Home » 18 Best Shoulder Tattoo Designs for Men (With Meaning)

18 Best Shoulder Tattoo Designs for Men (With Meaning)

Getting a tattoo is a big commitment. One must know what you want is extremely important before you commit.

Some people like to get tattoos representing their family members for a memorial. Others may get tattoos that represent their culture or where they come from.

Some might even get tattoos that represent their religion and spirituality. The options are simply endless.

Naturally, you do not want to get a tattoo inked on your body with no significance, which you will regret sooner or later.

Hence, understanding the meaning behind any design is crucial, which is what we have tried to do here.

Shoulder Tattoos for Men

Men’s tattoo designs have evolved from simple tribal designs to elaborate full-body pieces that take hours or days to complete.

And one of the most popular tattoo designs men admire is a shoulder tattoo. Following are some of the best tattoo designs for men that inspire you to get inked.

Distinctive Shoulder Tattoo Designs With Their Meaning

We often choose tattoos for their meanings and symbolism. The shoulder blade is an area that is often used for tattoos because of its size and location on the body. It is also an area that can be easily hidden if necessary.

1. Tribal Shoulder Tattoos

ribal Shoulder Tattoos
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Tribal shoulder tattoos are a fantastic way to express your personality and individuality. The shoulder is an area of the body that is often overlooked in body art, but it can be one of the body’s best parts to get tattooed.

Tribal tattoos are popular for those who want to make a statement.

Tribal tattoos have been around for centuries, dating back to the Stone Age. The tribal tattoo is one of the most popular types of tattoo designs because it is versatile and can express many things.

Also Read:- 26 Classy & Eye-Catching Shoulder Tattoos For Women

2. Cross Shoulder Tattoo

Cross Shoulder Tattoo
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Cross tattoos have been in use since time immemorial. The first tattoo was found in Egyptian tombs, and now we know it dates back to 2000 BC. It is believed that it symbolizes protection from evil spirits.

In modern times, men often use cross tattoos to symbolize their faith and military service or to signify their commitment to family members.

Cross tattoos usually have two lines across the shoulders and the chest’s center. The lines can be either black or red, often filled with different patterns or images, such as crosses, anchors, stars, flowers, and so forth.

But as one can easily see, this is just one of the many designs for a cross tattoo to choose from.

Also Read:- 30 Cool Cross Tattoos for Men and Women | Designs You will Love

3. Dragon Tattoos

Dragon tattoos
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Dragon shoulder tattoos have been popular with men for decades and have been used to symbolize strength and power.

A dragon shoulder tattoo can be designed in many ways. It can be a full dragon, or just the head, or just the tail.

It is usually depicted as a red dragon with green eyes and yellow scales. The dragon’s eyes are generally shown as open but can also be closed or half-closed.

The tattoo may also include other elements, such as waves and clouds, representing the dragon’s power over water and storms.

However, this is just one of the many ways to ink a dragon, as many styles of dragon tattoos are available. One of the more popular ones is the Chinese dragon tattoo.

4. Phoenix Shoulder Tattoo

Phoenix Shoulder Tattoo
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Phoenix shoulder tattoos are a popular tattoo design for men. The phoenix is symbolic of renewal, rebirth, and life after death. It also symbolizes power and strength.

In some cultures, the phoenix is a mythical bird that can rise from its ashes after it dies by fire to live again.

A phoenix shoulder tattoo is usually done on the upper arm. It is often used to symbolize rebirth or to rise from the ashes.

People may choose this type of tattoo to symbolize their ability to start over after having been through tough times in the past.

5. Skull Tattoos for Men

Skull Tattoos for Men
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Skull tattoos are trendy in the Western world. In Japan, they are associated with death and can symbolize the wearer’s feeling of being trapped in a situation.

In ancient times, the skull was used as a symbol to represent death and mortality. It also symbolizes life’s birth, death, and rebirth cycle.

The skull tattoo is also seen as a symbol of defiance or an act of freeing oneself from fear or guilt.

A skull is one of the most versatile elements of a tattoo design and can be used in many ways. A skull tattoo on your shoulder would indicate your rugged and uncompromising position to the world.

6. Lion Shoulder Tattoo

Lion Shoulder Tattoo
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Lion tattoos are a well-liked tattoo design for men. The lion has a lot of different meanings in different cultures, but the most common definition is strength and power.

The lion signifies royalty, courage, and power because it is the jungle king. Christian meanings, such as valor and strength in battle, are also attached to this tattoo design.

It is also a symbol of the sun and the sky. The lion is often depicted as a guardian of the sun, associated with royalty in many cultures.

Your dominant arm’s shoulder would be the best place where you can get this tattoo inked.

Also Read:- 28 Daring Lion Tattoo That Will Make You Roar

7. Norse Shoulder Tattoo

Norse shoulder tattoo
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Norse shoulder tattoos for men are a great way to show your love for the Norse culture. Many designs are there that you can choose from, and you can also get a tattoo on both shoulders if you want.

Norse tattoos have been around since the Viking era, and they have been popular ever since. The Norse people were known for their incredible work ethic and bravery, which is why these tattoos have always been so appealing.

Norse shoulder tattoos for men are prevalent among the younger generation. They have a lot of meanings and can be worn in different ways.

