OAKLEY X CYCLINGTIPS JAWBREAKER

How a "mad scientist" changed the face of sports eyewear for good

We’re pleased to be featuring a collaborative Jawbreaker, made by Oakley for the CyclingTips Emporium.

Oakley and cycling go hand-in-hand. Rock up to any local bunch and you’ll likely see a considerable percentage of riders wearing Oakleys with pride. Of course, many of the sport’s big-name pros also sport shades from the California brand.

But while Oakley is now the go-to sunnies brand for many cyclists, there was time when Oakleys weren’t yet on the market and riders donned flying goggles to keep their eyes protected from wind, sun and grit. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950s that eyewear we’d now recognise as sunglasses were first used in the peloton.

Even then, riders would still have to wait 30 years until Oakley sunglasses hit the market and changed the face of sports optics for good.

Created by Jim Jannard and his dog (called Oakley), the brand dates back to 1975 when Jim started making and selling motocross and BMX grips out of his garage with little more than $300. After success with grips he turned his attention to goggles for MX and BMX. Then, in 1984, Jannard stumbled on a game-changing idea when he was blinded by the sun during his long drive from San Diego to Orange County.

Annoyed by the sunlight seeping through the periphery of his sunglasses, Jim had a new challenge: invent a glass with side-wrap features to block sunlight and wind. This was the start of what we can now call performance sports eyewear, and that first piece was Oakley Eyeshades.

While some riders were still using aviation-type glasses, Greg Lemond was debuting the Eyeshades in the pro peloton. He’d purchased them himself then later contacted Jannard to get a few extra lenses. From that point on Oakley became a firm part of road cycling culture.

In 1985 Lemond and Phil Anderson were the first official Oakley athletes in the peloton. The huge lens and bright colours stood out, and with prototypes such as the rip-off lenses that Anderson used at Paris-Roubaix (above) it wasn’t long before Oakley grabbed many people’s attention.

Come 1987 and half the peloton was wearing Eyeshades. The Tour that year saw riders harassing Jim for a pair — they were a must-have item, paving the way for the pieces elite athletes still rely on today.

In 2016, Oakley hasn’t stopped innovating and trying to stay ahead of the game. The brand’s legacy is, in its own words, “the combined work of a mad scientist and designers who let function define form”.

The Oakley Jawbreaker is one of our favourite cycling-specific sunglass styles on the market, and to celebrate the release of Oakley’s Prizm Road lenses we’re excited to showcase a collaborative set of Jawbreakers made by Oakley for the CyclingTips Emporium, available now.

Featuring a Retina Burn colourway and Prizm Road lenses (and a special surprise from Oakley in the box), these will sure make you stand out in your bunch. We’re pleased to be collaborating with a brand that has influenced our great sport so much.

View the sunglasses here before they’re gone.

This content was written for the CyclingTips Emporium.

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