The best goggles for swimming can mean the difference between a comfortable and enjoyable swim and a frustrating slog that’ll have you rubbing your eyes balls relentlessly.
At a basic level, a good pair of leisure swimming goggles will fit well without feeling too tight, keep the water out of your eyes and won’t constantly mist up. The most affordable goggles usually have clear lenses, which are absolutely fine for the casual fitness swimmer. If you pay a little more, you’ll benefit from technologies such as protection from UV rays, glare reduction and lens coatings that adapt to bright light, so you’re not squinting.
Here’s our round-up of the best swimming goggles – for every type of swim, for every budget
Top 10 best goggles for swimming
1. Aqua Sphere Unisex Adult Kameleon Swimming Goggles
Heading somewhere sunny with an outdoor pool? Add this affordable feature-packed pair to your packing list – they offer 100% UVA/UVB protection and a wider field of vision than many other goggles at this price, so you can spot that teenager planning a dive-bomb sooner and take evasive action. The lenses are also anti-fog and scratch-resistant – we’re not sure what else you could possibly expect at this price.
2. ZONE3 Volaire Swimming Goggles
Zone3’s Attack goggles the best swimming goggles right now. These are a reliable all-rounder, serving you well for everything from sea swimming to lunchtime pool laps. They’re also a great option if you struggle finding goggles to fit your face. They’re the comfiest we tested. The oversized foam gaskets fit like a dream for all face shapes and sizes, staying put once tightened enough with no mid-swim adjustments needed. The field of vision is pretty decent thanks to curved lenses, meaning the goggles can be used for indoor and outdoor swimming, allowing you to easily sight upcoming buoys. What makes the Attack a versatile choice are the lens tints. Go for polarised or photochromatic and you’ll have goggles suited for sunny weather, with glare reduction and UVA/UVB protection to boot.
3. Slazenger Unisex Blade Swimming Goggles
Unsure if you even like swimming? Just need a pair of cheap goggles while you (ahem) test the water? Then there’s no need to go overboard – this bargain set from Sports Direct will do the job. It takes a few minutes of fiddling to get the seal tight enough that you don’t have to empty water out of them after every length, and they will fog up every five minutes or so, but they’re £3 and will more than suffice while you decide if you’re going to stick with this swimming malarkey.
4. Aqua Sphere Vista Pro Open Water Swimming Mask
The single lens sweeping across your face gives an unparalleled field of vision – no plastic nose bridge to get in the way. We tested the gold mirrored version pictured – very striking as well as giving good reduction of glare while swimming in bright sunshine. A range of lens options is available. We found the silicone seal to be soft and very comfortable. A bigger mask takes a bit of getting used to, but are very comfortable and the range of vision is awesome. The Aqua Sphere Vista Pro is a high quality mask designed for open water and wild swimming.
5. Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Goggles Hydrospex Classic
The brand Speedo has been synonymous with excellent swimwear equipment over the decades. Their Hydrospex Swim Goggles are the best of their goggle line. The stylish pure white frame will nest comfortably on your face.
The gasket shape will compliment your eye socket so that it forms an airtight seal, and no water drops can seep through. The lenses are coated with an anti-fog layer on the to prevent moisture from building up.
The goggles will never wiggle out of position due to the split silicone head strap.
The Speedo goggles are definitely worth the pick if you’re looking for comfortable straps. The lenses are also coated with an anti-fog technology that will lessen the fog build-up on your glasses considerably.
6. Aqua Sphere Unisex’s Kaiman Exo Swimming Goggle
The Aqua Sphere Kaiman EXO Goggles have great suction and bright vision, but we found they were a bit difficult to loosen once wearing and the seal is quite firm.
These were the only goggles that leaked, but the water stayed in the area between the lens and the seal.
Although they proved to give the brightest vision for indoor pools, we found that the leaked water drops are constantly in front of your eyes can be rather annoying while swimming.
7. Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Goggles Vanquisher 2.0
Nearly everyone we spoke with mentioned these versatile goggles, which fit most people’s faces. “It seems like just about everybody starts with a pair of Speedo Vanquisher goggles,” says Christine Frietchen, a board member of the Brooklyn Tri Club. Samuelsohn even keeps a spare pair of women’s Vanquishers in his bag for teammates “because they seem to have a reasonably universal fit regardless of your face — male or female. They’re like type O negative blood [the universal donor].” According to Julie Stupp, 2012 Olympic Trials finalist and the in-house product reviewer for SwimOutlet.com, these are the best-selling goggles on the market. “If you want to have one all-around goggle, go with the Vanquisher,” she tells us. Lindsey Marx, a marketing content strategist at Best Company who also teaches swimming, likes that the elastic band stays put “so your goggles won’t fall off if you’re doing a flip turn or diving,” and writer Melanie Musson wears them because they’re “comfortable, fog free, and have a good seal.”
