Buying your goggles for a tri or even just for training can get a bit overwhelming with all of the variety out there. Prices can vary from $7 all the way up to $50, lenses can be just about any color you want, and deciding if you want mirrored or non-mirrored goggles can push you over the edge. Basically the types of goggles you’re looking for has a lot to do with what type of swimming you’re doing. If you’re looking for goggles for a pool swim then you can decide from just about anything on the market, however your selection dwindles greatly if you’re looking for a good pair of open water goggles. To figure out what color goggles please see the previous post “What is the Best Color Lens for Goggles?”
To start off our list of the top open water goggles we’re going to look at TYR. TYR brings us two great open water designs, the Nest Pro and Orion. The Orion goggle has a smaller lens design but offers above average visibility. The gaskets on these goggles are incredibly soft and give a nice seal. Since the Orion goggles have flat lenses there’s very little distortion and they are extremely durable. These goggles come in a variety of colors and you can get them in a mirrored version of Smoke or Green, mirrored lenses cut down on the glare from open water swimming and are best for bright sunny days. The regular lens version comes in at $29.99 while the metalized lenses are a bit more expensive at $39.99.
Along with the Orion Goggles, TYR also produces the Nest Pro and Nest Pro Nano. These goggles are identical except the Nano are smaller while the regular Nest Pro Goggles are designed for an average face. Both of these offer top of the line, soft, silicone gaskets which provide a nice seal. The nose piece is fixed on both models so you do not have the ability to adjust the fit to meet the width of your face. These goggles are top of the line when it comes to offering a wide view, about 180 degree range of vision, making them perfect for sighting during your open water swim. The lenses come in a variety of colors and are available in a metallic version and range from $16.95 to $24.00 depending on the lenses.
Similar goggles to the Nest Pro are the Zoggs Predator line. Predators offer a larger frame to provide a more comfortable fit, combine that with a hypoallergenic silicone gasket and strap and you’ve got one of the best fitting goggles on the market. Like most other open water goggles, Zoggs offer 180 degree vision and a variety of lens colors for all types of light. However, unlike other open water goggles, Zoggs takes their mirrored lens a step further and present us with the best, bright light, goggle on the market. The Predator Polarized. Zoggs takes all the comfort and technology incorporated in their Predator goggles and add a polarized lens that really cuts down on the glare and bright light that is reflecting off from the surface of the water. While the Polarized Predators ring in a bit higher than other goggles, $44.99, they are well worth it. If you’re more cost conscious then you can pick up mirrored Predators for $34.99 or regular lenses for $19.99.
The best open water goggles that I have found actually aren’t your typical goggle. The Aqua Sphere swim masks are by far the top when it comes to comfort, visibility and seal. While these masks may be a bit larger than goggles what they offer in comfort and reliability more than makes up for their bulkiness. The silicone seal that Aqua Sphere has designed for their masks is not only comfortable but the seal is unbelievable. There are very few people that I have met that can’t find a mask to fit them, sizes range from kids to small faces and a regular size that fits the average adult. Along with providing a great seal and comfortable fit we get a few different lens colors so there’s a mask for every occasion. Prices for these masks are a bit higher than some of the other goggles, entry level come in at $25 while the most comfortable and top of the line masks are about $35.
The most important thing to remember about goggles is that fit is everything. If your goggles don’t fit then they will not seal and then it doesn’t matter if they’re $5 or $50. Test your seal by putting the goggles to your face, without the strap being used, and press them there. Goggles that fit well should sit on your face, without you touching them, for a few seconds, count to 5 to make sure they seal well. All the goggles I mentioned here are designed for open water swimming, they do work for pool swims, however I would advise having a clear lens, or lighter lens, for the pool since it’s usually a bit darker inside than out.