Whether you're swimming laps at the local pool or lake, it’s essential to have the best pair of swimming goggles
Whether you prefer swimming in a pool or out in the open water, having the best swimming goggles can make the experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. Whatever you do, though, don’t rush into picking up any old pair from your local pool because it pays to buy a pair that’s just right for you.
Sadly, there’s no single pair of swimming goggles that fits everybody’s face or style of swimming, though. If you’re not sure which are best for you, our buying guide below runs you through the key things you need to think about before buying your next pair of swimming goggles.
And if you’re ready to dive straight in (sorry, we couldn’t resist), you’ll find mini-reviews of our pick of the best swimming goggles in the list below. With prices starting from £2.50, and a range of goggles that are suitable for everything from triathlons to flopping inelegantly into the local lido, you’re sure to find your perfect pair in no time.
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.
READ NEXT: The best waterproof cameras to buy
The best swimming goggles to buy
1. Aqua Sphere Kameleon: The best-value swimming goggles
Price: From £8 | Buy now from Amazon
Although they aren’t the very cheapest entry on our list (scroll down to the Nabaji XBase goggles for that), these unisex goggles have a lot of great features for the price.
The curved lenses offer complete UVA/UVB protection and give you an impressively wide field of vision, allowing you to easily spot obstacles and other swimmers. They’re also anti-fog and scratch resistant, with a low-profile strap designed for a comfortable non-intrusive fit and improved hydrodynamics. All this for under £10 is not bad at all.
Key features – Types: Unisex; Colours available: Transparent/blue, Black/lime, Blue/white, Black/orange; Lens finishes available: Blue, smoked; Storage case included? Yes
2. Zoggs Predator Flex Titanium Reactor: The best swimming goggles you can buy
Price: £60 | Buy now from Wiggle
This popular Australian brand has come up trumps with these whizzy goggles. The photochromatic lenses react to different light conditions, meaning they remain clear in low light and get darker in brighter light. So although they’re not cheap, you can count on them in all environments and all weathers, making them a favourite for triathlons.
The titanium in the lens adds even more protection from the sun, as well as reducing glare, while the anti-fog and 180˚ peripheral vision all work a treat, too. Plus, the flexible frame is widely known in the world of swimming for an excellent fit. And, most importantly, they don’t leak. We think they’re the best goggles around, but wash them in clean water before and after every swim to get the most out of them.
Key features – Type: Unisex; Colours available: Green/black; Lens finishes available: Titanium/photochromatic reactor lens; Storage case included? Yes
3. Nabaiji 100 XBase Swimming Goggles: The best budget swimming goggles
Price: £4 | Buy now from Decathlon
If you’re not sure how regularly you’ll be swimming, you probably don’t want to splash out on a pricy pair of goggles from the off. The Nabaiji 100 XBase goggles are a great option for beginners owing to the fact they’re so cheap you can pick up two pairs for a fiver, but don’t let the low price fool you into thinking they’re useless.
Once you’ve tightened the strap, the seal is watertight and, while the Nabaiji 100 goggles aren’t as comfortable or fog-resistant as pricier pairs, they don’t constantly slip off or mist up.
Key features – Types: Unisex, small, large; Colours available: Black, eggplant, pink, blue/red; Lens finishes available: Tinted; Storage case included? Yes
4. Zoggs Ultima Air Titanium Goggles: The most comfortable swimming goggles
Price: From £17 | Buy now from Amazon
Getting a tight seal with your goggles is key – they’re meant to stop water getting in your eyes after all – but often this results in an uncomfortable feeling during your swim and panda eyes afterwards. That’s not the case with the Zoggs Ultima Air goggles, because their air-filled silicone gasket provides a watertight fit without you having to pull the slide-adjust clip so tight that the straps dig into your skin.
The UV-blocking lenses are good for both indoor and outdoor swimming, and the curved design offers a 180° field of vision. The titanium lens also offers extra protection from reflected light, which is especially useful for outdoor swims on sunny days.
Key features – Type: Unisex; Colours available: Black/grey, blac/orange; Lens finishes available: Mirrored; Storage case included? Yes
5. Aqua Sphere Kayenne: The best for different lens options
Price: From £16 | Buy now from Amazon
The Aqua Sphere brand has become known for its signature 180˚ side-to-side field of vision, and these goggles have a deeper up/down field of vision than most, thanks to the oversized up/down lens and panoramic side-to-side lens design.
Available in just about every lens colour you can think of – mirrored, smoke, polarised and clear, there’s no type of swimming you can’t match them to. They also do a great job of forming a solid seal around your eyes without uncomfortable suction. The low-profile micro-frame gives great hydrodynamics, and we found the buckle noticeably quick and simple to adjust.
