Best Goggles for Open Water Swimming and Triathlon

edited July 2013 in General Discussion
I know that goggle selection is a very individual process. However, I'm looking for advice. I have found that the Swedish goggles are great for my pool work outs but I can't imagine wearing them for 3 hours or more. I have tried one of the mask type goggles, but could never get them to fit properly (not leak).

Any suggestions?


  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited June 2013
    Blueseventy Vision:
    my favorites... the eye sockets are rather shallow, so for long swims I trim my eyelashes to prevent rubbing.

    - Buy on SwimOutlet

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    edited July 2013
    I like the Aqua Sphere Kaiman goggles

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    They work as a compromise between a mask style and a traditional goggle style. Comfortable and leak proof once they are seated properly.

    I've been trying out the swedish goggles but so far for me they are not vey comfortable, and I have a heck of time getting them seated properly with no leaks - so much so that once they are in and not leaking I'll not want to take them off for fear having to spend another 5 minutes fiddling (though this may be a lack of experience thing)

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  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    edited July 2013
    I have always worn TYR Racetech in the pool & open water. They fit me the best under all conditions, which is the answer to your question. The best goggles for open water are the ones that fit you best. They'll stay on and keep out water. I had no problem with them at Tampa or Catalina last year.
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  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 2013
    The best goggles are the ones that look least ridiculous. And that would be swedes.

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    Seriously, though -- what Bob said.

    (FWIW, I've worn swedes for swims of 9, 9, 7.5, 6.5, and 5.5 hours, and they were perfectly comfortable. I do loosen them a bit, compared to a pool race with a block start.)

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  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    The goggles that fit me the best are also Aqua Sphere Kaiman and the Blue Seventy. Both have good seals without being excessively tight, and fit my face well. Even so, I have to perform the "goggle -fiddle" for a few minutes before each triathlon or long swim to get the tension just right! I am a bit concerned about how my eye sockets will look after a long salt water swim - can anyone comment on that? Even after a 2 hour pool swim, I look like a raccoon for a few hours.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    edited July 2013
    I do what @evmo does - I loosen them up about the same as I have them for training (a bit tighter if the surface conditions are rough). I think raccoon eyes are a result of how tight the goggles are and how elastic your skin is. When I was younger they didn't persist for long, but I'm an old fart now so they don't go away as fast. On the bright side, old farts are not as concerned about how we look. However, rings around your eyes will be the least of your concerns if you are in salt water for over 10 hours.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    I like the Aqua Sphere Kaiman and use baby shampoo as an anti fog solution...seem cleaning the lens (I guess it gets the oil off the goggles) works well...I don't like goggles that suck you eyeballs out of your head....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    edited July 2013
    I love my Sables.

    Pros: They look awesome (why keep reading after that one?). They come in beautiful colors. They fit great. The visibility is great, as long as you keep them clean.

    Cons: They're $50, and they're always on backorder.

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  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    I'm a major fan of the Blueseventy Element Goggles. I find the seal to be good, they're comfortable on my face for long periods of time and available in lots of bright colors which I like :) They're low enough profile that I'll wear them for racing in the pool as well. The B70 Vision Goggle that DB likes are too big for me and they feel like they're going to suck my eyeballs out of my head.
  • EileenBEileenB New York, NYGuest
    I'm another Aquasphere Kaiman fan--they just fit me the best. One weird thing is that, while every pair of goggles has a limited life-span, after which they just don't seal properly anymore, it's not always the same amount of time--I've had new-ish ones leak right off the bat in some longer swims, when I was sure they were going to be okay. Now I always try to have prepped spares standing by, no matter what.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I can't get anything to fit except these dorky ones. They're super comfortable though, and cheap
  • smithsmith O-H-I-OMember
    edited August 2013
    I'm severely myopic, and went through several corrective optical goggles before finding these:


    Very comfortable fit, and the anti-fog is the best of any goggle (corrective or regular) I've ever tried.

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    Lactate is for wimps.

