On top of Shaun White’s penchant for carving up snowy mountains, winning X Games and Olympic gold, traveling the world with his band, hosting international sporting events, and surfing in his hometown of San Diego, the snowboarding paragon can often be found in the lab at Oakley, tinkering with designs and helping further define the brand’s idea of cool.
“It started a little while ago,” the 28-year-old extreme sports star explains. “I always loved Oakley’s goggles, but I had frustrations with wearing their sunglasses. I was 18 and I remember going through the whole line of products and thinking, ‘Hey, I don’t really vibe with any of these.’ So they said, ‘Well, let’s make one together.'”
His first collaboration with the brand came in 2004 with the Montefrio, a futuristic-looking pair of large, square-ish frames that were “okay” in White’s words, but failed to live up to expectations. On a second attempt with the Holbrook, named for “an outlaw motorcycle town in Arizona,” White and Oakley found their stride, producing Oakley’s best-selling pair of sunglasses to date — impressive for a brand considered synonymous with the product.
“We have a good track record going now, which is rad,” he adds. Now his latest signature pair, the Enduro, continues the Holbrook’s motorcycle-inspired tradition, but this time features a rounder frame and thinner, less design-heavy arms. “It’s definitely more of a lifestyle piece within the Oakley brand, which is rare. A lot of their glass is functional for golfing, for cycling, for running, for whatever. This new one is different.”
White and the Oakley team started by laying out a mood board of images that would inspire the look, including shots of Bob Dylan and the “pattern of a gun handle.” The artists then created countless drawings for White, who mixed and matched different details of each design as he narrowed down what he was looking for in the frame. “After a couple more rounds, I went in and tried them on. I put them on my friends, put them on my dog, put them everywhere.” Perfect. “What’s rad is that it goes much deeper than even just making the product. I get to sit down and have my hands in all of it from the very get-go.”
With the new pair now available, White’s waiting for the snow to begin falling before he decides his upcoming schedule, which will focus on Europe as he tours with Bad Things. But as he slides on his shades to enjoy the last traces of warmth we have left this season, he admits that his penchant for carving up snowy mountains is far from his mind. “Shit, I haven’t really thought about it. I’ve been clinging to summer. It’s still kind of sunny right?”