Open-water swim goggles: 9 of the best reviewed and rated
Make sure you have the best visibility on race day with a set of good open-water goggles. We test and rate 9 of the best
These polarised goggles get their name because they have seven ‘faces’, which are supposed to increase peripheral vision without distortion. In our experience this is far from true, as the extra angles at the sides and particularly at the bottom tend to distract you from what’s in front, leading to confusion on our open-water test.
The split strap is easily adjusted via clamps on the side and although they’re easy to use, they’d benefit from some loops or clips to hold down the excess strap and stop it flapping around at the sides. On the plus side we experienced very little fogging and the 3D gaskets are soft and comfortable – they did need a bit of adjustment after our dive tests though, which would suggest the seal could be better.
Verdict: Unusual shape obstructs vision and makes it hard to get an optimal fit 68%
Despite being categorised in Vorgee’s ‘Extreme Fitness’ range, the Vortech goggles are touted as an ultra light model. They have a split strap with a button adjustment system and non-mirrored lenses with a slight tint that are suitable for overcast to fairly sunny conditions. The UV protection is adequate but we found sighting buoys slightly problematic in the midday sun.
We had a few issues with fogging on our initial swims and they required a rinse in between our open-water and pool testing as they reacted to changes in temperature quite severely. The lenses are said to provide up to 140° of peripheral vision, which is less than the 180 ° offered by some of the other goggles here, but didn’t feel restrictive at all. Overall these are fairly basic but well-priced goggles that are fine for the pool or open water.
Verdict: Slight issues with fogging, but perform well in all light conditions 77%
The Killa Vision is Orca’s medium-fit goggle, sandwiched between the Killa 180° with larger, mirrored lenses and the slimmed down Killa Speed for maximum hydrodynamics. Our test pair had a very slight blue tint in the lens, which, combined with the lack of polarisation, meant they didn’t perform particularly well in bright sunlight. The glare problem was most noticeable when we were swimming directly into the sun.
The goggles’ anti-fog coating held up well throughout the numerous open-water and pool swims, and wasn’t fazed by the temperature differential in between tests. A simple split strap holds them in place securely but we weren’t blown away by the 3D fit gaskets – the Killa Visions were one of two goggles here that needed adjusting to stop them slipping off after a dive.
Verdict: Not the best in bright conditions and we struggled with the fit 74%
The Huub Acute are the only goggles here to have size options. With no real reference to go on, we opted for the M/L size, which happened to fit us perfectly. The test pair had lenses with a very strong yellow tint, but they’re also available in clear and smoke. The yellow took some getting used to, but in silty water provided really good visibility, as well as 100% UVA and UVB protection.
The strap adjustment system uses clasps either side of the frames – you lift the tabs then pull the straps through to the desired length – and there are loops to hold the ends down. While the frames are tough the gaskets are soft enough to remain comfortable throughout lengthy open-water and outdoor pool swims. The Acute is a robust goggle that’s clearly built to last – definitely good value for the £30 price tag.
Verdict: Unusual tint may seem odd, but a good quality goggle with a solid seal 86%