We've already told you how Oakley got into the sunglass business with Eyeshades. Now we're diving back into the metal briefcase of company historian Mike Bell for a look at another iconic Oakley product: Razor Blades. Seeing even wider success than the Eyeshades, 'Blades and their spiritual successor M Frame were a staple of late '80s and '90s sports, thanks to their sleek designs and fantastic visual clarity.
That clarity comes from an innovation the company calls Iridium lens coating. Going far beyond the colorful reflective look that it spawned, this new coating balanced light transmission and reduced glare, and was quickly adopted by early Oakley wearer and three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. By the middle of the '90s, these lenses could be seen on the face of nearly every cyclist at the event, and they continue to be used today.
Everything wasn't perfect straight out of the gate, however. Remaining flexible, the company continued to refine the design — and not just at their headquarters. Heading into a key match, an Oakley-backed tennis pro complained that the lens went too far down on their face, uncomfortably rubbing their cheekbones. So Oakley changed it. On site. They shaved the bottom of the lens down to make a better fit for their athlete, and the change was so successful, it made it into the finished product.
Like the Eyeshades, you're not likely to get your hands on the vintage pair of Razor Blades we saw without committing a number of felonies, but the new Heritage Collection 'Blades can be yours without fear of police involvement. They're available in a variety of lens and frame color combinations, and as thanks for your law-abiding ways, Oakley will even throw in both straight and "trigger" shaped earstems, as well as a guitar pick, a collectible pin, and a sticker — and if you can't remember seeing Oakley stickers back in the day, you obviously weren't paying attention.
Presented by Oakley. Watch Oakley's story of disruptive design, narrated by Kevin Spacey, here.