Anti-fog, panoramic, gasket type, small socket or large; choosing the best set of swimming goggles for you is not as easy as it seems.
Not only will the right set make you feel comfortable, but many swimmers will attest to how the the perfect goggles making them “feel” fast in the water.
But whether you feel quicker in a tiny pair of sophisticated Swedish-style reflective lenses, or a big and bold set of wide-angled goggles is up to you.
Style is just one aspect of picking the right pair, however. If you’re going to be spending some serious hours in the pool, then you need to be comfortable and able to trust your goggles not to fog up, slip, or distract you.
Goggle features to look for
Modern goggles have a huge variety of features and styles that will be beneficial depending on the type of swimming you do. Here’s a list of the attributes to look out for and what they mean.
Anti-fog goggles are designed to limit the amount of mist that can build on the inside of your lenses, which can limit your vision, especially when you are working hard in the pool.
Not much use if you do most of your swimming inside, but for outdoor front crawlers or tri-athletes, ultraviolet (UV) protection is invaluable. Retinas, the membrane at the back of the eye, don’t come with nerve endings, so you don’t feel the damage the sun is doing to your eyes. Sun-damage to the retinas – known as photic retinopathy - can build up over time and can be brought about even in cloudy, overcast conditions when UV rays can still be deceptively strong.
Most goggles now come with some level of UV protection, with many offering a complete UV shield for UVA and UVB light. If you are swimming outdoors then make sure you carefully check the features of the goggles you are considering.
If you want to keep one eye on the competition, then having a wide field of view can be very useful. Curved lenses provide distortion-free, 180-degree range of vision, which is ideal for competition swimming in either a pool or open water. Some swimmers prefer the blinkered approach, so they can focus on their own performance and block out distractions. It’s really up to you which you prefer.
Many goggles are now supplied with adjustable nose bridges to fit every face. Not all goggles come in different frame sizes making the ability to adjust the nose bridge a must.
Classic versus Swedish
The classic swimming goggle forms a wide seal around the eye socket using a gasket, which can be circular or oval shaped. Swedish-style goggles have been around since the 1970s, but are becoming increasingly popular, especially among elite swimmers. Their lower profile and drag reduction properties make them ideal for competitive racing. The goggle sits right on the eye socket and their small size and placement within the socket itself means they don’t require a gasket and are less prone to fogging. However, their intimate fit around the eye can take some getting used to.
This scientific sounding term really just refers to the profile of the goggles, and whether they move easily through the water when at high speeds.
Ten of the best swimming goggles
Here's a selection of ten top swimming goggles available at Wiggle, covering the complete offer. There should be something for everyone.
These top-of-the-range examples from Speedo are the popular brand's fastest, most hydrodynamic racing goggle. Now available in customisable form, they offer maximum comfort and wide vision with less head movement. Anti-glare, anti-fog and with inter-changeable nose bridges, these goggles are approved by the International Swimming Federation, Fina, for a reason.
Zoggs Women's Predator Flex Reactor Titanium employ photo-chromatic lenses hat react to changing light conditions and become tinted in bright conditions, yet remain clear when light eludes. Perfect for outdoor and triathletes, these goggles offer quick adjustment, anti-fog, and 180 degree peripheral vision.
The V-Class goggle range won the Red Dot Award for Design & Innovation in 2017, with the product manufactured with premium materials and precision engineering. Anti-fog and suitable for outdoor and indoor
use, their mirrored lens is big contributor to the professional styling.
Arena Cobra Ultra Goggles provide a wealth of features, including anti-fog and UV protection. Their extra-wide field of vision is complemented by tough lenses made from polycarbonate, which is durable and impact resistant, with the added extra of superior clarity.
These Vengeance Mirror Goggles from Speedo are perfect for those looking for that sophisticated Swedish look. These feature a streamlined lens profile designed to cut through the water, with interchangeable nose bridges and a double silicone head strap for the perfect fit.
If you're a glasses wearer and looking for prescription swimming goggles, these Aqua Sphere Eagle Goggles are a cost-effective compromise. Interchangeable lenses can be swapped in and out with your prescription to give those with impaired vision a chance to see clearly in the water. The wide design with a one-piece silicone skirt, meanwhile, offers outstanding comfort and waterproofing.
Zoggs Predator Flex Polarized Goggles are exclusive to Wiggle and offer high-performance, glare reducing lenses with maximum UV protection, making them the ideal outdoor swimming goggle. They also come with Fogbuster™ anti-fog system and soft-seal™ technology that moulds to the shape of your face.
Designed specifically for smaller faces, Zoggs Venus Goggles provide 180 degree peripheral vision, along with anti-fog and UV protection. The lightly tinted lenses are ideal for swimming indoors and in low level outdoor light, providing medium protection against the sun, and making them ideal for everyday training.
If looking extraordinarily awesome is on your to-do list, then these Arena Swedix Mirror Swimming Goggles will allow you to tick that box in an instant. Designed for competition and racing, and based on the original Malmsten Swedish design, they feature Polycarbonate split lens, TPR coating and a Swedish-type nose bridge.
The Nimesis Goggles from Arena are the perfect entry level Triathlon or training goggle. They feature soft seals, wide lenses, a comfortable split strap and a nose bridge that adapts to your face.