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Foakley is such an accepted word that websites openly sell “Foakley” glasses. For example, Cheap Oakleys claims to be a US company with a US address, and sells Foakley Radarlocks for $13 – it has the Oakley company logo on top of the homepage but the word “Foakley” is all over the site, plus it openly states that the glasses are knock-offs. Needless to say, the web page is not really US-based: it ships via EMS, the Chinese state-owned courier firm.

But this can be far from the sole website selling Oakley knock-offs. You will find Foakley sellers on Alibaba, DHgate, as well as other Chinese online merchants. A British cycle industry executive told BikeBiz that all of the riders within his cycling club who wore Oakley’s have, in fact, been wearing Foakleys for about the last few years.

“Determining if they are real or counterfeit can be difficult,” admits Oakley on an official FAQ. Indeed, purchasers of fake Oakleys are finding that the lenses along with other parts are interchangeable with genuine Oakleys. An often seen claim online is the fact that fakes fry eyes because, unlike expensive and genuine Oakleys, they let through ultra-violet radiation. This is not true. Fake Oaks have been lab-tested and found to block UV-A and UV-B.

Oakley lenses are made of polycarbonate, and so are the fake lenses. An intrinsic property of polycarbonate is that it blocks UV. “I don’t want to pay what Oakley are charging; they’re just bits of plastic,” is a very common complaint on cycle forums and chat-rooms.

People who wouldn’t buy fake bicycle frames or fake parts aren’t so fastidious when it comes to Foakleys, as can be viewed from the interviews BikeBiz has conducted with three purchasers. Consumers feel they’re being “scammed.”

Oakley is belonging to the $9bn Luxottica Selection of Italy, the world’s largest eyewear company. 81-year-old Leonardo Del Vecchio, the group’s founder, bestrides the sector like a Ray-Ban-wearing Colossus. (Luxottica also owns Ray-Ban.) The Guardian has an excellent long-read on the £74bn specs biz, and Del Vecchio’s dominance.

Luxottica acquired Oakley for $2.1bn in 2007. The group also makes and distributes eyewear brands like Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, and Versace. Luxottica doesn’t just dominate manufacturing and distribution it also dominates retail: it owns 7,000 stores around the globe, including Sunglass Hut, the current market leader. When pre-takeover, Oakley was starved of access to Sunglass Hut its stock plummeted making the sale to Luxottica a foregone conclusion.

Mark Ferguson of Melbourne, Australia, is at surgical device sales. He vlogs as “CyclingMaven”. One of his most widely used videos is on the technical merits of Foakleys. “We pay reduced for many things within australia. My Knockoff Oakleys, with lenses, were pushing nearly AU$600. I put them on a [bike storage] cage; within several hours, they were gone.To replace them would be expensive. Somebody sent us a link at Aliexpress. My original thought was “no”; it didn’t feel right. But curiosity got the better of me, and i also bought some. And the quality was shocking – I couldn’t believe how good these were. For $30.

“Could they be produced in the identical factory as Oakleys? I don’t know, but a lot of people who purchase these fakes will rationalise it this way. Not everybody feels comfortable buying counterfeit products. “The anti-establishment side of me says, look, here’s a business selling pieces of plastic for AU$500. Within my mind, they’re ripping people off. I don’t worry about the study and development. There’s always likely to be somebody innovating. If Oakley would disappear off the face from the earth tomorrow, various other company would replace them, and probably wouldn’t charge just as much money for his or her products. These companies bend people over; they bring them for any ride. In that situation I’ve got no problems with exploring the counterfeit product side of things.

“My “Foakley” videos have blown up. They’re getting plenty of attention, lots of people are buying fake Oakleys. Studying the comments, and how it’s getting an effect on others because individuals are actually exploring other choices, makes me think “damn, that’s not good.” I don’t feel personally responsible as this market will almost certainly happen whether I did a youtube video on it or otherwise, nevertheless in retrospect, it’s not great. To advertise counterfeit products is not really great, it offers impact across other locations.

