Tech has come to swim goggles and it has come in a big way. Here’s a detailed look at the top smart swim goggles on the market right now.
Swimming goggles have come a long way over the past couple of years.
From their humble beginnings in the 1970s, the latest generation of swim goggles feature heads-up displays, activity tracking, comprehensive apps for detailed swim analysis, heart rate monitoring, and so on.
Instead of stopping to see your pace/splits on your favorite swimming smartwatch, or relying on the old-school pace clock, smart goggles give you real-time metrics and feedback on your performance in the water.
We are still in the early days of what’s possible with smart swim goggles, but the long game looks really promising.
Below is a breakdown of the top smart goggles on the market and in the pool, including a detailed breakdown of each, and a buyer’s guide for choosing the right smart goggles for you and your swimming.
Let’s dive right in.
FORM Smart Swim Goggles
The announcement of the release of the FORM Smart Swim Goggles in 2019 rocked the swimming world.
Unlike the long runways that came with a lot of the much-ballyhooed swim trackers being released at the time, the FORM goggles didn’t have a Kickstarter and a murky release date.
And unlike the other swim trackers coming out at the time, the FORM goggles were the first to have a heads-up display in the goggle lens.
Like a lot of swimmers, and especially as someone who trains solo, I was very excited about the prospect of having a pace clock in my goggle that also gave me splits, elapsed time, and so on.
Let’s start with the goggles themselves.
The shape of the goggles is ideal for most swimmers, with construction and fit that reminds me a lot of Speedo’s Speed Sockets or Vanquishers.
FORM ships the goggles with an adjustable head strap and seven nose pieces, as well as a sturdy carry case to protect your goggles.
The heads-up display in the goggles is in the right lens.
The unit protrudes to the outside of the goggles and two buttons on the top of the HUD turn the unit on and off and allow you to scroll through metrics and menus.
How does it feel swimming with the FORM Smart Swim Goggles?
These goggles were the first smart swim goggles I ever tried, and honestly, it felt really weird having a digital readout right in front of my eyeball when swimming.
My first instinct was to rip them off my head and go back to my trusty old Swedish goggles.
Trying to read the display while swimming was sometimes disorienting during those first few swims, but with time, and like with just about anything, you do get used to it.
Eventually, the digital readout fades into the background of your vision and you can reference it when necessary.
The display is very easy to read both in low-light pools (my local YMCA pool is a great example of this—no windows and very dark with orange overhead lights) as well as sunny days in outdoor pools.
The goggles track all of the major metrics that swimmers want to keep track of when swimming.
Time, distance, splits, stroke rate (and stroke count), distance per stroke, and pace.
The FORM Swim Goggles have gotten even better since their initial release, with major upgrades and additions including open water tracking, heart rate monitoring (compatible heart rate monitor sold separately), and even tracking for select swim spas.
Additional features included guided swim workouts that can be uploaded into your goggles and a library of swimming drills with video demonstrations in the app (includes instructions and requires a paid subscription).
FORM also added heart rate monitoring to these goggles (requires a compatible waterproof heart rate monitor like the Polar OH/OH1 + or a Garmin or Apple watch).
The app for the FORM Swim Goggles is excellent and intuitive. One of the main things that can make-or-break swim tech is the app that displays your data. You can tell that the app is built in the way that swimmers “think.”
Once you are done with your session in the pool, sync your workout and you’ve got a ton of metrics and data which you can use to better inform your training in the water.
There is one obvious drawback of these goggles, and that is the price. The upfront cost of $200 is understandable, but the main issue is that once the goggles wear out, you will have to buy a brand-new set.
That said, there is no denying that the FORM Smart Swim Goggles are a major breakthrough for swimmers and an essential for chlorinated athletes who want to take their swimming to the next level.
FINIS Smart Swim Goggles
FINIS has always been at the tip of the spear when it comes to training equipment for competitive and recreational swimmers.
So it’s no surprise that their entry into the smart swim goggle race would be unique and awesome.
