We've all had problems with goggles in the past, right? One pair keeps letting water in. Another fogs too quickly and leaves you pawing in the haze. Then, the clouds part... a heavenly cone of light lands on a pair unlike the others. It's that moment when brand and design have aligned to bring you the perfect goggle you were always looking for!
In this blog, we’re taking the guesswork of your great hunt for the perfect swimmer’s goggle. We’ll look at a range of options, suited for varying purposes. We’ve got both outdoor (usually larger goggle designs) and indoor swimmers covered (with those smaller eye sockets). The plan is to pick out all kinds of unique options to counter any problems we all might face in open or closed-off water. We’re talking: surface glare, night swimming and unwanted jellyfish advances... And, at the same time, we'll consider all kinds of distinctive features, including goggle profile (generally, goggle protrusion from the face), style, assembly (do the goggles arrive with fiddly additions), comfort and suitability for various swim challenges.
We’ll discuss the best choices for lenses, from wraparound styles, to mirrored lenses for competitive races – there’s even something in here for dive mask wearers and tips for anyone stuck for ideas on how to clean your goggles after a swim. We’re looking at photo-chromatic lenses too, exploring smoked or amber designs to help with sunlight glare. Other lens styles we’ll look at are tinted to adapt your eyes to changing light conditions outdoors. We’ll also explore pink/violet options, which are favoured for swims under moderate light.
To help us, we’ve blasted the conch shell and called in the support of our trusty SwimTrekkers, combined with a selection of our best-loved goggles fresh from SwimTrek HQ:
What SwimTrek HQ Use
We bounced the debate around the SwimTrek office for a while and came up with our own list of ultimate fog-free, all-purpose goggles, which have served us well over the years:
Ben (Original Swedish Goggles from Speedo)
Swimmers started wearing Swedish goggles in the 1970’s - when they were first brought to market by the Swedish brand, Malmsten AB, founded by Tommy Malmsten. Tommy was also the Swedish national coach and knew exactly what kind of design was needed for elite swimmers. Notably, the goggles had no seal around the eyes and relied instead on the contoured Perspex lens to form a watertight seal. Now, there are many brands that offer this unique style of Swedish goggle - not just Malmsten. The designs have continued to evolve as well, with TYR Socket Rockets, Arena Swedix mirrored goggles and Speedo's traditional racing goggles, known as the Speedo Swedish Goggle, with their tailor-made fit, self-assembly option and stylish double headband.
Ben says: 'I use Speedo Swedish - simple, comfy, reliable and CHEAP.'
Thomas (Aquasphere Vista Goggles from Aquasphere)
"I love Aquasphere Vista goggles for the large tight seal and comfort. No more fiddling with trying to get my goggles to sit right or to stop them digging into my eye socket. Until I got a pair of these, I’d always had an issue with leaky goggles and the annoyance of having to stop swimming and clear this out. I also love the wide viewing angle these goggles offer – all the better for scenic swimming and to keep an eye out for wildlife!"
'I also love the wide viewing angle these goggles offer – all the better for scenic swimming and to keep an eye out for wildlife!'
Sally (Special Ops 2.0 Polarised from TYR)
The TYR Unisex Special Ops 2.0 Polarised is a style of racing goggle originally engineered for triathlons. The frames and lenses are made from polycarbonate and the lenses are both polarised, with embedded anti-fog and a wide peripheral range. These goggles are ideal for sighting and cutting through chop at a fast pace, under changing light conditions. Clear visibility is pretty much guaranteed on tough race days, when it isn't always easy to see what's going on - maybe there are multiple bodies thrashing in the water around you. They're durable and comfortable too, with durafit silicone gaskets. The company that made these goggles, TYR, are specialists in swimwear and accessories, founded in California by Joseph DiLorenzo and the American swimmer Steve Furniss (1972 Olympic bronze medallist) in 1985.
Sally says: 'I use TYR Unisex Special Ops 2.0 Polarised goggles. They are great for sighting while swimming in the sea on bright days, clear visibility in the water and I think the mirrored lenses look great too!
