Swimming goggles’ purpose is obvious to anyone that has ever been in the pool. They allow you to go underwater without the water completely blurring your vision. Our eyes simply aren’t meant to work underwater or even in the water. To be successful in swimming, you have to have the correct form. And that means you have to have your head down in the water- if you want to be both as fast and possible and safe! So, you need to protect your eyes while giving you a perfect vision. Also, for those that are swimming in pools, you never quite know for sure what the water is treated with. Those chemicals can cause your eyes to go bad over time, so protecting them with goggles should be an absolute no-brainer. This guide and review will help everyone, but especially those that are new to the process and having a difficult time deciding, pick a great pair of goggles for their specific needs!
Top Swimming Goggle Comparison Chart
Swimming Goggles Buying Guide
Where Are You Swimming?
A crucial part of buying your pair of swimming goggles is to figure out where you are going to be swimming. And yes, no matter what the answer is, you need to have a pair! You wouldn’t run a 5K with no shoes, at least we hope not, so you don’t want to swim without goggles. So the first thing to do is decide where you are going to take your swim. This does matter greatly.
Ocean, or open water swimming, can be a dangerous proposition. It is because of this that you will most likely need goggles that are made of polarized polycarbonate lenses. These lenses allow you to see very well, which is super important when you are in the ocean. You need to be able to see every little color difference in order to protect yourself. These polycarbonate glasses typically are made with a 180 degree “model.” This 180-degree model allows you to see very well from your peripheral vision. This would help triathlon competitors a great deal because it will allow you to see where your competition is relevant to you.
Swimming in an outdoor pool brings some differences to both ocean and indoor pool swimming. Outdoor pools are synonymous with metalized goggles. Metaled goggles are basically the sunglasses of the swimming world, but they can also be called “mirrored goggles”. They can have all kinds of tints and fits to them, so it is important that you try them on to determine what is best for you. Some of them are meant to block as much light as possible while others just block the glare while allowing you to see at full color. It really just depends on which option you prefer personally. Before moving on, it should be pointed out that these are used in outdoor pools so that you can see your surroundings better without having to squint or throw your hand up to block the sun. This is just another reason to wear goggles!
Swimming in an indoor pool really isn’t all that dissimilar to swimming in an outdoor pool. However, you have to factor in how much light there is. If you are in a dimly-lit area, you are going to have issues if you have a pair of dark-tinted mirrored goggles. So, you have to know and understand this when selecting a pair of goggles. It may be helpful, if you are a frequent swimmer, to have a lighter tint, a darker tint, and then an ocean pair. In the end, it is up to you, but you are doing yourself a bit of a disservice if you aren’t allowing yourself to see very well while swimming indoors!
Types of Swimming Goggles
There are a number of different types of swimming goggles that can be worn. These types range in quality and material in order to give users’ some flexibility.
Competition & Triathlon Goggles
These are the go-to goggles for those of us that swim in competition. This type of goggle is much less about comfort than its counterparts because these are built for low drag, which means you go faster (actually, it just means you aren’t slowed down anymore)! At any rate, these are best used in the short term. So if you have a meet or a very important showdown at practice, you could wear these. The reason they are meant for short periods of use is that they are super tight and uncomfortable. They fit directly onto the eye socket, so you will want to take them off as soon as you can!
Practice goggles are meant for everyday use. This type is much more comfortable than its competition counterpart because they are less technical in that they aren’t nearly as concerned with keeping you “hydrodynamic” in the pool. This type, it should be said, are not lower quality than competition goggles, however. They just simply have different uses from one another. They typically have more rubber built-in to give your eye more comfort as you swim for long durations of time. They give a good seal as well despite not being as hard on your eyes, so don’t worry about water seeping in!
These are known as the cheaper, lesser quality goggles in the swimming world. These are specifically made for people who are just looking to relax and swim. Oftentimes, you can use them for competition, but you will find that their use will be very short-lived. This is due to the fact that they typically will have the anti-fog film wear off rather quickly. Some recreational goggles don’t even have this anti-fog film to begin with. When goggles fog up, it’s hard to see. It’s not only annoying, but it’s also dangerous because you can run into other people, or possibly the wall or the lane rope even. These are best for those that are on a budget and not expecting them to be of much use for an extended period of time.
