Confused about what kind of swim goggles to get? Here’s a breakdown on the best swimming goggles for every kind of swimming.
The swim goggle is one of the most critical pieces of swimming gear.
It allows you to properly see the walls, backstroke flags and other swimmers, and also keeps your eyes from getting red and irritated.
Based on 25+ years of experience in the pool, below are my best swimming goggles out there for competitive swimmers. They are separated into two categories, training and competition, but these are only suggestions based on price, as the competition goggles are quite pricey.
Let’s do this!
The Best Training Swim Goggles
There are hundreds of different types of goggles for swimming laps. They come in all shapes and sizes, and over my years churning around the black line I’ve had a chance to try just about all of ’em.
Here are my top picks for best goggles for swimming laps and training.
1. Swedish goggles
The pro list for these goggles is long: They are highly customizable. They provide a terrific field of vision. They are among the cheapest goggles on the market. They are comfortable, once you get used to the plastic eye socket. And they make you look like a badass in the water.
On the downside, they aren’t ready to plug and play out of the box unlike some other goggles (some assembly required), and the rubber straps do degrade rather quickly compared to goggles with silicone straps.
The Swedish goggle is available in a variety of different shades and tints.
2. Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Goggles
Speedo is one of the superpowers when it comes to equipment for swimmers. Over the years they have had countless Olympic and World champions in their roster, from Michael Phelps (his very first sponsorship), Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin, Florent Manaudou, and many more.
The Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 is their most popular mid-range goggle, and the first time you put them on you understand why. The rubberized gasket ensure a very comfortable fit. The silicone straps are basically indestructible. And the adjustable nose bridge means you get a leak-proof fit.
These Speedo goggles also come ready to wear. Put em over your head, adjust the strap, and it’s go time.
The two things I don’t like about these goggles: they are very dark. This becomes a problem once the anti-fog begins to fade, especially if you go for a dark lens and swim indoors. The second issue is that the peripheral vision isn’t as good as the Swedes.
(They are also available in a prescription version.)
3. TYR Socket Rocket Goggles
The TYR Socket Rocket goggles have earned a place in my rotation of goggles based on the fact that they’ve combined some of the best features of the Swedes and the Vanquisher.
They feature the sleek look that is reminiscent of the Swedes. There is an adjustable nose piece that you can use with the packaged string and silicone tube, or you can use the goggles “as is” with a piece of strap for the nose bridge.
The goggles are also lightly rubberized on the gasket, like the Vanquishers 2.0, which make them comfortable and also leak-proof.
4. The Speedo Speed Socket
There aren’t many truly hybrid goggles on this list, but the Speedo Speed Socket (fully reviewed here) is one of them. It’s equally at home in training and competition.
The Speed Socket goggle has been well represented in international competition, with sprint phenom Caeleb Dressel wearing them, most notably during the FINA World Championships in Budapest in 2017 where he won 7 gold medals. This goggle was formerly worn by Michael Phelps in competition before he moved on to his own brand of goggles.
The goggle has a slim profile, but unlike the Vanquishers, has better peripheral vision. The Speed Socket and the Vanquisher share a lot of features that I really like, including silicone straps, different-sized nose bridges, and a rubberized gasket that helps to suction your goggles to your face for a leak-proof fit.
The Best Competition Swim Goggles
1. Speedo FastSkin3 Elite Goggles
One of the biggest fears competitive swimmers have is of their goggles springing a massive leak off the dive of an important race. It happened to Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the Beijing Olympics, leaving the champion swimmer effectively blind for the final 150m of the race.
Speedo, and their FastSkin3 Elite goggles have sought to quell this particular anxiety with something they call IQ Fit 3D, which is something they came up with after scanning thousands of faces and heads at their research facility in the United Kingdom, fittingly called Aqualab. The result is a seal that hugs the socket of the eye, giving it a tight, comfortable fit.
2. Arena Cobra Ultra Goggles
I love the look and comfort of these goggles. (See also: 5 Reasons I Love My Arena Cobra Ultra Goggles.)
They are mega low-profile to give you a hydrodynamic edge in the water. The lenses are made with a hard polycarbonate for durability, and they come with silicone straps, which means that they will last for a long time.
Because of the low profile design of the goggles, and this is a common issue with these types of goggles, including the FastSkin goggle, is that swimmers with particularly long eye lashes will find them brushing against the inside of the lenses.
Adam Peaty, the man who has been completely rewriting the record books in the sprint breaststroke events, has long worn these goggles. They come in a variety of colors and tints.
3. MP Michael Phelps Xceed Goggles
When Michael Phelps and Speedo part ways in 2014 you just knew that the GOAT would come out with a product line of his own. The following year he partnered up Aquasphere and launched the MP line, featuring a snorkel for swimmers, swim fins, and yup—swim goggles!
The MP Michael Phelps Xceed Goggles are the high performance goggle offering from the line, and were the same goggles that Phelps wore during his final Olympic performance in Rio during the summer of 2016.
Major features of the goggles: they have an awesome field of vision, which is handy during those really busy meet warm-ups, and for checking on the competition mid-race without turning your head. They are also available in a wide variety of colors and lenses.