Reviewed & updated: December 6, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Whether you already have a dozen tattoos or you are just getting into tattoos, you always want your next tattoo to turn out perfect. A shoulder tattoo is a great choice if you want to show it off during summer, but it is also easy to hide during those work meetings. Another great advantage of a shoulder tattoo is that it gives the artist a lot of space to work with, meaning your tattoo can be as big or as small as you want it. You can even extend the tattoo to your chest or back for a badass look! The best thing about shoulder tattoos is that you can admire them yourself since they are visible with the bare eye. So in this article, we are bringing you 10 Amazing Shoulder Tattoos For Men which might even make your jaw drop, enjoy!
Do Shoulder Tattoos Hurt?
Before we begin with the designs, let us answer the most asked question when it comes to any tattoo – do shoulder tattoos hurt? Every time someone sticks a needle into your body it will hurt. The pain is usually somewhere from the middle range to extremely high, but most people can tolerate it. Shoulder tattoos are not that painful, but it will also depend on how big your tattoo is. If you want a large tattoo it will take several hours to get it done, therefore it might be harder to tolerate the pain. If this is your first tattoo, then maybe you should start with something small and you can always build the tattoo up with time. All in all, shoulder tattoos as all tattoos have a certain level of pain, but it is nothing that can not be tolerated.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, here are some of our favorites shoulder tattoo ideas for men!
1. Small Shoulder Tattoo
This shoulder tattoo for men is a great choice for beginners or if you are still not sure you want to do an entire sleeve. Small shoulder tattoos can be a great base for bigger tattoos later or you can always just keep the simple small tattoo as well. These types of shoulder tattoo designs work best if they are placed at the top of your shoulder or in the middle. In case you decide to do a tattoo which is not just black, keep in mind that ink does fade over time and if your tattoo is small the design might not be recognizable over time, therefore you are going to need to get touch-ups. This shoulder tattoo is a great example of simple shoulder tattoo designs that are easy to do!
2. Shoulder Tattoo with Flower Design
Flower Tattoos have always been a hit with both men and women. Besides just looking beautiful, flower tattoos have a lot of meaning. They represent joy, happiness, wealth, prosperity, purity and good vibes. Therefore, there are many reasons why this might be the perfect shoulder tattoo for you! Men tattoos like this one look great when they are done as sleeve tattoos or arm tattoos – the bigger the better. There are also many flowers which you can do – the classic rose or maybe other floral designs, or even a combination of flowers. Shoulder tattoo designs with flowers are an amazing way to go if you are not looking for just a plain black tattoo.
3. Tribal Shoulder Tattoo
A tribal tattoo is usually a part of an ancient tribe and is derived from their designs. Many Native American tribes have their symbols which are often turned into tattoos. Whether your ancestors were a part of a tribe or you just think these tattoos look cool, there is no doubt that the tribal tattoo looks best on the shoulder. Before getting one, make sure that the meaning behind the tribal tattoo is something you believe in. Tribal tattoos for men are usually very large and they will take up most of the space on your shoulder, so be prepared to sit in the chair for several hours. These shoulder tattoos are also usually done all in black ink and they often have geometric elements in them. If you decide that this is the tattoo you are going for, let us warn you that a lot of compliments are coming your way.
4. Gorgeous Dragon Tattoo for Men
Dragon tattoos have always been very popular in the eastern and western culture. In the eastern culture, the dragon symbolizes strength and wisdom, while in the west it symbolizes wealth and ferocity. The dragon is considered as a guardian and it represents a very big force. A dragon tattoo is usually associated with the Asian culture, but it can be found in American culture as well. One great thing about a dragon tattoo is that it can be colorful and there is so much art behind it. These types of shoulder tattoos for men can usually make a sleeve tattoo, but can also be dragged to the chest, neck and back area. Guys with dragon tattoos usually look very tuff and it is justified. These shoulder tattoo designs can take hours (even days) to be completed. So if you do not mind spending so much time in pain, this is a tattoo you and everyone else are going to love.
