The 80 Best Shoulder Tattoos for Men

The shoulders are the perfect place to get a tattoo. Here’s why, along with some of the best shoulder tattoo ideas we’ve found.


Shoulder tattoos are fully visible when you wear a tank top or go shirtless. They’re perfect for warm weather. They’re also fully concealable when you wear even short sleeves. So, if you don’t want your in-laws or that very traditional client to know that you have a tattoo, you can keep it hidden.

One of the best things about putting a tattoo on your shoulder, though, is that you can see it! Getting a tattoo on your back is great for large images and letting others enjoy them, but the shoulder lets you see your artwork too. Shoulder tats are even better than sleeves because you can see the whole image at once. With sleeves, you have to turn your arm in every direction to be able to view the entire design.[/centerContent]


The shoulder is a great place to start because you’re not limited to staying on the shoulder. You can ask your artist to extend the design to your back, chest, neck, or down your arm. You’ll see some images below that use all three methods of extending a shoulder tattoo.

Think about how a wing tattoo could cover your shoulder blade, shoulder, and tricep. Or how a tribal design could cover your chest, shoulder, and neck, ending at your jawline.

Take a look below at the 80 best shoulder tattoos from around the world.

Raven Watercolor Chest and Shoulder Tattoo for Men Realistic Inward Facing Crow Shoulder Piece Realistic Tarantula on the Back of Your Shoulder Realistic, Shaded Skull Tattoo Roaring Lion Shoulder Piece Roses and Playing Cards Scaled Dragon Wrap-Around Shoulder Piece Shaded-In Shoulder Tattoo Sharp Edges and Fiery Ink Shoulder Pieces that Combine Lines and Curves

Shoulder Pieces that Make Use of Line Directions Shoulder Portrait of a Young Girl and a Sheep Shoulder Quote Tattoo in Calligraphy Shoulder Tattoo that Becomes a Chest Piece Shoulder Tattoo with Numerous Hexagons Shoulder Tattoos that Leave No Empty Space Simple Dual-Line Tidal Wave Tattoo Solar System Shoulder Piece Soulless Man amongst Various Characters and Designs Spherical and Spiked Shoulder Tattoo

Squid Shoulder Tattoo for Men Tattoo of a Phoenix Across Your Shoulder Thorn Shoulder Tattoos to Represent Honor and Sacrifice Trash Polka Style Octopus Shoulder Piece Tree Overlayed on a Shadowy Skull Tree Stump Rings on Your Shoulder Tribal 3D Armor Tattoo Tribal Inspired Shoulder Art Tribal Shoulder Tattoo Inspired by Native American Art Turtle Tribal Tattoo Idea

Watercolor Compass Shoulder Tattoo Watercolor Wave Shoulder Tattoo When Doves, Compasses, and Roses Collide Wolf Shoulder Piece for Men Geometric Grizzly Bear Shoulder Tattoo for Men Geometric Repeating Shape Half-Sleeve Shoulder Piece for Men Geometric Shapes of Various Sizes Gorilla Wearing a Steampunk Hat Greek God Shoulder Tattoo into a Half-Sleeve Guardian Angel Playing the Harp

Half-Sleeve Tribal Shoulder Tattoo Design Have the Tree of Life Tattooed on Your Shoulder Hawaiian Flower Shoulder Piece Hindu God, Lord Shiva, Shoulder Tattoo Honeycomb Shoulder Scarification Tattoo Illusion of a Compass Breaking through Skin Ink Splattered on the Shoulder Intricate Lines and Negative Space Shoulder Piece Intricate Mandala Tattoo Layered Axles that Fade into the Distance

Lifelike Roaring Lion Shoulder Piece Mechanical Robotic Arm Tattoo Multi-Layered Patterns with Vibrant Ink Native American Totem Shoulder Tattoo Negative Space Freehand Art Shoulder Tattoo Ocean-Themed Shoulder Tattoo for Men Outer Space Tattoo Alongside Female Portrait Patriotic Eagle Preparing to Land on Your Shoulder Pointillism Negative Space Sunlight Tattoo A Shoulder That Looks Like Armor of Steel

All Black Octopus Shoulder Piece Angelic Tattoo for Religious Men Armor Tearing through Your Skin Bald Eagle Fine-Line Shoulder Piece Bald Eagle Landing on the Shoulder Belt Buckle Shoulder Piece Beluga Whale Shoulder Tattoo for Men Bird Feathers and Wing Shoulder and Back Piece Blue, Pink, and Purple Fire-Breathing Dragon Tattoo Blue-Eyed Fierce Dragon Tattoo

Brightly-Colored Salmon Against Dull Flowing Wave Tattoos Chinese Dragon Snaking around the Arm Creative One-of-a-Kind Portrait Shoulder Design Detailed Single Shoulder Tattoo Eagle Wing Shoulder Tattoo Idea for Men Elaborate Rose Shoulder Tattoo for Men Electric Peacock Shoulder Tattoo Fish and Floral Artwork Floral Arrangement Shoulder Design Floral Shoulder Piece Made From Geometric Shapes

What to Get

Of course, the choice of what your tattoo should be is up to you. Some of our favorites, though, fall into these categories.

Beneath the Skin

One idea that’s gaining a lot of popularity is to give the illusion of something under your skin. Maybe it’s a tiger trying to tear itself out. Maybe it’s a glimpse into the cyborg, clockwork, scaled, or skeletal creature beneath. Maybe it’s shredded flesh showing your American spirit. Whatever you picture being more than skin deep can look awesome as a tattoo.


We hate to relegate religion to the level of simple interest, but your belief system and anything else that catches your attention is prime material for a shoulder tattoo. From Jesus to the Justice League, wear whatever holds your interest like a badge of honor.

It could be the logo of your favorite sports team, a portrait of your lady love, or an image of a Native American warrior. Whatever you can think of, your shoulder is a good place to display it.


There’s a very cool trend now of tattooing different types of armor on your shoulder. It’s a sign of your warrior nature and strong spirit. To a degree, angel and demon wing tattoos also serve the same purpose but in a more mystical sense.

We would also put death tattoos in this category. When you get a shoulder tattoo of the grim reaper, a skull, or a death mask, you might be saying that you know death is coming and you’re not afraid.


From animals to flowers to landscapes to abstract, geometric, and tribal designs, your tattoo doesn’t need to mean anything other than, “Hey, look at this awesome-looking picture.” Just add some art to your body and show the world what you find beautiful.

In Memory

It’s also a fitting idea to honor loved ones or fallen comrades with a shoulder tattoo. Bear their memory like the stripes on a uniform so that you’ll never forget what they meant to you.[/centerContent]