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    Aviator sunglasses recommendations?

    Hey everyone!

    Looking for some recommendations for new aviator sunglasses. I bought a pair of AO pilots several years ago, but unfortunately they broke. Since then, I've been wearing RayBan New Wayfarers but I decided I would really like to get some aviators again.

    Back when I bought the AO pair, they were highly recommended for the style and price point (think I paid $75 maybe?). Now I see they are closer to $200?!

    For that price, I figure I should check to see what alternatives there are that are highly recommended. I was really hoping to spend no more than $150. I guess I could go up if the quality is really worth the price. I plan to put in prescription lenses so ideally something that is decent quality. My RayBans have held up well for many years even after several drops. Unfortunately, a couple of drops of the AO from not too high a height (they fell out of my shirt pocket as I bent down to tie my shoes) did them in.

    I prefer a slightly squared off frame (not a big fan of the big tear drop shape).

    What do you good folks recommend? Thanks!

    #2
    Hmmm. Did not know their standard pilots had gone that high in price. The last pair I got was up around $170 but I upgraded to polycarbonate polarized lenses which added to the cost. I've only gotten the glass lens version once and I dropped them on a sidewalk and that took a chip - not a scratch but an actual chip - out of the lens and that was worse than a light scratch because it was highly visible. Ray Ban makes a squared off aviator called the Caravan - not sure it will come in much if any cheaper than the Pilots. Then there's Randolph Engineering but they aren't any cheaper than AO either.

    Sunski sells pretty nice sunglasses at very affordable prices but they don't really do much with the Aviator style. They have one model called the Bernina which is sort of a squared off shape and sort of Aviator-y but is definitely not a classic Aviator look. They have another called the Astra that looks a little more Aviator like (though I think the arms and bridge are metal the lens frames are some sort of polycarbonate/plastic). They're only $98 but whether they're suitable if you're looking for a classic aviator is questionable.
    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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      #3
      Yeah, I'm still kicking myself for not picking up a pair of AO's when they were sub-$100. The new price is a lot harder to stomach, even though I know they're good glasses and all the rest. I recently got a pair of the Kent Wang aviators. Pretty good for $50. They have the AO-style squared off frame that I, like you, prefer. The Kent Wangs are better than the aviators from Costco that they replaced, but that's about all I can say at this point. If there is a new $100ish go-to pair out there everyone's raving about, I'd love to hear about it too.

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        #4
        I have a pair of Maui Jim aviators. Polarized lenses. Non-Luxotica owned brand. Good quality. Really I have no complaints. They may be a few pennies less than the RayBan ones too, although don't take my word for it. You might have to do some research and/or hit a sale.

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          #5
          I second the Maui Jim’s, though I think they are a good bit more than RayBan’s. My wife had a pair for a number of years and loved them. The lenses started to peel (anti glare coating?) so she gave up on them. I contacted Maui Jim and they sent me a new pair for free with no receipt, just had to ship them the damaged glasses. I also own RayBan New Wayfarers and would say the lense quality of Maui Jim’s is superior.

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            #6
            Thinking about Sunski recalled to mind a brand we used to sell at a outdoor outfitter/ski shop I worked at in the mid-1990s - Suncloud. They were a step up from gas station cheapies but less expensive than the designer label brands. They are still around and have some aviator styles for about $60 a pop. They unfortunately don't provide any specific information on bridge width, lens size, etc. They do tell you whether they are a large or medium fit (my face is narrow so I'm sure I'd be a medium) I can't speak to the quality at all as I have not handled a pair in many years, but they seem reasonably promising maybe? It's not like a classic aviator shape really demands designer treatment anyway. https://www.suncloudoptics.com/en_US...-alloy-frames/
            “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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              #7
              I have a pair of AO gold aviators that I'm willing to part with. Haven't worn them much. If the OP is interested, PM me.

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                #8
                Can't go wrong with RayBan. Except...my wife bought me a pair of RayBan Wayfarers for a wedding present. They lasted about 7 years til they had a little scratch. I gave them to my then 2 year old to hold and he rubbed them on the asphalt, lens side down. Now, I enjoy the selection of polarized sunglasses on Amazon in the $10-20 range. I also don't mind losing them, or putting multiple pairs in the house, car, etc.

                Joe Biden gets a lot of mileage out of his RayBan aviators.

                Comment


                  #9
                  RIP AOs. Sorry to hear this, but, well life happens I guess. I have the AO original pilots as well, and I am fairly certain I paid about $65 for them back in the day. I have some Persol and Tom Ford sunglasses as well, and I find myself reaching for the AOs more often than any other pair. I've spent far too much on sunglasses I know.

                  Mine have a slight nick in the glass on one of then lenses and I thought about replacing, but ran into the same thing you are. MAN inflation really hit the AOs didn't it? I think at the end of the day, once mine inevitably junk out, I'll just bite the bullet and pay for the AOs (or comparable Randolph Engineering) given how much I wear them.

                  I've always been really enamored with the Oliver Peoples Victory sunglasses as well, but holy geez, moving in the wrong direction here in price. The only others I've thought about giving a shot are the Roka Falcon in Titanium https://www.roka.com/collections/men...nt=34661368257

                  Again, wrong direction in terms of price point, but I like the idea of the lightweight titanium as the only drawbacks of the AOs is that they're slightly heavy.

                  Would be interested to hear if anyone has any better, more affordable options as well!

                  Edit: I just went back to the original post, and given that you're going to replace the lenses with prescription anyway, I'd suggest checking ebay for some decent shape used frames. A big part of why AOs are cashy is because of the glass lenses. No sense in paying for those if you're going to junk them anyway.
                  Last edited by CK83; August 13, 2021, 03:21 PM.

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                    #10
                    I just bought some 58mm AO pilots for £113 (glass lenses) from silvermans in London, they have an ebay shop and stock all sizes in 2 colourways, they have improved the design hence the price hike, we'll worth it over the fashion brands

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                      #11
                      You can find a pair of Randolph for around that price if you look around pretty hard on various websites and Ebay.

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                        #12
                        https://www.ray-ban.com/usa/sunglass.../8056597017381
                        I bought these this spring, very happy with them. Lighter plastic frames which I like.
                        Oliver people’s are fantastic. I’ve had a pair of their eyeglasses for over 10 years now, and I think they’ll go at least another 10. They’re expensive, but worth it.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Evenflow View Post
                          You can find a pair of Randolph for around that price if you look around pretty hard on various websites and Ebay.
                          I could buy new Randolphs for £219, however I wanted the AO as I'm a bit of an NASA fan and they were used by the Apollo crews

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by yorkshire pud View Post

                            I could buy new Randolphs for £219, however I wanted the AO as I'm a bit of an NASA fan and they were used by the Apollo crews
                            Yes it is hard to beat that pedigree. I have to say that the last pair of AOs I bought cost in the vicinity of $150 and then the screw that holds the lens in the frame popped out in short order and that was it for them. A pair of sunglasses missing a lens is useless. IF I order another pair I'm checking all those screws for tightness when they arrive. I did not try to warranty them but maybe I should have as they may have replaced them for free. I don't want to impugn their quality control over one issue though.
                            “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have also been favoring aviators this summer, and this thread sent me into a spiral as to what the best deals would be. I have a paid I'm wearing but when they break/get lost (as sunglasses inevitably do) I wanted to be prepared. That led me to this website: https://aviator-sunglasses.net/colle...rames-invu-162.

                              Never used them before. No clue as to quality. Anyone ever heard of this brand before? Are they an offshoot of AO? The website positions them as such but I have no clue.

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