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10 best adult swimming goggles for pools, open water sessions and triathlons

Allow these aids to take your dip to new lengths

Lydia Willgress
Friday 28 August 2020 12:45
We swam more lengths than we can count testing the protective products from across the market
We swam more lengths than we can count testing the protective products from across the market

Swimming goggles are an essential piece of kit no matter what kind of swimmer you are. A leaky pair can ruin a session, while newer models include innovative perks that can really make a difference to training.

When it comes to goggles, it definitely isn't a case of “one size fits all”. So, how do you make sure you buy the perfect pair?

Firstly, you need to work out how you’ll use them. If you’re a pool swimmer, anti-fog technology can help to stop them steaming up and a wider lens will enable a clear field of vision.

If you prefer outdoor swimming, mirrored or polarised lenses can react to changing light conditions and reduce glare on the water, while a low-profile design could help to diminish drag in those all-important races.

Other factors to consider include your face shape; some models come with a range of nose bridges in different sizes, enabling you to find the perfect fit from the comfort of your living room.

You also need to find a pair that is easy to adjust. And whether you Instagram every session or just want to look good in the pool, the design is also key.

To help you decide, we’ve tested all these things and swam more lengths than we can count testing goggles from across the market.

From those that track every session to help you push harder and swim faster to pairs from some of the best-known brands, we’ve rounded up our favourites below to help you find the perfect training aid.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Zone3 volare racing streamline swim goggles

Triathlon brand Zone3 has truly pulled it out the bag with this pair. No fog. No leaking. Stayed secure without leaving marks around our eyes. UV protection for open air sessions. Need we continue? In all honesty, we can’t find a bad word to say about these goggles. Designed specifically for pool swimming, they are now our go-to pair for drills, lido sessions and those early morning lanes. The polarised mirror lenses help to reduce brightness and we found the vision underwater was crisp and clear. The low profile, vibrant design got us a couple of compliments in the changing room, too. Plus, each pair comes with interchangeable nose bridges and an adjustable head strap, so you can find the right fit from day one. These tick all the right boxes.

Form smart swim goggles

These swimming goggles by Form are a data lover’s dream. Forget counting lanes or clock watching to estimate how fast you did your distance; these tell you everything you need to know. We loved the smart display, which kept us up to date with our split times and distance swam across every session, helping us to stay motivated and push harder. Sessions are then uploaded via an app on your phone, so you can analyse your swims out of the pool (which is perfect if like us it ‘didn’t count’ unless it’s on Strava). If that isn’t enough, you can also link a heart monitor up to really boost your training.

These goggles aren’t just smart, however. They’re also super comfortable, easy to adjust and perform to the highest standards. We had no problems with water leaking through and the lenses remained clear and free of fog, even on one of the hottest days of the year. Form recognises that everyone’s face is different and provides four different nose bridge sizes so you can be sure to find a good match. They are on the expensive side – but we think these are worth saving up the pennies for. Truly the perfect training aid.

Nabaiji swimming goggles 500 spirit

These cheap and cheerful goggles are a great buy for anyone looking for a basic pair they can shove in the bottom of their swim bag. For £9.99, these goggles offer a good field of vision while the anti-fog treatment worked a treat. They are adjustable with a split head strap at the rear, which we found smooth and easy to operate, and side straps. We loved the modern design (although admittedly we were laughed at by our other half when we said it reminded us of a piece of modern art). Our only complaint was that we had to spend a lot of time initially getting the fit right to ensure they were watertight. Overall, a solid buy for pool swimmers.

Sundried legend polarised goggles

Sundried launched in 2016 with the aim of providing high-quality products at affordable prices. It’s no surprise, then, that these goggles perform just as well as some of the more expensive pairs on the market. The polarised lenses not only look cool, they also help to block UV rays and filter the glare caused by light reflecting off the water. This makes them a great choice for open water or competitive swimmers. We found the anti-fog technology was pretty good – although we did have to re-dip the goggles a couple of times in order to clear them (granted, it was a heatwave). They are extremely sturdy and can cope with being dropped, shoved in a bag and knocked about. The side buckle makes it easy to adjust them even when in the water. We preferred this style over some of the other pairs as we didn’t need to fiddle with the straps for ages at the start of every swim. At this price, you can’t go wrong.

