Swimming goggles are a must-have item when swimming in the pool, ocean, or lake. Not only do they enhance underwater visibility, but they protect your eyes from the chlorine in pool water and the salt in the ocean.
Say goodbye to red, irritated eyes for good!
Just like any other type of eyewear, you need to find the right swim goggles according to the type of swimming you'll be doing. The swimwear should be the right fit, comfortable, and offer the eye protection (both from water AND the sun) you need. Tough to know which is the best pair without testing them, right?
Let us help!
We've done the hard work of finding all the best swimming goggles for your needs. Whether you're a competitive swimmer, a snorkeler, or a parent shopping for your child, we've got a pair of goggles for you. Check out our list of the best swim goggles for you.
Comes with a plethora of "extras", durable lenses, UV protection, great value, wide field of vision, crystal clear lenses, adjustable, quick-release clasp, and comfortable.
Anti-fog feature is ineffective and the straps are prone to breakage. But you get what you pay for, right?
Performance: The goggles are a versatile option that can be used for any type of swimming: recreational, casual, and competitive alike. Though they're not professional-grade, they're comfortable enough for all but the most hardcore athletes to wear easily. They're highly functional, effective underwater, and provide sufficient eye protection from water and UV radiation.
The mirrored polycarbonate lenses will keep sunlight out of your eyes, and the wide-view lenses offer a good, undistorted view of the world around you. All in all, a decent pair of goggles at a good price.
Features: These are designed to be leak-resistant, and you'll find you get a good, tight seal from these bad boys. They're made of a shatter-resistant polycarbonate that can stand up to a good deal of wear and tear. The straps aren't the most durable, but they do have a quick-release clasp that will allow you to pull the goggles off in an instant. The straps are easy to adjust and comfortable for hours of wear.
Price: At $12, these goggles are fairly well priced. However, the goggles come with a swim cap, ear plugs, a nose clip, and a carrying case—all for the same price tag. Definitely a great value for the cost!
Durable, built for competitive use, high-tech design, easy to adjust mid-swim, will conform to the shape of your head and face, wide-view lens, comfortable fit, soft TPR gaskets, and good water seal.
Prone to fogging and require extra tightening.
Performance: For those who need goggles that can keep up with competitive swimming performance, give these bad boys a try. Not only are they built from durable materials, they're also easy to adjust mid-swim and conform to the shape and size of your head and face. Though they're prone to fogging, the wide-view lens gives you a full field of vision around you.
Features: The goggles come with TPR gaskets that make them comfortable to wear for hours. Though it'll take a bit of fiddling to get the fit right, you'll find the goggles will keep out water once pulled tight. The Glide Clip system allows you to adjust the goggles on your head, and the polypropylene over-mold nest frame ensures that your goggles stay securely in place as you slice through the water.
Price: At $14, these are a very well-priced pair of competitive goggles. They're durable enough to wear to any swim meet or race, and they're designed to keep up with your high-intensity activity.
Compatible with most water-based activities, comfortable, flexible, shatter-proof, anti-fog and UV protection, no color to the lenses, user-friendly design, easy-adjust clasp, and large lens size.
Lenses scratch easily, the fog-resistance is short-lived, and the nose bridge is rather hard.
For a durable pair of swim goggles, you won't find much better than these! Not only are they made out of shatter-proof polycarbonate, but their silicone frame and ands are highly resistant to wear and tear. Some users complain the lenses scratch a bit too easily, but at least they won't break with regular use.
The lenses are large, offering a wide view of your surroundings. There are no artificial tints or colors to interfere with or darken your vision, and you'll find they give you an excellent view underwater. Thanks to the UV protection, you won't have to worry about the sunlight harming your eyes.
The goggles are sleek and stylish, with a flexible frame and soft silicone eye cups that are comfortable for all-day wear. The nose piece is a bit hard, and it can take a bit of adjusting to get the fit just right. But once the goggles are on, they'll stay on for hours.
The clasp is easy to adjust one-handed, and you'll find they're good even for those with limited mobility. All in all, a highly effective pair of goggles built for any water sport.
At $8 per pair, these are a very well-priced option! They're built to last, easy to wear, and highly comfortable—everything you need in a good pair of goggles.
Colorful, easy for kids to adjust, suitable for a wide range of facial structures, soft and comfortable frame, UV protection, and won't restrict movements.
