March 9, 2017
How to Choose Swim Goggles
You won’t see too many swimmers in the pool these days without a pair of goggles. Swim goggles are an added pleasure to swimming, opening up the underwater environment for exploration. They are great for those with sensitive eyes, protecting them from the PH of even the best maintained and balanced pool water. For swim students especially, the ability to see where you are going adds a greater sense of security in the water. New swimmers and pros alike can benefit from a good pair of goggles of their own.
But how do you even begin to choose which to get? There are so many sizes and styles of goggles on the market these days! Thankfully, most do fall within four main categories: Recreational, Competitive, “Swedish”, and Face Mask. Choosing your preferred category type is a great place to start:
Recreational Swim Goggles
These goggles are made for the recreational swimmer or swimmers in open water. They typically have larger lenses and larger gaskets (the part that seals to your face) with a non-adjustable bridge (nose piece). Their larger lenses allow for a bigger viewing area, which is great for open water swimmers.
Competitive Swim Goggles
These goggles come with adjustable bridges, smaller gaskets, and are smaller on the face. Open water swimmers can also wear this type, depending in the lens tint. This style is more comfortable for longer training sessions than the Recreational style, and keeps a good seal if fitted properly.
“Swedish” Style or “Socket-Rocket” Swim Goggles
These goggles do not have a soft seal. The plastic lens seals directly to the skin, without a gasket. These also have the smallest frame, making them the best option for racing. Without proper fitting to your individual face though, these will have a tendency to leak heavily.
The largest of all swim goggle types, the face mask is designed for SCUBA and snorkeling. These are very sturdy and have a large gasket with the option of a nose cover or not.
Tips for Purchasing
Even within each goggle category, there are still what seems like hundreds of brands to choose from. Its best, if you can, to try on a variety of different brands before you make your purchase. A good pair of goggles can last for years. It will be worth your while to make sure to find the style that best suits you! Here are a few more tips to consider before you buy:
- Look for quality – Inspect the goggle surface for cracks or scratches, and test the feel and flex of the gaskets and straps.
- Consider Skin Sensitivities – The foam or rubber of certain gaskets can cause irritation for some. Be aware of your own skin sensitivities before you buy.
- Try on Many Styles – Ask a friend or clean a few pairs from your pool’s lost and found to try on.
- Choose Your Extra Features – an anti-fog coating can save you a lot of annoyance on your swims. Options for tinted, mirrored, or plain glass abound as well.
Who Shouldn’t Wear Goggles
Unless you simply dislike the feel of swim goggles on your face, most swimmers are safe to wear goggles in the pool. Seeing clearly under the water can be a great advantage to recreational and competitive swimmers alike. If you are prone to eye infections though, goggles, and swimming in general, is probably not the best fit for you.
Now Let’s Swim
If you already have a great pair of swim goggles, congratulations! Come join us for rec swim, swim lessons, or even try out some Aqua jogging. If you are still searching, no worries. We invite you to ask any of our aquatics staff for recommendations or help. They often have years of experience with different goggles and would be happy to offer their two cents. And if you ever forget your goggles at home, we have inexpensive pairs for sale at our main Z-Center and Alumni/Wang desks. Happy swimming, we hope to see you soon in the pool!
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