Best pool goggles review 2015
Comfort, adjustability and performance – all key when it comes to your pool peepers. Emily Thorne tests four to find the goggle Holy Grail…
Don't forget to check out our 2014 gear round-ups: best heart rate monitors, best aerobars, best run jackets, best turbo trainers, best tri bikes, best tri bike shoes, best wetsuits, best lightweight run shoes, best trail shoes, best energy bars, best bike jackets, best bike helmets, best TT helmets, best recovery drinks and best tri-suits.
Blueseventy Nero Race
Price: £20 from www.blueseventy.co.uk
For a brand primarily associated with open-water gear, Blueseventy has produced an impressive piece of pool kit in the Nero Race goggles. The fish-eye fit felt well-cushioned, secure and perfectly moulded to the face, a fit that can be accomplished by all with the option of four sizes of nose bridge. This, plus the lasting clarity of the yellow-tinged lenses, created an overall streamlined feel through the water.
The double-band straps were hard to adjust, although this was an assurance that they weren’t going anywhere and wouldn’t need regular adjusting. The carry case is more robust than many, while its black matte finish gives a professional look. Available in five different colour options, the Neros are a great buy for the price.
Verdict: Streamlined, super clarity and a fit that feels tailor-made, but adjustment is tricky, 90%
Aqua Sphere K180
Price: £20 from www.aquasphereswim.com
Aqua Sphere’s K180 goggles deliver on what they promise. Although the clear lens is perhaps a dated look in comparison to the modern-looking mirrored lenses of many other goggles on the market, what the K180s lack in style they make up for in performance. The thin individual straps create a streamlined feel, with an easily-adjustable double-strap at the back.
Added to this, the three varied sizes of nose bridge supplied allow for a personalised fitting. The silicone eye gaskets provide suction to hold the goggles in place, yet are comfortable for prolonged wear. The curved lenses offer a barely-there feel, but don’t hinder the overall field of vision. There’s nothing revolutionary about the K180s, but the level of performance they deliver makes them a brilliantly reliable option for any triathlete.
Verdict: Not the snazziest, but for superlative fit and comfort they deliver, 95%
TYR Pink Special Ops 2.0
Price: £24 from www.tyr.com
The bright pink Special Ops 2.0 make a bold statement, but if you don’t fancy pink they’re available in several other colour options such as tie-dye, cheetah or camouflage! Touted as a do-it-all for in- and outdoors, the polarised lenses are a useful feature for open water and offer wide peripheral vision. In the pool we used they darkened vision somewhat.
The integrated anti-fog treatment kept vision clear and the Durafit silicone gaskets offer plenty of cushioning. However, the level of suction felt uncomfortable. The thick all-round double-straps add to the strength of the suction and weren’t easy to adjust. The goggles are one-piece, with the straps being the only means of adjustment, with no option of interchangeable nose bridges. These are possibly best suited to outdoor training/competing, rather than indoors.
Verdict: Wide vision, plenty of cushioning, but let down by poor comfort and adjustability, 76%
Arena Viper Mirror
Price: £22 from www.arenaswimwear.com
Arena has been producing quality swimwear for over 40 years, but has never truly made major inroads into the triathlon market. That gap’s been ably filled by Aqua Sphere, Zoggs and Speedo in recent times, but the Viper looks set to make a competitive market even fiercer. In short, this is a super pair of open-water goggles. Its standout and perhaps divisive feature is lens shape, which resembles a wing mirror that curves in slightly at the edges. It looks a touch odd but offers an incredibly wide range of vision.
The polycarbonate composition also helps to reduce glare – appreciated on a summer testing period that included daily swims in the Atlantic. The anti-fog coating works – no steaming up here – though the traditional spit and swipe will further enhance clarity. A soft silicone seal prevents water ingress, but without causing panda eye, while the straps are easy to adjust for a perfect fit. Also comes with a goggle bag.
Verdict: Superb set of goggles to help sight a new PB, 91%
And the winner is…
Aqua Sphere with their top-performing, brilliantly reliable K180s.
... and don't forget to check out our 2014 gear round-ups: best heart rate monitors, best aerobars, best run jackets, best turbo trainers, best tri bikes, best tri bike shoes, best wetsuits, best lightweight run shoes, best trail shoes, best energy bars, best bike jackets, best bike helmets, best TT helmets, best recovery drinks and best tri-suits.
What are your favourite pool goggles? Let us know in the comments below!