These goggles are prone to fogging up, and the adjustor strap tends to break.
Performance: If your child is just getting into swimming, these are the goggles to try. They're bright, colorful, and come in a broad range of styles for both boys and girls. Thanks to their wide size, they can fit on a broad range of facial structures.
The silicone eye cups keep your child's face comfortable even after hours of swimming, and the goggles are designed to be slim. They won't restrict your child's movement, but will protect their eyes underwater. They're leak-resistant, with a durable design that makes them ideal for active children.
Be warned: the adjustor strap isn't very resistant to wear and tear and many users complain that it's the part most prone to breakage.
Features: The goggles come with UV protection for your child's eyes, but sadly the anti-fog technology tends to wear out fairly quickly. However, once they're on your child's face, they won't slip or shift out of place. The fit is snug and secure, giving your kids total eye protection underwater.
Price: At $11, these are a well-priced pair of goggles for your child. Not only are they a good intro pair, but they can stand up to regular use in the pool, at swimming lessons, and even in the ocean.
Great field of vision, affordable, comfortable, great for athletes, good fit, durable straps, leak-proof fit, anti-fog, low profile, and includes three interchangeable nose pieces.
Very dark lenses make it hard to see indoors.
Performance: If you like to have the widest possible field of view, you need these goggles. They provide you with a 25% wider field of view than competing models, ensuring that you can see everything around you in the pool, ocean, or lake. Thanks to their slim profile, they're ideal for competitive use as well as casual.
The goggles are fairly comfortable, thanks to their soft silicone eye pieces. The compact design is easy to wear for hours without pain, and you'll find they're a well-built pair made of durable silicone that is resistant to heavy use.
Features: The mirrored lenses help to keep sunlight out of your eyes, and they come with 100% UV protection. These goggles also feature anti-fog technology, but sadly it will wear off after a few months of use. When wearing these goggles indoors, you may find the lenses are too dark to see clearly.
If you're uncomfortable with the current nose piece, switch it out for one of the other two that come with the goggles. They are easy to customize to just the right fit, and the easy-adjust straps will allow you to fiddle with the goggles as you swim.
Price: At $18, these are slightly on the pricier side of affordable. However, given their durability, reliability, and versatility, they're a good option to consider.
Sleek, sporty, comfortable, adjustable straps for easy customization, good cushioning, no more red marks or discomfort, flexible nose piece, anti-fog lenses, UV protection for your eyes, and anti-shatter lenses.
Narrowed forward vision and prone to fogging when swimming outdoors.
Performance: These are a pair of swimming goggles you can use for anything: swimming laps in the pool, water aerobics, playing in a lake, or enjoying ocean life. You'll find their sleek design makes them beautifully sporty, and they are able to handle a good deal of wear and tear.
The lenses are built of a shatter-resistant material that makes them very durable, and they come with an anti-fog coating that protects them. Sadly, they are still prone to fogging up when you use them outdoors. However, the lenses offer UV protection for your eyes, as well as leak-resistant eyecups with a soft silicone ring that won't hurt your face even after hours of use.
Features: The goggles are designed to be fully adjustable, with straps that can be easily tightened and loosened mid-swim. There's even a quick release clasp that will allow you to remove them in a second if necessary.
The lenses offer a full 180-degree field of view, though some users have complained that it narrows your forward vision. The flexible nose piece makes it easy to find the right position for the goggles. As a bonus, the goggles also come with ear plugs, a nose clip, and a protective case.
Price: At $13, these are a pair of goggles definitely worth the price. They deliver durability and versatility at a price point everyone loves.
Excellent seal, anti-fog goggles, comfortable, easy to adjust, minimal distortion, classic style, easy to wear, adjustable, scratchproof lenses, 180-degree field of vision, lightweight, ergonomic design, and reasonably priced.
Prone to leakage/sweating and not suitable for heavy use.
Performance: For the average swimmer looking for a great pair of goggles, it doesn't get better than these! They're comfortable, offer an excellent seal, and provide maximum comfort. The ergonomic design of the goggles offers you a beautifully wide range of view, and you'll find the soft silicone eye-pads keep your face comfortable even after hours of use.