5. Viking Shoulder Tattoo for Men
This Viking shoulder tattoo idea is amazing for those guys who are not afraid of doing an entire arm tattoo. The style of these tattoos is usually a little bit scary, but not only will you love it but it will make your skin look like a piece of art. Shoulder tattoo designs can get sometimes very boring, so why not make your shoulder a cool shoulder? A Viking tattoo is all black and with its unique design, it is perfect as a men’s tattoos. The meaning behind these shoulder tattoos for men is guidance – basically, these tattoos are there to remind you not to lose your path in life.
6. Bird Mens Tattoo
Who said that birds can not be a great men’s tattoo? Shoulder tattoos for men offer a very large space to work with, so a tattoo of an eagle or an owl across your shoulder can look very powerful. You can even add a wing that can go as far as your chest – making it both a chest and shoulder tattoo. Birds symbolize freedom and tattoos of a bird can often symbolize the guy’s will to chase his dreams. Doing an all blackbird tattoo with red eyes will give you one of the few mesmerizing shoulder tattoo designs.
7. Wolf Shoulder Tattoo Designs
In case you value loyalty and are a spiritual person, then you are going to love wolf tattoos. A wolf has always been known as the symbol of guardianship, emotional connections, and trust. The lion may be the king of the jungle, but the wolf will make you be one with nature. Shoulder tattoos are a great place for your wolf tattoo because what is a point of a wolf tattoo if it is not going to be big? You can tattoo only the head of the wolf or maybe even the whole wolf depending on your preference. Do it in all black ink for an amazing work of art that you will love!
8. Skull Tattoo Men
Even though they often look scary, skull tattoos do have a very deep meaning behind them. Usually, they represent the only thing which is certain in our lives and that is death. A skull tattoo means that one has accepted their mortality and are willing to celebrate life. That is why you will often see a cross in these tattoos. These tattoos for men can often be put on your shoulder or your leg. They take a lot of time to do and are mostly done with black ink and sometimes red. One thing is for sure, guys with this shoulder tattoo designs may look scary but they have just accepted the unavoidable.
9. A Polynesian Shoulder Tattoo for Men
If you are not super into tattoos or history, then this is probably your first time hearing about Polynesian tattoos. In ancient times, Polynesians did not write so they used tattoos as symbols to express themselves and their identity. These shoulder tattoo designs are very popular because of their unique look and because of their meaning. Polynesian tattoos are usually done on the shoulder because of the tradition and since that is where they are very visible. These tattoos have recently gained a lot of popularity in the American culture and are more popular with the guys than with the girls. If you decide to go with this tattoo, not only will you have an amazing piece of art on your shoulder but it can be meaningful as well.
10. Tree and Flower Tattoos
These are the tattoos for men you were looking for if you are ready to go all out! Trees represent nature, the ability to grow and give life, while flowers add that extra element. These tattoos are great for men who like color and are not afraid of doing a tattoo across their entire shoulder and arm. Flowers, such as a rose, can help your tattoo achieve a more colorful look. You can even do different colors of a rose for a different meaning. For instance, a red rose represents passion, a white rose represents innocence and a yellow rose represents friendship. Tattoos like these are great if you want to express your true self!
Do Shoulder Tattoos Stretch?
After seeing all of those amazing shoulder tattoos there is only one question you have left and that it: do shoulder tattoos stretch? It is a very known thing that skin does stretch and that the ink of the tattoos will fade over time, but that also depends on the placement of your tattoos. Shoulder tattoos usually last a lot longer than a chest tattoo or tattoos on your forearm. The reason behind this is that the skin on your shoulder does not age and even the ink will not fade as much because your clothes will usually hide the tattoo.
After all of that, shoulder tattoo designs are different than other tattoos because they offer a wide platform on which the artist can work, you can see your tattoos and can connect it with other parts of your body very easily. Hopefully, you fond inspiration for your next tattoo in these ten tattoos for men we picked out!