Swimming Goggles 101: Best Guide

The smell of chlorine. The sun rays beating down your back. The froth of the waves on open water. The lazy hoops during a fun, classic game of water basketball. That swimwear you had on as you hit the beach to watch the guys play water polo. But before everyone hits the pool, or maybe even the beach, you set up all of your gear and dive deep into the water.

Wait! Hold up! Have you got your swimming goggles on? Well, you should! I’m here to tell you about how and why you should use those swimming goggles. I’ve prepared a list of factors to consider when getting your own pair and few recommendations. 

Let’s dive in, shall we?

A Brief History of Swimming Goggles

Before we came to know the glass goggles we know of today, the first known record of goggles being used in the water was from Man Under the Sea, a book penned by James Dugan. In the 14th century, Dugan quoted that Ibn-Battuta, a famous traveler, donned a tortoise-shell mask every time he went pearl diving. It would be quite sometime before protective eyewear would be mentioned again. 

The time did come! In 1911, Thomas “Bill” Burgess was the first known person to have used a pair of goggles to cross the English Channel. He fashioned himself a pair from motorcycle goggles that weren’t completely waterproof but they got the job done. By 1969, Tony Godfrey developed Godfrey goggles out of polycarbonate. Due to its material, the pair was rendered light, durable, and shatterproof

Swimming Goggles 101: Best Guide 3
Smiling swimmer with swimming goggles and cap

We’re getting warmer to the goggles we’re familiar with today. In 1970, David Wilkie garnered a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. He was the first swimmer to have worn both goggles and a cap during a competition. 

Naturally, swimming goggles became an object of desire after such success–and had sidled into a spot as a standard in swimmer equipment. 

Why Should I Wear Swimming Goggles?

As we’ve plowed through the evolution of swimming goggles, it’s only natural to ask that question. Below are compelling reasons to use that pair you own during your next swim.

Clear Vision

Through its watertight design, swimming goggles create this air pocket around your eyes to allow a full and confident opening of your eyes. Think about this the next time you have to navigate a crowded pool full of flapping legs or cross the wide sea filled with creatures. 

Eye Protection

Swimming Goggles 101: Best Guide 4
Woman with swimming goggles and cap in a pool

Chlorine is one of the common irritants found in the water. It’s essential to a clean pool, but it’s not worth the red and itchy eyes after a few hours of splashing fun. On top of that, you have the piercing sun rays to consider.

Some models have UV protection that can remedy just that. Lastly, swimming outdoors would call for the use of swimming goggles. With saltwater, potential bacteria, and foreign irritants, protective eyewear can help in keeping all of those out. 

Wearing Contact Lenses Underwater is Possible!

With wearing swimming goggles, you do not need to pop out your contact lenses while being able to savor the underwater sites much better. You can also opt for prescription goggles, with goggle lenses acting like your very own underwater glasses. Cool, right?

A better Swimming Experience

With enhanced visibility as a plus when using swimming goggles, you can feel a lot more comfortable opening your eyes. You can bask in the sites underwater, while feeling safer and, hopefully, more confident in staying in the water longer. You get more out of your swim that way! 

How to Choose Swimming Goggles

Swimming Goggles 101: Best Guide 5
Happy couple taking selfie underwater with swimming goggles

Convinced how swimming goggles can up your swimming experience? You’re now probably thinking of how to choose the right kind, for your next casual swim. I’ve got you covered! In this section, we’ll talk about that to consider in your selection of the right pair of swimming goggles.

Comfort

Swimming goggles are supposed to be well-sealed. You can check this by pushing them against your eye sockets without strapping them on. You should expect a gentle suction and a good fit. The nosepiece should be adjustable and not dig into your skin. If the nosepiece is too wide, expect the swimming goggles to leak. If it’s too narrow, expect it to painfully pinch the sides of your nose. Either way, I’m sure you would want that. 

Swimming Conditions

When you consider swimming conditions, you consider lens tints. Each tint is suited for certain weathers, so bear these in mind once you’re scrolling through Amazon. 

  • Clear lenses are best suited for swimming during winter and nighttime open water swimming. It offers no change in the color of surroundings while providing protection and clear vision. 
  • Amber, yellow, and light blue lenses are for swimming in pools. Amber lenses, specifically, help people see the bottom of the pool through their ability to filter light. While these offer improved visibility, you must consider your vision, the lighting, and the amount of copper sulfate in water.
  • Red lenses enhance contrast. These are optimal for medium and low light conditions. 
  • Dark blue lenses are preferable in open waters as it makes the most of underwater visibility. It is capable of reducing surface glare while offering great visibility. 
  • Mirrored or dark lenses reduce brightness and glare in the open water swimming. Some competitive swimmers prefer these lenses for a perceived psychological advantage. These are not recommended for dimly lit pools.
  • Smoke lenses significantly lessen overall light without that much color distortion. These are great for swimming outside on sunny days! 
  • Colored lenses are based on personal preference! Think of your style. You can go wild on this on this one!

