The Origin of Gatorz Eyewear
By Sam Havelock, Chief Brand Officer, Gatorz Eyewear, Former Navy SEAL
The Gatorz story begins in San Diego, California in 1989. What we now think of as the extreme sports industry was still in its infancy. Gatorz began with an intention to build billet aluminum eyewear that could withstand wind force in excess of 100 miles per hour while skydiving and motorcycle riding. The brand quickly found following among recreational free-fall parachutists who frequented the drop zones of Southern California. The snug fitting durable nature of Gatorz perfectly supported free fall jumpers and soon became a mainstay within jump circles and elite athletes across other extreme sports in Southern California. Interestingly, a number of those extreme athletes and recreational parachutists also happened to have extreme jobs as Navy SEALS and Naval Special Warfare personnel.
The earliest military adopters of Gatorz were members of SEAL Teams One, Three, Five, Seven, Special Reconnaissance Team One, Special Boat Team Twelve, and a great number of SEAL instructors teaching at the Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL school house. As years went by Sailors would move and the Gatorz brand became prolific across East Coast SEAL teams and eventually the entire Special Operations Community. Military users appreciated the signature rugged style, durability, and American made nature of Gatorz. This is exactly how Gatorz came to be widely recognized as the premium eyewear brand across all of special operations, unlike the bulky, plastic, commodity eyewear issued by the military, Gatorz frames offered the protection of metal, fit easily under a helmet, were adjustable to custom-fit the face and provided full coverage from wind, dust, and debris. By the mid-2000s, with all of the Special Operations community fully engaged in combat operations overseas, Gatorz would prove just as invaluable on the battlefield as they had in training and recreation years prior. By 2021, Gatorz were proven on the battlefield over two decades of combat and to this day remain a staple of thousands of deeply committed people who represented the archetype of our core customer group. Deeply Committed, Mission Driven People.
Gatorz earned its relationship with the Special Operations and Broader Veteran and First Responder communities because these selfless people needed the type of eyewear that only a deeply committed company could deliver. They needed the best eyewear money can buy. Our Mission Driven customers demand the best because their lives and the lives of others depend on it. Whether you are engaged in a firefight, jumping out of an airplane, or battling yourself or others in competition, Gatorz is about deep commitment to your life’s Greatest Missions.
The Promise of Gatorz
What began over 30-years ago in Southern California has come to define the style of deeply committed people.
If your life’s mission drives you, Gatorz are your choice.
We do what we do because the people we serve take risks most people are unwilling to take in places most people are unwilling to go. By producing the World's Best Eyewear for Mission Driven People we are equipping people to deal with the world's toughest challenges. What they can see, is what they can act on, and what they can act on changes the world for the better.