Jack (Dive Mask from Simply Scuba)
Jack says: "I've used Zoggs Predator Flex for a while now in pools and before that I had a pair of Speedo Rift Mask Goggles - I had no problems at all with either brand. The latter were better for visibility and the Zoggs have been perfect for attempts to swim a sub-16 min km at London Fields Lido. These ones I've chosen up top came out of left field and proved to be the perfect choice for a long distance swim down the 15km length of a sea loch, called Loch Broom, in the Scottish Highlands. It's actually a Dive Mask from Simply Scuba, which I chose on a whim for the hugely improved field of visibility. At one point, we swam in alongside a row of circular fish-farming tanks - our route narrowed into a channel we later referred back to as jellyfish alley. Suddenly, the jellies were coming at us from all angles, warbling out from the murk below, but this mask allowed me to spot their advances, kick back and attempt a kind of jellyfish rope-a-dope. I swam much slower (it turned out to be almost a 5 hour swim in 13C water) and took in less oxygen, due to the restriction on the nostrils, but being able to see with such clarity, and take in much more as I swam, afforded me an incredible experience with many unexpected benefits."
'We swam in alongside a row of circular fish-farming tanks - our route narrowed into a channel we later referred back to as jellyfish alley...'
What SwimTrekkers Use
Finally, we widened our hunt for the perfect goggles to include a selection specially chosen by our SwimTrekkers. All these picks have been tried and tested in swim spots around the world - pitched against an array of different open water conditions and difficulties:
'When you find a pair of goggles that work for you, buy 3/4 pairs...'
'For pool swimming I go for Roka and outdoors I love the Zoggs Predator range, especially polarised and reactor ranges for their unrivalled comfort, fit and visibility. Zoggs are my favourite especially when it comes to marathon swims 10km+...'
Pauline Tester (@pauline_tester)
'Zoggs Predator Flex every time for me...'
'Zoggs Predator Flex are the bomb. Expensive but worth it. Plus using diluted baby shampoo which I keep in a spray bottle stops them fogging up. Both recommended by one of the SwimTrek guides and she would know! Everyone in my swim group has now adopted [this trick]…'
'Prescription goggles for indoor pools and Zoggs Predator Flex (polarised or blue lenses) for all other scenarios. Been wearing both for yearrrrrrrrrrs…'
'I repeatedly buy Speedo Futura. They never leak even and I don't wear them tight. They do fog up but that's ok for the other benefits…'
'I'm still using a pair of Speedo polarised Speed Sockets from 2014 for outdoor swimming at the moment. I fell out of favour with them on one swimming holiday and used Sporti polarised googles, but then suffered with fog. So, have those as a backup in case…'
'I have just started using some Huub Altair googles which I am so impressed by - a gentle but secure fit, comfortable for long swims and I am using the interchangeable prescription lenses which are a revelation. Anti-fog needs refreshing regularly like all googles in my experience…'
'HUUB is now my favourite. Good fit, soft, does not leave you with ‘panda eyes’ for ages. And glass colour also adapts to the light…'
Emma Chaplin @EmmaChaplin9
'HUUB are my favourite…'
'I use Aquasphere Vista - I have them with and without UV protection. 180 degrees vision so big lenses. Good goggles for me…'
Simon Glud Grønlund
'Currently using Aquasphere Kaiman Exo in the pool & Tyr Special Ops 2.0 in open water - love them both, but they need cleaning & defog spray every swim…'
Fiona Barras @fionabarras1
'I’m a big fan of the Nabaiji B Fast Goggles with the mirrored lenses. They are more of a low profile racing google, but super comfortable on my eye socket. Anti fog seems to last longest on these and leak proof for me…'
'I have been using Goggleyed Prescription Goggles for several years, very happy with them. Comfortable, good quality, excellent price, easy ordering, quick service.…'
Graham Reeve @gjreeve
'Prescription goggles for me! I have a tinted pair and a clear pair for swimming in caves because I get a bit freaked out in the dark. Also have spray bottle of diluted baby shampoo for anti fog and try to rinse goggles in freshwater after each swim…'
We hope some of these recommendations help you in your goggle hunt! Looking for the perfect swim watch? Check out our Swim Watch Buyer's Guide...