The SRX are the latest racing goggle from optics specialists Swans. They appear similar to their Falcon goggles, but with straps that are rounded instead of flat at the sides. For us, this wasn’t ideal when paired with the very small lenses, as they don’t give a firm fit around the temples and it felt like they were going to slip off. This proved the case when doing some dive tests, and we had to pull them extremely tight to prevent slippage which left unsightly marks after our training session.
The most impressive feature is that the lenses provide brilliant peripheral vision considering they’re so small. While they lag behind on comfort compared to others here, it’s worth noting the SRX goggles are also available with prescription lenses for a £20 levy, so if you find the construction manageable we can definitely vouch for the quality of Swans lenses.
Verdict: Great lenses that are let down by the frustrating straps and resulting discomfort 72%
Buy from www.simplyswim.com
Speedo’s top-end Fastskin Elite goggles now have a neat strap adjustment system that puts all the excess strap within the same loop, so you don’t get any overhang. There’s also a tension scale so you can get it spot on every time. Speedo’s IQfit technology is responsible for the leak-free lenses that you fit to the frames yourself out of the box. They offer a wide field of vision, yet have a hydrodynamic shape for minimising drag.
Despite their aggressive shape, swimming in them is pleasant, and the silver mirrored lens tint is fine for all light conditions. The build-your-own lenses and adjustment system might seem convoluted to some – and there’s no getting over the fact that £47 is a lot to pay for goggles – but we guarantee you won’t be disappointed if you want a race-fit goggle that’ll see you through at least a year of regular pool training. speedo.com/uk
Verdict: a top-draw pair of race goggles with great vision and a top-end price to match 89%
Buy from www.speedo.com
The Cobra Ultra is Arena’s flagship competition goggle, with an ultra-low profile lens and mean appearance for the ultimate starting block poker face. The deep mirrored tint is surprisingly versatile and is fine for indoor and outdoor pools. Although they’re very slim, they do offer plenty of peripheral vision. You get five nose bridges included and the silicone dual strap is simple to use, even if there’s too much excess strap overhang on a medium-sized head.
It’s worth noting when we say low profile we mean very low profile, to the point where one of our fellow swimmers complained they could actually feel the lenses pressing against their eyelashes. It goes without saying that if you get the opportunity to try before you buy then it’s advised, but if you don’t mind a close-fit then the Cobra Ultras are very good race goggles.
Verdict: low profile won’t suit all but it’s a pure racing goggle for competition swimming 81%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
The Predators are now a classic in Zoggs’ goggle line-up, finding fans in recreational paddlers and competitive swimmers alike, who want something comfy and reliable for training. Zoggs’ latest patented Ultra Fit gasket technology has led to a 15% weight reduction in the Predators, which also makes them softer and less prone to leaving marks around your eye sockets.
The lenses provide really good clarity in both gloomy indoor pools and overcast outdoor conditions. The anti-fog also lasts an age after heavy use. From discussions with many fellow swimmers, we’ve found that those with a narrow face can experience leaking with the Predators because of their wide and round gasket shape, and wide integrated nosepiece. But for the vast majority, they’re long-lasting, easy to use and dependable for pool training and even open-water ventures. zoggs.com
Verdict: A solid, reliable and versatile training goggle for indoors and even the open water 90%
Buy from www.zoggs.com