Swimming Events Guide 2024
GEAR,  Product Reviews

The Best Goggles for Open Water Swimming 2020


Choosing open water goggles can feel confusing with the range of options available. Do I need polarised or tinted? What does photo-chromatic mean? And do I want wraparound lenses or something more streamlined?

How to choose open water swimming goggles?

Tinted lenses are designed to help you see in different light conditions while swimming outdoors. Smoked lenses reduce bright light and glare, amber lenses reduce some glare while also enhancing visibility, while pink/violet lenses are designed to reduce glare in moderate light. If you will be using your goggles in the pool as well as outdoors, consider a lighter tint.

Mirrored lenses also reduce brightness and help cut out glare. Some swimmers enjoy the psychological advantage they feel that mirrored lenses give them in races by psyching out their competitors!

One step up from tinted and mirrored lenses are polarised lenses. They work the same as polarised sunglasses, reducing glare while also making everything look sharper. Good for swimming in bright sunlight, reducing glare off the surface of the water – and also exploring underwater!

Photo-chromatic lenses vary their tint from clear to smoked to adjust to the light conditions. The most expensive lens option, they are able to handle any conditions – from night swimming to full summer sun.

Open water goggles are usually larger than pool goggles, although some swimmers prefer a small eye socket. Larger and curved lenses give greater all-round visibility. Mask-like goggles are also an option –these give the best range of vision and are very comfortable, although may cause greater drag if every second of your swim counts.

Here’s our review of open water goggles on the market in 2020:


1 – Aqua Sphere Vista Pro

£42.99 to £51.49 (mirrored version)

The single lens sweeping across your face gives an unparalleled field of vision – no plastic nose bridge to get in the way. We tested the gold mirrored version pictured – very striking as well as giving good reduction of glare while swimming in bright sunshine. A range of lens options is available. We found the silicone seal to be soft and very comfortable. A bigger mask takes a bit of getting used to, but are very comfortable and the range of vision is awesome. The Aqua Sphere Vista Pro is a high quality mask designed for open water and wild swimming.

Where to buy: www.aquasphereswim.com

2 – Speedo Biofuse Rift


Specifically designed for open water and triathlon swimming, this is another comfortable mask with a good range of vision (if not quite as impressive as the Vista Pro). We liked the easy to adjust button mechanism and the wide straps were secure and comfortable. Clear lenses.

Where to buy: www.speedo.com

3 – Lomo Vanguard


For good value kit, Lomo always deliver. Slightly tinted lenses to reduce glare and a soft silicone seal makes these comfy and great for wild swimming. The fit is quite wide so good for big heads! At £12 the price can’t be argued with. A solid budget option.

Where to buy: www.lomo.co.uk

4 – Nabaiji Swimming Mask 500


Another good value goggle from Decathlon’s swimming brand Nabaiji. Not as soft a seal as other masks on test, but were watertight and flexible. Clear lenses with a good field of vision. Designed more like a big goggle than a mask.

Where to buy: www.decathlon.co.uk

Open-water goggles

1 – Huub Altair


Three goggles in one! Huub have solved the lens conundrum by supplying three interchangeable mirrored lenses – yellow for lowlight, silver for pool or early morning swims, black for strong sunlight and bright days. Prescription lenses are also available. Supplied with three nose bridges for a perfect fit. Initially a little bit fiddly to get the bridges and lenses in, but the soft silicone seal is very comfy once you have the goggles on. Comes in a hard case for protection and so you don’t misplace the lenses.

Where to buy: www.huubdesign.com

2 – Huub Aphotic


Photo-chromatic lenses that adjust to all light conditions, these are another top quality pair of goggles from Huub. Our tester found them very comfortable with soft seals that fitted well to her face with no water ingress. The lenses worked well in testing, reacting quickly to changes of light in a murky dock and bright summer lido swimming. Easy to adjust and good range of vision. Includes hard-shell case to keep them in race-ready condition.

Where to buy: www.huubdesign.com

3 – Lomo Vigour


Polarised lenses for £15 is impressive, but can Lomo deliver on quality as well as price? A similar design to the Kayennes below, we liked the soft seal comfort of these goggles. The flexible nose bridge fitted well and the lenses worked well during testing at a sunny Brockwell Lido and London Royal Docks. We liked the hard-shell case these came in – good for keeping them scratch and fog free.

