In the mid ’70s, motorcycle handgrips were just tubes of rounded rubber. They didn’t offer a comfortable grasp. Even worse, they were slippery when wet.
In his garage lab, a mad scientist named Jim Jannard developed a new kind of grip with a unique tread for a secure grasp, plus geometry that fit the rider’s closed hand. He utilized a new material called “Unobtainium®” that was engineered to become sticky when wet.
Two technology patents were awarded and the new grip was embraced by top pros.
O FRAME® MX GOGGLE
In the early days of MX, goggles were anything but a performance benefit. Oakley founder Jim Jannard spent years developing an entirely new design. With a low profile and an optimized fit, it opened peripheral and downward vision. An innovative lens slot held optically pure Lexan® in a perfect arc for razor-sharp clarity.
Pros like Ricky Johnson, Jeff Ward, Mark Barnett and Johnny O’Mara experienced a new level of performance in 1980 with the debut of the O Frame® MX goggle. Awarded patents for design and technology, Jannard’s invention became a mainstay in the sport for 17 years.
At a time when sunglasses were a generic accessory, Jim Jannard decided to reinvent them from scratch. He used the Unobtainium® from his motorcycle handgrips to make his new eyewear fit securely, even with perspiration. For unbeatable clarity and extended peripheral vision, he utilized the cylindrical lens shape from his O Frame® goggle design.
1984 saw the birth of sport performance eyewear when Oakley introduced the new invention, Eyeshades®. Awarded patents for both technology and design, it became essential gear for the likes of Scott Tinley, Andy Hampsten and Phil Anderson. A generic accessory was now considered vital equipment.
The youth culture of action sports has always been known for pushing performance to the limit. But on the cutting edge, things happen fast. Conditions change in minutes, so sports competitors needed a customizable sunglass that optimized performance and safety while allowing them to adapt to their environment.
World-class athletes like John Tomac, Juliana Furtado, Mark Allen and Craig Kelly drove Oakley to solve the problem. The result: Blades®, the first customizable sunglass. This revolutionary invention was honored with five patents for technology. Its critical innovations would be echoed in future Oakley inventions, and the original design would stand as an icon for how Oakley defies conventional thinking to raise the bar of performance.
Athletes wearing the Oakley M Frame® have won more championships and medals than with any other single sport product on earth. Combining everything Oakley learned from years of driving performance toward new possibilities, the invention has been honored with 23 design patents and 7 technology patents.
This durable, lightweight eyewear virtually eliminates distortion from peripheral vision. The most successful performance sunglass in history, the design is coveted by those who demand nothing less than the world’s best. This includes legends like Tony Gwynn and Brian Lara.
In the early ’90s, Oakley founder Jim Jannard gave his engineers a challenge. The company had already spent years reinventing optical technology. Jannard had something else in mind: the most lightweight sunglass ever created. An engineer joked, “How much should it weigh, Zero?” Jannard’s reply: "Less than that."
The invention was called Sub Zeros®, a salute to the impossible challenge. At just 0.69 oz, this Oakley original was lighter than any sunglass on earth. With lenses rendered from a single continuous contour of Plutonite®, the design innovation represents a core conviction of Oakley. Impossibility isn’t a dead end. It’s just a road not yet taken.
The first sunglass engineered fully with 3-D CAD/CAM, Eye Jacket® gave Oakley the opportunity to create lens geometries that maintain optical clarity along the entire lens contour. Offering a clear, precise and uncorrupted view of the world from every angle of vision, this technological breakthrough was honored with five separate patents.
Blending the lens geometries of Oakley’s new "XYZ Optics®" with the art of authentic styling, Eye Jacket® brought a timeless design to the realm of sport performance. Its clarity, comfort and protection were embraced by a full roster of sports elite.
Oakley designed its first shoes with a simple sculptured form, brought together the best materials available, and assembled them using the most advanced technologies on the planet. It wasn’t just a company first. When Oakley crafted it from the same ballistic fibers used in bulletproof vests, it became a world first.