This type of goggle isn’t really a goggle at all, but are frequently used at the pool anyway. These are best used for scuba diving and snorkeling. They are different from goggles because they are much larger than their counterparts. Because of this and their soft and comfortable nature, many recreational swimmers prefer them to goggles. However, they are clunky and unfit for those that swim laps, so don’t expect to see Michael Phelps wearing them anytime soon!
Materials and Components of Swimming Goggles
The frame of swimming goggles is most typically made from plastic in today’s world. Plastic is cheaper to use and it is much easier to mold than some of the other options that have been used throughout history. Other options that have been used in the past were bamboo and even wood. These were common in places like Polynesia due to their abundance there. They were waterproof but still had no lenses, curiously enough.
The history of the lenses is also very interesting to take a look at. The very first ones are believed to have been made from the shells of turtles, curiously enough. You can’t imagine those would be very comfortable. For a time, glass was used, but it went out of fashion because they easily fogged up and let water in. And they were not very capable of upholding higher pressures. The glass could potentially break in this instance. Therefore, we now have polycarbonate today which helps you see more clearly, can withstand pressure, and is malleable. So that is why they are in high demand nowadays, as they should be!
A model type that needs to be spoken about a little before moving on to other topics is the Swedish google. The Swedish google is still very popular but has lost some of its popularity in recent years because of the ease of use of the newer goggles. Swedish goggles typically have to be put together manually (though this is not always the case), so they can be a bit of pain to put together. One of the pluses is that they are pretty cheap in comparison to other pairs of goggles.
They come as a kit of two eyepieces with a long piece of latex rubber to hold it all together and then a string that is to be used as a nose piece. Eventually, though, the real high-class swimmers decided to stop with the string. Instead, they decided to just cut off a piece of the latex to use for that purpose instead. These are still very popular, so they are still well-known and easy to find. While technology has moved on over the years, the newer and very high-quality goggles have been based on the traditional Swedish google model.
In today’s market, to continue further, it is common to see the major companies selling goggles that have interchangeable nose pieces. This is likely due to the fact the major anatomical weakness of glasses is the nose which frequently fails and causes them to leak.
Preserving Anti-Fog Film
We talked shortly about anti-fog protection earlier, and we’ll go into more detail here. This is more about taking care of your goggles than it is about the goggles themselves. Anti-fog’s purpose is to help you see clearly throughout your swim. That is the secondary purpose of the goggle, after all. Now, the fact of the matter is that virtually all goggles nowadays come with at least some anti-fog film. This is something that has become necessary in order for these companies to compete. The higher the quality of the goggle you purchase, the more anti-fog properties you get. However, no matter what the quality is, this film does eventually wear out. But there are few ways to help delay this from happening as long as possible.
One of the things that you can do is make sure to never wipe the fog off of your goggles. It makes perfect sense at the time to do this, but your finger oils can strip that film when you touch the lenses. Also, don’t use any other object to get the fog away. This object, whatever you use, will also have oils on it.
Another solution is to buy an anti-fog spray to use in conjunction with your goggles. Not all goggles are compatible, but if yours are this might be a way to preserve the life of them for as long as possible.
The last solution we’ll give is to make sure that you rinse them off after use. This will remove the chlorine and the salt, which means that they will not leave a residue on them, which will make it more unlikely that they will fog up on you or appear to do so. Even if there isn’t really any fog there, you’ll start to see salt and/or chlorine build-up, which could actually be way worse for your vision than just fog.
Before we talk about finding a good fit for you, it is important to talk about the different types of profiles in swimming goggles. There are two many types: “high” and “low.” The characteristics are very simple.
The high profile goggles are ones that stick out more from the face. These are much more conducive to being good training goggles as a result because they are more likely to let water in. Also, they are more likely to slip off if you are diving into the pool to start a race, so they are not as secure. They can be just fine for swimming laps, but they may not suit race needs.
Low profile goggles, conversely, don’t stick out as far as high profile ones do. This allows you to be a little bit faster in the water during the race, makes them more secure on your face, and does not allow water in as much. So, this is not just your looks and style, rather it is the functionality of your goggles.
Finding a Good Fit
While the mechanics and materials used to make swimming goggles are important, it is more important to look at how it all comes together for you and fits on your head and face type. If you can’t figure out how to wear them or how to pick them, then what is the point of the science anyway? In order to help you keep from getting frustrated about finding the right pair, here are some tips!
The first thing that is commonly said throughout the swimming world is that you should not be discouraged if you don’t find the perfect pair of goggles right off the bat. Many swimmers go through two or three pairs, sometimes even more, before they find the pair that they need. Many times you are going to have to wear them for extended periods of time before you learn what you like and what you don’t like about them. It comes down to personal use and what you find is best.
