After practicing so hard, the last thing you would want to happen in a triathlon is ending up with fogged or water-filled goggles. Trust me. There’s nothing more devastating than it, and I know through personal experience.
And what’s more irritating is that I could have prevented it just by wearing the best open water goggles.
List of Great Open-Water Goggle Options
Like most people, even I focus only on buying the best triathlon gear like tri wetsuits, suits to bring out the best in me while I swim. I never realized that goggles aren’t to be taken lightly and bought in a haste.
It was only after performing poorly at a race because of the wrong water goggle that I decided to look for something better. My search for the top-rated open water goggles was what made me compile this buying guide and reviews.
Best Open-Water Goggles – Comparison Table
I made a list of goggles to try out, and I compared all of them to eventually select one. This was when I realized that there are many more people out there like me, and would benefit from it.
All you need are a few minutes to read my guide and list of reviews, but it’ll help you in selecting the top goggles so that you perform Perfectly on your next swim.
How to choose top-rated open water goggles
Okay, now that you’ve reached here, it’s evident that you want a good pair of goggles. Well to do so you first need to know what you have to consider and look out for while making a choice. There are various factors to be considered and they are:
The fit is crucial because you bring out your perfect performance with something well-fitting. Multiple factors make a comfortable fit.
The most important is that the lenses or eye cushions should be comfortable because you will be spending lots of time with it. Some triathletes like the softer gasket goggles, which give a more comprehensive view.
The nose bridge also influences your comfort and reduces the chances of movement or leakage while swimming. Look for a bridge providing the best support without touching your nose. Goggles with a self-adjusting bridge are a useful feature because it gives better cushion suction and comfort.
While some swimmers like goggles with fixed bridges, others may find it awful. There are also goggles with interchangeable bridges where you can pop them out and wear the best fitting one.
Swim goggles come with different types of straps, and all of them secure your goggles’ fit. Most have single silicone belts and those with split straps divide the pressure. Goggles with double belts can be separated and adjusted to a specified angle for a customized match.
It also distributes the pressure for increased comfort. Whichever belt you select, make sure it’s easily adjustable. You don’t have the time to detach or snap buckles to make adjustments during a race.
While it’s better to try on goggles for swimming before buying them, it’s not feasible to try its wide range available online. So it’s better to buy from a seller offering a refund if they don’t fit properly.
Look for a strong pair of goggles. All it takes is a hairline tear for water to leak and fill your water swimmers. The water is not only uncomfortable; salty seawater is both painful and inconvenient to the eyes.
Additional features to look for in triathlon goggles
Triathlon goggles need to be durable and securely sit in place even during the chaos at the start of the race and while making turns. I suggest that you buy two pairs of the best available. I’ve learned through experience that the goggles swim that works perfectly in pools don’t work well in open water conditions.
Here are a few factors to consider while selecting triathlon goggles.
Most triathletes prefer curved wide lenses that give a better 180-degree vision. However, some others prefer lenses providing a narrow line of sight for better focus on their performance.
About material, you can choose between high-quality plastic or polycarbonate. Plastic versions are scratch-resistant, light, and are high in clarity. However, there’s no UV protection, so you have to invest in anti-glare material too.
The lighter, thinner, and more durable polycarbonate lenses thus make a better choice. They are available in various colors like clear, polarized, mirrored, and shaded.
It’s essential to select the right colored lenses because it influences your performance. Clear lens allows the most light to reach your eyes. They are thus best for use in places without much light but are not ideal for triathlons.
Mirrored lens pair not only looks good but also reduces eye strain by reflecting light and glare. It’s best for outdoor swimming and competitions.
Tinted goggles can be adjusted for optimal visibility in individual situations. The light-colored tints are ideal for morning and evening swims and darker shades for use in bright sunlight.
Polarized lenses are a favorite with triathletes because the chemical coating reduces glare. They help improve performance because the light reflected off the water surface may either disorientate you or damage your eyes.
The standard three frame types are classic, swim mask, and Swedish goggles. Oval shaped traditional goggles are the most popular with silicone edges providing suction. They stick on for a few seconds and may fall off in the water too.
The popular competitive Swedish variants don’t create suction, but it instead sits tightly on the eye socket. They aren’t popular with some swimmers because of the intense pressure it builds on the facial bone. They thus train with gasket goggles and use the Swedish type for competition use.
Though masks offer the biggest field of view, they aren’t popular with athletes because it’s large, and creates drag. It’s, however okay for recreational use and for children.
It’s left to you to select the right pair based on where (indoor or outdoor), when (morning, afternoon, or night), and why(recreational, training, or competition) you will be using it.
What’s the best way to keep the cap and water goggles still?
There’s a high chance of your goggles inconveniently coming off or moving at the start of a triathlon. The movement is inconvenient and weakens your performance because you waste time adjusting it.
It is possible to keep goggles and cap in place. You need to wear not one, but two caps. The caps keep the belts secured in place making it all the more difficult for it to knock-off. You can thus focus better on the race.
Why are triathlon goggles special?
