the perfect pair of pilot sunglasses for your needs.
The Best Sunglasses for Pilots (2023)
Sunglasses are a personal choice; each pair on the list will get the job done at various price points. While it’s important to consider features such as material, lens types, color, and accessories when selecting a pair of sunglasses for flying, the truth is that all high-quality pilot sunglasses will offer adequate protection from sun rays.
The following list is in no particular order.
1. Ray-Ban Classic Aviator Sunglasses
- Iconic, timeless design
- High-quality glass lenses for excellent clarity and glare reduction
- Lenses treated to protect against scratches and smudges
- Lightweight, durable metal alloy frames
- Adjustable nose pads and earpieces for a custom fit
- Wide range of lens and frame colors to suit personal style
- Excellent protection against UV rays
- More expensive than some other sunglasses brands
- Some people may find the classic aviator style too flashy or overused
- Metal frames may not be suitable for those with metal allergies
- Glass lenses may be more fragile than plastic lenses
The Ray-Ban Classic Aviator Sunglasses are a must-have for any pilot, and they come in various lenses and frame colors to suit your style. Whether you prefer a classic look with gold frames and dark lenses, or a more modern feel with silver frames and blue lenses, you’ll find an option that fits your taste.
No matter which color combination you choose, you can count on the Ray-Ban Aviators to provide excellent clarity and glare reduction thanks to their high-quality, non-polarized glass lenses. The lenses are also coated with a special treatment to protect against scratches and smudges, which is essential for a pilot who may be in and out of the cockpit frequently.
The Ray-Ban Classic Aviator Sunglasses are available in a range of different sizes, from 58 to 62 millimeters, ensuring a comfortable fit.
Overall, the Ray-Ban Classic Aviator Sunglasses are a stylish, reliable choice for pilots, offering excellent protection against glare and UV rays, a comfortable fit, and a wide range of color options to suit your style.
Ray-Ban also offers a range of sunglasses, each with its own unique features.
For those with a square face, the Caravan may be the perfect fit with its angular lenses. On the other hand, the Outdoorsman boasts wire temples that wrap around the ears for a secure fit during flight.
Consider the mirrored lens options if you want to add some extra flair to your look. No matter your style, you can trust that the Ray-Ban Aviators will provide the clarity and protection you need while flying.
It’s no wonder they’re iconic and synonymous with pilots.
2. Oakley Holbrook Square Sunglasses
- Plutonite lens material blocks 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
- Iridium coating helps to balance light transmission and reduce glare
- Frame is lightweight and impact-resistant
- Lenses are scratch-resistant
- Timeless design
- Some users may find the square lens shape to be less flattering on their face
- Some users may find the sunglasses to be too large or bulky
- The sunglasses may be more expensive than other brands with similar features
One of the standout features of the Holbrook Square sunglasses is their Plutonite lens material, which blocks 100% of all UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. This is particularly important for pilots, who are exposed to higher levels of UV radiation at high altitudes. The lenses also have an Iridium coating that helps to reduce glare and balance light transmission, making them suitable for a wide range of lighting conditions.
In terms of durability, the Holbrook Square sunglasses are built to last. The frame is both lightweight and impact-resistant, and the lenses are scratch-resistant, ensuring that they will hold up well under the rigors of flying.
Overall, the Oakley Holbrook Square sunglasses are a high-quality, stylish choice for pilots. The combination of scratch-resistant lenses, UV protection, and durability make them a practical choice for those in the cockpit, and their classic design ensures that they will never go out of style.
3. Randolph Aviator Sunglasses
- Classic aviator design that looks great on a variety of face shapes
- High-quality materials used in construction, including lightweight and durable metals and scratch-resistant lenses
- Available in a range of lens colors to suit different lighting conditions
- Adjustable nose pads for a comfortable and secure fit
- Made in the USA
- On the pricier side compared to some other options on the market
- Some users have reported issues with the durability of the frames, although this seems to be a minor issue
As a pilot, you need a pair of sunglasses that can stand up to the demands of your job or passion while also providing the clarity and protection you need to do your best work. The Randolph Aviator Sunglasses are an excellent choice for pilots, offering a classic look and high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of flight.
