Brand Spotlight: Oakley

By Isabella Sara Novack

oakley glasses on car roof

Oakley is one of the most recognizable eyewear brands out there. From small brand to sportswear trendsetter, it’s come a long way from its humble origins.

As often is the case, it all started in a basement. When Oakley’s founder James Jannard began his adventure in 1975, he had little more than an idea, a garage, and an initial investment of $300.

Now it’s almost fifty years later and the brand named after his dog “Oakley Anne” is one of the largest eyewear producers worldwide.

History of Oakley frames

Motorcycle enthusiast Jannard stumbled across an opportunity when he designed a rubber grip for motocross made of his new material Unobtanium.

Not to be confused with sci-fi, this very real anti-slip rubber was a revolutionary discovery that’s still in use today thanks to its resistance to sweat and impact.

Around that time he started selling these grips at motorcycle events where he already sold other components out of the back of his car.

They were met with high praise and he continued to develop them, unaware this innovation would forever change eyewear technology.

It wasn’t until the end of the decade that he realized its potential for use in eyewear. By 1980 he released the first pair of Oakley goggles called O-frames, which were instantly a hit due to them being lighter and more durable than the glass goggles of the time.

Motocross legends noticed, and it didn’t take long for people to realize that the top riders were sporting brand new equipment.

As popular athletes continued choosing them, they quickly gained traction. This gave Oakley the confidence to expand and by 1983 the brand started gaining visibility with the release of its new line of ski goggles.

This trend continued over the following years and as they went into more sports, their fanbase got larger and larger.

Maybe this would have been enough, but when in 1985 cycling legend Greg Lemond finished second place at the Tour de France rocking a pair of these bad boys, the deal was signed and Oakley’s name went down in history. 

Moving forward, Oakley kept innovating and expanding, slowly growing into the company we know today. By the early 90s, Oakley was dominating the sports eyewear market.

When the early 2000s rolled around, the brand had made a name for itself as the leader in innovation and had negotiated deals to supply large brands such as Fox Racing.

When Luxottica eventually bought Oakley in 2007 for the outstanding price of $2.1 billion, it started a new era for the brand.

Oakley had the technologies to hook their clients on the quality of their glasses and Luxottica had the funds to get Oakley products seen across the globe.

To this date, Oakley keeps expanding thanks to its cutting edge technologies and an extensive catalog that’s second to none.

Oakley lens technology

At the heart of its innovation lies Oakley’s lens technology. Designed with performance and protection in mind, Oakley’s world class lenses offer an unmatched combination of benefits such as enhanced clarity, protection, and performance. 

An example of this is their HDO® (High Definition Optics), a technology that eliminates the distortion and magnification common to standard lenses.

If you get headaches after a long time wearing sunglasses, this might be the solution for you. Thanks to this technology, vision is clearer and your eyes will be better protected from brightness.

Oakley sunglasses also have an edge in sun protection. They offer some of the best photochromic technology around and Oakley has been leading with its research into polarization.

If you’re an athlete who spends a lot of time outdoors, these lenses will protect you from eye strain, cut glare and allow you to see more details. 

So far we have discussed the lenses, but Oakley frames are also cutting edge. Thanks to the engineer’s dedication to durability, Oakley sunglasses have mastered impressive feats in their rounds of testing.

A quick look at the brand’s social media will show their famous and highly entertaining high-speed and high-mass impact tests. Here you can see the glasses prove their durability as increasingly fast and hard objects are flung at them. 

This is thanks to Oakley’s use of the  PLUTONITE® frame material. In fact, this resilience is so impressive that it is in part what led the US government to approve certain models as official law enforcement and US army apparel.

Today the brand holds over 800 patents, including the one for their revolutionary Prizm lens technology. Designed to enhance color, contrast and detail, these lenses are perfect for athletes who do sports like cycling, fishing, and baseball

Oakley sunglasses styles

Oakley’s frame model family has a style for each wearer. Whether you’re into extreme sports or looking for a good pair of sunglasses for your Sunday stroll, there’s surely the right fit for you.

oakley sunglasses styles

Oakley Holbrook sunglasses

Boasting five different versions to match every preference, Oakley Holbrooks were launched in 2010 and quickly rose to fame with their distinctive square design.

These glasses have cutting edge technology, and feature Oakley’s cutting-edge Prizm Polarized and HDPolarized lenses.

Oakley Flak 2.0 glasses

The Oakley Flak 2.0 model builds on the legacy of the highly acclaimed Oakley Flak Jacket. Sporting a semi-rimless design, these sunglasses are one of the most sought-after sports frames in Oakley’s lineup.

The Flak 2.0 is engineered with Oakley’s Three-Point Fit system, along with Unobtanium temple grips and nose pads that ensure a secure fit. This prevents them from slipping in the wind and when you sweat.

Oakley Frogskins

First released in 1985, the Frogskins were Oakley’s first lifestyle sunglasses. Suited for casual wear, they became competitors of the already popular Ray-ban Wayfarers and were the first Oakley sunglasses to feature their well-known dual-lens design.

This model’s casually styled rounded lenses were fitted to lightweight O Matter frames, though they lack the popular anti-slip features from their sports glasses.

After being discontinued in 1997, the Frogskins made a comeback in limited editions following Oakley’s acquisition by Luxottica.

Oakley now provides a vast array of lens options for the Frogskins, including the opportunity to customize their frames and lens color.

Oakley Sutro

Designed specifically for cyclists, the Sutro collection follows the oversized cycling eyewear trend.

Used by athletes across different disciplines, their ski goggle-inspired frame and wraparound lens also make them a stylish choice for everyday wear that is guaranteed to fit comfortably on your face.

The perfect fit

From its humble origins to the global company we’ve come to know and love, Oakley’s brand story is a testament to the American dream. What are you waiting for? Quality speaks for itself so choose Oakley for a clearer vision of life.

Whether you’re a man, woman or kid, their perfect fit will make sure the glasses stay snugly on your face, so come check them out! We’re sure one of the styles will be just right for you.

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