The goggles provide the most natural view of your underwater surroundings possible, with only minimal vision distortion. The classic style is easy to wear with any swim cap and nose guard, and will be a great choice for all but the most competitive athletes. Be warned: heavy-duty use (10+ hours of swimming per week) will wear out the goggles, making them more likely to leak or sweat.
Features: The lenses of these goggles come with anti-fog technology that will help to protect your vision. You'll find the scratch-resistant coating also enhances the durability of the goggles. Thanks to the 4-point expanded Plexisol lens, you get a full 180-degree field of view.
For those who want easy adjusting, there's the band behind your head that allows you to tighten them with a quick tug. However, if you try to adjust them underwater, you'll find that water seeps through the ergonomic silicone seal.
Price: At $19, these are one of the pricier pairs of goggles on our list. However, given their excellent performance and versatile design, it's absolutely worth the price tag!
A Chronological History of Swimming Goggles
The earliest documented use of swimming goggles was in Persia (what is now Iran) in the 14th century. They were made from polished layers of tortoise shells.
In the 18th century, Polynesian skin divers used deep bamboo or wooden frames. Diving face downward trapped the air inside the frames which protected the eyes from sea water. When European explorers introduced glass to Polynesia, it was attached as lenses to the wooden frames. The lenses weren’t entirely waterproof and came off the frames quite easily.
During the start of the 20th century, protective goggles where developed for blossoming new industries such as aviation and motorcycling.
In 1911, Thomas “Bill” Burgess became the first person to use swimming goggles for competitive swimming. He successfully crossed the English Channel (the body of water that separates Southern England from Northern France) wearing motorcycle goggles that weren’t fully waterproof.
In 1916, a US patent was issued for swim goggles for underwater use to C.P. Troppman. There’s no evidence of their manufacture or use.
Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to cross the English Channel in 1928. She did it in what was then a record time for any human being. She wore motorcycle goggles sealed with paraffin wax.
In 1940, an issue of Popular Science magazine featured instructions on how to make wooden swimming goggles.
In 1968, the modern swimming goggles as we know them today were first introduced. They were met with very little enthusiasm. At that time, swimming goggles were considered as training equipment and were not allowed in actual competition.
During the 1970 Commonwealth Games, David Wilkie of Great Britain became the first swimmer to wear goggles—and a cap—in an international competition. His bronze medal victory popularized the use of swimming goggles.
In 1972, swimming goggles became standard swimming equipment for amateur and professional competitive swimmers.
Swimming Goggles Buying Guide
Whether you’re an Olympic swimmer or you just want to notch a few laps in the clubhouse pool, you’ll need swimming goggles.
It’s astonishing to learn that modern swimming goggles have only gained wide acceptance during the last 50 years. With all the usefulness they provide, swimming goggles have been overlooked and underappreciated.
Carefully choosing the right pair of swimming goggles is key to proper eye protection. They should allow you to see clearly underwater. They should be watertight to keep saltwater, chlorinated water, and debris from irritating your eyes or impeding your vision.
There’s Something (Else) in the Water
A swimming pool is cleaned by chemical treatment and water filtration.
The most common chemical used to treat a swimming pool is chlorine. Chlorine is similar to household bleach. It disinfects the pool by eliminating algae and waterborne bacteria. Chlorine is a very harsh chemical that can irritate your skin, nose and eyes.
Filtration gets rid of physical impurities in the water. The process removes solid fragments like dirt, skin, hair, plants, insects, and other debris by sifting the water through a fine mesh filter. However, not all of the debris get removed. The remaining bits can enter the eyes, be swallowed, or inhaled.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s not just the chemicals or debris in the swimming pool that get into your skin, nose, mouth or eyes. Public swimming pools have been found to have traces of urine and feces. Yup, pee and poop. Their presence creates a chemical reaction that makes the chlorine even more volatile to the eyes.
If a treated, filtered swimming pool can get that polluted, you only need to imagine how much more contaminated seawater can be. Now, while a pair of swimming goggles won’t make pool and sea water any cleaner, they’ll certainly give you one less problem to worry about. Plus, no red, swollen eyes when you go on a date after a swim.
Getting the Right Pair
Swimming goggles used to come only in oval and round shapes. Now, there are swimming goggles of different shapes and types for every face shape and size. While it’s great to have a wide range of choices, it can also be quite overwhelming.