Style

Aside from function, you’d want to look good while swimming, right? Those colored lenses aren’t just for visibility, but also for the aesthetic! If you look good, you feel good! And that makes the swimming experience all the more enjoyable! 

Get to Know the Types of Swimming Goggles

Swimming Goggles 101: Best Guide 6
Woman with swimming goggles exercising in the pool

Now, you’re all set with the how’s and why’s of swimming goggles, you need to know the right type for you. There is a lot to choose from! Let’s talk about what it is you need for that next weekend getaway or that competition you’ve been prepping for.

Leisure Swimming Goggles

For many people, these are the most comfortable. Also known as open water or frame goggles, this is recommended for beginners, intermediate swimmers, and triathletes. You can expect it to have a larger silicon gasket, which can either be attached to the frame or a part of it. The nose bridge and frame are usually fused as one unit.

Hence, expect an increasingly not adjustable nose width and a large appearance when worn. The large gaskets can be worn for long periods of time and handle rough open water conditions. Yet, you must consider that the size makes them more prone to accidental impacts or removal.

Training or Competition Goggles

With this type, you can expect a rounded and bigger lens compared to a full-frame lens. Want better visibility? Their transparent sides do just that! This type has a smaller sealing gasket. Hence, a smaller fit on the face.

One of its best features is its always adjustable nose bridge, well-suited for comfort. Similar to frame goggles, it can handle rough water conditions and long periods of swimming

Swedish Type Goggles

Also known as competition or racing goggles, competitive swimmers, up to the elite, favor this, especially for marathon swimming. The lack of any soft sealing gasket makes this a separate category from competition goggles.

The hard plastic lens and frame are fused as one unit, yet the nose width is adjustable. It comes in one size, so it takes some time to get used to. While these goggles require personal assembly and fitting, these goggles are the most streamlined and provide unparalleled visibility. Another perk? It has the longest lifespan of all types!

Mask

These are the least used type, rarely seen in pools. Open water swimmers occasionally prefer this for long swims, as it handles rough water well. It is the largest and the heaviest. If you want to swim fast, you should consider that its bulk contributes to increased drag in the water. 

Top 5 Product Recommendations

You’re now all set to choose your own pair of goggles! To kick things off, here are some recommendations of varying types for different swimmers and conditions:

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Swim Goggle

swimming goggles
$19.03
$21.99
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1 used from $21.99
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One of the most popular pairs of swimming goggles is from Speedo. It’s well-known for its snug, universal fit, and anti-fog coating. With its streamlined design, UV protection, and different lens color choices, this one is suitable for outdoor swimming with good lighting conditions! 

Aqua Sphere Seal 2.0 Adult Swim Goggle

swimming goggles
$44.97
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11 new from $44.97
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With comfort and high visibility in mind, the Aqua Sphere has no middle nosepiece and curved lens to provide just that! With its mask style, the lens sits just outside the eye socket, which may be more suited for beginners. Coupled with UV protection, anti-fog coating, and smoke lens, this pair is very much suitable for the sunny outdoors! 

Speedo Sprint Swim Goggle

swimming goggles
$9.99
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5 new from $6.90
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With this pair, the adjustable nose bridge and softer foam gaskets provide less suction and better comfort for beginners. Once again, its UV protection and anti-fog lenses offer that much-needed eye protection when swimming in strongly lit areas!

Roka X1 Anti-Fog Low-Drag Large Swimming Goggles

swimming goggles
$17.99
in stock
1 new from $17.99
4 used from $11.56
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$13.99
in stock
1 new from $13.99
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With its light-colored lenses, anti-fog coating, and wide lens, you’re all set for high visibility when swimming indoors! Its silicone gaskets provide good suction, so you don’t have to worry about water leaking in. Not only that, its flexible nose bridge provides maximum comfort for all nose types. 

Speedo Women’s Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Goggle

swimming goggles
$21.05
in stock
1 new from $21.05
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Last updated on 02/10/2021 09:16

For the great outdoors, the mirrored lenses and wide panoramic lens are just what you need to keep the sun’s glare out of your eyes! With its anti-fog lenses, maximum visibility is what you get from this model. Cushioned silicone seals also ensure the needed comfort while swimming outdoors. 

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By now, you’re all set with what you need to know when selecting the perfect pair of goggles. The adequate seal of the goggles like good suction, and an adjustable nosepiece serve as good indicators of comfort and fit. Always remember to check the swimming conditions, as maximum visibility is of high priority. Lastly, you should consider your style. A good pair provides good function and makes you look good.

Curious to know more about swimming goggles and the types? You can find more summer activities and water sports content on our Facebook and Instagram. Leave a comment down below, so we can start a conversation!