Top tips for buying swimming goggles

Article by Rachel Boardman

Choosing a new pair of swimming goggles should be simple. Yet the sheer number of different shapes, sizes and colours on offer can be overwhelming. I mean, the last thing you want to do is to get to the pool only to find out that your new goggles aren’t really right for you.

That’s where I come in.

With over a decade of experience competing at national level I have gone through my fair share of goggles. So, I’m going to share with you my top tips for finding your perfect goggles, plus some specific recommendations. That way you can get on with doing your thing in the pool and not having to worry about whether or not your goggles are going to leak.

How well do your swimming goggles fit?

The most important thing to consider when choosing your next pair of swimming goggles is the fit. If they don’t fit right and aren’t comfortable when you wear them then you just aren’t going to enjoy you swim as much – and who wants that?

These are the 3 things you need to consider when it comes to how well your goggles fit…

1. The size of the eye cup

There are, in general, two types of swimming goggle eye cups. Small eye cups which are designed to fit snuggly inside your eye socket and larger eye cups which seal anywhere from around your eye socket to sealing as wide as your forehead and cheeks.

It is mostly personal preference to which type of fit you go for as long as there is a good seal. Without a good seal your goggles are going to leak.
This is why you should try your potential new swimming goggles on before you buy.

To test the seal simply push the goggles against your eyes without putting the straps over your head. When you let go of the goggles, they should remain stuck to your face.

2. Fixed or adjustable nose piece?

Fixed nose pieces can be a great option for those on a budget.

However, if your looking for a more personal fit then choosing goggles which offer an adjustable nose piece is the way to go.

These swimming goggles allow you to change the distance between the two eye pieces to better suit the distance between your eyes.

Getting this right not only helps create a better seal but also adds to the comfort of the goggles. This is important if you plan to wear them for more than a couple of minutes at a time!

3. What type of straps should my goggles have?

The straps of swimming goggles are primarily there to keep your goggles on your head. However, the trick is to have them just tight enough that your goggles feel secure but loose enough that they don’t affect the seal.

There are two types of straps available.

The single strap is often split into two at the point furthest from the eye pieces. This allows you to place the 2 parts of the back of your head giving you extra security should you feel you need it.

The double strap gives you more freedom with where you place your straps on your head. It might take a bit of trial and error at first to find the best placing. However, in all my years of swimming, once I found my best strap placing, I never had a problem with my goggles.

Does the colour of the goggle’s lenses make a difference?

As you have probably noticed, swimming goggle lenses come in several different colours.

Here is a quick rundown of the most common options and when you should choose them:

  • Clear – designed for maximum visibility in low-light. Great for both indoor and outdoor
  • Blue – reduces the glare in bright conditions and good all-rounder. Great for both indoor and outdoor and my personal preference
  • Polarised – offer greater glare protection and are designed for bright light and sunny conditions. Ideal for open water, triathlons and outdoor pools
  • Mirrored – reduces brightness and glare. Favoured by competitive pool swimmers but also good for outdoors.

I wear glasses – can I still get swimming goggles that work for me?

Of course!

Back when I started to swim, prescription goggles were often really expensive and quite frankly looked pretty bad too.

However, as technology has marched on, getting your hands on some awesome goggles that fit great and allow you to continue to see has become much easier.

No longer do you have to rely on your optician to be able to see in the water. All you need is your prescription and you can order yourself some great goggles from several different specialists online. You can even opt for a pair of Speedo or TYR goggles too.

How much should I spend on my next swimming goggles?

Swimming goggles range from just a few pounds all the way up to £30-£40.

While those of you who need prescription goggles will inevitably have to pay more due to the prescription lenses you don’t need to fork out a fortune for a good pair of goggles.

My preferred goggles, the Speedo Speedsocket cost around £20 which I’d suggest is a good price area to aim for. The swimming goggles in this range are likely to be of better quality and come with the adjustable nose pieces and double straps (if that is your preferred option).

They are also going to last longer so in the long run are a better value for money.

However, whatever your budget is I’m sure you will find a pair of goggles that are right for you.

My top 5 swimming goggle picks

Ok so to help you get started I’ve narrowed down my top 5 swimming goggles suggestions and where to find them.

My personal favourite – Speedo Speedsocket

My go to goggles are the Speedo Speedsockets. They have been around for over a decade now and are available in all the different lens colours and adjustable nose piece.

Buy in UK | Buy in USA

Best budget Swimming Goggles – Aquasphere unisex adult mako

The Aquasphere unisex adult mako swimming goggles are perfect for the casual swimmer. They an easy adjustable single strap and an inner-middle eye fit. You can get them in all the different lens colours listed above and for less £12 they are a steal!

Buy in UK | Buy in USA

Best for open water – Aqua Sphere Kayenne Polarised

The oversized lenses of these goggles offer you a wide field of view which is perfect for keeping an eye on your surroundings when out in the open water.

Buy in UK | Buy in USA

Best for prescription – Speedo Vanquisher 2.0

Probably the best-looking prescription goggles that I’ve seen, these goggles come with adjustable nose pieces and durable silicone double straps.

Buy in UK | Buy in USA

Best for Competition – MP Michael Phelps XCEED

These goggles should have you looking and feeling like an Olympic swimmer. Designed by the GOAT himself (Michael Phelps) in conjunction with Aquasphere, these goggles are the exact model that Phelps himself wore at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Featuring wide angle views so you can keep an eye on your competition and available in multiple different colours.

Buy in UK | Buy in USA

Whichever goggles you end up choosing I hope that they enhance your swimming experiences and you get as much joy as I do from the sport.