Swedish goggles have long been one of the favorite swim goggles of elite swimmers. Here’s a full breakdown of this popular goggle, including pros, cons, and the best Swedish goggles on the market.
Swedish swim goggles, also known as Swedes, are an old-school swimming goggle that has been around for decades thanks to their unmatched customization, excellent field of vision, no-frills hydrodynamic design, and multiple tint and lens options for every type of swimming environment.
In this guide to Swedish swim goggles, also known as Swedes, we are going to do a deep dive of these old-school classics, including:
- What are Swedish goggles?
- The Pros of Swedish swim goggles
- The Cons of Swedish swim goggles
- The Best Swedish Swim Goggles
And answer all of your most pressing questions regarding these swim goggles.
Let’s dive right in!
What are Swedish Goggles?
Swedish swim goggles are a minimalist type of swim goggles that feature a low-profile design, custom nose pieces, and no gasket skirt.
Invented by Tommy Malmsten in the mid-1970s, Swedes became popular with competitive swimmers thanks to the low-profile lens, custom assembly, hard plastic lens, and unrivaled peripheral vision.
And because they are so inexpensive, they are a popular training swim goggle for swimmers.
Since the original Malmsten goggles exploded in popularity across the pool deck, other swim brands such as Speedo, Sporti, Arena, TYR, and others have released their versions of the popular Swedish goggles.
The Pros of Swedish Goggles
Not many swim goggles can claim that they are still popular with swimmers nearly 50 years after launching.
So why have Swedish swim goggles stood the test of time?
Some of the benefits of these swim goggles include:
✅ Ultimate in customization
Unlike most swim goggles, Swedish swim goggles come mostly unassembled. (One exception is the TYR Socket Rocket, which is assembled and “ready to swim” out of the box.)
Putting the swim goggles together means you will get the perfect fit for your face.
And this is especially the case with the nose piece. An improperly sized nose piece is the main driver of leaky swim goggles.
While most goggles that use a hard plastic nose piece will include several different sizes for the nose bridge, the Swedish goggles use string (or, even better, a couple of inches of the head strap).
This allows you to get a perfectly customized goggle fit that won’t leak when you hit the water.
✅ Excellent peripheral vision
Fun fact: swim goggles allow you to see like a boss in the water, whether that is to dodge the errant head-up breaststroker that’s wandered into your lane or timing your flip turn when sprinting.
The peripheral vision a swim goggle varies from model to model, but there is no better goggle for a maximum range of vision than Swedish swim goggles.
Because there is no plastic gasket to house the lens, you get a complete and total field of vision with these goggles.
This means you can see to the side really well (handy for checking your pace on the analog pace clock across the pool) as well as “up” when you are face down in the water.
In a world where swimming gear is getting more and more expensive, with tech suits costing as much as $600 and even “tech” goggles costing $60, Swedish goggles are still among the cheapest of the bunch.
Individual sets of non-mirrored Swedish goggles can be as inexpensive as $5 with 2-packs of mirrored Swedes costing around $20 (!).
Even though they won’t last as long as some other goggles, particularly the head straps, they are almost hilariously inexpensive compared to other swim goggles on the pool deck.
✅ The swimming purist’s dream
The design and construction of Swedish swim goggles are as simple as it gets.
Two hard plastic eye gaskets. A head strap. And an optional string nose piece.
For the swimmer that doesn’t need all the fancy-pants add-ons and “tech”, Swedish swim goggles are the perfect option.
✅ They look great
I know—function is always going to take priority over looks when it comes to swimming goggles.
But Swedish swim goggles work great and look great, particularly the mirrored versions.
The mirrored swim goggles are perfect for swimming outdoors, with the combination of the mirrored lens, which reduces eye strain, and the UV-coated lens to protect the eyes from UV exposure.
The Cons of Swedish Goggles
Although I love Swedish goggles, everything from the fit to how they look, there are some swimmers who won’t love these goggles.
Here are some of the potential disadvantages of these swim goggles:
Hurt your face.
Sure, they look cool, but for every swimmer that wears a pair of Swedish goggles for the first time there is the inevitable, “Ouch!”
