Oakley was first established as a company in 1975, originally producing motocross grips before moving into goggles in the early 80’s. The American company soon transitioned into sunglasses, producing the Factory Pilot Eyeshade in 1984, revolutionizing the cycling eyewear market. Previous to the Eyeshade, riders were largely using regular sunglasses and so Oakley’s lightweight, impact-resistant thermoplastic offerings were a major deviation from the norm.
Tour de France champion, Greg LeMond and Australian cycling great, Phil Anderson, were the first Oakley sponsored riders on the professional circuit in 1985. Little over a year later, on the back of LeMond’s famous 1986 Tour win, Oakleys were the desired glasses of choice from enthusiasts through to the majority of the professional peloton.
Since then, Oakley has continually developed premium sunglasses, not just for cycling, but for a vast range of sports, making the brand one of the most revered sports companies in the world.
With a large research and development team that frequently collaborates with professional teams and riders, innovation and technology is the beating heart of Oakley. This is evident from early impact resistant thermoplastic offerings, through to the maximum field of view, unhindered vision and high comfort that modern offerings provide riders.
For the cycling fraternity, it’s hard to go past the Jawbreaker as an example of Oakley’s innovation in action. Developed in conjunction with Mark Cavendish, the Jawbreaker combines class leading vision that’s perfect for riding in a ‘head down’ position, with excellent airflow around the eyes to decrease fogging and at an impressively low weight.
Where the Jawbreaker’s style may polarize many, it’s the extensive Oakley Radar range that continues to be a bestseller across mountain bike and road cycling disciplines.