Speedo aquapulse pro mirror

If someone were to ask about well-known swimming brands, Speedo would probably come top of the list. The company has been producing high quality kit since the early twentieth century – and these futuristic goggles did not disappoint. The frameless profile is sleek and modern, while the wrap-around lenses are some of the best on the market, enabling you to see everything you need no matter what stroke you’re doing. The “side arms” help to reduce pressure on the head (and made sure that our hair didn’t get tangled in the strap). They were also easy to adjust. We didn’t experience any fogging or leaking with this pair and the UV protection helped to keep our eyes safe. We did find these made everything a little dark, which caught us out one evening during a late pool session. However, the overall performance and high levels of comfort mean these are a great choice for active swimmers or triathletes.

Orca goggle mask

If you’re looking for an alternative to classic goggles, this mask by specialist brand Orca is a great option. They are particularly good if you’re a triathlete or open water swimmer looking for a little extra protection from flailing arms and legs as it provides additional coverage across the forehead and eyes. Although the design is simple, the polycarbonate lens enables a wide field of vision and the goggles are easy to adjust (even while in the water) with a clip close system on each side. Despite being a bit bigger, they are very light, and, after a couple of minutes, we could hardly tell we were wearing them. We didn’t have any issues with them fogging, although we did find they leaked a tiny bit during front crawl.

Huub altair swim goggle

Huub bills this pair as the “world’s only goggles with three different lenses” – and having tested them we were left wondering why no one else has thought of this. Although we were slightly sceptical at first, we quickly found we had absolutely nothing to worry about. The lenses are easy to interchange and the goggles – which are extremely light – perform as well as the other models we tested, offering a secure fit and preventing any leaking. Swimmers can choose between the different coloured lenses depending on what time of day they are swimming and what the weather is doing. The yellow mirror lenses are suited for low light, dusk swims; the silver are better for artificial light or early morning swims while the black lenses are for strong sunlight. Plus, you get a zip case to keep all the bits together and safe. We found the vision wasn’t quite as clear as some of the brand’s competitors and the head strap was slightly more difficult to adjust at the back. But we think £49.99 is a reasonable price for a product that offers more than the basics.

Arena the one mirror goggles

If you’re a fan of getting the basics right, then these mirror goggles from specialist swimming brand Arena are for you. They aren’t the flashiest pair on the market – in fact they are one of the cheapest we tried – but their simplicity is what makes them so good. Made for recreational and fitness swimming, we found these goggles did actually fit well despite the “one size fits all” approach – the brand says it “studied the human face to develop a special goggle to fit most face shapes”.

We didn’t have any trouble with leaking or fogging, and the underwater vision was better than a lot of the other pairs we tried. The mirrored polycarbonate lenses help to reduce glare, which is especially important outside, and we did find they turned everything a lovely pastel shade. As long as you don’t mind swimming into a pink hue, then these are a good pair at a very reasonable price.

Zoggs predator flex polarized ultra reactor goggles

The most impressive thing about these goggles is how well they perform underwater. We found our vision was crystal clear, whether we were in the pool or in the local swimming pond. The photochromatic lenses reacted seamlessly with changing light conditions and enabled us to clock watch from the pool when we needed to (we found with some of the other pairs we were unable to clearly see the timer). The anti-fog technology worked well, and we had no issues with leaking – no matter what stroke we were practising. Water tended to stay on the outer lenses in droplets, although this didn’t affect our training at all. Available in two sizes, they are comfortable and had a secure fit that didn’t leave marks around the eyes. If you do need to make adjustments, then the side straps are accessible and easy to use. They do have a relatively high price mark compared to similar models, but if you’re looking for guaranteed quality then these are a good option.

Swans Valkyrie mirrored + MIT

Swans specialises in making goggles, having begun at the start of the twentieth century producing pairs for aviation. Fast forward 100 years and the brand is still going strong, offering pairs for racing, triathlons and open water swimming. We tried one of the Valkyrie pair of goggles and were impressed with their quality. The low-profile design and curved lenses enabled a wide field of vision and, if you’re into competitions, helped to reduce drag. These goggles offer 100 per cent UV protection and include mirror insert technology – the fancy way of saying there’s a mirror between two layers in the lenses. We found this helped to reduce some of the glare and ensured they didn't get scratched (they also come with a hard storage case which helps to keep them safe). We found these were a little difficult to adjust at first, but had no issues with leaking or fogging.

The verdict: Swimming goggles

Swimming goggle technology has certainly advanced since we were first in the pool. We were impressed with the range of goggles on the market – and think there are some great options to choose from. Our favourites were the volare racing streamline swim goggles by Zone3, which we couldn’t fault.

However, if you’re into using data to shape and enhance your training plan then the Form smart swim goggles will offer everything you need. Arena's the one mirror goggles are also a great no fuss option. Happy swimming!

If you're looking to update your pool attire, take a look at our review of the best women's active swimsuits which don't sacrifice style for support

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