Maarten van den Heuvel / Unsplash
Maarten van den Heuvel / Unsplash
Maarten van den Heuvel / Unsplash
By Dan Goldstein, OnRamp
You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to own a great pair of swim goggles. If you’ll be swimming in a pool, you’re going to want to save your eyes from irritating chemicals like chlorine. If you’re more of a beach person, then a good set of swim goggles will keep the salt from burning your pupils. And if you have kids, then you know that swim goggles are mandatory, lest the day be spent whining about the water. But do you need Michael Phelps-caliber swim goggles, or perhaps something slightly less Olympic? We spent a day at the pool dunking our heads and peering around (so to speak) in order to bring you the best swim goggles currently on the market.
Best Overall: Combining comfort, performance, style, durability, and affordability, Aegend's goggles take our highest honor.
Basically, there are four things a swimmer wants out of any pair of swim goggles: eye protection from the water, comfort, visibility, and durability. Aegend’s model checks all the boxes and adds affordability to the list as well. With a flexible silicone frame and ergonomic nose/eye curves, this pair provides both protection and comfort, while the anti-fog coating helps visibility even at low depths. The “double-deck” seal keeps water from leaking into the eye capsules, while polycarbonate lenses reflect harmful UV rays, adding an additional layer of protection. It also comes in a two-pack for those of us who have a tendency to lose a pair at the beach.
Available in 19 colors
Stylish, protective carrying case included
Nose bridge is hard plastic
No youth sizes
Best Competitive Goggles: These are only the goggles worn by and endorsed by the greatest competitive swimmer ever, so, you know, nothing to see here.
Funny we’d mention Michael Phelps. As it turns out – not so surprisingly – he has his own line of swim goggles, and they’re certainly excellent enough to warrant a mention here. Phelps claimed he wore this design (before he endorsed the brand) and that he could see two or three lanes in the distance with them. This is due to the curved lens technology that provides true peripheral vision. The lenses also feature a compressed micro-gasket composed of Softeril, a material providing the best in leak-proof seals. With an ergonomic and interchangeable nose bridge, you’re sure to get the best in comfort as well. It’s available in six different styles and colors, but we think the white with titanium mirror lenses is definitely the snazziest.
100% UV protection
FINA-approved and race-ready
Low profile head-buckle for quick adjustments
Anti-fog wears out quickly
Square shape not best for rounder eyes
Best 3D Goggles: Taking a cue from the design of swim masks, Letsfit provides both comfort and a wider field of view.
3D swim goggles have their roots in the scuba masks that divers wear. Instead of two eye capsules separated by a nose bridge, the goggles have one large protective lens that wraps around both eyes. Though the visor is not flat like most masks, these still aren’t competitive racing goggles; rather, they’re designed for greater comfort and a larger field of vision underwater. Letsfit’s design utilizes a rounded, ergonomic shape with a soft, silicone gasket and your choice of three different nose piece sizes, ensuring a near-custom fit. Better still, the lens is double-coated with anti-fog layers – one on the inside and one on the outside – helping to ensure maximum visibility.
Prevents rings around the eyes
Suction strap ensures a tight fit
Reflects UVA and UVB light
Larger than other swim goggles
Made for ages ten and over
Best for Kids: With a patented strap that prevents hair-pulling while keeping their swim goggles in place, this pair from Froggles is a godsend to parents.
Any parent will tell you the worst part about putting on a kid’s swim goggles is getting the strap on without pulling hair. So you ask your child to wet their hair first, but they won’t go in the water without their goggles. Frogglez solves this problem once and for all with a pain-free neoprene strap that slides right over any hair type without pulling. The strap doesn’t slip either, nor does it pull your kids’ eye sockets into their skull. Above all, it’s comfortable, even for hours in the pool. It also features a leak-proof design, UV protection, and anti-fog coating, so your kids will have nothing to complain about. Unless the pool is too cold. Or too hot. Or they’re hungry. Or thirsty…
Available in blue or “mermaid” colorway
Strap fits other goggle designs
Adjustable velcro straps
Fits up to 15-inch circumference heads
I got myself some fancy anti-fog goggles, but they still keep fogging up. What can I do?
Anti-fogging goggles are typically treated with a thin layer of chemicals that prevent condensation. But the harder you swim, the more likely they are to fog up anyway, and all these film coatings lose their effectiveness over time. You can purchase after-market sprays that help, but some people have also found that spitting in their goggles works as well. You can also try adding a dot of shaving cream, toothpaste, or baby shampoo and wiping with a soft cloth. These options provide a coating that effectively (but temporarily) prevents your goggles from fogging up.
I wear contacts. Can I get swim goggles and keep my contacts on when I swim?
A lot of people purchase swim goggles for that very reason. That said, no pair of swim goggles in the world can guarantee to protect you 100% against water. We recommend that you buy your goggles and check them out first before wearing them with your contacts, then return any pair that doesn’t provide you with the kind of protection you need. Once you’ve found the pair that works for you, try your contacts with your new swim goggles. But definitely keep the saline solution close, just in case.
Can I use my swim goggles as sunglasses while I’m at the pool or beach?
Yes, but make sure to use swim goggles that are UVA- and UVB-resistant. If they’re polarized as well, all the better. But if the lenses are only shaded (or smoked), it may feel like you’re wearing sunglasses, but your eyes are not being protected from light damage. In fact, dark lenses without UVA protection or polarization can be even worse on your eyes, since they will cause your pupil to widen involuntarily and allow in more harmful rays. Also, you’ll look like a dork. But you do you.
Daniel is a freelance writer covering the latest in technology and musical equipment.
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