Curious why competitive swimmers wear dark or mirrored swim goggles? Here is why, including the pros and cons of using mirrored swim goggles in the water.
The swim goggle is an essential piece of gear that swimmers take to the pool each day.
And with more and more different types of swimming goggles littering the pool deck it can be hard to figure out which are the best swim goggles for us.
Dark or mirrored swim goggles allow swimmers to swim outside without having to be blinded by the sun and the glare bouncing off of the surface of the water.
But that doesn’t mean mirrored and dark swim goggles have to be used strictly outside.
Here’s more on why and when swimmers should wear darker tinted lenses with their swim goggles.
The Benefits of Wearing Mirrored Swim Goggles
Let’s start by talking about the primary function of mirrored swim goggles.
Block harmful UV rays
Mirrored swim goggles are designed to reflect the sun, bouncing harmful UV rays from hitting our eyeballs.
When you consider that swimmers spend hours on hours swimming up and down the pool, you can begin to appreciate the need to protect the eyes when swimming backstroke, breathing to the side where the sun is shining, and when trying to read the next set on the whiteboard.
Polarized lenses are awesome for swimmer who train and race outside as they almost completely eliminate the annoying glare that happens when the sun glitters and sparkles over the water.
Almost every set of swim goggle on the market that has a mirrored lens is also polarized, but that’s not always the case.
A polarized lens is crucial for swimmers as it makes it way more easy to see without squinting so hard you get a headache. This is true in the case of swimming in an outdoor pool and in terms of safety, especially in the case of swimming in open water.
Tip: Mirrored swim goggles are not always polarized. Always make sure before hitting that “add to cart” button that the goggles you are investing in has a polarized lens.
The intimidation factor
Competitive swimmers also like the mirrored look because it prevents competitors from being able to see their eyes when walking behind the blocks, a harmless form of gamesmanship prior to racing.
Swimmers want every edge they can get when stepping up on the blocks to race their heart out, and using mirrored swim goggles is a form of wearing a superhero cape on race day.
What are the Cons of Wearing Mirrored Swim Goggles?
For swimmers that train exclusively outside, there really is no downside to this kind of lens.
However, mirrored swim goggles worn indoors can make for a dark view out of the lenses.
This is especially the case as the anti-fog coating begins to wear off, creating a 1-2 punch of a dark lens with a foggy lens.
Some swim goggles get darker, faster (while I love the Speedo Vanquishers, they get very dark when the anti-fog coating fades), while others (like my favorite training swim goggle, Swedish swim goggles) don’t get as dark, as fast.
If you swim indoors in a dimly lit pool, it’s best to steer towards a clear or colored lens (like blue or orange) as the contrast in the lens will help sharpen your view of the wall and other swimmers.
What are the best mirrored swim goggles?
Choosing the right swim goggles comes down to a whole bunch of different factors. The big names in the sport make consistently quality goggles that will go the distance with you in the pool.
Here are my top three goggles that have mirrored lenses and where to buy them:
Speedo Vanquisher 2.0
Arena Swipe Ultra Cobra Mirrored Goggle
Sporti Antifog S3 Mirrored Swim Goggle
The Final Lap
At the end of the day, the lens of the swim goggle you choose should match your environment, budget, and the kind of swimming.
Swimmers who are doing open water swimming will definitely want lenses that are mirrored for sunny days and glare off the water (check out this guide on the best open water and triathlon swim goggles), while pool swimmers will make their decision based on how bright the pool is.
Choose the right tint and lens for you, hit the pool with clear sight, and go get those new personal best times!
More Swim Goggle Guides:
6 Best Swimming Goggles for Racing. Swimming fast on race day means being equipped properly. Here’s a look at the best racing swim goggles.
6 Best Prescription Goggles for Swimming. Ready to take on the pool, but want to be able to take your prescription with you? Here are the best prescription goggles for swimming.