Everything about this shoe was different. Even the sole was unique, formulated from Kevlar® and Unobtainium® for the full-throttle performance of race tire technology. The point wasn’t simply to reinvent the shoe. The point was to reinvent what was possible by ignoring what the world thought something should be. Or could be.
Most action sports have two common elements — sweat and speed. Oakley’s High Definition Optics® (HDO®) let cyclists like George Hincapie cut through the field of competitors with the performance of unbeatable clarity. But the world’s best lenses are not enough. That’s why our icon can be found on never-before-seen frame designs.
Oakley’s Racing Jacket® was built to slice through the wind. Surge ports funnel a cooling airflow to help eliminate sweat, so athletes like Hincapie aren’t distracted at a critical moment, and perspiration doesn’t compromise vision. The patented architecture is another example of how Oakley turns form into function.
We know the world is always evolving. We just get tired of waiting. That’s why we designed our first wristwatch to convert human motion into streams of electrons. We could have used springs or batteries to drive the hands, but we would never make a product without making it better than everything else that’s out there.
Sealed in a casing of X Metal®, an Inertial Generator® utilizes an O Engine® to convert multiple vectors of movement into pure electricity. End result: A wristwatch that never needs winding or batteries, and a work of art that blends science with sculpture to achieve what no ordinary watch can offer — the authenticity of true innovation.
When the morning haze burns away or the sun plays hide-and-seek with clouds, pro golfers like Annika Sorenstam have to adapt. Even her approach to the green can take her from sunlight to shadows. That’s why we invented the world’s first dual-spherical frame with fully interchangeable lenses of optically pure Plutonite®.
The lenses of Oakley Half Jacket® can be swapped out in seconds, offering the best possible performance for current light conditions. They help athletes keep up with the changing moods of Mother Nature. The rimless design means there’s nothing to get in the way of downward vision — a critical benefit for activities like cycling and running.
This is another example of how Oakley products look like nothing you’ve ever seen because they perform like nothing you’ve ever worn. A hingeless frame used in the 2000 Olympic Games, OVERTHETOP® clutches the upper cranium and anchors beneath the posterior occipital protuberance of the human skull.
Challenging the industry’s concept of sunglasses, the lightweight instrument of abuse stays firmly in place during the most reckless excuse for athletic competition. Champions like Gary Scelzi and David Miller embraced its innovations. Once again, the definitions of technology and art have been redefined.
Back in the ’90s, no one engineered true sculptural metal frames because the eyewear would be too heavy. The rigid architecture would not adapt to varying facial sizes, nor would it offer critical flexibility to absorb impact. Oakley solved these problems by creating an ultra-lightweight titanium alloy and an entirely new frame design.
Oakley’s fully adaptable architecture uses compressible couplers to achieve flexibility. The first 3-D sculptured all-metal frame on earth, X Metal® has been the choice of Michael Jordan, Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pablo Montoya. Innovations in the X Metal® line have been awarded 20 patents for design and technology.
When we talk about science and art, our message is for the people in the front row — the leaders of sport who exceed the limits that others only pursue. You won’t find a creation like Medusa™ at companies that make generic products for the masses. And you won’t find it on the skulls of conventional minds.
Not for the uninitiated, this two-part design includes a detachable leather goggle with precision lenses of optically pure Plutonite®, and a skullcap with leather dreadlocks. If you’re wondering why we made it, it’s not about defiance. It’s about refusing to let the world define you. Products like this are at the heart of Oakley design philosophy.
Its blueprints looked like a brochure for impossibility. Achieving the design required pinpoint welding with a 20-kilohertz beam of pure sound. Then came 1,000-ampere bursts of electrons fired at metal targets to generate plasma vapor. It was the only way to create a protective mantle over the frame components.
That was the level of technology required to produce the eyewear invention called Plate®. No one had attempted it because it was beyond conventional thinking — and rational thinking, for that matter. We did it because challenging possibility is something we can’t resist. It’s the only way we know how to raise the bar.