Triathlon goggles are synonymous with open water swimming use. Most of them have polarized lenses to handle the changing light conditions. There are also swim goggles with tinted lenses for reduced eye strain.
The most important feature of these goggles is its extensive and curved lens offering peripheral vision. Triathletes never know who or what they may run into, which is why they require a better-ranged water goggle.
Triathlon goggles generally offer reduced glare and better clarity so that you can focus better only on your performance.
The Aegend swim goggles have everything you want in your tri goggles. Its polycarbonate lenses have UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The latest Environmental Treatment Technology inner anti-fog coating is an additional benefit.
The lenses are also durable enough to sustain the harshest conditions. The manufacturers are so confident of its durability that they have a 1-year shatterproof warranty.
The flexible and higher nose pieces and silicon frame help keep you comfortable, something that’s important while you swim. The pieces don’t hurt your nose or leave marks on the face.
The 3D ergonomic design and double-deck seal design gives a tight fit to prevent water leakage. The mirrored lenses provide a darker view, suitable for outside use, especially on the extra-bright days.
I especially liked that these open water goggles come in various sizes and colors to make you stand out from a crowd. There are goggles designed for men, women, and children, and all are available in a variety of colors.
What’s more, there’s a well-designed back clasp that lets you put on and takes off them off without pulling your hair. You even receive a complimentary safe storage case.
One year warranty
Flexible nose pieces
Available in various sizes and colors
Not meant for customers allergic to silicon
Complaints of a poor fit and fogging up
There are so many great things to say about Aqua Sphere Kayenne swim goggle that I don’t know where to begin! Let’s start with its oversized 4-point Plexisol lenses with patented curved lens technology that offers 180° distortion-free visibility.
They are also UV protected, polarized, and have an anti fogging coating. The polarized coating filters the sun’s horizontal rays to eliminate glare from water’s shining surface for improved color and depth perception.
It’s curved in design to provide for a perfect fit without any distortion. You even get to choose between polarized, smoke, or mirrored lens.
Now about Aqua Sphere Kayenne stabilizing nose bridge. It creates a perfect and comfortable leak-free stable fit while eliminating raccoon eyes. Then there’s its Quick-Fit, one-touch micro-metric strap adjustment buckle system that quickly tightens and loosens the open water goggles while wearing them.
I also have to say that these Aqua Sphere Kayenne swimming goggles are strong enough to endure any open water’s rough treatment. Besides, its super slim micro frame ensures they lie close to the face to provide for optimal, low-drag, hydrodynamic performance.
Perfect for open or pool waters
Optimal 180-degree vision
Easy quick-fit buckle system
Meant for use outdoors and in bright conditions
Complaints of a broken head belt
Allegations of broken plastic sealing and leaks
The Speedo brand needs no introduction to any swimmer. It’s known for its swimsuits, and swimming-related accessories like their top-rated Speedo Vanquisher swim goggles.
I love its low profile with silicone gaskets giving a snug inner eye fit. It’ s not so bulky either, which means you have a pair of goggles offering minimum resistances.
The mirrored swim goggles reduce shine with UV protection and also have an anti-fog coating. The double belts are comfortable to wear and firm, while it’s curved back clip doesn’t press hard on the head.
To me, the highlight of these swim goggles is its four interchangeable nose pieces letting you select the right one with optimal fit.
Ideal for competition and training
Clear underwater vision
Minimal shine with maximum visibility
Cushioned silicon seals
Complaints of breakage at the nosepiece
Poor customer service
It’s no wonder this goggle swim is one of the top-rated in the market, and rather expensive. It’s from Aqua Sphere, the leading swimming equipment manufacturer and designed with the most decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’s insight.
He uses his experience to come out with practically the perfect swim goggles for the perfect racing experience. They have a semi-rigid exoskeleton made using exo-core technology and two different materials. The combination provides for added durability and maximum performance.
The Xceed goggles have patented nicely curved, UV protected polycarbonate lenses offering a 180-degree view without turning your head.
Peripheral vision is an essential feature for noting walls, obstacles, and even competition without turning your head. The lenses also have a titanium metal coating for optimal shine and sun protection for maximum visibility.
There’s another unique feature of these open water goggles, which is it’s hydrodynamic silicone straps creating a textured grip effect. It also comes with ergonomic and interchangeable bridges giving a personalized fit.
It’s the combination of all these features, and its easy-to-use buckle and ultra-soft Softeril gaskets that gives a low profile, leak-resistant block and design. Oh yes. You look cool in them too!
Made in Italy
Approved for use in all levels of competition
Provides true 180-degree vision
Ideal for open water, especially for triathlons
Available in a choice of red, blue and titanium gold
Complaints of it not keeping water off
Here’s another product from Aqua Sphere, their popular Kayenne, which needs no introduction amongst competitive swimmers. There are so many features that make these open water goggles so popular, like its peripheral vision that lets you see where you go.
These Kayenne oversized clear lenses with their patented curved technology provide for better comfort and visibility while swimming indoors and in low light. The Plexisol lenses are very strong and built to last, and structured not to leak.
