Eyewear has long been a popular accessory for both function and fashion. Sunglasses, in particular, are widely used for UV protection, and the variety of styles allows people to make a fashion statement simultaneously. But beyond style and safety, sunglasses have also been used to enhance sports performance, especially for outdoor sports and activities. Reportlinker’s sports sunglasses market report notes that the demand for these shades is increasing, with the market projected to grow at a rate of 7.3% from 2022 to 2027. Though the market is continuously growing due to the increasing number of brands and models being sold, few names in the industry have had an impact as massive as Oakley’s.
The Oakley brand has had a rich history in the sports performance field since the 1970s, but it was their shades that truly revolutionized the landscape a decade later. Oakley sunglasses utilize the latest technologies for its lifestyle sunglasses and sport performance shades, giving wearers the best protection while completing their look. Lightweight frames and the option to polarize lenses provide the best experience for outdoor athletes and those who want a comfortable and personalized eyewear experience. These factors have helped launch the brand into success, which has not yet wavered. Here’s how Oakley changed the game for sports and lifestyle eyewear:
Oakley sunglasses first made waves in the 1980s when cyclist Greg Lemond finished the Tour De France wearing a pair. It was this moment that brought the brand to light, and soon enough, athletes from all sorts of sports began wearing these shades. Most notably, sprinter Ato Boldon wore a pair of Oakley Over-the-Tops during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The unique style of these shades, which went over the head instead of the ears, became a huge moment for the brand and boosted its visibility in the field where it performed the best: sports.
To this day, the brand partners with athletes who are the best people to vouch for the sunglasses’ performance. The brand has collaborated with football star Kylian Mbappe, baseball legend Shohei Otani, and NFL player Justin Jefferson, among many more. Though Oakley has also become a lifestyle brand, it has not forgotten its connection and history to the field of outdoor athletics, where it continues to shine today.
Besides the sports industry, Oakley also became a beloved brand for non-athletes who wanted the ultimate sunglasses experience. Oakley’s carefully crafted shades that minimized slippage and glare while still being stylish made them a huge staple in fashion and lifestyle. It had the right balance of fashion and function.
The trend cycle has also been particularly favorable to the brand. Wraparound sports-style shades became a hot accessory in the 2000s, and the resurgence of Y2K fashion in the 2020s put Oakley back into the cultural zeitgeist. Styles like the Sutro and Wisker provided the right amount of trendy, eccentric edge that younger generations became drawn to. Celebrities also gave the brand a leg up, with stars like Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Rihanna sporting wraparound sunglasses. Oakley became a top brand for people to emulate these trendy looks, now seen all over social media.
Since its establishment, the brand has been innovating and revolutionizing the sports industry, and it continues to do so. Case in point, anti-reflective lenses have been growing in demand. Emergent Research’s analysis on the global anti-reflective coatings market notes that it’s expected to be valued at $6.8 billion (£5.62 billion) by 2027. The expanding eyewear market is fuelling this growth now that more people are seeking anti-reflective coatings for their eyewear.
Oakley allows customers to add anti-glare polarized lenses to their sunglasses of choice, allowing wearers to reduce glare when doing sports or other activities outdoors. Reduced glare allows people to maintain top performance and comfort. Oakley also takes it a step further with PRIZM lens technology, which enhances color and contrast for better vision. This cutting-edge technology from Oakley is constantly proving to be a game changer in this field.