Sian Lewis shares her top 6 choices for the best swimming goggles for open water
Whether you’re a regular outdoor swimmer or just love to clock up laps in your local indoor pool, a pair of good swimming goggles are an essential to keep swimmers comfortable in the water, and help you work out for longer.
Good swimming goggles are harder to find thank you might think – they need to offer a great firm fit around your eyes that doesn’t allow water in without being painful or tight (and ideally, without leaving you with red rings around your eyes after a swim). They also need to be adjustable to sit comfortably over a swim cap and stay fog-free so you can see where you’re going. After you’ve got a good fit, you’ll also need to consider what lens colour you go for – from clear to tinted, mirrored to polarised, there’s a goggle for every weather condition, and I’ve explained exactly what to choose in the buyer’s guide below.
Most mid-range adult goggles are one size, but if you have a smaller or wider face you’ll find differently sized or adjustable goggles available. And if you usually wear glasses, prescription goggles designed to correct your eyesight will help you see clearly.
Once you own a great pair of goggles, look after them by rinsing them in water after use, leaving to air dry and keeping them out of the sun.
My top six picks of the best swimming goggles for adults fit the face nicely, offer great clarity of vision and feel comfortable to wear even for long periods of time in the water. You’ll also find key features to look out for when choosing your new swimming goggles in the buyer’s guide, below.
At a glance:
Best Goggles for those who compete – Speedo Unisex Fastskin Speedsocket 2 Swimming Goggles
Best Goggles for those on a budget – Decathlon Swimdow
Best Goggles for polarisation – Zoggs Predator Flex Polarized Ultra Reactor Goggles
Speedo Fastskin Speedsocket 2 Mirror Goggles
Best swimming goggles for open water competitive swimming
Reasons to Buy: great slim design, mirrored lenses, anti-fog
Reasons to Avoid: expensive
• Sizes: One size
• Colours: black, green
• Lenses: mirror
Speedo’s Fastskin goes straight to the top of the class for serious swimmers – this premium goggle is a great choice for athletes. The sleek goggle is designed to reduce drag in the water, while mirrored lenses are ideal for bright sunlight if you’re swimming outdoors in endurance events or competing in a triathlon. These goggles also had some of the best anti-fog treatment we tested, and stretchy straps and goggle seals mould nicely to the face and head and stay put as you move. If you take swimming seriously, invest in the Fastskin.
Aqua Sphere Vista Goggles
Best swimming goggles for open water leisure swimming
Reasons to Buy: great leak-free seal, large field of vision
Reasons to Avoid: too bulky for competitive swimming
• Sizes: one size
• Colours: five available
• Lenses: clear
If you’re sick of goggles that let water leak in over time, try on Aqua Sphere’s Vista for size. This was the most reliable goggle we tested for getting a comfy but leak-free seal around your eyes for casual swimming, and the clear lenses are a good choice for going deeper underwater – wear these goggles for wild swimming adventures and exploring the ocean during fitness and endurance swims. Anti-fog technology keeps things clear in changeable weather conditions.
Speedo Aquapulse Pro Mirror
Best light weight swimming goggles for pools swimmers
Reasons to Buy: great comfort, light weight, mirrored lenses
Reasons to Avoid: outdoor swimmers may want bigger lenses
• Sizes: One size
• Colours: black
• Lens colour: black/gold
Meet the goggle you’ll barely even notice you have on. Speedo’s Aquapulse is pleasingly slim, streamlined and lightweight, with thin but effective adjustable silicone straps and super-comfortable and soft suction cups that fit nicely around the eyes and doesn’t leave angry red marks. The orange and gold mirrored lenses effectively reduce glare outdoors but can also be worn indoors, and while the lenses don’t look big, they still offer decent vision for fitness swimming. A great all-rounder, especially if you find most goggles uncomfortable.
Best swimming goggles for open water swimmers on a budget
Reasons to Buy: wide field of vision, good strap, versatile clear lens
Reasons to Avoid: bulky design
• Sizes: One size
• Colours: white, blue, black
• Lenses: clear
Beginner swimmer or shopping on a budget? Goggles needn’t cost a lot – Decathlon do models starting from just £5.99. Our pick for newbies is the Swimdow 100, which is simple and functional but comfortable. Clear lenses will suit both indoor and outdoor swim sessions, and the oversized mask-like goggles offer a brilliant wide field of vision and can even double up as a snorkel mask if you want to check out what lies beneath the waves. The thick adjustable strap stays snug on the head, but these goggles are bulkier and less streamlined than more expensive, sporty models.
Zoggs Predator Flex Reactor Goggles
Best swimming goggles to cut glare in open water
Reasons to Buy: two sizes available, ideal for sunny weather, comfortable
Reasons to Avoid: less useful indoors
• Sizes: Small or regular
• Colours: white
• Lenses: polarized grey
If you’re a budding triathlete or love to train in open water, you’ll need a goggle that can cut the sun’s glare and offer clear vision. The Predator really stood out on test in sunny conditions – the polarised lenses work like sunglasses and the oversized sockets offer great vision even if you’re in and out of murky water. Anti-fog technology does a great job of keeping lenses clear even in different weather conditions and temperatures, and a flexible frame hugs the face nicely, while two sizes makes it easier to get the right model for you. Top marks, and a good price point too.
Swans Prescription Goggles
Best swimming goggles for open water swimmers with eye wear prescriptions
Reasons to Buy: both lenses customisable, great fit, different nose bridges included
Reasons to Avoid: smoke lens won’t suit low light
• Sizes: one size
• Colours: black
• Lenses: orange smoke
See clearly now with prescription goggles – our top pick for glasses wearers who want good vision underwater are designs from Swans, who were the first manufacturers to introduce prescription swimming goggles to the market. You can customise both left and right lenses to suit you when you order, and the smoke/orange lens colour of this goggle cuts glare nicely without impeding vision, so it’s a good all-rounder for both indoor and outdoor swimming sessions. Swans also include four different nose bridges with each goggle model, so it’s easy to get a snug customised fit on this sleek design, which doesn’t feel bulky to wear.
What we look for in the best swimming goggles
-Fit: Your new goggles should sit snugly around your eyes but without any discomfort or tightness and offer a wide field of vision. A good fit test is to pop the goggle onto your face without using the strap – they should offer some suction around your eyes and stay put. If you have a wider face, look for a model with an adjustable nose piece. If you have a smaller face, consider trying a female-specific goggle or a model that comes in multiple sizes.
-Lenses: Lenses are the key component of your new goggles, and they come in different colours and finishes to suit different swimming scenarios. Clear lenses offer the best visibility in low light conditions or if you want to look about underwater but don’t block out glare, while ‘smoke’ and coloured lenses are good for brighter indoor and outdoor conditions. You’ll also find polarised and mirrored goggles on the market – these are ideal for reducing glare and brightness in sunny conditions, so are ideal for outdoor swimming. If you usually wear glasses, plenty of brands now offer goggles customisable to your prescription.
-Fogging: Goggles fog up when warm air meets cold lenses, causing condensation. Goggles with anti-fog treatment are your best choice for avoiding this, or try replacing aging goggles with a new model if it starts to happen after a few years – the anti-fog coating may have worn off. Avoid rubbing or touching the lenses of goggles with anti-fog technology, and don’t clean them with soap – just rinse with water to keep the anti-fog coating in place.