“I ride 30k each approach to work – I wear stuff out. We receive stiffed on a lot of products [in Australia]. It’s so much more expensive here. Along with a mate, I bought some bright orange and white Jawbreaker copies. We have now “Foakley Fridays”, resembling complete idiots. “I tell people they’re fake. I put the Foakleys close to my genuine Oakleys on a Facebook posting. It’s for the look, not the manufacturer.

“I favor the Foakleys – I get the lens really are a bit clearer. For 25 dollars, they’re disposable. “I bought them two minutes after seeing the first Cycling Maven video. “I want to know my helmet has been tested and passes standards, I’m not so fussed about glasses. I have better points to spend my cash on. I want more bikes or maybe more Lego for my son.” “I don’t like spending lots of money on sunglasses because I lose them, or they fall off my hat and obtain scratched or run over.

“Whenever I handled Oakley glasses belonging to friends I figured “these are simply bits of plastic with a few nice branding upon them.” I searched on eBay for “cycling sunglasses” and discovered a set that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Jawbones and another pair that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Radarlocks. These people were about £8 each, delivered from China. They didn’t possess the Oakley branding on the photos on the eBay listing however when the Jawbones arrived that they had Oakley branding, including “Made in the us” stamped on trsywe arms, and also the oval Oakley emblem was where you’d expect to see it. These people were indistinguishable from genuine Jawbones. They fitted well (however the arm broke after a number of months).

“The “Radarlocks” came with free lenses along with a case. They fitted rather well, and I’m still utilizing them. “I tell others they’re fake. There’s perverse satisfaction in getting something less expensive than somebody else. We have no brand loyalty, I didn’t get them for the cachet in the brand, I really want them to maintain the bugs out of my eyes, rather than be upset once i inevitably lose them.

“Once I see Oakleys in the wild I take a look at them critically. The company is diluted by all the fakes out there. “I bought fakes because I have terrible trouble getting sunglasses which fit so I didn’t desire to spend a huge amount of funds on a trial and error purchase. £8 means they’re throwaway.

“I needed a hot debate using a guy who said his optician had said you couldn’t get adequate UV-A and -B protection in almost any sunglasses for less than £20 a lens. I took mine as a result of the medical physics lab inside my hospital, as well as the chap who tests all of the equipment for the dermatology UV labs provides the machinery to check UV-A and -B. In addition, i took some expensive and real Ted Baker casual sunglasses, too. Each of them passed 100 percent.

“The lab manager said it was hard to get polycarbonate plastic that lets UV-A and -B through – he needs it for many of his applications and requires to buy it from a special source. Automatically polycarbonate doesn’t let UV through. When manufacturers say you’ll be blinded if you wear cheap sunglasses that’s not really a very strong case at all.

“I wouldn’t buy fake carbon parts. I’ve bought cheap tools from China, things such as spoke keys for pennies. “My buddies are indifferent; they don’t give a great deal of stuff. “There are several chaps within the club who will need to have the most recent expensive thing. I haven’t talked to them about fakes, partly because I don’t want to piss on their parade. “I really could afford to buy the genuine article. The reason why I don’t always is the same reason I purchase a £1 loaf of bread in Tescos instead of from an artisan baker and pay £20 for a loaf that’s been brought over from France that morning by private jet.

“You desire something that does the job to get a reasonable amount of money. As well as me a pair of Oakley Black Friday Sale for £100 or even more is excessive. “I’m willing to spend large amounts of income on some things. This might not be rational, but it’s how I view things. “Terrorism, child labour? It hasn’t struck me. Not for bike parts. It’s potent food for thought. If it’s true, that could put me right off. “This can be messages put out by large corporations with vested interests when all I’m probably doing is supporting a small Chinese business.

“I never bought any pirated DVDs. I certainly downloaded some stuff from Napster in the day. Now it’s just quicker and much easier to purchase from legitimate sources. “I understand the cost of the plastic in a kind of Oakley’s is only a small part of their costs, having said that i don’t want to cover their marketing along with their sponsorship, I am just only willing to cover the product.”