One thing I really enjoy about swimming is the simplicity. You don’t need tons of kit and equipment to get started, just a few basic items- some swimwear, goggles and a swim cap. Goggles are essential for both pool and open-water swimming, as they protect your eyes and improve visibility. There are so many different sizes, shapes and lens colours on the market, it can be difficult to chose a suitable pair as a beginner.
When I started swimming, I wore a old pair of goggles which were badly scratched and uncomfortable on my face. I used the same pair for pool and open-water and threw them in my bag at the end of each session. I’m surprised I could actually see anything!
To avoid making the same mistakes as me, here are some tips on choosing and looking after your swimming goggles:
Swimming goggles should create a seal around your eye sockets. To test the seal, press the goggles gently onto your eyes without having the strap behind your head. There should be enough suction to hold the goggles in place for a few moments without them falling off.
Straps hold the goggles in place and should be worn around the head at the broadest part- as I discovered in my masterclass with Richard Stannard. The tension can usually be adjusted so make sure they are not so tight that they are applying too much pressure to your eye sockets.
Many goggles come with a changeable nose bridge so that they can be adjusted to fit the width of your nose. If the nose bridge is too wide, it’s likely that water will leak into the lens, if it’s too narrow then the goggles will be uncomfortable to wear.
Choosing a lens colour will depend on your swimming environment, here are the most common options:
Clear- designed for indoor use. Provides maximum visibility without changing the appearance of colours.
Blue- allows a moderate level of light into the eyes but provides some protection from glare. Lighter blues are for indoor use and darker blues are for outdoor.
Mirrored- reflects light away from your eyes giving a darker view. For outdoor use or bright indoor pools.
Smoke- designed to reduce brightness without distorting colour. For outdoor use or bright indoor pools.
Polarised- designed to filter the intense light reflected off flat surfaces such as water, without dimming your field of vision. For outdoor or open-water swimming.
Looking after your swimming goggles
After swimming, always rinse your goggles in clean, fresh water to remove chlorine or salt. Leave them laying flat to air-dry and keep them out of direct sunlight. Store them in a case or pouch, to prevent scratches.
I tested out three very different pairs of goggles in both an outdoor and indoor pool, here is my verdict:
Vorgee Stealth MK2 Mirror Goggle via Simply Swim
The Vorgee Stealth MK2 goggles are very sleek and lightweight. They feature a curved mirrored lens for wide angle vision and and a 3D seal design to relieve pressure around the eyes. They came with 4 interchangeable nose bridges which were a little fiddly to adjust compared to the Aqua Sphere model.
The rainbow mirrored lenses look great and I love the blue and red colourway- it matches my tri club kit. The lenses extend and wrap around the sides of the face, making these very comfortable and secure to wear in the pool. The double strap holds these securely in place even when tumble-turning.
Buy here for £21.00
Comes with a plastic storage case
Aqua Sphere Kayenne Ladies Clear Lens Goggle
The Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles have oversized lenses with anti-fog and UV treatment. The nose bridge cannot be adjusted, but the straps are quick and easy to adjust due to the one-touch Quick-Fit buckle.
I’ve really enjoyed swimming the Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles- they are comfortable and haven’t leaked or fogged. The smaller ladies size is a good fit for my face, despite the fixed nose bridge. The clear lenses give great clarity in a pool environment.
Buy here for £22.99
Comes with a plastic storage case
Swimfreak SilverSlick Goggle
The SilverSlick triathlon goggles by Swimfreak have extra wide curved lenses with a mirrored finish and UV protection. The straps fasten with a clip behind the head, which is quite unique.
These goggles are really quite different to anything I’ve used before. They sit very prominently on the face and look almost futuristic with the high shine chrome lenses. As they are designed for open-water, I haven’t been able to properly test them but I’ll be keeping them ready for next summer. The lenses are far too dark for pool use and didn’t provide good visibility in a dimly light environment, but I think they would be perfect on a bright day in the lake.
The clip fastening is quick and easy to secure, but I am concerned about it being knocked during a triathlon and coming undone. The water simply rolls off the curved lens, so I anticipate these will provide excellent visibility in the right conditions.
Comes with a plastic storage case, nose clip and ear plugs
Despite adjusting these goggles, they all still leave imprints around my eyes. I think it’s impossible to avoid, as I’m yet to find a pair of goggles which doesn’t give the panda-eye effect. Any suggestions?
Goggles were provided for review, but all opinions are my own.
What are your favourite swimming goggles?