Best swim goggles

Water Sports

The 1976 Summer Olympics were the first games to allow swim goggles in competition.

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Which swim goggles are best?

Over 90 million Americans swim in pools, lakes and oceans every year, and one-third of that group swims regularly for fitness. No matter where you swim, a good pair of goggles are essential.

Goggles help the swimmer see beneath them, while also raising their head above the water line without having to wipe their eyes. Swimming goggles also protect the eyes from chlorine, salt or insects depending on where you are swimming. When it comes to keeping the water out of your eyes and a wide view of what’s in front of you, the top choice are the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Swim Goggles.

What to know before you buy swim goggles

Fun vs. fitness

While swimming goggles can be used for all situations, you may choose different types of goggles depending on your reason for being in the water. If you are relaxing on a summer day in the lake or public swimming pool, all of the cutting-edge features of performance goggles may not be necessary. If you are completing your regular workout or training for a triathlon, then having extra tight seals and panoramic lenses may be ideal.

Types of swim goggles

There are many types of goggles, each with a different purpose. Leisure goggles are the most common and used for recreational swimming as well as swimming laps. They are designed for comfort but still provide a strong seal.

Mask goggles cover most of your face and have a very tight seal. They are excellent for being able to look around at your surroundings (similar to snorkeling), but provide too much drag to be used for fitness swimming.

Performance goggles are smaller with less cushion around the seal. They are used by professional athletes to reduce the amount of drag they face in the water. A substyle in this category are Swedish goggles which are designed to cover the eye only and typically don’t last long

Most manufacturers also produce goggles to fit children.

Lense types

There are different types of lenses to choose from for most goggles. Clear goggles are best for indoor swimming or during cloudy conditions. Mirrored goggles are best for sunny days. You can get tinted lenses which moderately protect against the sun, polarized lenses which provide significant sun protection or you can even get transition lenses that change according to the amount of light in the swimming area.

What to look for in quality swim goggles

Comfortable but tight fit

One of the most important aspects of swimming goggles is the ability to keep water out of your eyes without being so tight that they make your face hurt. The combination of seals, head straps and nose clips will make up your overall comfort. You want all of them to be snug but not squeezing so hard that it is painful.

Gaskets

Most leisure goggles come with either silicone, rubber or foam gaskets. These help protect the skin while a seal is formed against the water. You may need to test different materials before finding the one right for you. Racing goggles typically do not have any gaskets.

Anti-fog coating

Swimming goggles with an anti-fog coating help keep the goggles from becoming blurry while you swim, which often requires rinsing them out. Unfortunately, this coating will wear out over time, even with higher-priced goggles. The best way to keep the coating intact is to take care of your goggles according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

How much you can expect to spend on swim goggles

Swim goggles cost as little as $10-$20 for basic and children’s models, while those with adjustable straps and anti-fog coating are priced between $20-$50. High-performance goggles with transition lenses or prescription lenses can cost over $50.

Swim goggles FAQ

What if I need prescription goggles?

A. There are prescription goggles available for people who wear glasses and prefer to keep the ability to see clearly while underwater.

Why do my goggles keep fogging up?

A. Even anti-fog goggles can get partially blurry with too much condensation. Over time, the anti-fog coating will wear off. There are some spray-on anti-fog products available.

Why do my goggles keep leaking?

A. It is likely that a gasket in the seal is wearing out due to exposure to chlorine or just long-term use. You should also make sure the goggles haven’t been bent from improper storage. Another reason, which seems counterintuitive, is that you may have the goggles on too tightly. Overly restricted goggles actually can lead to water getting inside the lenses.

What are the best swim goggles to buy?

Top swim goggles

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Swim Goggle

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Swim Goggle

 What you need to know: For swimming in bright sunshine, these goggles set the standard with mirrored lenses.

What you’ll love: In addition to panoramic minimal-glare lenses, these goggles have cushioned silicone seals that keep water out and an adjustable head strap. Different-sized nose clips are included for maximizing overall fit.

What you should consider: The mirrored lenses can make swimming difficult indoors or at night.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top swim goggles for the money

ActivAqua Wide View Swimming Goggles

ActivAqua Wide View Swimming Goggles

What you need to know: These wide-lens goggles have unique design features that help them stay in place and last for a long time.

What you’ll love: The wide lenses are UV-plated and anti-fog plated and come with double silicone seals. A one-snap buckle strap is easy to adjust, even while swimming. The goggles come with a protective case that drains quickly.

What you should consider: These goggles are easily adjusted everywhere except the nosepiece.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles

What you need to know: These multi-feature goggles are ideal for swimmers of all ages and abilities.

What you’ll love: Patented curve technology creates a 180-degree view. UV-protected and anti-fog clear lenses allow natural sunlight. Quick-fit straps and a stabilizing nose piece make for a tight, yet comfortable fit.

What you should consider: There have been some reports of the lenses scratching.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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