Keep in mind that the pair you’re going to get will be burrowed into your eye sockets and nose bridge via an elastic band for hours at a time. Also, water pressure causes swimming goggles to increasingly tighten around the head and eyes. This tightening can start at depths as low as 3 feet. So, choose wisely and choose for comfort first.
Racing: These performance goggles have smaller eye gaskets and a more streamlined, hydrodynamic design for competitive swimming. They’re not as comfortable as leisure goggles because the smaller gaskets tend to dig into the eye socket bone. Their smaller lenses only allow a limited field of vision.
Fitness and Leisure: Designed with wider lenses and gaskets, these goggles provide more comfort and a wider field of vision. This type of swimming goggles are perfect for recreational swimming.
Masks: Based on a scuba diving mask’s design, these swimming goggles are a popular option for kids. They’re more comfortable to wear because of the one-piece gasket that sits around the eyes instead of the eye sockets. They offer the widest range of vision and comes in an array of bright colors.
Comfort and Fit
With the right pair of swimming goggles, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort. You might feel a little bit of suction around your eye sockets, but that should be it. Most goggles have an adjustable strap and nose bridge that allow you to make adjustments for a cozy fit. If you feel like you’re being pinched around the nose, go for something wider. Make sure not to go too wide that your goggles sit loosely around the eyes.
The gaskets or seals give suction cushioning around the lenses of the goggles for your eye sockets. They’re made of rubber or plastic, foam, neoprene, and silicone. Rubber and plastic are the least expensive. Silicone is found in pricier swimming goggles. Foam and neoprene are softer on the skin but degrade quicker than rubber or silicone. Try on different models to find the most suitable gasket material for the contour around your eye sockets. If it feels like your eye sockets are getting pushed into your head, try a different size.
Tinted: For those who regularly swim when the sun shines brightest, tinted lenses will go a long way. Also known as “smoky” lenses, they’re the swim wear equivalent of sunglasses.
Mirrored: If you need swimming goggles with maximum sun deflection, mirrored lenses are what you’re looking for. You get to enjoy the water on bright sunny days minus the blinding glare. For training and competition, mirrored lenses have the added benefit of keeping your competitors from seeing where you’re looking. When milliseconds spell the difference between victory and defeat, athletes need all the advantage they can get.
Amber: If you need swimming goggles for different light settings, you could opt for amber lenses which function the same way as transition glasses. Amber lenses are excellent for both indoor and outdoor swimming in high or low light conditions.
Clear: If you prefer swimming indoors or at night, stick with clear lenses. There’s just no point wearing tinted or mirrored swimming goggles when there’s not much light to deflect. Yes, you’ll look ridiculous.
Tinted, mirrored, and clear lenses are just the basic options. If you’re adventurous and want more choices, there are blue, pink, even purple lenses that offer protection for the eyes in low to moderately-lit environments. These colored lenses are also fun options for kids.
Swimming goggles fog up in the same way that we “create” mist when we breathe on windows on cold rainy days: it’s simply warm air meeting cold air. Choose a pair of goggles with anti-fog coating. The coating works by protecting the lenses from condensation.
Like skin, your eyes need protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet or UV rays. Overexposure to ultraviolet light may cause cataracts, damage to the retina, and other eye ailments. Pick swimming goggles with UV protective coating.
If you wear prescription or corrective eyeglasses, there are a number of companies that manufacture prescription swimming goggles.
Don’t be afraid to venture into the men, women, and kids’ sections. It’s worth the trouble to find the perfect pair.
Don’t let brand names influence your purchase. Make fit and comfort your main criteria.
Take your time trying out different pairs until you’re satisfied. A hasty purchase seldom goes well.
Making Your Swimming Goggles Last
Swimming goggles become more comfortable with every use, as they conform to your face and eye sockets. It pays to take good care of your goggles to avoid the inconvenience of breaking-in a new pair.
Avoid touching or rubbing the inside of your lenses to preserve the anti-fog and UV protective coating.
After each use, gently rinse your goggles under running water to wash off the chlorine, salt water, or sand.
Give your goggles time to dry naturally before putting back in their case or storing in a drawer.
Don’t dry your swimming goggles under direct sunlight to avoid making the seal and strap brittle.
Store spare nose bridges in a safe place if your purchase came with them.
If the strap of your goggles break, replace them with bungee cords.