The goggles themselves are similar to a Speedo Vanquisher. The gaskets are soft silicone that sits comfortably on the face, providing a leak-free swimming experience. Two head-straps allow for a custom fit, and five different nose bridges and a carry case are included.
Now let’s move on to the smart stuff.
The goggles have a separate heads-up display that is placed inside the left side of the left goggle lens.
The app is absolutely excellent. As mentioned earlier, all of the data in the world is unhelpful if you can’t sort it and analyze it in a meaningful way.
One of my favorite features of the app is that you can edit reps and sets.
For a mixed rep (say, doing 100m that 50m kick and 50m swim), you can edit it within the app to reflect what you did in the water. Simply kick on the little pen icon and plug in what you actually did, giving you a more accurate overview of your practice.
As someone who does a lot of mid-rep mixing, this is awesome and helps me better evaluate my training.
The way data is presented in the app is very appealing, too.
As you can see below, the way the metrics are presented are chlorinated eye candy.
There are two main things I like about the FINIS goggles compared to the FORM goggles:
⭐ Replaceable goggles.
The HUD unit can be removed from the goggles once your goggles have worn out or the anti-fog has completely disappeared, or you simply want to try a different tint of goggles.
While the HUD unit is only compatible with this specific FINIS goggle, there are two different lens tint and goggle color to choose from. Replacement goggles cost around $30.
⭐ The HUD is tucked away.
The heads-up display in the FINIS goggles is smaller compared to the FORM and it’s tucked off to the left. When you look straight ahead, or up at the wall, or down at the black line on the bottom of the pool, the metrics aren’t visible.
To look at the HUD, move your left eye to the left. I like this approach because the time/splits/data don’t dominate your field of vision.
The smaller display isn’t for everyone, I get that, and it can become hard to see during extended swims when you don’t have time to stop and clear the fog from your goggle lens.
That said, the FINIS Smart Goggles provides an excellent alternative to the FORM goggles, particularly for swimmers who want the digital display to be a reference.
FINIS retails them for around $200, and they are available in either smoke or clear blue lenses.
Choosing the Best Smart Swim Goggles for You
Everyone has different goals in the pool, but smart goggles are designed to provide you the feedback and information to get the most from yourself in the water.
Here are the main things to keep an eye on when picking out the best smart swim goggles for you:
🏊 Goggle quality and construction.
Swim goggles should be comfortable, not leak, easy to adjust, and durable.
Most swim goggles nowadays are built primarily of silicone, which is a marked improvement over the latex goggles of old.
Look for smart goggles that have a soft gasket, which suction lightly to your face to prevent leaking, multiple nosepieces, dual straps, and a wide peripheral range of view.
🏊 Heads up display.
The benefit of smart swim goggles is that they allow you to see your training stats in real time.
The type of HUD with each goggle is different, with the FORM Smart Goggles providing the largest display.
The HUD takes up differing amounts of your field of vision, and in each case, takes some getting used to.
🏊 Tracking information.
Each goggle tracks the basics, including laps, time spent swimming, intervals, and so on.
Heart rate monitoring typically needs to be done with a separate device.
The information that your goggles track—and the accuracy with which they track it—is unique to your goals in the water.
Now that you’ve done your workout, and your goggles have collected all of the metrics from your time in the water, it’s time to look at how you performed.
The data on your smart goggles is kinda useless if it cannot be presented simply and provide opportunities for improvement and motivation.
Ease of use, quick syncing, depth of data, and ease of tweaking and editing your workouts (changing parts of your workout from swim to kick, for instance) are all things to think about.
These kinds of swimming goggles are not cheap, generally in the range of about $200.
The FINIS goggles provide the greatest return over the long term when you consider that replacing the goggles can be done without removing the HUD unit.
Replenishing the anti-fog coating inside the lens with a good anti-fog spray, rinsing the goggles after use with fresh water, and storing them properly between swim sessions will help extend the life of your goggles.
More Swim Goggle Guides
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5 Best Goggles for Open Water Swimming and Triathlons. Ready to dominate your open water race? Here’s a breakdown of the best swim goggles for open water swimmers and triathletes.
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