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How To Find the Best Swimming Goggles for You

Adam Nakada

How to Fit Swimming Goggles

Whether you're a serious or casual swimmer, your swimming goggles are important. Constantly adjusting them can be a big nuisance, and the wrong pair can really hamper how much you end up enjoying your swimming experiences. No matter what kind of swimmer you are, fitting swimming goggles involves trying on goggles in-store and wearing them properly.

Test the seals of the eye pieces with your face shape.

  • Place each pair of goggles over your eyes without fitting the straps around your head. Use your fingers to press the goggles gently onto your eyes. If they have enough suction to seal to your face for 3 to 4 seconds, they're a good fit. If they pop off, look for a smaller size.
  • Improper suction will let water in while you swim and your goggles will pop off your face more often.
  • Some goggles have eye cups that stick to the inside of your eye socket—just outside of your eyeball—for extra suction.

Check to see if the nose bridge is comfortable on your nose.

  • Swimming goggles typically have either an adjustable nose bridge or replaceable one. Goggles with an elastic strap nose bridge can be tightened by pulling on each side of the strap. If the piece doesn't seal onto your nose properly, tighten the strap or swap it with a different piece until you're comfortable.
  • Rope nose bridges are similarly flexible but require you to thread a small piece of rope through each of the eye cups.
  • Replaceable nose bridges usually come in three different sizes.

Test out different goggle shapes.

  • Many goggles are designed with oval shapes, which are better suited for looking straight ahead. However, if you're going to be swimming in open water, you may want to try out different shapes that are larger and allow for greater peripheral visibility.
  • You can purchase goggles for different occasions if you'd like. Many goggles are marketed for different needs (competition, practice, recreational).

Try goggles made with different materials to find what's most comfortable.

  • Goggles come with rings that line your eyes and connect your face to the eye pieces. These rings come in different materials, each with their own benefits. Plastic and rubber goggles offer the best suction across varying face shapes, while foam offers great flexibility, but less durability. Silicone is becoming very popular for its durability, but is one of the more expensive options.
  • Some people are allergic to foam. If you experience any irritation from this material, it's probably a sign that you fall into this category.
Wearing Swimming Goggles Properly
  • Position the head straps about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  • Most goggles will have two straps, as they offer more security. After fitting your head straps, you should be able to comfortably pull the straps outward without putting too much tension on them. If you're having trouble, loosen the straps.
  • The eye piece seals shouldn't wrap too far around the corners of your eyes.
  • Goggles that have one strap with a slit in the middle aren't as secure. If you're going to use them, place the strap in the center of the back of your head so that it lines up horizontally with your ears.

Adjust the head straps until they fit comfortably.

  • Pull on the loose ends of the straps until the tension of the goggles is firm but comfortable. Use double-strapped goggles for optimal security. With this goggle type, the bottom strap should rest in the center of your head and the top should rest as high as possible to prevent your goggles from sliding down toward your neck.
  • Don't tighten straps too far—too much tension can cause discomfort and markings around your eyes.

Loosen the nose bridge if the eye cups pull towards the center.

  • If the outside of your eye cups feel like they're going to lift off of your face and let water in, you need to loosen your nose bridge or switch to larger adjustable piece.
  • If your nose strap is made of rope, you can always cut off a piece of rubber from the adjustable head strap and swap it in. Many people find that this offers a greater deal of comfort than rope.

Tighten the nose bridge if the eye pieces pull outwards.

  • If you feel the inside of your eye cups are going to lift off of your face and allow water in, tighten your bridge or switch to a smaller adjustable piece.
  • If your eye pieces fit fine but water is starting to leak in, it could be a sign that you need a new rope for your nose bridge or a new adjustable piece.

Choosing Goggle Lenses

  • Invest in tinted lenses if you're a casual, outdoor swimmer. Tinted lenses filter the ultraviolet rays that come from the sun, although not as effectively as mirrored lenses. If you swim outside they can greatly improve visibility. But for daily swimmers, consider metallic lenses.
  • Tinted goggles have less anti-fog effectiveness than metallic lenses, meaning even less visibility indoors.
  • Purchase mirrored lenses if you're a frequent, outdoor swimmer. Mirrored metallic lenses are made with a dark tint to prevent ultraviolet light from the sun. Although tinted lenses do the same, metallic designs have higher durability and reliability.
  • Avoid mirrored lenses if you swim at night or indoors, as they will reduce visibility.
  • Wear clear lenses for indoor or early-morning swimming. Clear lenses are ideal if you primarily swim in low-light conditions due to their lack of tint and anti-fog materials.
  • Apply anti-fogging agents to prevent condensation. Most goggles have lenses coated with anti-fogging agents, but what suppliers don't tell you is they typically wear off fast. Invest in anti-fogging sprays if you regularly face humid conditions.
  • Choose colored goggles for unique environmental conditions. Colored goggles can be used for both indoor and outdoor use to overcome unique environmental conditions that can hinder visibility. Common color choices are:
  • Lilac colors are designed for optimal contrast against blue or green backgrounds and can be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Amber goggles improve vision in low-light areas and decrease glare in conditions of excess light. They can be used indoors and outdoors.
  • Blue goggles let an average amount of light in but still shield from glare in bright environments. They are suited to both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Wear prescription lenses if you require vision correction. If you wear contact lenses or glasses, you can choose prescription lenses to provide better visibility. Contact lenses can be worn with goggles, but you run the risk of water getting in them.
  • Prescription lenses can be ordered through optometrists or swimming goggle suppliers. Contact both for quotes and prescription availability.

How To Find the Best Swimming Goggles for You

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