Swimming is one of the best all-round sports, as it allows us to exercise all of our muscles so that we can reach that slender figure we’re all looking for. One advantage of this sport is that you don’t have to spend much money to have quality equipment. All you need is a swimming costume, a swim cap and good swimming goggles to protect the mucous membranes of your eyes.
This protection is vital when swimming, whether you do so in a pool or in the open sea, because chlorine or salt water can limit your visibility when they come into contact with your eyes. In either case, goggles tailored to your specific needs are necessary, and we’ve designed this guide to help you choose the right pair. Let’s get started!
- 1 First things first:
- 2 Ranking: The best swimming goggles in the UK
- 3 Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about swimming goggles
- 3.1 What exactly are swimming goggles?
- 3.2 Should I wear swimming goggles if I have vision problems?
- 3.3 What types of swimming goggles are out there?
- 3.4 Which lenses are best for me?
- 3.5 How should I clean my swimming goggles?
- 3.6 What type of material is most suitable for the gasket?
- 3.7 What are the differences between swimming goggles for pools and open water?
- 4 Buying Criteria
- 5 Summary
First things first:
- You’ll find many different types of swimming goggles on the British market. The type of goggles you’ll need will change whether you want to use them for swimming outdoors or if you tend to swim in an indoor pool.
- Make sure you pay attention to the type of lens and the manufacturing materials of the goggles. These will determine aspects such as durability and comfort.
- Making your swimming goggles last longer is also down to you. It is recommended to clean them regularly to avoid scratches on the lenses or loosening of the straps.
- Photochromatic lenses are your best option if you like to swim both in the open air and in pools, since they automatically adjust to the outside light.
Ranking: The best swimming goggles in the UK
The origin of modern swimming goggles go back to Olympic medallist Thomas Burgess, the second person to swim across the English Channel in the 20th century and the first one to do so with goggles. As you can imagine, the quality and technology of this product have evolved incredibly since then, and the following section features what we believe to be the very best models on the British market right now. So let’s take a look.
No. 1: Speedo Futura Biofuse Flexiseal
Speedo is one of the best and most well-known swimwear brands in the world. Founded in 1903, this brand is now an industry leader, so it’s no surprise that these goggles are Amazon’s number one best seller. They’re perfect for outdoor swimming as they have a smoke lens which provides protection in bright conditions and Wide Vision lenses to enhance your peripheral vision.
These goggles are all about comfort – they’re designed with the new Futura Biofuse Flexiseal, so they’ll fit snugly around your eyes. They’re made with gel-like materials that are so soft you’ll almost forget you’re wearing them! They are also available in a range of colours, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect colour for you.
No. 2: Aegend Tinted Lens
Founded in 2015, Aegend is a relatively new brand. But don’t let that put you off! It is now one of the leading swimwear brands on Amazon. These stylish goggles with tinted lenses are perfect for everyone and are Amazon’s Choice for goggles.
These goggles have tinted lenses, so they reduce brightness by allowing less light to reach your eyes, making them ideal for swimming indoors. What’s more, the 180 degree design ensures a wide range of vision and the anti-fog feature means that you’ll never have to put up with steamy goggles again!
No. 3: Aegend Mirrored Lens
You’ll stand out from the crowd in these snazzy pair of goggles from Aegend. With a mirrored coating that gives the lenses a fashionable blue-green reflection, these are made for outdoor swimming as the mirrored coating on the lenses reflects light away from the eyes to protect them on sunny days.
These goggles have similar features to those featured above, but the nose piece, made from ultra-soft silicone material, is higher up and all-improved, meaning that you can swim without the worry of ill-fitting goggles squeezing your nose. These goggles have great reviews on Amazon and come in a wide range of colours, so you can mix and match your favourite colours to find the best combination for you.
No. 4: i-Sports Pro i-Swim Original
These goggles have more four and five star reviews than any other pair on Amazon UK, and there’s a reason why! These goggles are made from premium materials, ensuring the perfect seal and maximum comfort. The flexible material used for the nose bridge is durable and unbreakable. They are fully adjustable and the quick-release clasp on the back makes them easy to wear and remove.
Their silver finished lens means they are perfect for both outdoor and indoor swimming, and the best part is that they come with a free protective case, free high-quality nose clip and free ear plugs, so there’s no doubt you’ll have the perfect swimming experience with these goggles.
No. 5: VETOKY
Last but not least, these Vetoky swimming goggles have an ultra-modern design. They are easily adjusted so you can get the perfect fit with adjustable straps and three interchangeable nose bridges, so these are goggles that will fit everyone!
