Choosing the best open water goggles can be difficult, especially for open water. You don’t want to have to stop mid-race because your goggles have fogged up or filled with water. That can be really annoying.
Luckily, this can be avoided easily if you know what you are looking for. There is a wide range of open water goggles available, with different shapes, lenses, seals and straps. Different people have different preferences, for example a tighter or looser fit, smaller or larger lens and so on.
Best triathlon goggles are specific because they have to be adapted to the surroundings. The lenses have to be the appropriate size and type. You have to see things around you, and also not strain your eyes too much if it’s bright and sunny. So, what are the best open water goggles for you? Check out our open water goggle reviews to find out.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose The Best Triathlon Goggles – Buying Guide
This depends on what you as a triathlete prefer. Most triathlon swimmers prefer gasket goggles since they are softer on your eyes and offer a wider field of view. However, some pros like small tough goggles like the Swedish type, since they can swim freely with no drag.
Your goggles need to be durable and sit in their place when people are slapping you with their hands at the beginning of the race, or when you are making turns. Also, it is not a bad idea to own two pairs of the best triathlon goggles, since some that are best for use in a pool might not work that well in open water conditions.
Most triathlon swimmers like wide lenses. The lenses should also be curved, to allow you to see everything around you. However, some swimmers like lenses that offer only a narrow line of sight, so the can focus on their own performance.
When it comes to material, the lenses of your swim goggles can be made from high-quality plastic or polycarbonate. The plastic lenses are light and very scratch resistant. They also offer high optical clarity. On the other hand, they offer no UV protection, so you may need to invest in an anti-glare material.
Polycarbonates are probably a better choice. They are lighter and more durable. They are also thinner. They come in a large array of choices. They can be mirrored or not, and come in many different shades that make looking through them more pleasant.
Lens color can greatly influence the comfort you feel wearing your goggles. They can be clear, mirrored, tinted, polarized or even prescription. You should really put your mind into this when selecting your pair.
Clear lenses are the basic type. Without color, they allow the most light to come to your eye. They are good for swimming pools where there is not much light, but perhaps they are not best triathlon goggles.
Some lenses can be mirrored on their outside. Besides obviously looking cool, the mirror has another purpose. It reflects light and glare so you don’t strain your eyes. These are very good for outdoor swimming as well as competitions.
The lenses can also be tinted in various colors. Each type is adjusted to the color of the surroundings so you can see best in that situation. Some colors are best for morning or evening swimming (light colored ones), and some work better during the day when the sun is high (darker colors).
Polarized lenses are great, and the best open water goggles have them. They are treated with a chemical coating which allows them to reduce glare. This type of lens is possibly the best for this purpose. The light reflecting off the surface of the water can disorientate the swimmer or even damage their eyes, so this feature is very important.
Some manufacturers even offer open water prescription goggles. It’s nice to know that something is customized to your personal needs. If you wear glasses, it may be a problem for you to see clearly while in water. This is a solution to that, because it releases your eyes from constant straining while allowing you to see everything in the water clearly.
Swimming goggles come with few different frame types, and it’s your choice which you will wear for your practices and competition. The most common types are classic gasket goggles, Swedish goggles and swimming mask.
Classic gasket goggles are the most popular ones. They are oval shaped and have silicone on the edges which is provides suction. When you try them on, they should be able to stick for a split second. If they fall off immediately, the will do that in the water too. Also, keep the silicone clean since it can irritate the skin around your eyes.
Swedish goggles are very popular competitive goggles, and they don’t create suction. They are designed in a way to sit tightly on your eye socket. However, some swimmers don’t like them because they can create strong pressure on the orbital bone, causing discomfort. Many swimmers train with gasket goggles, and use the Swedish type for competition since they create less drag in water. Anyway, they take some time getting used to.
A swimming mask is the third option. It is not popular among athletes and used in competition. This is because it is very large and creates a drag while swimming. This being said, it is very good for recreational swimmers and children. Because of the design, this type allows you the biggest field of view compared to other types.
No matter which type you choose, be flexible when it comes to size. Sometimes children’s goggles are the best fit for some women, and women’s goggles are the best fit for some men. The most important thing is that you feel great wearing them.
How to Determine Goggle Quality
Some things are essential when you choose the best triathlon goggles for open water. You should always pay attention to fit, comfort and clearness. It’s frustrating to buy a new pair of goggles only to find out they aren’t good for you.