Key features – Type: Men’s, women’s, small fit, junior; Colours available: Black, blue, clear, white, violet, glitter powder blue; Lens finishes available: Polarised, clear, dark, mirrored, blue; Storage case included? Yes
6. Speedo V-Class Mirror: The best for fitness pool swimming
Price: From £38 | Buy now from Amazon
These futuristic-looking goggles not only make you look like a serious swimmer but will help you become one (if you’re not already), thanks to the watertight seal around the eyes and the extra-comfortable band. You won’t miss any swimmers ready to overtake you, thanks to the clear and peripheral vision provided by the wraparound lenses, while the mirrored effect gives a stylish finish.
And they won’t leave unsightly rings around your eyes after your swim, even on the palest of skin. Speedo claims the anti-fog coating on the lens will last twice as long as regular goggles, and they come in a plush case too.
Key features – Types: Unisex, female fit and mirrored options; Colours available: Green/blue, purple/pink, black, grey/blue; Lens finishes available: Mirrored and non-mirrored; Storage case included? Yes
7. Arena Cobra Ultra Mirror: The best all-purpose swimming goggles
Price: From £30 | Buy now from Wiggle
It’s not just the ultra-cool tinted lenses that make these goggles stand out. They also come with an interchangeable nose bridge with five different levels and a double silicone strap to help you find the perfect fit (although be warned that finding the right level can be bit trial and error).
The curved lenses make for excellent peripheral vision, so you can see right over to those side lanes or the other side of the lake, and there’s no digging into eye sockets, unlike some other all-purpose goggles. But be warned that some coloured lenses (green, for example) are a bit too dark for indoor swimming.
Key features – Type: Unisex; Colours available: Silver/green/white, yellow/revo-blue, red, yellow, pink; Lens finishes available: mirrored; Storage case included? No
8. Frogglez: The best swimming goggles for kids
Price: From £17 | Buy now from Amazon
Anyone with a child who loves swimming will know finding the right goggles is no mean feat. Enter Frogglez: its patented neoprene strap is a doddle to put on and, perhaps most importantly, never pulls hair or irritates ears. Most kids can put them on by themselves, after which you can help adjust them on the side using the velcro.
There are plenty of colour options for both the strap and lens and, once they’re on, they’re comfy and don’t slip off the head. Our little testers reported no leakage; they’re free of lead, phthalates and formaldehyde; and they float in the water. With one size suitable for children aged 3+, they should last years.
Key features – Type: Junior; Lens finishes available: Clear; Storage case included? No
9. Michael Phelps Xceed Titanium Mirror Goggles: The best for indoor competitions
Price: £30 | Buy now from Wiggle
Mirrored lenses have traditionally been used outdoors to protect eyes from the sun, but elite swimmers such as Michael Phelps wear them for indoor competitions as a way to intimidate their competitors – giving this pair an on-trend, professional look.
But it’s not just about aesthetics: the titanium frame gives strength and durability without feeling heavy, and the small sockets feel so natural and unobtrusive around the eyes that you forget you’re wearing them. However, it’s the clarity and field of vision where they really shine, with the curved lenses enabling you to see walls and other lanes without moving your head. There’s also an interchangeable nose bridge for a personalised fit.
Key features – Types: Men’s and women’s; Colours available: Black, blue, white; Lens finishes available: Clear, red, mirrored, smoke, blue; Storage case included? Yes
10. Roka R1: The best swimming goggles for triathlons and open-water races
Price: £30 | Buy now from Roka
You can spend as many hours in the pool as you want preparing for your triathlon or outdoor event, but come race day in the open water, your fitness can be wasted if you don’t swim in a straight line. Sighting is key to this – it’s a skill that needs practising so you can look up during your stroke and make sure you’re going in the right direction. Naturally, you also need goggles that give you the biggest field of vision possible. Well, the biggest field of vision possible without becoming so large that they start to slow you down.
The Roka R1 goggles are angled to allow for a large field of view without making the lenses larger and increasing the drag they produce. It also means you can see what’s in front of you without having to tilt your head back so much, allowing you to stay in a more efficient swimming position. So if you’re looking for goggles to help you excel in the open water, the Roka R1 should be top of your list.
Key features – Type: Unisex; Colours available: Multiple (some colours may be unavailable); Lens finishes available: Clear, mirrored; Storage case included? Yes
11. Form: The best smart swimming goggles
Price: £149 | Buy now from Form
If you want to own the smartest eyewear in the pool, you need to check out Form’s goggles, even if that means UK swimmers having to stump up for international shipping at the moment. The Form smart goggles have a heads up display that puts your swimming stats in your eye line as you swim, making it easy to keep tabs on things like your distance, lap pace or stroke rate.
It’s much easier than using a watch because twisting your wrist to check out your stats during an activity might be okay for runners but naturally ruins your stroke when swimming. The Form goggles will show your selected stats during a length, then flash up different metrics when you make a turn or stop to take a rest. The goggles can even link to Polar’s OH1+ heart-rate monitor, which clips to the strap at your temple to show your heart rate during a swim.
All this smart tech hasn’t come at the expense of the basics, either. The Form goggles are comfortable to wear for long periods, with five interchangeable bridge sizes and lenses with an effective anti-fog coating.
Key features – Type: Unisex; Colours available: Black; Lens finishes available: Clear; Storage case included? Yes