Oakley: Celebrating 40 Years of Mad Science

Oakley: Celebrating 40 Years of Mad Science

The term “Mad Science” became part of Oakley’s identity both for its innovative design and its reputation for taking risks. Oakley founder, Jim Jannard, bet that eyewear could evolve from a generic accessory to essential sports gear. A number of goggle and sunglass innovations proved that, and almost four decades later, Oakley is among the leaders in the field of performance optics.

Oakley’s new heritage collection is a tribute to the inventions that changed the optics world, and it’s more than just a re-release of vintage products. For instance, the 2014 Eyeshades are engineered with improved nose pad construction. Heritage Collection Razor Blades are offered in multiple lens and frame color combinations, and Frogskins, Oakley’s first dual-lens design, comes with contrast ear stems that carry one of Oakley’s earliest logos.

It was in 1998 that Oakley disrupted the market with the A Frame—revolutionizing the market in regards to design, impact resistance and field of view. The company continued to innovate, releasing the Airwave in 2012—a goggle that combined the company’s best technologies with a heads-up display that integrates Wi-Fi, GPS, MFi Bluetooth and more. This year, Oakley introduces its next breakthrough goggle: Flight Deck with Prizm lens technology.


Alex Schlopy in Aspen, Colorado. Photo by Chasen Marshall

“It’s a marriage of clean design and performance technology,” says Robert Throop, Goggles Product Director. “It’s all about the increase in peripheral vision. When the world is opened up, it inspires confidence while riding.”

Influenced by the helmet visors worn by fighter pilots, Flight Deck was designed to offer the widest field of view that is still fully helmet compatible. Oakley’s engineering team minimized the frame and extended the lens out for a clean, rimless design. The Flight Deck also features Ridgelock, a gasket-like quick-change system that makes lens swaps a breeze.

The Prizm lens, backed by several years of research and development, is an exciting new technology that color corrects to enhance the contours and details of snow environments, allowing skiers to see clearer, react quicker and ride with more confidence. Similar to an equalizer on a stereo, where you might turn up the bass for a hip-hop track, Prizm breaks light into individual colors and boosts certain ones while filtering out others.

Not to be outdone by the optics department, Oakley’s apparel team has been hard at work, refining its line of technical outerwear. The ever-popular Pro Rider Series utilizes inspiration from Oakley’s diverse team of skiers and snowboarders to develop garments that can stand up to the level of abuse thrown at them by top-tier athletes.



Incorporating Biozone, Oakley’s body mapping approach to warmth, moisture management and range of motion, the pieces supply each region of the body with exactly what it needs for performance, comfort and efficiency. Sean Pettit’s Apache Biozone kit is a prime example of what outerwear can do for athletes in this day in age.

As Stacy Dye, Global Snow Product Director, says: “Biozone enables your jacket and pants to help your body regulate its core temperature, which ultimately allows your body to save more energy for riding and spend as much time on the mountain as possible.”

With continued commitment to outerwear technology and the introduction of yet another breakthrough goggle, Oakley has once again confirmed that it is a market leader for good reason.

Oakley Apache Biozone Jacket


“The Oakley Apache Biozone ski jacket features a sleek, camo print with technical performance to boot. Oakley’s Hydrogauge 20 membrane is rated 20K/15K…” Click for full review.

Oakley Apache Biozone Pant


“The Oakley Apache Biozone ski pants are designed to perform flawlessly with its namesake jacket and also features Oakley’s hydrogauge 20 membrane…” Click for full review.

Oakley Flight Deck w/ PRIZM Lens


“The all-new fighter pilot-inspired Oakley Flight Deck goggles pack some serious lens technology. Oakley’s new Prizm lens (pictured) boosts contrast by emphasizing…” Click for full review.

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