Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
LIVERMORE, Calif. (January 21, 2021) – The iconic founder of protective eyewear company Wiley X, Myles R. Freeman, passed away peacefully early Sunday morning after a long illness. He was 79 years old.
Myles started the company in September of 1987. As an Army Veteran, he understood the need for high-quality protective gear. Back then, the military often provided outdated equipment that wasn’t very popular amongst the soldiers. Myles understood they wanted to have confidence in the equipment they wore and, even in times of conflict, wanted it to look good.
“If they felt good about what they were using or wearing, they would perform at a higher level,” Myles often stated. From that point on, Wiley X began to design and develop cutting-edge eyewear, sunglasses, goggles and gloves for the U.S. military.
In the years to follow, under Myles’ guidance, the company began placing their products into commercial markets based on demographic studies of the military community – their hobbies, passions and interests. The company’s loyalty in providing quality products to veterans, quickly spilled over into other areas of their lives, including NASCAR and outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.
The next natural progression was in the development of eyewear for first responders and law enforcement, many of whom have also served in the armed forces. Next came industrial safety and prescription safety through the optical channel.
Myles strongly believed that if a product was good enough for the Navy SEALS and Army Rangers, it was good enough for anyone else wanting high-performance eyewear. It wasn’t just a pair of sunglasses to Myles, it was something that could keep people safe, give top-level optics, and provide a functional extension to whatever activity was being performed.
Affectionately known as “Senior,” Myles touched many lives along the way and his sons have been overwhelmed by the stories from so many he inspired over the years. His legacy continues, as the company continues to be family owned and operated with sons Myles Jr. and Dan W. Freeman at the helm. The three men worked together for over 25 years. Myles R. Freeman
About Wiley X
Veteran founded in 1987, Wiley X has been producing the world’s most protective eyewear to various markets that rely on impact resistance for over 30 years. Myles Freeman, a military veteran, started Wiley X to protect the eyes of those who protected America. The company’s military heritage helped carve a roadmap for Wiley X in the years to follow for many well-respected weekend warriors. Every adult sunglass style made by Wiley X meets ANSI Z87.1 High Velocity and High Mass Impact Safety Standards, for protection that goes far beyond the harmful rays of the sun. Several styles also meet U.S. military MIL-PRF-32432 (GL) standards for ballistic eye protection, a key reason why Wiley X has been a leading provider of vision protection equipment to the U.S. military and law enforcement for more than 30 years.