© Michael Steele / Getty Images


Oakley is a sports eyewear manufacturer based in California, USA. The company produces high-performance sunglasses and other accessories for a number of sports, including cycling.



The company was founded in 1975 in the garage of Jim Jannard with just $300 of funds.

Jannard initially made motorcycle grips, dubbed ‘The Oakley Grip’, to sell at motocross events and it wasn’t until 1980 that the company launched an eyewear product: The O-Frame.

A few years later, Oakley launched its first sunglasses, the Eyeshades. Whilst much of the professional peloton continued to use aviator-style sunglasses, an American rider by the name of Greg LeMond quickly got on board, purchasing the sunglasses himself initially. By 1985, LeMond and Australian Phil Anderson were the first Oakley-sponsored riders in the pro peloton.

The company went public in 1995, raising $230 million, and, despite new brands entering the cycling eyewear market, Oakley’s dominance continued to hold firm.

Jannard took his personal stake in the company to 63% between 2004 and 2006 by purchasing over $20 million worth of Oakley stock. Just a year later though, the company merged with the Luxottica Group, an Italian eyewear conglomerate, which owned other eyewear brands such as Ray-Ban. The move saw much of Oakley’s manufacturing moved out of the US, with many products being produced in China instead.

Despite its logistical changes, Oakley continued to innovate its cycling eyewear, thanks to athlete input and in-field testing, with UV protection, strengthened lenses, improved lens technology and custom-fitted frames.

The company has sponsored countless top-tier riders through the years, from Lance Armstrong - until his demise in 2012 - to Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish.

Did you know?

The company was named after Jannard’s dog, an English Setter called Oakley Anne.

Pro cycling

Current sponsorships: Jumbo-Visma, Soudal-QuickStep, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan


  • Arguably the most successful Oakley athlete across all sports, let alone just cycling, Mark Cavendish has worn Oakley glasses for his entire career - often to his team’s displeasure. Cavendish holds the joint-record for Tour de France stage wins (34) alongside Eddy Merckx. The Manxman also has 17 Giro d’Italia stage wins on his palmarès, three Vuelta a España stages, one World Road Championship title and the 2009 edition of Milan-Sanremo.
  • Greg LeMond, the rider to put the Oakley brand in front of the eyeballs of the world in the 1980s, won the Tour de France in 1986, 1989 and 1990. LeMond claimed the maillot jaune in 1989 by a margin of just eight seconds - the smallest in the history of the Tour.
  • Peter Sagan wore Oakley sunglasses on his way to three consecutive World Road Championship titles between 2015 and 2017.
  • Geraint Thomas had a longstanding love affair with Oakley’s Racing Jackets, becoming famous for his white frames, until his Ineos Grenadiers team switched eyewear sponsor in 2023. Thomas won the Tour de France in 2018 and continued to sport the Racing Jackets model long after it was discontinued.
  • Oakley partnered with the Ineos Grenadiers, formerly Team Sky, from their inception in 2010 until 2023. Over 12 seasons, the team won seven editions of the Tour de France (4x Chris Froome, 1x Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal) two of the Giro d’Italia (Chris Froome & Egan Bernal) and two of the Vuelta a España (2x Chris Froome).

Top Oakley Stories

Link to Eisel: 'Mark Cavendish's Tour de France dedication is stupid but this is the sport we fell in love with'
Mark Cavendish was recently honoured by the organisers of the Tour of Türkiye

Eisel: 'Mark Cavendish's Tour de France dedication is stupid but this is the sport we fell in love with'

After Mark Cavendish claimed his second season win at the Tour of Hungary, we caught a word with Bernhard Eisel on his former teammate at the Giro d’Italia

Link to How are pro cyclists getting more powerful than ever? The GCN Show
YouTube video B_QfOs8iU7g

How are pro cyclists getting more powerful than ever? The GCN Show

To help answer that question and more GCN’s resident cycling statistician Cillian Kelly joins Si Richardson for this week’s GCN Show

Link to Oakley unveils 'forgettable' new Sphaera glasses
Mark Cavendish models the new Oakley Sphaera

Oakley unveils 'forgettable' new Sphaera glasses

The new frames, launched by Mark Cavendish and Loana Lecomte, are said to blend light weight with an extended field of view


Featured Video

Oakley Factory Tour | How Are Cycling Sunglasses Made?

Oakley Factory Tour | How Are Cycling Sunglasses Made?

From Foothill Ranch in California, we were lucky to have our own tour of Oakley HQ, from their heritage to modern day production and product development. Curious about what's behind the lens? This one is for you.

Watch the video
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