They also have an anti-fog polycarbonate coating on the lens like the others, but this one is scratch resistant so you’ll be able to see clearly underwater all the time. The UV protection on the lens not only means that you can wear them outdoors without worrying about the sun damaging your eyes, but it also offers great glare-reduction so your eyes aren’t irritated by the sun or by the bright lights of the swimming pool.
Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about swimming goggles
Certain equipment is an absolute necessity when it comes to practising water sports, and you can bet swimming goggles are one of them. As can see from the ranking, the British market offers a wide range of products and it’s not always easy to know which one is most suited to your needs. But we’ve got you covered! Now, we’re going to tackle the most frequently asked questions by users to help you make the right decision.
What exactly are swimming goggles?
Swimming goggles are a type of glasses designed specifically for swimmers to see underwater while protecting their eyes from either the chlorine in indoor swimming pools or salt water. These swimming items are essential for competitive athletes, but also very useful for novice or beginner swimmers.
Should I wear swimming goggles if I have vision problems?
Absolutely! Swimming goggles are designed to protect the mucous membranes of your eyes from irritants such as salt or chlorine. People suffering from myopia or other vision problems need to wear corrective goggles. These products are naturally more expensive, but they are a worthy investment for your health if you’re a regular swimmer.
What types of swimming goggles are out there?
As we saw above, you won’t need the same model if you swim in open water to if you tend to hit the swimming pool. Your fitness and level of competence should also affect your choice. Swimming goggles can differ from one model to another depending on their shape, gasket, etc. Here’s some more info to help you make your choice:
|Models of swimming goggles||Shape or design|
|Monoblock||The bridge is not adjustable, which is why they are also called “fixed bridge” – you can only adjust the straps. They offer a wide range of visibility. They might be ideal for you and fit your face well if you don’t have a very pronounced nose. The silicone bridge they generally have makes them very comfortable, but they might not be your best option if you have prominent features.|
|Adjustable bridge||They present several flaps at the nose bridge and can adapt to the shape of your face. Once they are fitted, it is not recommended to keep tweaking these flaps. This will make them last longer and prevent them from breaking due to wear and tear.|
|Interchangeable bridge||As their name suggests, they include different bridges to choose from. The lenses are not joined together – each one is framed in a fixed plastic structure. These models are common in competition and are suitable for people who have a pronounced nose bridge. The great thing is that you can always change the bridge until you find the most suitable one for your face. The peripheral vision tends to be reduced as the goggles are usually smaller, but you will be more streamlined in the water.|
|Swedes||These very small and simple goggles offer a better peripheral vision as they do not have frames or mounts. You can adapt the nose bridge with an adjustable cord. They are widely used in competition because of their increased hydrodynamics.|
|Masks||Much like diving goggles, they feature large lenses and a large frame. They are suitable for beginners and for use in open water because they protect well against blows and collisions. The silicone on the frames and on the adjustable part of the face provide great comfort and a wide visibility.|
Which lenses are best for me?
The lenses are an element of swimming goggles you can’t overlook if you want to buy the model most tailored to your needs. The type of swimming you practise will greatly influence your choice, as you need different models to swim on the surface or for diving. Here are the different types of lenses and their specific uses:
|Types of lenses||When should I use them?|
|Mirrored and polarised||Ideal for very clear days and swimming in open waters. Frequently used in events such as triathlon.|
|Clear||Suitable for both open water and indoor swimming. Particularly recommended when swimming at night or on foggy days.|
|Coloured||They are commonly used in swimming pools and are usually yellow or blue. Blue models offer greater visibility in the water, while yellow ones are used depending on the chemicals found in the pool.|
How should I clean my swimming goggles?
Here are some instructions to follow if you want to keep your goggles in tip top condition. The first thing is to avoid touching the lens with your fingers, as they can leave grease stains that are hard to remove.
Here are some more things that will help you keep your swimming goggles in perfect condition:
- Let them air dry. Do not use towels or cloths as this can remove the anti-fog protection.
- Keep them in a case. This will prevent scratches on the lenses.
- Remove the straps. If you cannot do that, mix some water with washing-up liquid and clean them gently. If you can remove them, clean them gently with water and washing-up liquid. Remember to always let them air dry.
- Cold water. Rinse your goggles with cold tap water after training to remove any traces of chlorine or salt.
What type of material is most suitable for the gasket?
