Oakley is believed by many to be the top sunglasses manufacturer when it comes to sports eyewear with its high-definition optics considered the best in the world.
That's why Oakley sunglasses are the choice of the most demanding of world-class athletes and why you're sure to spot a pair of Oakleys when you view a top sporting event on TV.
Many competitive athletes will agree that Oakley sunglasses offer the cleanest, clearest and sharpest vision while nullifying the performance-crippling consequences of glare.
Although glasses and goggles are the mainstays of the Oakley stable, the company is also famous for a whole range of sportswear products.
Oakley is an international brand that markets a huge variety of sports gear from helmets to t-shirts, backpacks to sports bras.
The Oakley story starts in a Californian garage
Strange to think that it all started with a bike fanatic in a California garage. Oakley founder, Jim Jannard, started making handlebar grips for motorbikes in 1975 with a start-up capital of just $300,
Word soon spread in the motocross and BMX bike world that Oakley Grips were simply the best in the business and the young entrepreneur regularly sold out of the stock peddled from the boot of his car as he chased around racing events.
Banking on his early success he branched out into other products for motorbike and BMX enthusiasts including number plates, chin guards and goggles.
But his name spread far and wide when he introduced his O-Frame goggles in 1980 with the Oakley brand name boldly stamped on the side – a technique that rivals were to emulate quickly.
A big boost in sales led to the manufacture of ski goggles and then the launch of the first designer sunglasses based on his sports goggles and called Factory Pilot Eyeshades.
Oakley Frogskins opened up the casual market
The now-famous Oakley Frog Skins, aimed at the casual wear market, soon followed and by 1995 Oakley sunglasses had become a household name at the stylish end of the eyewear market.
Merging with Italian designer eyewear giant Luxottica in 2006 for a reputed $2.1 billion Oakley joined a stable of luxury brands that included Ray-Ban, Vogue and Persol.
It was time for Oakley sunglasses to step out of the elite sportswear market and become a must-have accessory for the fashionable and trendy. As sports stars became more glamorous and among the style-setters, Oakley found itself being swept along with the tide.
In such a crowded market, a brand needs a unique niche to stand out from its rivals and Oakley has never lost sight of the biggest selling point – its outstanding lens technology.
Oakley cashes in on its lens technology
Oakley is particularly proud of its latest HD Polarised lenses which have been developed for elite athletes but are now available to all.
Polarised lenses have long been known to eliminate glare, a real bonus to outdoors athletes and sports enthusiasts where good vision is crucial to performance.
Golfers, cyclists, sailors and skiers all know how difficult it can be to perform at your best when distracted by glare from bunkers, water, road surfaces and snow.
But polarised lenses can suffer from distortion caused by glues and films that used in the manufacturing process. Glue bonded materials can diminish clarity in any lens but polarised lenses are particularly vulnerable.
The latest HD Polarised lenses from Oakley use a precise infusion mould process to create a single layered glass without the use of films or glues.
And both lenses are manufactured at the same time to ensure that the axis of polarisation is perfectly aligned on both lenses.
It's details like this that make Oakley sunglasses the stand-out choice, not only of professional athletes but anyone who enjoys clarity of vision.
Although HD Polarised lenses were developed primarily for elite athletes, it is a technology that serves everyone and anyone can enjoy the big outdoors, free from the glare of blinding sunlight.