In terms of performance, the Randolph Aviator Sunglasses are a solid choice for pilots. The scratch-resistant lenses are essential for anyone who spends a lot of time in the cockpit, as they can take a beating from the harsh environments of flight.
The range of lens colors available is also a plus, as it allows you to choose the best option for your specific needs. Whether you need extra glare reduction for bright days or enhanced contrast for overcast conditions, there is a lens color that will work for you.
The classic aviator design is one of the standout features of the Randolph Aviator Sunglasses. This look has been a mainstay of pilot eyewear for decades, and it’s easy to see why. The frames are lightweight and comfortable, with a sleek and streamlined look that is both stylish and functional. The frames are also made from high-quality materials, including durable metals, which should help them hold up to the demands of flying.
One potential issue with the Randolph Aviator Sunglasses is the durability of the frames. While most users seem to be very satisfied with the quality of these glasses, a few people have reported issues with the frames breaking or otherwise falling apart. It’s worth noting that this seems to be a minor issue, and it’s possible that these cases were isolated incidents or the result of user error. Still, it’s something to keep in mind if you consider purchasing these glasses.
Overall, the Randolph Aviator Sunglasses are a reliable and stylish choice for pilots. The classic aviator design, high-quality materials, and range of lens colors make them a top pick for anyone who spends a lot of time in the cockpit. While they may be a bit pricey compared to some other options on the market, their style and performance make them worth considering for any pilot.
4. Flight Gear Captain’s Sunglasses
- Durable metal frames made from high-quality Italian metals
- Spring hinges provide a custom fit and reduce side pressure
- Tapered temples add durability and won’t interfere with headset ear seals
- Includes crush-proof case and a microfiber cleaning cloth
- Limited color options: currently only available in black and gold frames
One of the standout features of the Flight Gear Captain’s sunglasses is their durable metal design. The frames are made from Italian metals, keeping the glasses firm but lightweight. They are also solid and can withstand the rigors of daily use or rolling around in a flight bag.
In terms of functionality, the Flight Gear Captain’s Sunglasses have several features that make them ideal for pilots. The non-polarized lenses are perfect for viewing screens in the cockpit and won’t cause instruments to fade at certain viewing angles. The ultra-high-definition lenses have a green tint to minimize blue light interference and eliminate glare, helping to sharpen your view.
Of course, these sunglasses also have a classic aviator style that is both iconic and practical. The teardrop shape provides a superior coverage area and allows you to view the entire cockpit through the lens accurately. The spring hinges provide a custom fit and reduce side pressure, while the tapered temples add durability and won’t interfere with headset ear seals.
In addition to the sunglasses, the Flight Gear Captain’s Sunglasses also come with a crush-proof case and microfiber cleaning cloth.
These are reliable and high-quality choices for pilots looking for both function and style.
5. Coach Pilot Sunglasses for Women
- Stylish and fashionable design
- Affordable price
- Wide range of lens colors and frame styles to choose from
- 100% UV protection to protect the eyes from harmful sun rays
- Durable and lightweight frames
- High-quality construction
- Some people may not like the Coach branding on the frames
- Some people may find the frames to be too large or bulky
- Limited availability at some retail locations
The Coach Pilot Sunglasses for Women are a stylish and functional choice for female pilots. These aviator-style sunglasses feature a durable metal frame with adjustable nose pads for a comfortable fit. The polarized lenses reduce glare and eye strain, making them especially useful during long flights. The lenses also offer 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
In terms of style, the Coach Pilot Sunglasses for Women have a classic aviator design with a modern twist. The frames are available in silver, gold, and rose gold, so you can choose the one that best matches your style.
Overall, the Coach Pilot Sunglasses for Women are a reliable and fashionable choice for female pilots. Their practical features and stylish design make them a top pick for those in the cockpit.
6. Carrera 166 Pilot Sunglasses
- Sleek and stylish design
- Adjustable nose pads for a comfortable and secure fit
- 100% UV protection
- Lightweight and durable
- May not be suitable for people with small heads or facial features due to their large frame design
- Some users may find the curved plastic lenses to be less durable than other materials such as polycarbonate or trivex
The Carrera 166 Pilot Sunglasses were designed with pilots in mind, so it’s no surprise that they are the perfect combination of function and style. These sunglasses are lightweight and comfortable, making them ideal for long flights. The thin metal frames are stylish, sturdy, and able to withstand the rigors of piloting. The curved plastic lenses provide additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays, protecting your eyes from harmful UV radiation.
