Modern Shoulder Tattoos for Men: 50+ Designs & Their Meanings

Shoulder Tattoos
50+ unique and trendy male shoulder tattoo ideas. We’ve combined them into 12 groups so you can easily choose the most suitable one.

Men’s tattoo designs in the form of patterns and different images give the image of masculinity, courage, and brutality. Most often the male tattoo on the shoulders goes to the collarbone, back, or even the wrist. 

Right now, the most popular male shoulder tattoos have a theme:

More often than not, men choose black ink for shoulder tattoos because it adds restraint and brutality to the design. But colored tattoos can also add brightness and variety. In this article, we have gathered for you both concise black tattoos and conspicuous colored designs.

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We have more ideas in the gallery with the best shoulder tattoos for men. Take a look and get inspired!

Each year has its trends for tattoos, color, shapes, etc. Many people when choosing a tattoo design are guided by personal preferences, the meanings of tattoos, and their correlation with the character. However, some people still want to correspond to modern movements and trends.

So what are the trends right now? Let’s find out.

  • Minimalist tattoos.

As you can see, this trend has been conquering the top of the tattoo world for several years in a row. This is because minimalist symbols or small compositions are often chosen for the first tattoo. Such small designs are popular among both women and men.

  • Geometric style.

Such designs are an offshoot of the abstract style with a variety of directions. Geometric compositions are especially popular among men, they perfectly emphasize musculature and beautiful masculine shape. Often geometric tattoo designs are chosen for tattooing the neck, chest, and shoulders.

  • 🐾 Animal images.

Most often, to reflect their character and life values, men choose to tattoo images of animals. Among them, you can see a lion, a wolf, a bear, and an eagle. Such designs look beautiful on the man’s chest and shoulders.

  • Religious tattoos.

These tattoos have never left their pedestal of popularity among men. Designs of tattoos on religious subjects have always carried a deep meaning and a strong message of faith. A man who chooses such a tattoo has a strong faith and is not afraid to show it to the world. Religious tattoo designs are most often seen on men’s breasts or shoulders – closer to the heart.

50+ Shoulder Tattoo Ideas for Men

In this article, we have collected for you 50+ of the best shoulder tattoos for men. All photos for them are of high quality, so you can easily implement your favorite idea in a tattoo salon. Also for each tattoo idea, we have picked up an explanation of its meanings, so you can get the perfect one for you.

Tribal Shoulders Tattoo Designs for Men

Tribal patterns are some of the oldest tattoos, previously they defined a person’s belonging to a particular tribe. Now they have a more decorative sense, but before applying them it is worth learning their meaning.

Polynesian tattoos collect elements of the sun, boats, and fish combined with abstract lines. In addition, you can find equally popular tattoo designs with Polynesian turtles.

It is also common to see Polynesian patterns featuring masks. Such masks (also called “tiki”) used to be worn only by warriors. Nowadays, such an image on the body symbolizes the protection of its owner.

Celtic patterns (sometimes called “knots”) are more abstract lines winding into a harmonious ligature. This tattoo is most often imposed on the shoulders because it very well emphasizes the musculature of this part of the body.

Mandala Male Shoulders Tattoos Ideas

The word mandala in Sanskrit means “circle”, and it is this well-known geometric figure that forms the basis of this design. The main characteristic of the mandala tattoo is circular symmetry (or sometimes simply vertical or horizontal).

The meaning of the mandala tattoo is very deep and even a little religious:

  • 🔆 Fullness;
  • 🔆 Eternity;
  • 🔆 The flowering of the spirit;
  • 🔆 Balance;
  • 🔆 The flowering of life.

This abstract tattoo design looks beautiful on both the back of men’s shoulders and on the upper arm. All mandala tattoo designs are traditional, so you can find them done in black ink.

Religion Tattoo Designs on Men’s Shoulders

Religious shoulder tattoos are popular among men all over the world and of different religions. Very often in such themes, you can see images of angels, crosses, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other saints. 

The meaning of the angel shoulder tattoo for men:

  • 👼 Patronage;
  • 👼 Divine protection;
  • 👼 Spirituality.

Also in religious compositions on men’s shoulders, you can see images of doves. This bird in the tattoo means:

  • 🕊️ Lack of aggression;
  • 🕊️ Peacefulness;
  • 🕊️ Love;
  • 🕊️ Purity.

