After the bathing suit, swim goggles are one of the most popular accessories a swimmer can wear. Originally made from polished turtle shells in Persia around the 14th century to help pearl divers see better underwater, swim goggles have become a companion for swimmers of all ages. (this doesn’t mean little ones should wear them from day one, they need to feel comfortable with water on their face and the feeling it gives them). Even though today their main goal is the same as in the past, goggles also offer comfort for the eyes from chlorine and other substances found in the water. Some even include extra features such as UV protection, anti-fog or anti-reflection. Their use depends on the type of swimming you practice.
With so many references, materials and styles, sometimes buying them can get a little overwhelming, that is why we have compiled these 4 tips for choosing the best goggles for you or your kid’s swim lessons.
The first question you must ask yourself is, what do you need the goggles for? Indoor swimming? Will you take them to the ocean? Are you planning to compete? What’s your budget? Do you need prescribed lenses? All of these answers will narrow your selection and help you decide what is best for you.
Defining the style of goggles you want will narrow the selection further, and leave you just a handful of options. Usually, these styles come in adult and kid sizes. The most common ones in the market are:
- Gasket: The most common type of goggles. They use suction around the eye to prevent water from leaking. The lens shape and the material can vary. They are recommended for all types of swimming activities (leisure or competitive).
- Swedish: These goggles are custom-made and are used most commonly by professional swimmers. Instead of relying on suction, Swedish goggles are designed to fit the eye socket.
- Masks: Larger than the goggles swim masks are either used for recreational or open-water swimming. They enhance the field of vision and can be very comfortable. Swim masks are great for snorkelling or playing games at the pool.
- Prescription: For those with eyesight conditions that complicate their swimming lessons, prescription lenses can be the solution. They will work just like your regular glasses, just underwater.
You have decided how you want to use your goggles, now it’s time to choose the type of lenses they will have. The variations will help you improve your underwater vision based on the light conditions.
For indoor swimming, the most recommended lens colours are clear, lilac, amber or blue. All of them are designed for low light and they can reduce some glares.
For outdoor swimming, the preferred colours are smoked (or tinted), mirrored and polarized. All of them are designed to lower brightness and protect from glare.
Goggles come in different sizes, and each body is different, so you must make sure the ones you choose are the right fit for your face. If not, leaking can occur. The only way to know for sure if they are the correct ones is by trying them on. The cups around the lenses (they vary in materials, the most common one is silicone) should seal around your eye creating some suction, and when trying them on they should stay put for a few seconds, even when you’re out of the water. They shouldn’t be too loose so water comes in, or too tight so they are uncomfortable.
Sometimes, finding the right cups doesn’t mean the goggles are a perfect fit. You also need to check the nose bridge and head straps (usually adjustable). You want to check that there is no extra tightness or irritation.
The perfect balance of all these elements is what makes the goggles a good or bad fit for you. Make sure they are comfortable and there’s no leaking.
Taking Care of Your Goggles
No matter what type of goggles you end up choosing, taking good care of them is a very important factor if you want them to have a long, useful life. These tips will help:
- After every swim, make sure to rinse the goggles with cool water. Chlorine, sand, salt and other water residues will rust them.
- When cleaning the lenses, don’t rub them. You can use a microfiber cloth, but be very gentle. You don’t want to remove the anti-fog coating. Also, be mindful of scratches.
- After cleaning them, don’t store them in your swim bag immediately, this may cause mould and bacteria to grow there. Instead, hang them or lay them flat to air dry.
- Avoid leaving your goggles under direct sunlight, this might damage and dry out the silicone.
- If possible, store your goggles in a dedicated case so they don’t bump and scratch into all the other things inside your swim bag.
In summary, finding the right pair of swim goggles depends on what you need them for and how you feel more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to try different styles until you find the one that’s right for you. At Davina’s Swim House we have a wide offer of swim goggles for kids and adults. So if you are planning to buy a new pair, come earlier for your next swimming lesson and someone from our staff will help you choose the right fit.
Let’s build confident swimmers, one splash at a time!