In addition to their practical features, the Carrera 166 Pilot Sunglasses are also affordable, making them an excellent choice for pilots on a budget. With their sleek design and durable construction, these sunglasses can easily become a staple in your flight bag.
7. Warby Parker Raider Sunglasses
- Sleek design
- 100% UVA and UVB protection
- Durable, lightweight frames
- Four lens options are available
- Prescription versions available
The Warby Parker Raider sunglasses are a stylish and practical choice for pilots. With their sleek design and 100% UVA and UVB protection, these shades provide excellent clarity of vision and eye protection.
The frames are made from durable, lightweight materials, ensuring a comfortable fit for long flights. The Raider sunglasses come in four lens options and are also available in prescription versions, making them suitable for various needs.
The Warby Parker Raider sunglasses offer great value at a mid-tier price range, easily competing with more expensive offerings from name and specialized brands.
Overall, the Warby Parker Raider sunglasses are an excellent choice for pilots looking for a fashionable and functional eyewear option.
8. American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses
- Sleek metal frame
- Scratch-resistant lenses
- Comfortable fit
- Adjustable nose pads
- Classic, aviator-inspired style
The American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses are a classic choice for pilots, but they come with a steep price tag. These sunglasses feature a sleek metal frame and scratch-resistant lenses, making them durable enough to withstand the rigors of flying.
One of the standout features of the American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses is their comfort. The sunglasses also have adjustable nose pads, which can be tailored to fit the wearer’s face for a secure and comfortable fit.
In terms of style, the American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses have a timeless look that is sure to appeal to pilots. The metal frames give these sunglasses a professional, aviator-inspired look that is sure to be appreciated by any pilot.
Overall, the American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses are a reliable choice for pilots who want high-quality, durable sunglasses. However, their expensive price tag may be a deterrent for some pilots.
With their comfortable fit and classic style, these sunglasses are sure to be a hit with pilots who are willing to invest in a premium pair of shades.
9. Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses
- Lightweight plastic frame
- Lenses designed to reduce glare and improve visual acuity
- Scratch-resistant and UV-protective lenses
- Versatile fit and style options
- Adjustable nosepiece for a customizable fit
- Modern look may not appeal to everyone
The Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses are a stylish and practical choice for pilots. The Velocity Sunglasses feature a lightweight plastic frame and lenses designed to reduce glare and improve visual acuity. The lenses are also scratch-resistant and have a coating that protects against UV radiation, making them a durable and safe choice for flying.
One of the standout features of the Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses is their versatility. The frames are designed to fit comfortably on various face shapes, and the lenses are available in multiple colors to suit different lighting conditions. The sunglasses also come with an adjustable nosepiece, which allows the wearer to customize the fit for maximum comfort.
In terms of style, the Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses have a sleek, modern look that is sure to appeal to pilots. The frames come in various colors, including black, tortoiseshell, and gunmetal, so pilots can choose the look that best suits their personal style.
The modern shape of the glasses may not appeal to everyone compared to the Oakley or Aviator style shapes, but there is no denying that the Serengeti Velocity looks great on the right face shape.
Overall, the Serengeti Velocity Sunglasses are a reliable choice for pilots who want both functional and fashionable sunglasses. With their comfortable fit, scratch-resistant lenses, and versatile style, these sunglasses are a hit with pilots.
Pilots need sunglasses to protect their eyes from the bright sunlight and glare of being in a cockpit. But it’s not just about practicality—sunglasses are also an expression of personal style for pilots, especially professional aviators.
While any pair of sunglasses will do the trick, ensure that the lenses are not polarized, as polarized sunglass lenses interfere with the filters on some instruments, making them appear dark.
From mirrored lenses to classic shapes, there is something for everyone when it comes to choosing the right pair of pilot sunglasses that suit your individual taste.
So whether you’re looking for protection or fashion, choose a pair of shades that meets both needs!