The gasket needs to be watertight so that water doesn’t leak into the goggles. During the 1970s, swimming goggles often came with a foam gasket, but they could never completely guarantee that no water would leak. Nowadays, there are more gaskets to choose from. Here are the different types available on the market:
- Foam gasket. They are the most comfortable and do not leave any marks on your face, but they generally become less watertight over time.
- Silicone gasket. They originally come with a light smell that disappears over time. The silicone is resistant and flexible. They fit to your face very well, so they are very watertight. However, they may leave marks on your face if you use them for a long period of time.
- Unsealed. Swedes are the most common models that do not feature silicone gaskets. They are widely used by top athletes. These models are more expensive and are not recommended for open water.
What are the differences between swimming goggles for pools and open water?
As you know, swimming outdoors or in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Each of these settings require you to have different swimming goggles.
We’ve summed up the features of both models in the table below to help you have an idea of what you should be looking for:
|Open water or outdoor||Swimming pool or indoor|
|Monoblock goggles with mirrored lenses to avoid reflections or smoke lenses to protect your sight.||For heated pools, it is recommended to opt for clear lenses and fixed bridge or monoblock goggles.|
|It is also important to have protection against UV-A and UV-B radiation. You can opt for just about any goggles if you swim in unheated pools. That being said, there are other factors to take into account like anti-fog protection. These are detailed in the next section.|
As we’ve seen throughout this article, there are a number of key things to take into account if you want to buy the most appropriate swimming goggles for you. The type of swimming you practise is the first element to consider and the starting point in your decision process. Then, these are the other things to think about:
- Type of goggles
- Frequency of use
- Lens colour
- Anti-fog system
Type of goggles
You’ll want to go for a mask-like model if you’re into snorkelling or scuba diving. On the other hand, Swedish goggles – or simply Swedes – should be your go-to choice if competition is your thing. Don’t overlook this aspect when buying your very own swimming goggles.
Frequency of use
You also have to choose your goggles based on your swimming level and how frequently you exercise. A beginner won’t need the same model as a professional swimmer who has swam for thousands of hours. Here is a quick table to introduce you to which goggles are best depending your level and frequency:
|Level of practice||What swimming goggles do I need?|
|Casual swimmer||Go for easily adjustable goggles that include quite a thick silicone gasket around the eyes. You can also opt for mask-type swimming goggles that offer a wide vision.|
|Regular swimmer||Look for comfortable, well-supported goggles. Remember to go for a model with UV protection if you plan on swimming outdoors.|
|Intensive or competitive swimmer||Choose polycarbonate lenses as they are more durable and offer a greater resistance to impact. Models with double strap provide greater stability at higher speeds. Customisable Swedes with removable nose bridges are great if you want to combine performance and comfort.|
You can always go for one-size-fits-all swimming goggles if you simply don’t have the time to try on different sizes. They will allow you to adjust both the straps and the nose bridge. We recommend you to opt for a small size if you have a smaller face or if the goggles are for a minor. That being said, most manufacturers provide size instructions.
We’ve already touched on this, but you need to choose goggles with polarised or darker lenses if you swim outdoors, as these models prevent reflections and protect your eyes from the sun. Opt for clear lenses if you swim indoors, and photochromatic lenses will be your best option if you like to swim both indoors and outdoors. These goggles are designed to adjust to the outside luminosity.
Nowadays, polycarbonate lenses are the most common on the market due to their increased strength and durability. Silicone gaskets are also frequently used for the same reason. Goggles manufactured with these materials are a great choice, but we still encourage you to buy a case to keep them safe and avoid scratches on the lenses.
The fact that swimming goggles can become foggy is undeniably one of the most common problems that swimmers face. This is why you should buy a model with anti-fog protection. The anti-fog coating on the lens can sometimes only last for a few months, in which case you will need a liquid to prevent fogging. Looking at reviews comes in handy here, because they can inform you as to how long the anti-fog coating lasts for.
We might not always pay enough attention to small details, but swimming without appropriate goggles is a mistake that can catch up with you eventually if you’re a regular swimmer. Bacteria, salt residues or chlorine found in swimming pools can damage your eyesight and lead to minor or serious eye injuries: this is why wearing goggles is so important.
Nowadays, you can easily and efficiently buy swimming glasses over the internet, but there are still key factors to consider if you want to make the right decision. These include the manufacturing materials, the size or whether they feature an anti-fog protection.
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(Source of featured image: Cervo/ 123rf.com)