Ready to hit the water with confidence? Here’s a breakdown of the best swim brands for swimmers.
You could say that I am obsessed with swimming.
After 30+ years in the sport, countless swim meets, dried-out hair, and racoon-eyes from swim goggles, my love for the sport remains as strong as the smell of chlorine at my pool.
Over the years I’ve had a chance to try out more types of swim gear than I’ve swum laps. (That’s a lot.) Cracked swim goggles, faded swimsuits, and swim caps that balled up into gum from sun exposure—I’ve been there.
Below is a detailed list of the best swim brands on the planet. They are the makers of the swim gear that gets up with you for those early morning swims and doesn’t fade when the workout gets tough.
Whether you are looking for a new swimsuit, goggles, a cap, or a swim parka for keeping warm on the pool deck, there is a swim brand out there for you.
Read on for a detailed look at the best swim brands for competitive and lap swimmers, where to shop for them, and more.
Let’s dive right in.
Competitive swimming and Speedo are nearly synonymous, with the old school men’s swim brief colloquially known as “Speedos.” The company has a long and rich history in aquatic sports, originating in Australia in 1914.
By the 1970s they were producing swimsuits made of nylon and elastane, which continue to be the two primary fabrics in swimsuits, whether it’s the high-tech racing suits worn by the top swimmers on the planet or training and lap swimming suits.
At the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps, wearing the latest in a long line of performance racing suits made by Speedo would win eight gold medals. Both recreational swimmers and Olympic champions swear by Speedo’s durability and comfort when it comes to swimwear.
Other prominent swimmers that wear Speedo in competition include Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Murphy, Nathan Adrian. Speedo’s racing suits are some of the best tech suits on the planet, as evidenced by how many swimmers were wearing their suits at the Tokyo Olympics.
Based out of Huntington, California, TYR came on the scene during the mid-1990s, the name a reference to Norse mythology.
They’ve cemented themselves a place among the most popular swim brands for competitive swimmers (and triathletes), with a catalogue of swimming gear that includes wetsuits for cold water swimming, kickboards, swim goggles for kids, jammers for lap swimming, and much more. TYR combines functionality with eye-catching designs, giving swimmers a ton of options for style and performance.
TYR athletes include the greatest distance swimmer of all-time, Katie Ledecky, breaststroke Olympic champion Lilly King, and sprint phenom Michael Andrew. No matter how ambitious your goals are in the water, TYR has the equipment to help you conquer the pool.
Arena is another legacy name in the world of competitive swimming. The brand made their first big splash during the 1970s at the Munich Games. At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Mark Spitz wore an Arena swimsuit on his way to winning 7 gold medals, a record for most golds won in any Olympics.
I’m a huge fan of Arena gear and have tried out a lot of their stuff over the years. The Powerskin ST 2.0 is one of my favorite low-cost racing jammers, their PowerFins are some of the best swimming fins on the market, and the Cobra Ultra Goggles are among the best racing goggles on the planet.
FINIS is a newer company that’s been at the forefront when it comes to making new training equipment for swimming. They’ve led the way with a lot of technical advancements, including the FINIS swimmer’s snorkel, the FINIS Duo (the ultimate waterproof MP3 player), and cleverly designed strapless agility hand paddles.
FINIS started out with a monofin as its first product with the help of co-founder Pablo Morales, an Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder in the 100m butterfly. From there, FINIS stepped forth with the swimmer’s snorkel in the mid 1990s, swimwear in the early 2000s, and elite racing suits in the 2010s.
While not as broad a swimwear company as some of the bigger players, FINIS creates excellent products for competitive (and recreational) swimmers alike.
MP Michael Phelps
The greatest swimmer and the greatest athlete of all-time, Michael Phelps, launched his own swimwear company in the run-up to his final Olympic Games appearance in Rio. The five-time Olympian and winningest gold medalist in history and Speedo parted ways in 2013, clearing the way for Phelps to stake his own brand.
The brand, MP Michael Phelps, offers training and racing gear for competitive and recreational swimmers (and even swim vests for toddlers). Additionally, MP sells a limited range of wetsuits for triathletes.
Phelps and his longtime coach Bob Bowman designed much of the gear together, including the Alpha Pro Fins, the Focus Swim Snorkel, and swim paddles. The brand offers a range of training racing goggles and swimsuits.
Swimmers under the MP Michael Phelps umbrella include Canadian Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak, American IM specialist Chase Kalisz, and of course, Michael Phelps himself.
Perhaps best known for their collection of “Uglies” training swimsuits, which featured bright colors and bold designs, Dolfin is one of the smaller swim brands that puts out consistently unique and eye-catching swim gear. Dolfin produces a series of quality and affordable swim goggles, fins, nose clips, and swimwear that is more on the casual side of things.
Swimmers repping the Dolfin Swimwear gear include retired Olympic champion Summer Sanders and Pan Pacific Championship gold medalist Zane Grothe.
Blueseventy is probably better known for making swim gear for triathletes and open water swimmers.
They make excellent gear for cold water swimmers, whether it’s keeping your head warm with a neoprene swimming cap or bundling up your toes with neoprene swimming socks, Blueseventy makes equipment that is comfortable, durable, and very affordable.
While they got their start with multi-sport races and events like Ironmans, their line of budget-friendly tech suits have been popular with competitive swimmers. Nowadays, Blueseventy also makes two-piece training suits, buoyancy shorts, goggles, and more.
Sporti is a low-cost swim brand that offers swimsuits and googles for swimmers and triathletes. They make a full run of gear, including mesh bags, prescription swim goggles, and even aquatic dumbbells for water aerobics.
In my experience, however, with Sporti you tend to get what you pay for. Sporti gear rarely lasts as long as the more popular brands, which makes them best suited for light use. The bigger swim brands, like Speedo and Arena, make vastly superior gear for only a fraction more.