Oakley History

“Who made these rules, anyway?”

A mad scientist named Jim Jannard began questioning the limits of industry standards. “No one believed my ideas,” said Jim. “No one would listen.” In 1975, he went into business for himself. Jim started Oakley with $300 and the simple idea of making products that work better and look better than anything else out there.

In his garage lab, Jim developed a new kind of motorcycle handgrip with a unique tread and a shape that fit the rider’s closed hand. “Everything in the world can and will be made better,” Jim told skeptics, “The only questions are, ‘when and by whom?’” Top pros took notice of the new design and its material that actually increased grip with sweat.

“If you’re going to do something, be brave and jump in, but do something meaningful.”

For Jim, that meant challenging the limits of conventional thinking. His homespun company was struggling yet his next invention would become a mainstay in MX racing for 17 years. Jim created the O Frame® goggle with a lens curved in the perfect arc of a cylinder. Pros like Mark Barnett, Marty Smith, Johnny O‘Mara and Jeff Ward championed its clarity and wide peripheral view.

“I always knew we would succeed. That comes from believing in what you’re doing, and striving to do it better than anyone thought possible.”

Jim went back to his lab and started reinventing sunglasses for sports. Few believed it could be done successfully, and most thought the industry’s big companies could not be challenged. Jim used innovations from his previous inventions to create “Eyeshades®,” a design that began an evolution of eyewear from generic accessory to vital equipment.

The first world-class competitor to approach the company was Greg LeMond, who became a three-time winner of the Tour de France. Other pros like Scott Tinley and Mark Allen demanded the performance and protection offered by Eyeshades®.

“Inventions wrapped in art. Oakley was founded on that idea, and it still defines us.”

Decades of innovation brought new product technologies, blends of science and art that have been awarded more than 600 patents worldwide. Today, Jannard’s brand has become the mark of excellence and the solution to challenges facing those who cannot compromise on performance.

The images on this page are historical in nature. Some individuals pictured or mentioned may no longer be directly affiliated with Oakley. THUMP® is a registered trademark of Thump Records, Inc. and is used under exclusive license.

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