When it comes to sporty eyewear, Oakley boasts a long and storied tradition. From the brand's iconic Frogskins sunglasses worn by boaters, bikers, skiers and fishermen since the mid-1980s to the black wraparounds favored by no less a style avatar than failed MLB pitcher Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down, Oakley has been a go-to brand for all manner of athletic endeavors. More recently, Oakley debuted pandemic-era workout shades designed to remain fog-free when worn with a mask that were hyped by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
In the 1990s, Michael Jordan wore Oakleys, as did Bulls teammate Dennis Rodman for his role as Yaz in the 1997 Jean-Claude Van Damme action comedy Double Team. More notable Oakley movie appearances include Brad Pitt's absurdly stylish Tyler Durden rocking them in Fight Club and Tom Cruise wearing a pair as Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt.
Oakley is now updating one of its wildest sports styles ever with a new limited edition "Precious Mettle" version of the famously innovative OVERTHETOP shades that debuted at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. That's when sprinter Ato Boldon, a four-time medalist from Trinidad and Tobago known for his flamboyant eyewear on the track, wore them while running the Men’s 100 meter race. (Hypebeast points out that pro golfer Jarmo Sandelin is also a longtime fan of the glasses’ "X-Men-meets-Natural Born Killers look.")
The latest iteration of these oddball frames, which are being released just as the COVID-canceled 2020 Summer Games would have ended, was created from the original mold and features the same cyborg-style stemless design that fits over the top of the head rather than around it, a design innovation meant to solve the problem of eyewear bouncing on a runner’s face.
“When creating new products, our goal is to find a solution to a problem our athletes are facing,” said Brian Takumi, v.p. of product creative at Oakley. “The OVERTHETOP was born with the purpose of minimizing pressure points and reducing bounce created by force, specifically in our track and field athletes."
With a gradient color treatment that fades from aged gold to silver and bronze, these will be the last series of sunglasses to come from the original mold. Only 20 units of the Precious Mettle OVERTHETOP shades were made worldwide, and each pair retails for a pricy $2,000.
The stemless design is made with Oakley's lightweight, durable O Matter frame material. Every pair is stamped with a unique serial number and comes with Oakley's Prizm Lens Technology, designed to enhance color and contrast so athletes can see even more precise detail than the rest of us. The limited edition shades launch August 7 at 9 a.m. PST exclusively on Oakley.com.