They also have an anti-fog coating and are scratch-resistant. The highlight of the swim goggle is its new, super-slim one-piece hypoallergenic hydrodynamic micro-frame that keeps it close to the face. It thus helps give swimmers a low-drag hydrodynamic performance.
The head straps are easily adjustable, durable, and made of silicon. It’s one-touch, quick-fit buckle quickly makes an adjustment that you can do it even while wearing it. I like that the Kayenne goggles sit in the eye sockets medial orbital because it eliminates raccoon eyes. It also gives a comfortable and leak-free fit.
This model has clear lenses that transmit natural light, making it ideal for use in overcast and low light conditions. It also provides for consistent lighting with an accurate vision that doesn’t filter out color.
Available in various colors and tints
Durable and easily adjusted silicone head straps
UV protected Plexisol lens
Provides for 180° vision
Comes with a container
Ideal for indoor pool swimming and in dark conditions
Complaints of it leakage
Allegations of the lens pair turning blue with time
The TYR Sport Special Ops goggles are indeed true to the name. The best materials, like Durafit hypoallergenic silicone, are used to give a tight match and a maintained shape. Putting on them on is also so much easier because there’s only one strap to put on.
There’s no need to channel two bands at the rear- the single strap gives a firm fit. It’s much better than having two belts, which I eventually find rubbing against my ears.
I liked these goggles because it makes outdoor swimming so comfortable with its polarized lenses and anti-fog coating. They are just right for eliminating most of the disturbing water surface shine, which otherwise causes eye fatigue.
They also provide a clear and comprehensive 180-degree vision. Even the spacing between the eyecups is perfect for maximum comfort. There’s even enough space within the eyecup for those with long eyelashes.
The open water goggles come in a universal size for adults. However though highly adjustable, they may not fit everyone. The solution here is to look for a kids’ model that’s comfortable and has no leaks.
The highlight of this TYR swimming goggles is that it lets you customize your pair. You can choose your preferred colors, gaskets, and lenses while placing your order. You then receive your personalized pair.
Famous for both professional and recreational use
Durable and comfortable DURAFIT gasket
Made in the USA using top quality materials
Designed for open water, triathlon, and training
Complaints of an eyepiece pulling off the nose piece
The Arena Cobra Swim Goggles are just right for the triathlete. The silicon body gives a perfect fit, and as it’s soft and pliable, it does feel rather comfortable too. The fit is even more enhanced thanks to its split, securing strap.
When it comes to the lenses, they are wide, perfect for 180-degree vision while swimming. The fact that they are polarized, sturdy, and shatterproof are plus points.
That’s what I like best about the open water goggles. The polarized lenses with anti-fog coating that make it so coverable on sunny days. The mirror coating is the icing because it protects my eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.
If compared to other goggles, its thin gasket is over-molded on the lens pair to provide for absolute comfort and a watertight lock. The 4-sized interchangeable nose bridges also maximize comfort by letting you use the right-sized bridge.
It’s the combination of all these features that makes these hydrodynamic racing open water goggles a popular option for competition training and racing. It provides the necessary stability, and comfort so that you can perform your best.
Available in a choice of three colors
Interchangeable 4-sized bridge
Includes a cloth goggle bag
Maximum comfort without any water leakage
Too small for comfort
Doesn’t have a hard case
Here’s another swim goggles from the experts, Arena. Like their other quality products, they cater to outdoor and open water swimming, and triathlons. Arena has been around for more than 40 years now.
Unfortunately, they never did make much of an impact in the triathlon market. However, it looks like their Viper model will change the market!
To me, the most decisive feature that sets these open water goggles apart from the competition are its lens shape. Its wing mirror shape curving slightly at the edges is rather odd to look.
However, it’s only the looks that are odd! It’s otherwise excellent in functionality because it offers a vast vision range. Besides, its soft silicone seal and gasket not only prevents water seepage but also prevent panda eye.
The mirror coated polycarbonate lenses protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. The reduced glare lets you focus better on swimming for better performance. There’s no worry about any steaming up too while swimming because of its anti-fog coating.
The body, seal, and split strap are all made of liquid core technology silicone for durability, comfort, and a secure fit. The straps are also easy to adjust while the nose bridge is self-adjusting. It’s no wonder the manufacturers claim these are one size fits all goggles.
Perfect for triathletes and open water swimmers
Includes a cloth goggle bag
Easily adjustable straps
Liquid Core Technology
Hard and impact-resistant lenses
Complaints of adhesive coming apart while swimming
You will conclusively agree that there is nothing like the ‘perfect’ pair of goggles in this list. It all depends on which pair fits your swimming needs and face structure the best.
I, however, suggest that you at least buy them from a company that lets you return them if needed. You can never know which the best is until you physically try it.
I’ve tried quite a few swim goggles, and according to me, the Michael Phelps Xceed from Aqua Sphere. It’s because of its deadly combination of the best quality materials and Michel Phelps’ design expertise.
Most importantly, the swimming goggles bring out my best performance with its titanium metal coating effectively, blocking the sun’s glare. It’s also comfortable, leak-resistant, and offers a 180-degree vision. What more need you have in the best open water goggles?
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