Wearing the right pair of swimming goggles will make the difference between a good swim and a great swim, and most of us know the frustration of wearing goggles that are not watertight, or having to stop every so often to adjust them or clear them of fog. Choosing the right pair is also very important for the wellbeing of your eyes. You need to find the right pair for your face shape and size, and of course for the purpose of your swimming. You might only want to use them in the pool, only in open water, or perhaps both. You might be a racing snake who prefers the more competitive and streamlined type of goggles. Whatever the case, there are a myriad of things to take into consideration when buying a pair of goggles.
• Swedish Goggles: These are usually meant for the racing snakes. Most elite triathletes prefer these when racing competitively. Swedish goggles have no gasket, fit right on the eye socket and cause less water drag.
• Gasket Goggles: These are the most popular swim goggles and come in various forms such as silicone and foam, with silicone usually being the most popular. You can find gasket goggles in various sizes and colours.
• Clear: This is the most popular and common for indoor swimming.
• Mirrored: They provide extra glare protection in bright conditions, and of course, look very cool!
• Tinted: These are the best if you do a lot of open water swimming in bright conditions where you need to protect your eyes from the sun and reflected light off the water.
• Solid Strap: This all comes down to preference, but remember that a solid strap does not always allow you to adjust the strap as easily as a split strap.
• Split Strap: This is especially popular amongst female swimmers as the strap holds better around a cap covering hair that is tied back.
We all have different face shapes and some of us have much smaller frames than others. Many goggles come in women’s sizes or children’s sizes, and others can be bought in a small or standard size.
Most goggles have an anti-fog coating which prevents the lenses from fogging up, but as we all know, at some stage while swimming, most still fog up a little.
PUTTING THEM TO THE TEST
You will find you might have to buy several pairs of goggles before you eventually end up with the one you love. We tested some of the best on the market to help make your selection a bit easier. We did this by swimming four lengths (100m) with each pair of goggles and then rated them on how comfortable they are, as well as how easily adjustable, whether they fogged up, and of course, how watertight they were. In general, all the goggles from the three different brands were of great quality and lived up to what they promised. In the end it comes down to preference and what you want to use them for.
FINIS Shockwave Smoke
• Curved high definition lens offers maximum eye protection, filters out 100% blue light, and improves contrast and depth perception.
• Patented side clip for easy fitting.
• Silicone single strap.
• UV protection.
This polycarbonate lens with anti-fog provides excellent clarity and vision. The fit was extremely comfortable and watertight. This would be the ideal pair of goggles when swimming outside ,as the tinted lens offers great protection against the sun. Also great for indoors, but if the brown coloured lenses bother you, they are also available in clear. RRP: R199
MODERN ATHLETE CHOICE AWARD
FINIS Energy Clear/Smoke
• Great for all face shapes.
• Curved lens for reduced distortion and optimal viewing.
• Silicone split strap.
• UV protection.
• Anti-fog for excellent clarity and vision.
The comfort factor of this pair of soft-frame goggles was great and as comfort is one of the most important considerations when buying goggles, we decided to award it the MODERN ATHLETE CHOICE AWARD. The goggles also provided a watertight fit and the double split strap could easily be adjusted within seconds. All in all, a great pair of swimming goggles that is ideal for indoor swimming or outdoor open water swims. RRP: R189
FINIS Lightning Blue/Mirror
• Frame and lens fused into one streamlined piece to reduce drag.
• Lower profile design with soft gasket which reduces drag.
• Quick-click strap adjustment.
• Comfortable no-leak fit.
• Four interchangeable nose bridges for a custom fit.
This low profile soft frame goggle is ideal for competitive swimming. It fits quite close to your eye socket and definitely takes time to get used to, but the fit is great. With a flexible nose piece and auto clip strap, this is probably one of the best racing goggles FINIS has in its range. The one we tried has mirrored lenses, which looks super cool, but it is also available in other lenses too. RRP: R199 (mirrored lens)
ZOGGS Predator Flex Polarized
• Curved lens technology offers up to 180-degree undistorted peripheral vision.
• Quick adjust strap system for adjustment while wearing.
• Super soft silicone seal for ultimate in comfort.
• 4 Flexpoint technology.
This is a great pair of goggles for open water swimming as the lenses contain a special filter that blocks the reflected light from the water, reducing glare and improving visibility. The goggles, which are also great indoors, utilise 4 Flexpoint Technology, enhancing frame flexibility and ensuring a contoured and comfortable fit. RRP: R299.95. Also available in Predator Flex Polarized. RRP: R359.95
ZOGGS Fusion Air
• Air Cushion for a super-soft fit with reduced marking.
• Curved lens technology for 180-degree vision.
The best thing about this pair is that it reduces markings, or so-called panda eyes, so often associated with wearing goggles. The goggles feature soft air cushion seals that reduce the pressure around the eyes, and with a choice of two nose bridges, it also ensures a good fit and maximum comfort. The split strap is easily adjustable and though the fit is quite close to the eye socket, it is still very comfortable. Also available in women’s version. RRP: R179.95
TYR Technoflex 4.0
• Comfortable and easily adjustable.
• Features gaskets that are injected with a softer durometer material to improve comfort and fit.
• Incorporates differing hardness densities of Thermo Plastic Rubber as well as a stiffer durometer material to provide frame rigidity, which prevents nose bridge stretching.
A superb all-round goggle which is watertight, comfortable and very easily adjustable. A great thing about TYR goggles is their unique packaging. It is a world first as it contains a ‘smart card’ customer informational guide on the suitability of the goggle for different uses. This tells you important stuff such as whether the goggles are suitable for a novice or expert swimmer, whether they are a size too small or large, as well as some helpful information on the softness of the goggles as well as the sight. An excellent product! RRP: R230 (metallised version), R165 (non-metallised version), R150 (Junior version)
TYR Velocity Metallised
• Dual head strap design offers low profile hydrodynamics with patented cushion gaskets for a comfortable, leak-proof, custom fit.
• Silicone cushion gaskets and a multi-sized nosepiece system for a customised fit.
• Optical grade polycarbonate lenses provide excellent peripheral vision.
• Anti-fog and UV protection.
These goggles are ideal for racing but can easily be used in training as well. The double silicone head strap features a patented, top slotted clip to prevent strap slippage and to allow easy adjustment. Though it is a racing goggle, the fit was not too close to the eye socket and it delivered all it promised. A great all-round goggle. RRP: R200
REMEMBER: To extend the life of your goggles, keep the lenses free of dirt and grease. Rinse the goggles in cold water after each swim and hang until dry – do not leave them in direct sunlight. And never wipe the inside of the lenses, as it might damage the anti-fog coating.
WHERE TO GET THEM
Available at independent sports retailers, multi-sport and speciality stores, and specialist swim outlets countrywide. For more information and your nearest stockists contact: