Croakies Celebrates 40 Years of Useful Tech


Many of us, whether we use sunglasses or reading glasses, have become familiar with Croakies, those straps that help us not to lose or misplace our glasses.  But are Croakies really an example of technology?  We turned to, which has five definitions for technology, among them:

  • a scientific or industrial process, invention, method, or the like.
  • the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.

So by that measure yes, we think Croakies are very simple technology that has saved hours of hunting for misplaced specs or many dollars worth of sunglasses that didn’t fall into the water or fall from a speeding bike.  This year Croakies marks 40 years of restraint and retention.  And of course, there’s a story behind how this almost obviously simple notion came into being.  According to the company’s website,

 In 1977 a local ski patrolman from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, came up with an idea for an eyewear retainer that would grip his shades through all kinds of alpine adventures. Using an old wetsuit, some sharp scissors, and good old American ingenuity, he made the first pair of eyewear retainers. The ingenious device was based on the design of a Chinese finger trap and it quickly became a hit with all of the patrollers! Demand picked up quickly for the patrolman’s invention which was nameless at first.

Back in the seventies, the Jackson Hole ski patrol used the nickname “croakies” when they couldn’t think of a word (think “thing- amajig”), but it finally stuck on the first neoprene eyewear retainer ever invented.

Croakies headquarters are still in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with most of our production in Bozeman, Montana. Our inspiration remains the same – to create eyewear retainers and accessories that provide comfort, style, durability, and functionality to active people of all ages. With the addition of men’s and women’s belts into Croakies accessory line-up, Croakies now offers something for everyone.

Sure, Croakies still makes its original neoprene eyewear restraints in a broad range of colors and styles. We couldn’t even begin to list all the varieties here, though you can find them all on the Croakies website.

Now Croakies has decided to keep a good thing going, not only with myriad eyewear retainers but also product lines like guitar straps belts, and dog collars.

Croakies products are pretty inexpensive.  Eyewear retainers start at about $7 and range to about $17.  The guitar straps run from $39.49 to $44.49.  The belts, which come with a variety of buckles and materials range from $24.99 to $33.99.  And that dog collar will run you up to $26.99.  You can find all their products at their website.

So Croakies, our hats are off to you (but thankfully not our glasses).  Croakies is proof that successful tech doesn’t need to have batteries, it doesn’t need to produce v.2 before the ink on v.1 is even dry, and it doesn’t need to have planned obsolescence.  All it needs to do is work the way it’s supposed to.  Happy anniversary.

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.