Mark Cavendish has had a long and special relationship with Oakley spanning almost two decades from when the Manx rider won his first Tour de France stage. Ever since, the sunglasses brand has been by Cavendish’s side (or should we say on his face) despite challenging team changes and sticky brand negotiations.
Over the years, the 37-year-old rider has had the freedom to design a number of signature series Oakley glasses, which have steadily become some of its most popular. First, the brand released the Jawbreaker in 2015, and then the Kato sunglasses in 2021. Oakley claim that decades of product research and development went into the Kato model designed by Cavendish to create the ultimate road cycling sunglasses. And they must have hit the mark as the Kato sunglasses have been his sunglasses of choice ever since.
Now in his 17th year as a pro, Cavendish has his eyes firmly set on winning his 35th Tour de France stage, breaking the record he shares with legendary rider Eddy Merckx. Honouring Cavendish's achievements once more as he aims for the 2023 Tour de France, Oakley has released a signature series of the Kato sunglasses.
Retaining much of the original features, the limited-edition Kato feature the brand's frameless lens, which has an extended wrap design that it says mimics the structure of the face, resulting in a fit that has a mask-like feel when worn. The only difference with the signature series is the colour, with the latest edition of Kato sunglasses coming in white with gold accents and lens.
Oakley has said that Cavendish has been heavily involved in the design process of this signature series, channelling his “passion for Greek mythology” into the look of the glasses. Said to be inspired by the gods, “Cav” is etched into the side of the lenses, symbolic of hopefully etching himself into the history books if he achieves his Tour feat. The signature series has Oakley's Prizm 24K lenses, designed to enhance colour and contrast to see more detail.
Cavendish has been donning the gold and white signature series Kato sunglasses this year as he looks ahead to first the Giro, and then the Tour, giving us a glimpse of Oakley's exclusive edition. It seems only right that when Cavendish is faced with this career-defining moment, he'll be wearing a brand that has supported him throughout his professional career.