Test for the comfort of lenses or eye cushions
This is possibly the most important thing. You are going to spend much time wearing the best triathlon goggles and if they feel uncomfortable in the beginning, it will only get worse.
Some types of goggles have silicon cushion that produce suction, and some, like the Swedish type, make the seal with your eye socket. Lenses also has to be the right width. If you choose a pair that is too big, there may be a leak in the corner of your eye and that beats the purpose of wearing goggles.
It is best if you are able to try on the goggles before buying them. But there is a much larger selection online. So, if you shop online it is good to make sure the seller is going to give you a refund if your goggles don’t fit you perfectly.
Check nose bridges
Nose bridges on goggles also hugely influence the fit and comfort. They also reduce the chance of moving or leaking while you are in the water. Best triathlon goggles have a nose bridge that provides the best possible comfort without touching your nose. There are many types available.
Some tri goggles have a self-adjusting nose bridge. This is a nice feature which allows them to shape accordingly. This is important because it provides a better suction for eye cushions.
Goggles with fixed nose bridges just don’t fit everyone the same way. While some swimmers may be satisfied, others are going to find them awful. Some manufacturers provide interchangeable nose bridges. This allows you to simply pop out the piece you don’t like and put in another which creates a better fit.
Many types of straps are available, but not all of them are equally good. Straps are supposed to secure a perfect fit for your goggles, but not at the expense of comfort. Most goggles have a single silicone strap, but there are other options available. Some goggles have split straps to better divide the pressure.
There are also double straps available, which can be separated and adjusted at an angle, 45° for example. This way you can adapt your goggles to sit best on your face, while the pressure a single strap would make is now divided greatly increasing your comfort.
Whichever type you buy, make sure it is easily adjustable. You also don’t want them detaching or snapping. It can be a real hassle if you have to stop mid-race to readjust.
Test the anti-fog quality
A very important feature for triathlon swimming goggles is the anti-fog quality of the lens. The fogging occurs when the heat reduced from the skin around your eyes meets with the cold lens, creating condensation. Swimming in cold water greatly increases this sort of problem.
For this reason anti-fog coating is applied to the inner surface of your goggles to prevent condensation. In order for this layer to remain intact, you should avoid touching, wiping or rubbing the surface. You should always check if the pair you are buying has an anti-fog layer applied during manufacturing.
If not, you can buy a spray in your sporting goods store and apply it yourself. This feature is best tested when you are using them in colder water, a pool or a shower for example. It will be obvious if it works like it should. That way you’ll be ready for your competition.
Q: How to keep cap and goggles still during a triathlon?
There is a lot of physical contact at the beginning of the triathlon swimming race. Because of this, goggles can be moved or even knocked off, and that is a great inconvenience. It also influences your performance because you have to stop and readjust them.
Many people wonder which solution is best to keep you goggles and cap in place, whether it’s putting goggle straps over your cap or under. But there is an even better solution.
Some time ago olympic swimmers started wearing two caps, and now triathlon swimmers are doing it too. This way you can place the goggle straps between the two caps. This practically secures everything, making it much more difficult to knock off. This way you can relax and concentrate on your race.
Q: What is special about triathlon goggles?
Triathlon goggles have some specifics, because they are used for swimming in open water. Compared to pool goggles, a pair for triathlon (open water) often has polarized lenses. This is great for dealing with changing light conditions.
Triathlon goggles also offer a wide range of lens colors, as we discussed. This reduces straining on your eyes, and adapts them to conditions you are swimming in.
Also, triathlon goggles offer wider and curved lenses. Unlike a swimming pool where you only need to see lines, open water swimming requires you to be more aware of your surroundings. This is where the size and shape of the lenses plays a significant role.
Q: Why do I need open water goggles for a triathlon?
As we mentioned, some differences exist in relation open water goggles vs pool goggles. Open water goggles are better suited for dealing with outside conditions (light, visibility). And you want what’s best for your competition. So naturally, you should buy the best triathlon goggles and concentrate on your performance only, not the performance of your goggles.
Globo Surf Overview
Like discussed, keep in mind things that are most important when shopping for a pair of the best triathlon goggles – fit and comfort. Also, think about the conditions you are going to be using them in, and choose a pair of triathlon swimming goggles that your eyes will be most grateful for. Now that you have a broad knowledge of goggle types available with help of our open water goggle reviews, we are sure you are going to make the right choice. Happy swimming!
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Do you own a pair of the best triathlon goggles that made it onto our list? Let us know how they worked for your practice and competitive swimming in the comment section below.