A FRAME® GOGGLE
A lens that curves around the eyes causes light to bend, which leads to visual distortion. That’s a fact of physics that other goggle makers accept. Not Oakley. We invented High Definition Optics®, a collection of eyewear technologies that offer the truest vision possible. However, adapting HDO® to goggles required new advances.
Using state-of-the-art research and design facilities, we developed the world’s first snow goggle with an optically correct lens. Our geometry virtually eliminates the performance-killing defects common to ordinary goggles. On the mountain, you’ll see our patented A Frame® on Shaun White, Seth Morrison and Tanner Hall.
Many athletes train with music. Tethered players can get in the way, so the best music player would be built into something you’re already wearing. That way, you could listen to songs anytime without carrying an extra accessory. It would have no wires or cords to dangle and tangle, or speaker buds that jam into your ears.
We solved all those problems with Oakley THUMP, an entire music system built into a performance sunglass frame. The world’s first digital audio eyewear, this patented invention combines the best optics on the planet with music that inspires pro competitors like Brian Lopes, Mike Metzger, Cedric Gracia, Manny Fernandez and James Stewart.
THUMP® is a registered trademark of Thump Records, Inc., and is used under exclusive license.
When Normann Stadler crossed the finish line to win Ironman 2006, 30 years of optical innovation crossed the line with him. Like many athletes in the grueling competition, he was wearing Oakley Radar™. This sunglass invention began with an interchangeable lens design that allows athletes to adapt to changing light. But that was only the start.
Radar™ was engineered with Hydrophobic lens technology that repels water and sweat while making the lens surface immune to oils and contaminates that corrupt vision. Combined with the custom fit of interchangeable frame components and the clarity of Oakley HDO®, these innovations achieved a new milestone in performance eyewear.
Most sports competitors are at the mercy of the sun, and the adage “adapt and survive” does not win medals. World-class athletes adapt and conquer with landmark innovations like Oakley Jawbone eyewear. Champion cyclists George Hincapie and Thor Hushovd — as well as MTB champion Brian Lopes — played a part in the development and testing of this unique invention.
Oakley Jawbone utilizes SwitchLock technology, a never-before-seen breakthrough in frame mechanics. With SwitchLock, the lower part of the frame rim opens to allow easy access for quick lens changing, and a suspension system holds the lenses in place so stresses on the frame do not affect the optics. The proprietary technology is combined with the company’s premium lens innovations to give athletes a level of visual clarity and protection unrivaled in the industry.
OAKLEY ELITE C SIX™
Awarded more than 600 unique patents, Oakley earned its place at the pinnacle of design and innovation, yet its artists and engineers were still not satisfied. The unique processes and premium materials of some designs did not have commercial applications because the aesthetics and technologies were too far beyond conventional ideas. The only solution was to create a collection of ultra-premium products: Oakley Elite.
A premier design in the new collection, Oakley C Six™ utilizes carbon fiber, a material thinner than a human hair yet stronger than high-tensile steel. Sculpted with 24 hours of continuous Computer Numeric Controlled machining and engineered with flexible zones of Beta Titanium memory metal, C Six eyewear is optimized with the finest technologies ever created for eyewear.
When Disney released TRON: Legacy in late 2010, it represented a bold new take on an idea that originated three decades earlier. To coincide with this visually stunning adaptation, Oakley released it’s first 3D eyewear: the TRON Limited Edition 3D GASCAN®, complete with graphics that salute the cinematic story it celebrated. And like the film, the Oakley 3D GASCAN was a complete re-imagination of its 3D eyewear predecessors.
Oakley 3D GASCAN brought an end to the incessant bother and frustration with those disposable 3D glasses handed out in movie theaters. It utilized a specially engineered variant of the company’s HIGH DEFINITION OPTICS® (HDO®) called HDO-3D™, which enabled Oakley to create lens curvature that maximized the wearer’s field of vision. Viewers were able to experience a full panoramic view of the screen without having to turn their heads back and forth to catch what what happening at the corners of the theater screen.