Firstly, the goggles should fit comfortably yet snuggly to your eyes to create a leakproof seal. You don’t want anything that makes you uncomfortable, but you also can’t do with goggles that hang off of your eyes. There are no fake goggles in swimming, so don’t try to be cool by creating the trend. Make sure they fit snugly so that your eyes are protected. Don’t be alarmed if the straps fit tightly around your head. This is how they are supposed to fit!
Most goggles that are being manufactured and sold today have a double strap system. Make sure that both straps are always level or above your eyes. They should never be below your eyes. They will be very uncomfortable and less protective if you wear them down there.
In order to pick out a pair, you can perform a couple of self-checks on them. Firstly, take the goggles and gently and carefully push them into your eye sockets without using the straps. If they seem to seal well, are comfortable, and have a nice suction, then you should be good to go. Secondly, when you put the straps on, make sure the nose piece sits on the bridge without digging into your skin. These two little tests that you can perform should help you maximize your comfort and protection, and they should allow you to decide if they are a good fit for you.
For those of us out there that have vision issues, there is hope as well. It is possible to find prescription goggles, which is astounding and something that probably is overlooked by far too many. No matter what activity you are doing, you will want to be able to see clearly. And prescription goggles can do exactly the trick if you want them and can afford them. There are many options in this area. You can purchase goggles that are detachable so you can have two different prescriptions for each eye put in, or you can simply get a pair that is more like traditional glasses. This is just another way to make your goggles customizable to you.
A great tip for anyone that finds themselves a great pair of goggles is to go ahead and maybe buy a few pairs. It might be a bit of an investment up front, but you will have full confidence that you have something that is solid, steady, and reliable for a long time to come. Often after a person finally finds a pair that they love, they become discontinued. When they get discontinued, you can snap them up for cheap, but once they are gone, you’re out of luck. So try and get at least a couple of pairs if you find yourself really loving a pair of goggles. This will make you much happier in the long run for sure! Goggles can become a chore or even taken for granted, but they are a necessity, and they must fit well and be comfortable on you like any other piece of clothing.
Best Swimming Goggles Reviews
At the end of pricing for this list comes this pair of goggles. The first thing you notice is that they are oversized, so it appears that they are going for both the scuba and swimming markets with this pair. They claim to have a one-touch adjustable buckle for use even when wearing as well as anti-fog coating and scratch-resistant lenses. As a result of their oversized nature, you get a 180-degree wide-angle view that helps you to see much better. These would be good for playing in the ocean but probably shouldn’t be used in a triathlon. Also Available in a Women’s Edition.
Aegend offers one of the absolute best choices you can possibly hope for in a set of swim goggles. I’m not the only one who thinks that either. This set of goggles in Amazon’s Choice! The flexible silicone from and nosepiece offer exceptional comfort and they don’t leave those nasty red, indented marks on your face! As expected, they are “anti-fog” and the exterior side of the lenses offer reflective anti-UV protection. Aegend makes a bit of a deal out of making functional goggles that look good. Though has definitely gone into the aesthetics of the design. They also come with a 1-year warranty.
How could we possibly have a list without the great Michael Phelps represented with some sort of product or merchandise? This set of goggles is about as high-tech as you can get. These goggles are Italian made and offer some neat features that are in large part, competition-oriented. For example, a curved lens offers an expanded field of vision and allows the swimmer to sight walls and the competition without altering the head position.
Exo-core technology refers to the combining of two materials – a semi-rigid exoskeleton combined with a softer, silicone gasket, and this provides a low profile hydrodynamic goggle. It’s a race-ready goggle that’s approved for all levels of competition.
At a very comparable price to the AZURE design come these goggles from Speedo. These come with a frame that can be a number of colors, but each of them has clear lenses like regular glasses. They have a unique cushioned design that provides good suction to your face and prevents water from entering. They have clip-off quick-release straps to help you put them on quickly instead of wasting all of your time doing that while you are at the pool. These are anti-fog as well, and they would be great for anyone looking to lounge around the pool a little, but not so good for practice or meets.
What can I say about Speedo that hasn’t been said with regards to swimming? To say this is an iconic name in the world of swimming would be a gross understatement. The Speed Socket 2 has a really sleek, low profile inner eye fit and a wide panoramic viewing area similar to the Michael Phelps model we featured a bit earlier on our list. The hypo-allergenic seals are comfortable and of course, as you would expect, the silicone head strap holds everything securely. The mirrored lenses greatly reduce glare and light intensity and of course, everything is latex-free!
