The absolute basics when it comes to swimming gear is simple: a swim suit and a set of goggles. Everything else, from paddles, fins, even a towel—are things that you can get away without.
Swimming goggles, however, are mandatory.
There are two quick reasons for this: first, you need to be able to see under the water so that you can swim in a proper circle around your lane, properly judge distance to the walls, and see other swimmers in your lane (so that you can avoid them). Safety first.
The second reason is a little nastier: you know that red itching that happens to your eyes after going swimming in a public pool? That irritation is the result of chloramines—what happens when human sweat, and excrement meet chlorine. Yes, that is disgusting. So, safety and your health are why goggles are
With that all out of the way, here are some tips for picking out the best pair of swimming goggles, regardless of whether you are a budding Michael Phelps or just looking to get a little healthier this year.
What kind of swimming are you going to be doing?
While goggles, generally speaking, all look the same, they do vary in size and function. Perhaps most importantly is whether you are going to be swimming outside or indoors.
A darker, mirrored tint is recommended for outdoor swimming, while a lighter lens tint is advisable for indoor pools.
This is particularly important because goggles lose their anti-fog after approximately 1-2 weeks, meaning that you need to understand that the lens will become progressively more difficult to see out of.
The size of socket.
The size of the lens on various goggles vary from extremely slim profile, to swim mask (one step below a scuba mask). The slimmer lens goggles, such as Speedo’s FastkSkin Elite goggles, as well as Arena’s Cobra goggles, have very hydrodynamic profiles to minimize resistance in the water. They are also particularly expensive, ranging in the neighborhood of $50-60 or so.
What kind of padding do they have around the lens socket?
Another often overlooked aspect to swim goggle shopping is deciding on what kind of padding around the socket is most comfortable.
For open swimmers the goggles will be on your face for hours at a time, so having a rubberized socket is going to be more comfortable than goggles like Swedes, who with their hard plastic sockets can dig into your face after only a few short minutes of your swim workout.
Back in the day Speedo pumped out goggles that had foam padding around the goggles, but now most are rubberized. (And good thing—the foam padding would disintegrate quickly.)
How do they fit across your nose?
The reasons goggles leak (besides loose head straps) is because they don’t sit properly within the eye sockets. This is almost always because the nose-piece is either too long or too short.
Most goggles, Swedes are a good example, come with a nose piece that you have to assemble from scratch, but can customize to the size of your face. Other goggles, the Speedo Vanquisher for instance, has a hard plastic nose piece that you cannot adjust. The googles should sit comfortably on your face.
If you can wiggle them around and get air in them while trying them on than you can only imagine how much water is going to get in there.
How much are you willing to spend on your goggles?
Of course, a major mitigating factor in what kind of swimming goggles you end up purchasing falls upon how much you are willing to spend.
The MP Michael Phelps goggles, while elite in design, and worn by the fastest swimmer of all time, are well priced at around $35, while the Speedo FastSkin goggles can cost as much as $60.
If you do end up getting a higher priced set of goggles save them for competition and use a cheaper pair, something like Swedes or the TYR socket rockets, which cost around a dozen dollars.Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in