The Secrets of Choosing Goggles

Stopping to fix goggles is a common problem in workouts. Swimmers who don’t have years of experience often struggle to select the best goggles for a comfortable fit. Today I will address the major factors which impact the fit of your goggles.

First, let me admit that I have a prejudice against oversize, mask like goggles. I see a lot of less experienced swimmers using them.  The large field of view can feel comfortable to those who are not use to the close fit of goggles.  Let me assure you there is a reason you don’t see a single top swimmer wearing the large format, or small mask format.  It is heavy and creates extra drag.  While wearing true goggles may take a bit of getting used to, it is more than worth the effort in the long run.

So how can you tell what goggles will fit? I would like to address three criteria for making a goggle fit. first, and most critical, is the bridge of your nose. One of the most varied features on the face is the height of the bridge and the distance between the eyes. This means that goggles with a bridge that cannot be adjusted are unlikely to be successful. Any given size is bound to fit someone and if you fall inside the average you are probably fine.  If you don’t then make sure the goggles you select have either an adjustable nose piece or multiple nose pieces which are interchangeable.

The second criterion is the overall width of your face.  Most standard goggles fit average and wide faces, socket goggles will work best for those with narrow face. Socket goggles are an industry term you will find as part of the name of many goggles.

A third criterion, while less critical is still important.  Double straps are much more effective than a single strap format. By separating the two straps, one high on the head, and one about midway up your head, you create an improved seal and better overall fit.

If you are new to goggles, I strongly recommend trying them on.  Most sporting good stores carry few quality options, your local swim specialty shop is your best bet for your first-time purchase. When trying on goggles in store place the goggles over your eyes, with no strap, and press the goggle gently, but firmly onto the eye creating seal and let go. The goggle should stay on your face for at least 5 seconds. If after a few tries the goggles fail to stay on your face they probably don’t fit.

Up Next: Using your arms off the start

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