The Best Goggles for Open Water Swimming 2020

Ow Goggles

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?

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:


Masks

1 - Aqua Sphere Vista Pro

£42.99 to £51.49 (mirrored version)

Aqua Sphere Vista Pro

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

£25

Speedo Mask

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

£12

Lomo Masks

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

£12.99

Decathlon Mask

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

£49.99

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

£44.99

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

£15

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

£199

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

£25

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

Zoggs Predator Flex

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

£35

Zone 3 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

£22.99

Orca Killa

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

£32

Speedo Biofuse

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

Zone3 Attack

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

£25

Vorgee Stealth

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

£24

Vorgee Vortex

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

Nike Swim

Engineered to minimise drag and maximise field of view, for optimal performance. We are not sure we swim fast enough to benefit from low drag, but we certainly like the enhanced view of this goggle. They are comfortable and have become a kit-bag staple. Available in both mirrored and non-mirrored designs in a range of colours and tints for pool and open water swimming.

Where to buy: www.proswimwear.co.uk


14 - Phelps Xceed

£34.99

Xceed

With 180 degree panoramic vision and 100% UV protection, these new goggles from the Michael Phelps range are a bold choice for the open water. With eye catching zebra print straps and titanium mirrored lenses, these goggles make a statement as well as reducing glare for maximum visibility when swimming outdoors. Also available with iridescent, mirrored, smoke and tinted lenses. Come with four nose bridges for a personal fit. A low profile goggle designed for speed.

Where to buy: www.michaelphelps.com


15 - Nabaiji 100 Soft

£7.99

Nabaiji Soft

The cheapest goggles on test, these goggles certainly live up to their name. Soft silicone seals and a wide strap that adjust with a buckle at the back make for a comfortable swimming experience. Clear lenses make them more suited to pool swimming or dull days outdoors, but at less than £8 these are our bargain choice and hold up well against more expensive brands in terms of comfort and quality.

Where to buy: www.decathlon.co.uk


16 - Nabaiji 500 Spirit

£9.99

Nabaiji Sprint

At less than £10 we were impressed with these tinted goggles from Decathlon’s swimming range Nabaiji. The curved lenses gave a decent range of vision and the silicone seals were soft and comfortable. With a flexible nose bridge and easily adjustable straps, they performed as well as more expensive brands on test. The styling may look slightly 80s but a great budget choice.

Where to buy: www.decathlon.co.uk


17 - FunkyTraining Machine

£16.45

Funky

Another goggle with a racing profile, these training goggles come in a range of funky colours with tinted and mirrored lens options –perfect for open water if you prefer a minimal goggle. The soft silicone seals and strap are very comfortable and three nose bridges mean you can fit them snugly to your face. No water ingress. An eye-catching choice.

Where to buy: www.funkytrunks.com


18 - Nabaiji 590 B-Fit

£12.99

Nabaiji

A smaller goggle more akin to the Vorgee Stealth MkII, Phelps Xceed, FunkyTraining Machine or Nike Swim Vapor – but at a fraction of the cost how does it stand up to the competition? Three nose bridges allow for adjustment to your face while mirrored lenses reduce glare. Choose tinted lenses or clear lenses and the price reduces to £9.99. Soft seals were comfortable after a long swim. The styling may not be as eye-catching or the build quality quite as premium as more expensive options, but worth a punt if you like a smaller goggle at a smaller price.

Where to buy: www.decathlon.co.uk


Prescription goggles

1 - Sutton Swimwear OPT1800 swimming goggles including prescription lenses

£14

Suttonprescription1

Great value prescription goggles. While not specifically designed for open water, that’s where we’ve had to test them and they’ve performed brilliantly. The slight tint reduces glare, vision is clear and the seals are comfortable and watertight. They are UV protected too. One size fits all - nose piece is not changeable. Available for prescriptions from -2.00 to -8.00. Same prescription both eyes.

Where to buy: www.prescription-swimming-goggles.co.uk


2 - Sutton Swimwear OPT2017 swimming mask including prescription lenses

£24.50

Suttonprescription2

For short-sighted swimmers who prefer mask style goggles rather than eye-sockets, these are a good option. We know there are masks into which you can put prescription inserts, but these are the only ones we know of with the prescription built in. It would be nice to have a tinted option but these are great for cloudy days or gloomy conditions. Comfortable with good all-round vision. Available for prescriptions from -2.00 to -7.00. Same prescription both eyes.

Where to buy: www.prescription-swimming-goggles.co.uk


Price

Max: £199

Retailer

Varied

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