The unique design of Swedish goggles means that the hard plastic socket rests “comfortably” against your face, which, for new swimmers, can result in some soreness the first couple of times out wearing them.
For newbie swimmers, or for swimmers who haven’t worn Swedes in a while, there is going to be a handful of swim practices where you leave the pool with your eye sockets feeling a little sore.
Double the pain when you get kicked in the face.
Running into the errant hands, elbows, feet and torsos of other swimmers is part of the deal when swimming in a pool with other people.
There are fewer things that hurt more than taking a foot to the face while wearing a set of Swedes—it will add at least 25% agony and bruising to any injuries sustained in the pool.
Latex straps degrade quickly.
Most swim goggles are now built with silicone head straps. Silicone is far more durable in the water compared to latex (this goes for choosing a latex or silicone swim cap as well).
Swedish goggles come with latex straps which degrade faster over time with repeated exposure to chlorine and UV exposure.
Can be a pain in the butt to assemble.
Swedish swim goggles come unassembled.
For the nose piece, this means sliding a cotton string through two goggle lenses, as well as a small silicone tube, and then use your little elf fingers to tie it into a knot.
For those of you who are like me—all thumbs—this process can be frustrating.
And once you get them tied properly there is no guarantee that it will fit snugly across your nose and not leak.
(Which is why I always prefer to use a few inches of the head strap as the nose piece. The strap can be adjusted quickly and without having to untie and re-tie the string.)
The Best Swedish Goggles for Swimmers
Although Malmsten is the O.G. when it comes to making Swedish swim goggles, and have been doing so for nearly 50 years (!), other swim brands have jumped on the Swede train with their iterations of the Swedish goggle.
Below are the best Swedish swim goggles on the market.
Malmsten Swedish Swim Goggles
The classic, the Malmsten Swedish Swim Goggle, comes in various lens tints, including the popular mirrored silver and gold.
Each set has an anti-fog coating to help you see clearly during those sweaty swim workouts, UV protection for swimming outdoors, and it comes unassembled.
Beyond the classic mirrored tins, the Malmsten Swedes are also available in clear, smoke, green, and red (perfect for dimly lit pools).
Speedo Swedish Goggles (2-Pack)
If you are the kind of swimmer who alternates between indoor and outdoor swimming, the Speedo Swedish Goggle (2-Pack) is gonna be perfect for you.
Built by the world’s leading swim gear outfitter, each set comes with a mirrored swim goggle and a light blue tint set. These goggles are also priced to win at less than $20 or so.
TYR Socket Rocket 2.0 Swim Goggle
The TYR Socket Rocket are a Swedish goggle for people who love the total customization, excellent peripherals and overall look of the goggles but want a rubber gasket on the lens of the goggle.
The thin gasket (it’s not nearly as thick as the gasket you will find on other popular swim goggles like the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0) makes it a great introductory Swedish swim goggle.
Additionally, the TYR Socket Rockets will last longer thanks to the silicone head straps (and nose piece).
Swedish Goggles – FAQs
Are Swedish goggles good?
Swedish swim goggles have long been my numero uno swim goggle for training and swimming laps.
Because they come unassembled, you can customize the fit of the goggles to your face.
The low-profile of the goggle is excellent for swimmers trying to squeeze every last bit of speed from their swimming, and because they’re not housed in a plastic gasket surrounding the lens, you can see exceptionally well in the water.
Where is the best place to buy Swedish swim goggles?
Most swim shops sell Swedish goggles. The best place to buy Swedish swim goggles online is Swim Outlet, which carries several different swim brands versions of the popular goggle, including Speedo, Sporti, Arena and TYR.
The Bottom Line
The swim goggle is perhaps the most important piece of gear you take with you to the pool (along with your swimsuit…).
Swedish swim goggles are an excellent option for the swimmer who wants the ultimate in customization, excellent peripheral vision, and wants to look good (and fast) in the pool without breaking the bank.
Choose the right Swedish swim goggles for you, get that perfect fit, and crush some laps in the pool!
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