The Predator goggles have been given gaskets with new Ultra Fit technology for 2017, resulting in them being 15% lighter than the previous version. They have a ‘barely there’ feel, despite the large frames, and give you all the benefits of 180° vision without the extra weight you often get with bulkier open-water goggles.
The straps are quite thin and can be uncomfortable out of the water, but the minimal excess strap at the back and ease of adjustment makes up for this. The mirrored lenses were the best in direct sunlight out of all the goggles on test and also performed well in low-light conditions and murky water. All in all we’d recommend the Predators to any swimmer as a light and versatile open-water goggle for all weather conditions.
Verdict: Very comfortable and fantastic UV protection; a great all-rounder 90%
Despite the similar name, Speedo’s Futura Biofuse are quite unlike the Futura Biofuse Pro that, due to an inadequate seal, we didn’t get on with last year. It’s a different story this time around, as we found the seal to be one of the best on test. Two of our fellow testers agreed, after finding that a good fit was easy to achieve and that there were no leakages at all.
We did have problems with the anti-fog, however, and found ourselves having to repeatedly rinse and clean the lenses in between uses. The polarisation was fine in bright sunlight and the slight tint also made them suitable for low light. A good nose piece and easy strap adjustment work in the Futura Biofuse’s favour, but you’ll have to invest in some anti-fog treatment.
Verdict: Anti-fog not great, but the seal and fit will suit most swimmers 80%
THE FINAL VERDICT
The standard was high in this year’s open-water goggles showdown. Our dive tests to check their seals saw no complete disasters, with only the Swans Seven and Orca Killa Visions requiring adjustment after a second dive.
It’s imperative that fogging is minimal, and with the lens technology available today there’s no excuse for it. Although none of the goggles suffered from fogging enough to be rendered useless, the Vorgee Vortech and Speedo Futura Biofuse were the worst culprits for it.
When it comes to value for money, both the Aqua Sphere and Lomo goggles punch well above their weight. It’s a difficult decision as to which pair comes out on top, but we think that due to the bulk of Lomo’s Vortex, the Aqua Sphere Kameleons will be suitable for a wider range of swimmers.
Huub’s Acute goggles take second place, with just the unusual lens colour our only gripe in what is otherwise a well-crafted piece of kit that will easily endure a season of racing. Zone3’s Vapour goggles performed impressively in the glaring sun, but, like the Lomo Vortex goggles, were just a bit too bulky to be our preferred choice.
Our overall winner is the Zoggs Predator Mirror. They’re not without their critics, and we’ve had issues with frame breakages in a previous versions of these goggles, but based on the evidence of this test we can’t fault them. We found ourselves reaching for the Predators repeatedly once the goggle testing had finished and the wetsuit testing began and can confidently say we’ll be wearing these as we line up for our first races of 2017.
In addition to UK pool testing, we were lucky enough to test this season’s goggles at Club La Santa in Lanzarote to judge how they perform in bright sunlight and in warm weather and water.