  • jppr17jppr17 Member
    I got the new aquasphere kaiman 180 and they are pretty amazing. Good seal with minimal pressure like the swedes but a more comfy feel. Did a test on a 10k pool swim without taking them off and they remain comfortable.
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    Blue Seventy Hydra-Vision are my top choice. Great fit, anti fog, and UV. Double strap fits around the hair bun - easy to tighten when they are in place.
  • Thanks for all the feedback. I think I have found my favorite, TYR Racetech. Thanks bobswims! I now have a bag full of goggles to share with my kids and others.
  • We've been testing a few recently on the request of SimplySwim and we have definitely found the Zoggs Predator Flex Polarised to be the best. They are the only goggles with polarised lenses we've come across, and they do make a big difference - and for that, we love them.

    Read our review here

    Dan Graham - Gone Swimming Ltd.
    web | facebook | twitter

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I've seen the zoggs advertised in H2Open Magazine and even tried to buy some when I was in the UK but couldn't find them in Dartmouth. I can't find them online for US delivery. Anyone else find them?

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Guest
    @GoneSwimming: Is the nose piece a 1 piece, or is it adjustable? I find a need a narrower gap than standard. I've been using a pair of speedo goggles (not sure what model) but they have a range of replaceable nose bridges. I use the next one down from the one it comes in. I'd definitely try a polarized pair, but want to make sure I can fit them before laying out the cash.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Mem​ber
    @GoneSwiming Speedo do a polarised Speedsocket, for those who want a lower profile polarized goggle, and they're a little bit cheaper and they have adjustable nose pieces.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    nvr2late wrote:
    I am a bit concerned about how my eye sockets will look after a long salt water swim - can anyone comment on that? Even after a 2 hour pool swim, I look like a raccoon for a few hours.

    After 10.5 hours in Swedes last Friday, my raccoon eyes were from my tan lines, not my goggles.
  • jmcjmc Member
    timsroot wrote:

    After 10.5 hours in Swedes last Friday, my raccoon eyes were from my tan lines, not my goggles.

    This is probably a rookie question, but have you had any problem with Swedes fogging up? I tried my first ever open water swim yesterday (3km at Dorney Lake in the UK) and couldn't see a thing. I tried the spit/rinse method but no luck - I don't normally have this problem in a pool either.

    English Channel solo aspirant - July 2013: -

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Not really, but that was a pretty new pair. In the pool, I don't have much trouble, usually. I have an older pair of tinted ones that if I use in a warmer pool, they fog quite regularly.

    Best thing I've found is to dip the goggles in the water you're swimming in. Equalizes the temperature so that the condensation is less likely to form on the goggles.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Rinsing in soapy water (baby shampoo) is a popular method of re-anti-fogging, but I rarely bother. My swedes sometimes fog up at first (esp. in colder water) but it always clears up after a few minutes. Main thing is to keep them on & sealed. Every time you remove them from your eyes, they'll fog up again.
  • jmcjmc Member
    timsroot and evmo - thanks, I'll give both a try!

    English Channel solo aspirant - July 2013: -

  • @GoneSwimming: Is the nose piece a 1 piece, or is it adjustable?
    It's a single peice - no adjustability.
    @GoneSwiming Speedo do a polarised Speedsocket, for those who want a lower profile polarized goggle, and they're a little bit cheaper and they have adjustable nose pieces.

    Simply Swim have the Zoggs for £25 -

    Speedo Polarised Speedsockets are £32

    I did like my Speedsockets when I had a pair... a long time ago now, but I probably wouldn't go back to them.


    Dan Graham - Gone Swimming Ltd.
    web | facebook | twitter

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Mem​ber
    edited September 2013
    @GoneSwimming. That's expensive, I think I saw them in wiggle or somewhere for less than the Zoggs. On a related note:, worst run swimming webstore ever. Spent 4 hours intermittantly last Sunday trying to complete an order to use a voucher they gave me for writing something. Couldn't do it. Couldn't complete the order until Wednesday due a host of problems on their side, and I had similar problems the last time I tried ordering.

