Vintage Oakley Sunglasses

Oakley sunglasses have been on a journey for 30 years, focused on creating some of the world's finest and most stylish sunglasses. Having successfully created a new motocross handgrip which became famous for its unique orbicular design, Oakley founder Jim Jannard decided to focus his attention elsewhere. With growing confidence and a solid reputation behind him, Jannard created his first set of motocross goggles. Following upon their success, Jannard then decided to create a pair of sunglasses specifically for wearing when playing sports. This was a much larger market to crack, but he was confident that his unique approach would see him through and expand Oakley's business.


Jannard decided that the core of the new range of sports sunglasses should be strength, function and style. Keeping this in mind, he named the the new style line Eyeshades in the 1980s which were effectively a one-lens sunglass promoted as a goggle. Sales gradually started to grow and Oakley Eyeshades became a phenomenal success. Athletes and consumers alike took notice of Oakley's unique design; however, at the time, Eyeshades were only available in one color. When Tour de France champion Greg Lemond called Oakley to enquire if Eyeshades were available in different colors, Jannard realized he had stumbled into a massive opportunity to introduce different frame and lens colors. Jannard also realized that in order to spread the word about their sunglasses they needed to be creative in their advertising. Jannard used advertising as a means to inspire and motivate consumers away from the standard sunglasses and towards Oakleys, and his reputation for artistic creativity permeates the entire Oakley range of sport sunglasses, clothing, and accessories.


Click to see early Oakley Advertising early 1990s - mid 2000s!


Oakley has a reputation for producing the unthinkable and overcoming the most daunting manufacturing challenges in the pursuit of ever higher standards such as their use of the trademarked "X Metal" in designs such as the Oakley Juliet and Oakley Romeo. X Metal is also called C5, a composite of 5 different metals that are heated and then fused together during the manufacturing process. The beauty of using C5 is that it is extremely strong, lightweight, durable and aesthetically beautiful. It is also highly resistant to shocks, humidity, UV, thermal shocks and stresses exerted during wear, and this incredible strength makes them the sunglass of choice for many athletes. The styles and dates of introduction for Oakley X Metal sunglasses are as follows:


  • 1997 – Romeo 1.0
  • 1998 – Mars
  • 1999 – Juliet
  • 1999 – X-Metal XX
  • 2001 – Penny
  • 2004 – Romeo 2.0
  • 2008 – Half-X
  • 2009 – X-Squared
  • 2015 – Madman
  • 2015 – Badman


Oakley Juliet sunglasses were produced in the widest array of frame and lens variations with 33 different combinations, more if you count various generations of the same glass. Frame colors include Carbon, Plasma, Polished, Polished Carbon, TiO2, Titanium, and X Metal. Oakley also pioneered Unobtainium Earsocks, a patented creation that guarantees the wearer the most comfortable fit and provides a better grip when a person sweats during exercise or sport. Oakley also uses titanium in their sunglasses, a space-age metal famed for it's extreme strength to weight quotient. Oakley O-Matter is a lightweight plastic material designed to be durable and comfortable, used in iconic styles like the Over The Top. The material is also designed for impact resistance of controlled flexibility while not deforming over time like acetate, twice as strong as acetate but 25% lighter. Yet another Oakley advance comes in the form of lightweight Plutonite used in their lenses, and it has the ability to block out 100% of harmful blue lights as well as UVA, UVB and UVC rays.


Click to see the original Oakley 1998 product catalogue!


Oakley sunglasses are available in full rim frames (Oakley Juliet, Frogskins, E-Wire, A-Wire, C-Wire), half rim frames (Oakley Romeo, M-Frame), and rimless frames. One reason why Oakley sunglasses have grown massively in terms of popularity lies in their wide range of colors available throughout the entire range of styles. Always innovating, Oakley have made it possible to choose either a single frame color or else combine your two favorite colors on the same pair of sunglasses. Oakley Juliet sunglasses were produced in the widest array of frame and lens variations with 33 different combinations, more if you count various generations of the same glass. Frame colors include Carbon, Plasma, Polished, Polished Carbon, TiO2, Titanium, and X Metal. Even more diverse than their frame options, Oakley lenses were produced in a wide variety of Oakley lens tints that capture the colors of the rainbow, many incorporating the patented Oakley Iridium lens coating. Oakley serial numbers were used on the production of Oakley X Metal sunglasses such as Romeo, Juliet, and Penny from inception up until December 2004.


Oakley is also notable because of their successful collaborations none more significant than their design collaboration with Ducati, maker of some of the world's fastest motorcycles. The success of Oakley Ducati sunglasses and their high brand status has inevitably been met with fake Oakleys entering the market, often called Foakleys by those like us at the Vintage Sunglasses Shop that see them all the time.


You can see our entire selection of vintage Oakley sunglasses for sale in our Vintage Oakley sunglasses Photo Gallery or use our award winning website search below. Thanks for visiting and shopping at the Vintage Sunglasses Shop, the world's largest vintage sunglasses store online since 1998.

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