Where to buy: www.lomo.co.uk

4 – Form goggle


If you value training data and instant feedback about your pace, stroke rate and distance then these are the goggles for you. Beaming metrics onto a display that floats in front of your eyes, Form goggles now have open water as well as pool training capabilities. Pair the goggles with a compatible GPS-enabled watch, and display metrics from the watch in the eye-piece. This means you can now see pace and distance, in real time, in your goggles, while you swim in open water. The future of open water goggles? We were certainly very impressed with the technology.

Where to buy: www.formswim.com

5 – Aqua Sphere Kayenne


An open water favourite, the Kayennes are the go-to goggle for many outdoor swimmers. Wide field of vision and the distinctive almost-triangular shape also give good ‘up and down’ vision. Flexible and low-profile, with good build quality, it is easy to see why these are such firm favourites. Available in a wide range of lenses, we tested the smoke lens but mirrored, clear and polarised are also available. We like that these come in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes for a good fit.

Where to buy: www.aquasphereswim.com

6 – Zoggs Predator Flex 2.0

£30 to £60

A firm favourite at Outdoor Swimmer, the relaunched Predators are popular with many open water swimmers. The range includes small and regular sizes so you can find the prefect fit. We tested men’s Titanium Reactor goggles, the top of the range with titanium coated photo-chromatic lenses. The lenses worked well in all light conditions. Like other open water favourites, the Kayennes, these are a low profile and flexible goggle with premium build quality. Available in a wide range of lenses.

Where to buy: www.zoggs.com

7 – Zone3 Vapour


It was a close call between the Vapour and the Vista Pro as to which was the most bling goggle on test. Gold lenses, gold rims and gold adjustment shoulders – these will get you noticed at your local lake! They are also a great open water swimming goggle, with wide and soft silicone seals giving a really comfortable fit. Wide range of vision, flexible nose bridge and deep lenses, we were very impressed with their performance and build quality. Available with polarised and photo-chromatic lenses – and in a range of slightly less bling colours!

Where to buy: www.zone3.com

8 – Orca Killa 180º


A really versatile goggle, these have been on long-term test since last summer and are still in weekly use. Supremely comfortable with a flexible nose bridge, the Killas have a good field of vision and are available in mirrored or tinted versions. We tested the black mirrored version and have been impressed with them in both the pool and open water. A good value goggle with good build quality, available in a range of colourways.

Where to buy: www.orca.com

9 – Speedo Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Triathlon


Speedo’s open water goggle boasts soft “gel-like” seals for comfort and fit, but we found they weren’t as comfortable as the silicone gaskets of other goggles on this page like the Orca Killa and Zone3 Attack or Vapour. Polarised lenses reduce glare and increase crispness – they performed well in our local lido. A flexible and low-profile goggle with easy-to-adjust straps via a button mechanism.

Where to buy: www.speedo.com

10 – Zone3 Attack

From £25

Available in a wide range of lens/colour options, we love this red and polarised lens combo which suits the slightly retro styling of these goggles. With the same ultra-soft silicon seals as the Zone3 Vapours, these are a comfortable all-rounder. Another long-term test, these have served well in both open water and pool training swims. Smaller than the Vapours, curved lenses give a wide range of vision. A good value open water goggle.

Where to buy: www.zone3.com

11 – Vorgee Stealth MkII


Smaller lenses make these quality goggles feel as though they are made for racing. Flexible and face hugging, the mirrored lenses performed well in bright sunshine. A comfortable fit, but be aware that these are a smaller goggle than many on test on these pages. That said, they fitted well with no water ingress and were still comfortable after a long swim. We liked the four nose bridges which meant you could attain a snug fit. For those who like a more minimal goggle.

Where to buy: www.vorgee.com

12 – Vorgee Vortech Max


A flexible and comfortable goggle similar in size to the Zoggs Predator Flex. Light and low-profile, we liked the soft silicone seals and the overall quality feel of these goggles. Tinted curved lenses reduce glare and give good range of vision. We tested the tinted lenses although clear lenses are also available.

Where to buy: www.vorgee.com

13 – Nike Swim Vapor

From £24

Engineered to minimise drag and maximise field of view, for opt

Max: £199


Stay up to date with The Dip, our free weekly outdoor swimming newsletter.

Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.