    If it wasn't for the fact they were the only UK site with my new favourites, Finis low-profile Thunder goggles, I'd have given up. That didn't last, those Finis goggs were crap!

  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Guest
    @Loneswimmmer: I got the polarized speed socket from Amazon for $45. Haven't tried them out yet. I'm not sure they'll be the most comfortable hours into my swim, but I'll give it a go and have some backups in my kayak. Maybe it will be overcast.
  • troubletrouble Member
    edited August 2013
    I've been testing out the pair of Nootca 11 goggles that Nootca sent @evmo. @evmo, who solely uses Swedish goggles, asked me to try these out and compare them with my usual goggles, Speedo Vanquishers. I've been wearing Vanquishers for quite a few years - both in open water and in the pool - and Evan thought the Nootca 11 might work well for me.

    The Nootca 11 has some interesting features. The plastic strap clip is the most highly adjustable clip I've encountered. It has a number of holes for inserting the straps so that the swimmer can adjust the goggle to suit his/her individual head shape and preferences. I just left it in the factory setting, which seemed perfect for me. Multiple nose pieces were provided as well. Between the straps and the nose pieces, you can really create a pretty custom fit.

    No matter what the strap clip and nose piece are like, though, the shape of the goggles themselves is really key. I found that the Nootca 11 googles fit my face really well. The size of the goggle worked well with my face-shape. I find that they stay on nicely and are water-tight without intense suction. This is a big deal for me, as I've struggled over the years to find a goggle that fits comfortably for longer swims. With the Vanquishers, I find that there's a good deal of suction my eye orbs start aching after about 2.5 hours. I've tried getting different sizes (men's, women's, Jr.) but haven't found that any of the sizes lessens that discomfort. I did a 4 hour swim wearing the Nootca 11 goggles last weekend and didn't think about my goggles once - no discomfort, no suctiony eyeball feeling.

    Fit-wise, another nice thing about the Nootca 11 goggle is that they're deep enough for my eyelashes. I know, that probably sounds weird. But my eyelashes rub against the lenses of many goggles! It creeps me out. I couple of years ago a friend tried to persuade me that the Barracuda Ultimate Goggles were the answer to my Vanquisher problems. I found that the Barracuda's were pretty nice - the gaskets seemed softer and I could wear them for a long time without aching eye orbs. But that the eyelash rubbing became extremely irritating and I eventually went back to the Vanquishers.

    But now, I've found the Nootcas 11s! No more rubbing eyelashes, no more aching facial bones, and great visibility.

    So. Long story short - after a month of wearing the Nootca 11, I've decided to abandon the Vanquishers! I ordered another pair of clear Nootcas for the pool and a pair of the greyish-tinted ones for sunny mornings in the bay.

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  • JgaleJgale Member
    edited September 2013
    I typically use Speedo Vanquishers in the pool. In open water, I have been using the Aqua Sphere Kayennes. They work well when new but do not seem to last consistently long. The big issue is that they vary from pair to pair in terms of when they start to leak. I have been using two pairs that I bought earlier this summer. One pair is holding up well, the other pair is leaking after 10 or so swims. I noticed the same thing last year. I have taken good care of both pairs. I tried a pair of Zoggs Phantom Elites this morning and I think I have found my new open water goggle. Good visibility, very comfortable, snug (but not overly tight) fit, and polarized lenses that cut glare nicely. Time will tell as to how they hold up.


    - Buy: | Amazon UK | SwimOutlet
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    edited September 2013
    Another vote for Zoggs. I just shifted from my Aquaspheres and will never go back. Not a drop of water made its way in, my eye sockets were extremely comfortable, vision was sharp, and I enjoy them as much in the pool as in the bay.


    - Buy on | Amazon UK | SwimOutlet | Wiggle
  • Years ago a distance swimmer recommended TYR socket rockets when I was training for my first Chesapeake Bay Swim. I have yet to find a pair of goggles I like more than these. They are like swedes but comfier since they have a rubberized seal. You can wear them super loose and they stay put (unless you are diving off the blocks in a meet). I never get big circles around my eyes anymore (just weird suntans).

