The Cobra Ultra goggles are Arena’s high performance swim goggles. Here is a review of why I love these goggles.
Recently I picked up a pair of Arena Cobra Ultra goggles from my local swim shop when the nose piece on my usual training goggles gave out on me.
After plunking down some cash (more on that in a bit), I pulled them out of the box, tightened ‘em up a little bit, and gave them a go over the course of a 6,400m workout.
I’ve been using my fancy pants new Cobras in practice since then, getting a feel for them in different pools.
The biggest issue I’ve always had with goggles is clarity—and I mean in all circumstances.
When you first buy them. In brightly lit pools. In poorly lit pools. When the anti-fog wears off. In competition. In training when you are sweating like crazy at the tail end of a long round of best-average 100’s.
Here’s my review of the Arena Cobra Ultra goggles.
The first thing you will notice about the goggles, long before you ever strap them onto your face, is that they look cool. Bonus points, right? With that out of the way, you’ll quickly realize that these bad boys are not cheap.
Compared to Swedish goggles (one of my usual go-to’s in practice as they combine great visibility with being remarkably cheap), or even Speedo Vanquishers, the Cobra Ultra is a premium competition goggle (similar to Speedo’s Fastskin3 Elite goggles), and as a result, is priced accordingly.
I got gouged $65 (plus tax) for my pair at my local swim shop (ouch), but they are available online for usually around $40-50.
Once I got them onto my face, however, I was stoked on them. Here are five of the major takeaways I took from them.
They are super low profile.
Like other competition goggles (the Speedo FastSkin3 Elite and Michael Phelps’ Xceed goggles), they are low profile. I would argue that the Ultras are the lowest of the lowiest when it comes to profile.
When I put them on I was surprised my eye lashes weren’t pressed up against them.
Drag is the number one enemy we have in the water, and the Ultras do their part in giving you the slimmest drag profile possible.
When choosing the best racing goggles for your swimming, you want to reduce friction and drag as much as possible. The Ultras do this in a big way.
The straps aren’t like your usual goggles.
The “mask” of the goggle, where the lenses are placed, has two brackets on either side that go halfway across your head. I know I am not explaining this very well, so just look at the picture below and check out the red circle, where the “bracket” (or whatever we are gonna call it) meets the straps.
I am honestly not sure what the point of this type of setup is. I checked around the interwebs and some swimming forums but no one really had an answer for me.
A tighter fit around the side of your head? I dunno. The result is that the point where the straps meet your goggles is halfway around your head instead of just outside the lenses.
One possible explanation I have is that the plastic arm will extend to the point where your cap reaches. Maybe Arena figures a plastic arm provides less drag in the water than a couple silicone straps?
The straps are made of silicone.
Huge points for this. Most goggles are made with silicone straps nowadays anyway. Why does this matter?
Because this kind of material lasts waaaay longer than the straps on the old school goggles (including most Swedish type goggles, whose straps degrade astonishingly fast).
Silicone straps (just like silicone swim caps) last just about forever.
The peripheral vision is friggin awesome.
A big concern with goggles is being able to see not just see straight ahead, but to the side and up as well.
The side-to-side vision is the best I have ever experienced in a goggle, while the ability to see up is better than average.
Field of vision = excellent.
Brightness is really good as well.
I mentioned earlier how I was curious to see how the goggles would perform in pools that were super dark.
Fortunately, the local YMCA is super dark, which makes reading the pace clock difficult with dark and mirrored goggles, especially once that precious anti-fog fades.
The Cobras were only a couple workouts old when I gave them a rip at the Y, and they performed great.
The blue tint helped make things a little clearer, which meant I got to see how fast (or slow) I was going. Giddyup!
Summing Up the Arena Cobra Ultra Goggles
In sum, I really like these bad boys. They are comfortable, don’t leak, and were almost completely ready to rock and roll out of the box.
They definitely rank among the best swimming goggles out there for swimmers.
They are available in a massive array of colors. There is the mirrored version (the ones I picked up), and Ultras also come in a variety of other tints.
Also, the Ultras are one size fits all—whether a junior swimmer or a fully formed adult they are adjustable to match your size of face.
The Arena Cobra Ultra Mirrored Goggles:
The blue ones, pictured below, are the exact ones that I tested and reviewed. They don’t appear that “mirrored” in the image, but they are.
Arena Cobra Ultra Goggles
These are the non-mirrored variations of this goggle. They are also slightly cheaper than the mirrored goggles, FYI.
More Guides Moderately Similar to This
The 7 Best Goggles for Swimming. Our flagship goggle guide. It contains reviews on our top training and competition goggles (including the Arena Cobras).
The Best 8 Swim Caps for Crushing Laps. I’m a fan of Arena gear, and a couple of their caps feature prominently in our guide to the best caps for swimming.