Why Do Pilots Wear Aviator Sunglasses?

 Updated: June 1st, 2023

It’s All in the Name

It’s right there in the name: “aviator”. The classic style is forever linked with flight and aviation. Even 70 years after their introduction to military pilots they are still the sunglasses of choice for pilots around the world.

Why are they still seen as the premier style for flying? First, look to the design. The aviator was originally designed to give military pilots the best possible coverage for their eyes in the sky. Both the teardrop shape and more rectangular aviator shape feature larger lenses that provide full coverage of the eye socket for pilots. Additionally, the design keeps the lens close to the face, so a visor can easily be lifted up or down. Even the bayonet temples were originally designed so that the pilot could slip their glasses on and off without having to take off their helmet or headset. While original aviators typically came with green tinted or AGX lenses, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now recommends gray lenses, as they allow in the most natural colors. All of these elements have made aviators the go-to choice for pilots both amateur and professional alike.


Randolph has its own roots in aviation and providing pilots with aviator sunglasses. One of our founders, Jan Waszkiewicz, was a navigator in the British Royal Air Force during WWII. He moved to the U.S. shortly after and began engineering machinery to build a better sunglass. In 1982, after Randolph Engineering had been only in business for ten years, the United States Air Force contracted Randolph to produce the HGU-4/P Aviator sunglasses as the part of the standard-issue uniform. To this day, Randolph continues to produce the HGU-4/P for the U.S. Army and Navy and air forces worldwide.

Randolph Aviator Sunglasses

The real deal. Worn by pilots
and those who demand the best.

    • Military spec construction, worn by US Military pilots and NASA astronauts

    • Jewelry metals like 23k Gold, double baked for durability

    • SkyTec™ Premium lenses, minimizes lens scratches

    • Handcrafted in Massachusetts, USA over 200 step 6 week process

    • Guaranteed for life

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