  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember
    edited September 2013
    I've also used the Nootca 5. I swam summer Masters meets in these (800 and 1500m races), as well as the USMS 5k and 10k time trials. I also used them in a 3 mile OW race a few weeks ago, as well as a 10k yard pool session. In that session, I never adjusted them or even touched them once.

    I also like the Original Malmsten Swedish goggles. I have a pair of the Speedo-badged version in silver metallic, which I used for OW races over the lat few summers. If it's good enough for Thomas Lurz, Olympic Medalist and 25k World Champion, it's good enough for me. Right now, I'm training in the Swedish, the Nootca's and a pair of Speedo Sprint. I've registered for the Lake Travis solo, and I'm hoping that any of these three will do a good job during the event, especially as relates to the sun.

    I'm biased toward racing pool goggles, and can't stand the idea of the bigger lenses. So far, I've had great luck, and I plan to stay with those. Plus, these are MUCH less expensive than those other goggles.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    edited September 2013
    I've worn swedes / godfrey / malmsten goggles when I was younger and faster. They were cheap and reliable. I've tended to settle on aquasphere kayenne for OW stuff now, as I find the swedes too small and I like my eyeballs in my skull. One problem I found with the kayenne is that they tend to lift (leak) when sprinting / diving / pushing off hard, due to the big adjustment buckle on the strap. Only a problem in the pool, never in OW.
    I recently got nootca 5, and am seriously considering giving them a big thumbs up. They feel slightly bigger than the swedes and the little gasket feels good. I'll take a lttle bit of comfort at this stage in my life. One thing I must say though, the nootca 5 have absolutely the worst anti fog coating I've come across. Gone within 2-3 days of pool swimming. This is disappointing. However, as they are slightly bigger, they can hold a small "swish drop" without it entering your eye.

    Other than that, they're fine. The brown ones are very dark, not really suited to indoor pool swimming in winter. I have trouble reading my stopwatch with them. Go for clear ones for indoors.

    Also, the silicon nose piece slips, so is no good. They give two of those, but both are the same size. They give one piece of string to make a perfect adjustment, why not two? If you get it slightly wrong and have cut away the excess, you can't readjust it. Why not include some extra string? Anyone from nootca listening here?
  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember
    I haven't had any trouble with the Nootca 5 silicon nose strap. But, I did try the string. I found it much less reliable than in the Malmsten Swedish goggles. When I tried the preliminary fitting surgeon's knot, it just slipped. The Malmsten string at least stays tied during this phase to allow for fitting. I went right back to the silicon strap.

    I've also tried pieces of bike inner tube for the nose piece of the Malmsten goggles. Works like a charm. I'd imagine it would work just as well for the Nootca 5.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Mem​ber
    Nootca gave me a pair of 5's last year (the only thing I've ever got fee from swimming is a couple of goggles) , feedback procedures were pretty non-existent. I emailed them again though, maybe I can some pairs from them as giveaways here!

    I really liked them, but the silicon seal combined with my poor goggle maintenance (I rinse, but I never remember to dry) meant the silicon gasket got really mouldy after about 6 months. Also agreed with @Colm, the silicon nose piece is crap, I put in string after the second day, or cut a bit of goggle strap.

    I would have stayed with Aquasphere for long OW, but damn the annual cost was too much as they die so quick.

    The Finis Thunder goggles I mentioned above were quickly dropped due to bad nosepiece design, it kept popping out. The Lightnings are far better, with a combination small shell and gasket but don't seem extremely durable, like most things Finis. Winter googles as I prefer gaskets for really cold water than a harder seal. I do not want to be messing around with goggles when my hands aren't working.

    View Visio's from (got them free) were the best goggles I've every worn though not available in Europe. Similar hard shell/small gasket design type as the Vanquishers.

    Also, anti-fog is the biggest lie in swimming.

  • FrancoFranco Charter Member
    I use the Speedo Vanquisher optical goggles. They are comfortable and there aren't that many choices when trying to get prescription goggles. SwimOutlet stocks them in more prescriptions than most others. Relatively inexpensive for optical goggles and my prescription is minor and many brands don't have prescriptions below -2.5. If I want to see clearly, there really are not that many options so I use these and don't worry about finding better ones.