8. Flag Shoulder Tattoos

Flag Shoulder Tattoos
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Many types of tattoos are there. One of the most popular tattoos is the flag shoulder tattoo for men.

A flag shoulder tattoo features a flag on one shoulder, and the other will either have a patriotic symbol or the name of someone who died in the war. This type of tattoo has become popular in recent years, and it is not hard to see why.

9. Warrior Shoulder Tattoo

Warrior Shoulder Tattoo
Image Source: htattoo

Many people use tattoos as a form of body modification for various reasons. The warrior shoulder tattoo is one of the men’s most trendy tattoo designs. The design features a ferocious-looking warrior with a spear and shield on their right side.

The warrior shoulder tattoo design has several different meanings to different people. For some, it is seen as an emblem of strength and courage, while others may see it as an emblem of bravery and honor.

In addition to these meanings, the design can also signify masculinity and power.

10. Bald Eagle Shoulder Tattoo

Bald Eagle Shoulder Tattoo
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The bald eagle is a national animal and a symbol of American patriotism.

The bald eagle has been a part of American culture for centuries and makes for an excellent tattoo design, allowing one to showcase patriotism to the world.

The shoulder tattoo designs for men are usually inked in black or grey color, with an eagle design on their shoulders with wings spread wide. The shading on the Bald eagle does give it an otherworldly feel.

11. Winged Shoulder Tattoo

Winged shoulder tattoo
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Winged shoulder tattoos are a popular tattoo design for men. They are often inked to symbolize courage and the willingness to take risks.

Winged shoulder tattoos can be inked on the shoulder’s upper arm, lower arm, or back. The design is often done with black ink, but other colors can also be used for this tattoo design if desired.

The individual can also opt to add other elements in the mix, such as a script or a date, to add more meaning to the tattoo design.

12. Mandala Shoulder Tattoo Ideas

Mandala Shoulder Tattoo Ideas
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Mandala tattoos are typically created with a lot of detail and significance to the wearer. They also generally have circular shapes with different colors, patterns, and designs.

The mandala symbolizes the universe and our spiritual selves. It is said to represent the balance between the physical world and our mental world. It is why it’s often used in meditation, as it helps you focus on your breathing while meditating.

It is a traditional design that one can ink anywhere on their body. Still, the shoulder does provide a unique opportunity to create a beautiful and more detailed look that does justice to the design.

13. Celtic Shoulder Tattoo

Celtic Shoulder Tattoo
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The Celts had a distinctive culture rich with art and symbolism, including tattoos. They used tattoos for both decorative purposes as well as for spiritual reasons.

The Celts would tattoo themselves with symbols such as spirals, zigzags, dots, circles, and crosses on their bodies. The tattoos can be seen on both men and women and can be inked on anybody.

One can take inspiration from this for their shoulder tattoo design.

14. Māori Shoulder Tattoo

Māori Shoulder Tattoo
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The Māori culture is rich in traditions and practices dating back to the first settlers’ era. One of these customs is traditional tattooing, which was done by tattoo specialists known as ta moko artists.

The Māori tattoos for men are called moko and can be either drawn on the face or the body.

Male members of the tribe typically wear them, which signify social standing, age, personal achievements, status within the tribe, lineage to ancestors, and other family members.

15. Tiger Shoulder Tattoo

Tiger Shoulder Tattoo
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Tiger tattoos for men are a popular tattoo design. They are often seen as symbols of masculinity, bravery, strength, and courage. The tiger shoulder tattoo can be found on both the upper arm and the chest.

Tigers are also a significant part of Asian culture. These tattoos can be an excellent way for one to honor their heritage and family.

16. Clock Shoulder Tattoo

Clock Shoulder Tattoo
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The clock tattoo is a popular tattoo element for both men and women. It is usually inked on the shoulder and often combined with other elements, such as a compass or a musical instrument.

A clock tattoo symbolizes the passage of time, which can be seen as a reminder to live life to the fullest. For some people, it can also represent their need for orderliness and punctuality.

17. Geometric Shoulder Tattoo

Geometric Shoulder Tattoo
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Some men are not content with just one tattoo. They want to show that they are tough, so a shoulder tattoo with geometric designs is an excellent option for them.

The geometric shoulder tattoo is great for men who want to show off their pumped-up muscles.

A tattoo of a geometric design is a fantastic choice for men who want to look unique and rugged. The geometric shoulder tattoo can be in the form of a mandala, an arrow, or even a line.

18. Compass Shoulder Tattoo

Compass Shoulder Tattoo
Image Source: inkme.tattoo

Compass tattoos are a standard tattoo design for men. The compass tattoo represents direction, guidance, and stability.

The compass is a famous symbol of tattoo art and typically stands for direction. The compass’s needle points north and is often used to indicate the way to a destination in life.

One can also have a compass with an arrow that points forward or backward, representing life’s direction. The compass’s needle can also be turned towards one side, defining detachment from material desires, and describing spiritual development.


A tattoo on the shoulder is a perfect example of an arm tattoo that looks good on both men and women.

A shoulder tattoo for men can be placed on the shoulder blade, but it’s best to avoid placing it too close to the neck because tattoos there are more likely to fade than tattoos elsewhere.

The size of a shoulder tattoo for men can vary from small designs to large pieces of art that cover most or all of the back. You can never go wrong with shoulder tattoos.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!