ROKA Enters the Eyewear Arena at the Rogue Invitational

October 24, 2023 by
Photo Credit: ROKA Eyewear
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For many years, ROKA has been known for producing some of the most innovative performance gear when it came to triathlons. 

Head over to any Ironman race and you’ll find hundreds of athletes donning ROKA goggles, sunglasses, wetsuits and swimskins, including the most recent Ironman world champion, Lucy Charles.

One big thing: This year, ROKA is hoping to bring their elite performance gear to a new field of athletes, the Fittest on Earth.

  • This week, the Rogue Invitational will kick off in Austin, TX, where the Austin brand will make its grand debut in the CrossFit arena as one of the main sponsors of the event.
  • Standing beside other giants in the CrossFit world and beyond including, Concept2, TYR, Mayhem Athlete, and Crocs, ROKA hopes to bring their innovative eyewear to the functional fitness space.

Remind me: While the Rogue Invitational might be one of their largest platforms to date, ROKA has already begun making headway into the functional fitness space, with athletes like Fittest Woman on earth, Laura Horvath sporting their functional eyewear.

  • ROKA has also begun partnerships with several other CrossFit Games veterans, including ten-time competitor Noah Ohlsen, eight-time competitor Brooke Wells, and this year’s Seventh Fittest Man, Chandler Smith.
  • “They represent the core spirit of sport, and together their pursuit of excellence is what keeps us driving forward at ROKA,” said CEO and founder Rob Canales.
  • Not only is ROKA partnering with athletes, they are also collaborating with Rogue Fitness on the ROKA x Rogue sunglasses that will be available at Dell Diamond during the event.
Credit: ROKA Eyewear

More than just a phase: While some sponsored partnerships on social media can come across as superficial, from an athlete perspective, ROKA’s entrance into the market has been extremely organic.

  • Several high-level athletes purchased and wore the lenses on their own without any incentive from ROKA long before they even decided to enter the functional fitness market.
  • Prior to joining the ROKA team, Brooke Wells trained in ROKA eyewear for four years.
  • “Their products are honestly the best I’ve ever worn for training,” Wells said in a recent Instagram post.
  • “The eyewear blends cutting-edge performance with everyday wearability. They’re lightweight, comfortable and most importantly, they don’t move when I’m sweating during workouts!” she continued.

The prescription eyewear market: Beyond just creating some of the best and most innovative sunglasses for functional fitness athletes, ROKA is also determined to solve a problem that plagues nearly 30% of the population.

  • For years, those with myopia (near-sightedness) were either forced to wear contacts or wear their clunky daily glasses while training or competing.
  • While sports-specific prescription glasses were available (and have become more popular over the past decade), there weren’t a ton of styles to choose from and most still lacked the grip and light-weightedness to make training in glasses comfortable.
  • This posed a major problem for those who can’t or don’t like wearing contacts.
  • ROKA is aiming to solve that problem with their line of sports-specific prescription eyewear. 
  • With more than five styles to choose from, including prescription sunglass shield frames, athletes no longer have to choose between style or comfort.

What they’re saying: While it’s not terribly common to see a CrossFit Games athlete on the floor with prescription glasses on their face, Chandler Smith is the exception to that rule.

  • “In 2018 I was overseas with the Army and was prescribed glasses for the first time,” Smith said.
  • “Since then I’ve enjoyed being able to bring some flair to my competing by wearing my glasses whenever I can. As one of the folks who enjoys competing with glasses,” he continued. 
  • “I couldn’t be more pumped to work with one of the most outstanding companies in the performance eyewear space,” Smith concluded.

Beyond the Fittest: While ROKA has already made an impact amongst some of the most elite athletes in the space, they are hoping that their eyewear will serve as a training tool for athletes of all levels.

  • “Roka has the ability to provide products for those at the elite level, but it also benefits the everyday athletes trying to stay healthy and fit,” said Lucy Worrall, partner manager at ROKA in a recent interview.
  • “ROKA makes innovative eyewear for people who are out there in the wild getting after it,” said ROKA CEO and co-founder Rob Canales.
  • “Crossfitters are all about pushing their limits, and they need products that can keep up. For ROKA, that’s a match made in heaven, and we’re ready to go,” he continued.

The big picture: As ROKA enters the functional fitness space, it poses a unique offering to both elite and everyday athletes looking to compete in the sport, train for a healthier lifestyle, or both. In the triathlon space, ROKA has long been known to bring forth the most innovative technology when it comes to wetsuits and swimskins. This entrance into the functional fitness space will continue to allow them to innovate in a new sport and bring new tools and technologies to help athletes continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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