    My sons both wear optical goggles as well and like the Vanquishers. It surprises me how easy it is to order three different prescriptions by just using a pull down menu and making your selection. I suspect it was a longer and considerably more expensive process thirty years ago.
  • Any idea how Zoggs fit compared to Speedo Vanquishers? I wear the Womens Vanquisher, but am interested in Zoggs because I'd like some polarized ones.

    It would appear that both the Zoggs Predator and Phantom Elites are polarized. Thoughts on one versus the other? Thanks.
  • I, like many of you have collection of used goggles that would fill a large suitcase (or at least a gym bag). The best that I've found so far are Barracuda Ultimates. Very comfortable, great seal and the anit-fog seems to hold up for about 6 months. I wear them for the pool and OW albeit different pairs. Hydrobats work really nice if you're diving off the blocks or in a crowd of triathlete feet, imo.

    How long does the anti fog hold up on the Zoggs?
  • I mainly use TYR Socket Rockets for training and open water, and I have a pair of the Malmsten swedes I like to wear in the pool too. I just got two pairs of the Sporti Swedish goggles. One pair are metallic (sorta) and they cost less than $4 so I figured they were worth a shot. They are darker than any other pair I own so I'm not sure I'm going to like them. The other pair I got are what Sporti calls "Premium" I think. They have silicone gaskets so they seem similar to the Socket Rockets.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I'm reading these forums too much. Last night I dreamt I was racing with swedes. I hated them!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • WipperWipper Fort Collins, COMember
    I used the Nootca 5 for the solo Lake Travis Relay. 12 miles with no issues. It worked great.
  • mrfinbarrmrfinbarr Charter Member
    I bought 2 pairs of the Nootca 5s recently and hav been using them around Sandycove most days since. I have always used swedes before now and this was a bigger change than I had expected.

    1) the packaging is certaintly more impressive than swedes. they come premade but I had to disassemble them to make them to my spec, ie to put in the string nosepiece & to change the strap so the joint was on the lower straps

    2) the shape is quite different & takes a little getting used to, there is a much wider range of vision with the lower outside rims and the sides wrap around the face a bit more, I didn't like it initally but I got used to it surprisingly easily.

    3) the silicon straps feel plain wierd, they're not as flexible as the latex ones, I dunno how I feel about them but am thinking about swapping in the latex ones.

    4) the anti-fog is a blessing, it was my biggest bug with Malmstein Swedes was when brand new they fogged up & it wasn't until I had put a good few coating of antifog / spit / etc on that they became anyway usable.

    5) And this really gets me - the additional silicone gsket they've put on the googles is a total waste and adds nothing, in fact I'd say it detracts from the overall product. Its not soft so all it does is increase the size of the bit thats connecting with your face. It really should be removed

    On review I'll use these until the end of their life but dunno if I'd be bothered buying another pair.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    Funny how you should praise the anti fog on these. I found their coating to be the worst I've ever come across.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Mem​ber
    I've been in contact with Steven Keegan of Nootca. He is reading this thread and I've found him responsive in the past.

  • I was just about to order Nootca's when I read @mrfinbarr's review. The search continues. I'm going to try shaving cream as an antifog treatment. If I read it on the internet, it must work.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I still swear by Johnson's baby shampoo as my anti-fog treatment.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • Been using baby shampoo cut with a little water in a spray bottle...with mediocre results. Maybe I should try it full strength.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I use a drop on the inside of each goggle cup after swimming. Rub it around then rinse. Beauty is if I don't rinse well, no biggie. No tears!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • Thanks @IronMike. Straight baby shampoo worked good. I got a half my workout in before any fogging. I may have rinsed too much. I'll play with it. Much better than spewing snot into my goggles.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    Update: After using nootca 5 for a few long swims, I've found them just that little bit too uncomfortable after a few hours. I've gone back to swedes.
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