Oakley Shades: They’re Not Just for Athletes Anymore

Oakley Shades: They’re Not Just for Athletes Anymore

You might not know it, but Oakley is much more than an eyewear company.

  • Did you know that Oakley started out in 1975 as the brainchild of founder Jim Jannard, who invested $300 to design and sell a one-of-a-kind motocross handgrip out of his garage?
  • Did you know that Oakley currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials, and performance gear—and is considered one of the top sports gear and eyewear brands in the world?

Humble Beginnings

The name “Oakley” comes from one of Jim Jannard’s Irish Setters. It doesn’t get much humbler than that.

Buoyed by the success of sales of his motocross handgrip and other motorcycle parts out of his car, by 1980 Jannard was selling motocross goggles, featuring his own designs. Made of lightweight, high-impact plastic, Jannard’s goggles were lighter and stronger than the typical glass goggles in use at the time. Jannard began handing his goggles out at motocross events and selling them to his motorcycle parts clients. They became extremely popular, and in 1983, Jannard added ski goggles to his repertoire.

At this stage in the brand’s evolution, Jannard’s goggle designs were becoming hybrids that were part sunglasses and part goggles. Eventually, by the mid-1980s, Oakley moved firmly into the sunglasses market, especially after 1986 Tour de France winner Greg Le Mond wore Oakley sunglasses during the competition. Le Mond thus became the first in a long line of celebrity athletes to use and endorse Oakley sunglasses.

Soon, Jannard began designing and developing a steady stream of new sunglasses models each year, mainly for athletes and others engaged in active lifestyles, ranging from models for golfers and basketball players to tennis players and baseball stars. Oakley capitalized by using athlete endorsements to convince consumers about the superior technology and performance of its products.

By the early 2000s, after going public in 1995, Oakley’s world-wide revenues were in excess of $500 million . . . and climbing.

One of the World’s Top Brands

Today, Oakley is recognized worldwide for its innovative shapes and styles, and for its high-tech designs, including interchangeable lenses, high optical clarity, and damage resistance. Worn by practically everyone—men, women, and children—Oakley’s remain most popular with athletes and other active individuals.

Further cementing its position as a much-sought-after brand, Oakley is very selective about how it distributes its products and through whom.

Where to From Here?

Oakley continues to innovate, inventing and re-inventing the concept of eyewear many times over throughout it’s more than 40 years of existence. In addition to eyewear, Oakley now creates products for the high-performance footwear market as well as wristwatches, apparel, and other fashion accessories.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Jim Jannard sold Oakley in 2007 for $2.1 billion to Italian Eyeware company Luxottica Group, which is carrying on Oakley’s trend-setting, high-tech ways.

You’d Look Good in Some Oakleys

Oakleys aren’t just for athletes. Selling anywhere from $65 to $400 a pair, it’s quite likely there’s a pair of Oakleys out there with your name on it—and if not you, then maybe a loved one.

You can find a wide range of Oakley shades at Sunglass and Optical Warehouse. Stop by our main store on Sports Arena Boulevard, off Kurtz Street, in San Diego, to check them out, along with the more than 60 other brands and some 7,000 frames we have to choose from.

Our skilled team of optometrists, opticians, and other eye care professionals can help you explore our Oakley collection to find a look and a style that’s right for you and/or a family member.

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