Former competitive swimmer and founder of ProSwim NYC Glinda Dobrica likes the Vanquisher because “there’s a kind for everyone: women, men, indoor swimmers, outdoor swimmers, [and] prescription.” They’re also a favorite of Theresa McCartney, a member of the Bearcat Masters swim team who’s been using them for nearly 20 years. “I like them because they fit comfortably and don’t fog,” she says. “Furthermore, they come in various colors, and you can get them with mirrored lenses for outdoor use.” Laura Picardo, communications officer at New York Open Water agrees: “The Vanquisher is extremely popular for a reason. They don’t fog up easily, and they really stay on well for sprinting.”
8. Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Mirrored Swim Goggles
Find your perfect fit with a pair of goggles that includes four interchangeable nose pieces. This low-profile pair also features an anti-fog coating to keep your vision clear lap after lap. And if you have to take your session outside, rest assured the lenses will block harmful UVA and UVB rays.
9. Speedo Mariner Supreme Optical Swimming Goggles
Speedo is a leading brand in swimming so it’s disappointing it doesn’t offer the choice of differing prescriptive lenses – you have to have the same prescription in both eyes. The design is simple and though we had no problems with the strap length, others have said it is too short, so be warned. Like the non-prescriptive Flexiseal goggles, these do share the same blue lens to reduce the glare from the water. If you need a lower cost pair of prescription goggles they should do the job.
10. ZIONOR Swimming Goggles
This pair is made with a nose gasket that allows for better sealing, regardless of the size and shape of your face. And if you’re not looking to sacrifice style, they come in a ton of colors too.
Rave Review: “I’ve been a lap swimmer for a long time, and these are probably the most comfortable goggles I’ve ever had. The rubber gasket is fairly wide and soft. I usually buy junior goggles because I have a small face and narrow nose; these fit perfectly, with very little raccoon eyes afterwards.”
How to choose the best swimming goggles for you
What type of goggles are there?
- Swim training, fitness and leisure: These comfortable full-frame goggles are the most common type available and have a flat lens fitted into a socket in the surrounding frame, with the nose bridge and frame made from a single unit.
- Racing: These are designed to be streamlined, with smaller eye gaskets to reduce water drag when competing and to make sure the goggles stay firmly put when turning or diving.
- Mask: Mask goggles look a bit like scuba-diving masks, and the strong suction on your face means they don’t suffer from leaking. They’re comfortable and can handle rough water well, but are large and heavy, making them better suited to open-water swimming.
- Swedish: Favoured among some elite swimmers, the lens and frame on Swedish swimming goggles are all one single piece of hard plastic that sits directly against the skin, with an adjustable nose width. They’re the smallest goggles available and are therefore among the most streamlined, but their real standout feature is their visibility.
- Prescription: These have prescription lenses for people who wear glasses, with some coming as a kit that you fit together yourself. Prescription goggles are both cheaper and easier to get hold of than they used to be, and come in a range of styles – although, inevitably, you won’t have quite so much choice when it comes to frame shape and lens tint.
- Children’s: Swimming goggles can be essential for kids, especially those who feel the stinging effects of chlorinated water and who don’t like putting their head underwater. There are various types available, but comfort should be your biggest priority here.
How important is the lens colour?
- Clear lenses are good for indoor and outdoor swimming in low light or on overcast days.
- Smoke lenses reduce overall brightness, making them good for outdoor swimming on sunnier days.
- Amber lenses improve vision at low light levels, as well as reducing glare in bright conditions, making them a good choice for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Blue lenses can also protect from glare in bright conditions both indoors and outdoors.
- Polarised lenses block out glare without dimming your field of vision. Photochromatic lenses adjust automatically to changing light conditions, darkening when it’s bright and lightening up again in lower light, making them another good option for outdoor swimming in all conditions.
- Mirrored lenses used to be considered best for sunny outdoor conditions because of the way they reduce the glare and reflection of the sun, but are increasingly favoured simply for their stylish finish.
What else should I consider when choosing a pair of swimming goggles?
Make sure the seal is good (put the goggles on your eyes without using the strap and press them gently against your eyes to test the suction) and check that the straps fit well. Your goggles should have an anti-fog, anti-scratch lens as standard and, if you’re an outdoor swimmer, you may want UV protection too.
And there we have it our best goggles for swimming for 2021. Do you own a pair of any that we listed? What other goggles would you add to the list? We’d love to know so why not leave us a comment. You can shop our full range of adult goggles here. Or if you’re looking for something for the little ones our children’s goggles can be found here.