Such a pure in its meaning image of the body perfectly complements the religious composition.

Antique-Themed Shoulder Tattoos for Men

A popular offshoot of neoclassical tattoos is images of warriors. Such tattoos carry meaning:

  • 💪 Nobility;
  • 💪 A warlike disposition;
  • 💪 Courage;
  • 💪 Endurance in battle;
  • 💪 Strength.

No less common are tattoo designs with the gods and demigods of Greek mythology. The meaning of such tattoos depends on the character of Greek mythology chosen for tattooing. The most popular are:

  • 👑 Zeus,
  • 👑 Aphrodite,
  • 👑 Aris,
  • 👑 Hermes,
  • 👑 Hephaestus,
  • 👑 Kronos,
  • 👑 Apollo,
  • 👑 Prometheus,
  • 👑 Dionysus,
  • 👑 Poseidon,
  • 👑 Hades.

Male Shoulder Tattoo Ideas with Wings

Tattoo designs for men with wings are especially popular on the shoulders, starting from the back, and moving to the arms. Such a tattoo has different meanings depending on whose wings are chosen for the tattoo.

The angel wings on men’s shoulders are printed large and wide, they have several layers and their feathers resemble those of a bird. Such a tattoo means:

  • 👼 Innocence;
  • 👼 Ascension over everyday worries;
  • 👼 Childlike naivety;
  • 👼 Kindness;
  • 👼 Spiritual strength.

Sometimes such a light composition is complemented by demon wings on the other side, they are more similar to the wings of a bat (dark with webbing). Such tattoo designs on men’s shoulders are interpreted as follows:

  • 😈 Danger;
  • 😈 Dark Affairs;
  • 😈 A challenge to everyday life and society;
  • 😈 Evil.

Ideas for Men’s Shoulder Tattoos with Clock

Shoulder clock tattoos for men are a reminder of some important event for them. Such a tattoo is a report for them to something new and conditionally divides their life into “before” and “after”.

The main meaning of such a tattoo is memory. In addition, the male tattoo on the shoulders with the image of a clock can mean:

  • 🕓 The transience of time;
  • 🕓 A multitude of problems and tasks;
  • 🕓 An eventful life;
  • 🕓 Ability to solve problems as they arise.

Shoulder Tattoos for Men with Animals

The male shoulder tattoo with an eagle means:

  • 🦅 Strength;
  • 🦅 Self-confidence;
  • 🦅 Intelligence;
  • 🦅 Courage;
  • 🦅 Wisdom.

The male shoulder tattoo with a lion has such interpretations:

  • 🦁 Courage;
  • 🦁 Strength;
  • 🦁 Leadership;
  • 🦁 Supremacy;
  • 🦁 Nobility.

Jaguar tattoo design on a man’s shoulder means:

  • 🐅 Exceptionalism;
  • 🐅 Fearlessness;
  • 🐅 Greatness;
  • 🐅 Wealth;
  • 🐅 Successfulness.

A tattoo with crows on a man’s shoulder has the following interpretations:

  • 🐦 Foresight;
  • 🐦 Deception;
  • 🐦 Mystery;
  • 🐦 Intelligence;
  • 🐦 Mystique;
  • 🐦 Protection.

A tattoo design on a man’s shoulder with an image of a deer means:

  • 🦌 Tree of life;
  • 🦌 Power;
  • 🦌 Courage;
  • 🦌 The struggle of light and dark forces;
  • 🦌 The character of the winner;
  • 🦌 Power;
  • 🦌 Confidence.

Nature Inspired Tattoo Designs for Men

Tattoo designs with nature have always been popular with both women and men. Mountains, rivers, roads, and waterfalls are all very beautiful and look harmonious on men’s shoulders.

The meanings of tattoos with nature motifs on men’s shoulders are:

  • 🌄 Craving for discovery;
  • 🌄 The desire to travel and visit new places;
  • 🌄 Love for nature;
  • 🌄 The desire to learn new things;
  • 🌄 A desire to be alone with oneself;
  • 🌄 A desire for peace.

