Zoggs Predator and Predator Flex – Gear Review
High-performance goggles from Zoggs can help you cope with demanding swimming conditions, says Simon Griffiths
As a glasses wearer, I mostly use prescription goggles. Opticians recommend not wearing contact lenses for swimming. However, I like the convenience of contact lenses for open water races and swimrun events. To minimise infection risk, I need to keep water out of my eyes. I therefore frequently use Zoggs Predator or Predator Flex goggles as I’m confident they won’t leak and will stay in place in rough water or if knocked by another swimmer. As a bonus, the clarity of vision is excellent. I was therefore excited to try the latest iterations from the Predator and Predator Flex range.
These are the models I tested:
- Predator Flex Titanium (Grey Black Mirror), £40
- Predator Flex Titanium (Blue Mirror), £40
- Predator Titanium (Grey Black Mirror), £35
- Predator Titanium (Grey Black Mirror Pink), £35
- Predator Flex Reactor, £60
With this range of styles and tints, the choice may seem overwhelming. But it’s not really. The key thing is to find a frame style you like and then use Zoggs’s lens guide to help you choose a tint. In addition, all goggles come in two size options, regular and small. I used regular throughout, which are a good fit for me, but do check their clever fitting tool. This asks your gender and whether you prefer your goggles to fit inside or outside your eye socket, uses your phone or computer camera to scan your face and then makes a recommendation. It even shows you what you will look like wearing the goggles.
There are some slight differences in the design and fit between the Predator Flex and the Predator that are worth noting and we’ll get to shortly. But first, the similarities. Both are all-in-one constructions meaning the nose piece, frames and gaskets are a single unit. You can’t change the nose piece as you can in some other goggles. However, both are flexible enough to accommodate a range of nose shapes. The soft silicone gaskets are comfortable and secure across the range. I’ve never had any leakage issues.
As for the differences, the most notable is between the straps. The Predator Flex uses a ratchet system where the strap connects to the frames. This allows you to adjust the tightness while the goggles are in place, which can be useful for a last-minute tightening before a race, for example. On the other hand, it adds a little bulk to the frame. The Predator has a more traditional strap and adjustment mechanism behind the head and consequently a sleeker design. While both designs have a low profile, the Predator sits noticeably closer to the eyes than the Flex – so close in fact that you may feel your eyelashes brushing the lens.
Regarding the different lens tints, it’s best to refer to this guide form Zoggs for the most appropriate lens for lighting conditions. However, one notion to dispel is that tinted lenses make it harder to see. In fact, in many lighting conditions, they help, and this was apparent in the testing. Like a good quality pair of sunglasses, tinted goggle lenses help reduce dazzle, especially when the sun is low on the horizon, and (but this is subjective) may also change your mood. I found the tints somehow calming and they made my swimming feel more relaxed.
One lens we didn’t test on this occasion but I’ve used previously is the polarised lens. These are available in both the Predator and Predator Flex range and are worth a look if you often swim at sunrise or sunset as they help reduce glare.
The biggest issue with Zoggs now is the breadth of choice. I want them all! However, my overall favourite was, unfortunately, the most expensive, the Predator Flex Reactor. These would be my lenses of choice for a swim or swimrun lasting several hours where lighting conditions may change substantially. These are the ones I’d keep in good condition for events. I also find the grey black mirror tint comfortable in most lighting conditions, so these would be my second choice, in either the Predator or Predator Flex frames.
See the range at zoggs.com