Our first true pair of racing goggles comes in at number four. These are quite a bit more expensive at over double the price of the others so far, but they provide the user with an awesome colorful look as well as a hydrodynamic advantage for the race. They provide optimum vision through their extra-wide vision technology as well as giving you a stable fit with an adjustable nose bridge and a dual strap that can be adjusted. These are not meant to be the most comfortable goggles in the world, but they are simply not supposed to be. These are for sprinters, so be aware of that if you decide to buy them!
These goggles are among the most wallet-friendly pair on our list thus far, but they still provide a few things that make them stand out from the others. First of all, the name is basically an offshore “cheapo” brand, but many Chinese products are actually as good as name brand products (but be careful and choose wisely). Not every product from the far East is a “dollar store” quality item. These goggles perform pretty well as attested to by over 300 reviewers who give it a 4.5/5 star rating.
The Vetoky goggles feature 3 interchangeable nosepieces (3 different sizes for a custom fit) and of course the standard “Anti-Fog” and “UV Protection” qualities you expect in every pair of goggles. The silicone construction is likely not to leak once they get a good fit (suction) to your face.
Additionally, Vetoky prides itself on customer service as it will provide 24-month, 24-hour/day after-sale service. That’s kind of a big deal and it’s why a brand with a name like VETOKY makes our list. Unfortunately, another goofily-named product didn’t make our list only because of the name (well, that’s not totally true…) and that name is “SPLAQUA GOGGLES”. Say “Spl-aqua” quickly and tell me it doesn’t make you laugh when you consider this as a worldwide product name. 🙂 “SPLAKWA”
Cressi touts the Mini Cobra is a swim mask made of premium quality silicone to ensure a perfect seal and comfort. Perhaps, but remember, it’s a kid’s mask (recommended for ages 7-15) and it has a less aggressive profile that looks much like a step closer in the evolution of a goggle from mean racing machine to a diver’s mask. Actually, that’s a good thing for a lot of people and the comfort level increases 3 fold I say! Its quick adjustable silicone strap is easy to use and of course, like most of our entries on this list, it has UV protection, anti-fog treatment, and shatterproof lenses. The Mini-Cobra is an Italian-made product which has a bit of an air of quality which you don’t feel when you say “made in China”.
One note of caution: The recommendation is not to dive headfirst with this goggle since the size and bulk of it might catch the water and come off your face causing a potential injury or at least a big surprise and temporary confusion!
We’re happy to see Speedo has decided to sell three pairs of swimming goggles for a very reasonable price. These goggles have anti-fog lenses and easily adjustable straps to help prevent any pain or discomfort from occurring. These would make excellent training goggles, and would maybe even do for races if you wanted to try them out for that. Overall, a great deal for three pairs of great goggles ending up around $14 a piece.
Rounding out the list is an option for the kiddos. This pair is a vibrant color that really catches the eye with its SIX bright color scheme options. This pair has anti-fog protection for the kids, who will complain far more than adults would. They also protect against UV rays, so it is a great all-around option for just about any scenario that a young child would face when swimming. They shouldn’t be out swimming miles offshore, so these should hold up just about anywhere for a very reasonable price. They’re made for kids aged 4-6 depending on how big your child is for his/her age.
Speedo has designed the nose bridge that connects the two eyecups to be more comfortable and easier to fit a wider variety of face shapes.
History, Conclusion, and Recommendations
The origin of swimming goggles can be traced back quite a long way, all the way to 1300s Persia, now what we know as Iran. Swimming goggles have had so many uses over the years. Whether people were diving for oysters, swimming the entire English Channel just because they could, or for competitive use, they have become a popular part of human life. Maybe you are looking to get into better shape, but you don’t want to hurt your joints. Swimming is a perfect way to do just that without putting pressure on your joints. You also can great really awesome looking shoulders! Shockingly enough, however, is the fact that we have only seen goggles worn in competition since 1972.
Ever since then, it has been a revolution in swimming as times have only gotten faster and faster. This is due to the simple idea that swimmers were able to practice better and longer because they no longer had to deal with the sore, red eyes that come from the chlorine. No more burning sensation to push through, at least with the eyes, meant that swimmers could dedicate more time to their training in the pool. This has led to many astonishing feats of athletic greatness.