Male Shoulder Tattoos with Flowers

Floral motifs in tattoos resonated not only with women but also with men. But before choosing such a tattoo, you should be careful with the choice of flowers and even tattoo color. Some floral compositions can carry a negative meaning.

The abstract image of a flower is interpreted as the cyclicality of being. The general meaning of the tattoo of flowers:

  • 🌷 Vitality;
  • 🌷 Joy;
  • 🌷 Freshness. 

Images of a lotus on a man’s shoulder have these interpretations:

  • 🌺 Spiritual quest;
  • 🌺 Purity;
  • 🌺 Knowledge.

A sakura tattoo on a man’s shoulder means:

  • 🌸 The transience of human life;
  • 🌸 The shakiness of being;
  • 🌸 The irreversibility of time.

Men’s shoulder tattoo design with roses means:

  • 🌹 Love;
  • 🌹 Hope;
  • 🌹 Beauty.

Rose with thorns means:

  • 🥀 Pain;
  • 🥀 Bereavement;
  • 🥀 Obstacles in life.

A black rose carries the sad image of the flower of death. A black flower tattoo means:

  • ✿ Restraint;
  • ✿ Austere lifestyle.

The red shoulder male tattoo is interpreted:

  • 🔴 Passion;
  • 🔴 Fatal life events.

Patriotic Tattoo Designs on Men’s Shoulders

Patriotic tattoos have many interpretations for men’s shoulders. One frequent image is the U.S. flag. It has red and white stripes and 50 stars on a blue background on the top left of the flag.

The 50 stars on the U.S. flag symbolize the 50 states of the United States. The white stripes on the flag means purity, the red ones are interpreted as valor and endurance, and the blue ones serve as a symbol of justice and vigilance.

You can also often see tattoo designs on men’s shoulders with the white-headed eagle. He is the national symbol of the United States. A tattoo depicting this bird on a man’s shoulder means:

  • 🦅 Love of Country;
  • 🦅 Love for the nation;
  • 🦅 An advocate of free speech.

Shoulder Tattoo Ideas for Men with a Skeleton

A tattoo depicting a human skeleton means:

  • 💀 Eternal life;
  • 💀 Vitality;
  • 💀 Rebirth;
  • 💀 The value of life;
  • 💀 Good health.

Buffalo skull tattoo designs are interpreted as follows:

  • 🐂 Life;
  • 🐂 Prosperity;
  • 🐂 Protection;
  • 🐂 Luck;
  • 🐂 Fertility.

A tattoo of a frog’s skull means:

  • 🐸 Creation;
  • 🐸 Luck;
  • 🐸 Happiness;
  • 🐸 Purity;
  • 🐸 Wealth.

Earth-Themed Shoulder Tattoo Designs for Men

Tattoo designs depicting the Earth are less popular than those depicting nature. But they are very beautiful and harmonious.

A tattoo with the image of the Earth on men’s shoulders means:

  • 🌍 Fertility;
  • 🌍 Life;
  • 🌍 Protection.

Men’s Shoulder Tattoo with Dragon

Dragons are very popular fictional creatures that inspire majesty and even fear. Its mythological image is famous in almost all cultures of the world, especially in Southeast and East Asia. Such tattoos on a man’s shoulder signify:

  • 🐲 Power;
  • 🐲 Strength;
  • 🐲 Pride;
  • 🐲 Majesty;
  • 🐲 Invincibility.


It is believed that the male tattoo on the shoulder can bring very useful benefits to its owner. For example, if it is done on the left shoulder, you will gain profit and easy capital, and if on the right – wisdom and family happiness.

You can quickly choose a modern tattoo idea because we have collected 50+ of the most interesting male shoulder tattoo ideas and divided them into 13 groups.

Be unique, be different, and stand out from the crowd!


📂 What Are the Ideas for Male Tattoos on the Shoulder?

📆 What Modern Trends for Male Shoulder Tattoos Are Out There Now?

Minimalist, geometric style, animal images, and religious-themed body pictures are tattoo modern trends right now.

🤩 Why Is a Tattoo on the Shoulder a Good Choice?

The skin on the shoulder is dense, so doing a tattoo will not hurt, the roundness of the shoulder will give the tattoo volume and it will be easy to complement it by making a drawing on the arm, neck, back, or chest.


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