This is the top-end version of the Valkyrie from Swans, with Mirror Insertion Technology (MIT) used in the lenses
carried over from their ski goggle range.
The mirrored lens with full UVA and UVB protection is sandwiched between two polycarbonate layers, protecting them from scratching or damage. But you wouldn’t know there was so much going on in the lenses to wear them, as they have a very low profile. Swans’ premium anti-fog coating appears to work brilliantly and the field of vision is excellent considering they appear quite minimal (the curved lenses do a great job of providing peripheral vision). The straps are basic and you’re left with some excess at the back (although this can always be cut down to size), but we love everything else about the Valkyrie and it’s quickly become our new favourite goggle for racing. swansuk.co.uk
Verdict: Excellent tech-packed goggles that look the business and perform for racing 92%
Buy from www.proswimwear.co.uk
Vorgee’s Vortech goggles are also available with polarised or tinted lenses, but the ones here are totally clear for indoor pool use. It means you get no glare reduction at all, which is fine for pools with no natural light, but even in our gym pool that’s positioned next to full length glass, we found ourselves wanting some glare protection and a darker lens. Away from this, the actual fit and build quality of the Vortech goggles is impressive, with a split strap and buttons at the side to tighten or loosen them, coupled with a one-piece, flexible nose bridge that’ll work for most swimmers. They also come in narrow fit or max sizes, so it’s worth trying some out before you buy. Overall this is a solid training goggle, but we’d go for the tinted versions in the majority of cases (and we just think that tinted lenses
Verdict: We prefer the tinted versions, but these are fine and cheap for gloomy indoor pools 79%
Buy from vorgee.com
The Pulse Mirror from Nottingham-hailing brand Maru is an inexpensive, low-profile racing goggle with mirrored lenses, making them suitable for indoor or outdoor pool use. The straps loop around on each side and adjust via a clip at the rear, and there’s an interchangeable nose piece.
The fit is pretty secure and they don’t leak, but our view of the pool was extremely distorted because of the protruding edges around the flat lens frontage. This created all kinds of trickery inside, when all we wanted to do was look down at the pool tiles below! Our thoughts were also backed up by numerous fellow swimmers. When there are so many good, curved-lens options that provide such clarity underwater, there’s little use for goggles that are this difficult to see clearly out of, especially if you’re sharing narrow indoor pool lanes with others. maruswim.com
Verdict: Secure fit but the awkwardly-shaped lenses are a struggle to see clearly out of 59%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
The final verdict
With options from just over a tenner to nearly four times as much, there was plenty to choose from and something to suit everyone in this test. It turned out to be a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ with the cheaper pairs this time around, as we found Maru’s Pulse Mirror provided a very distorted view of the pool and the MP Chronos were just lacking in comfort and felt too basic; some people will appreciate the simplicity of the latter, but they’re not significantly better than build-your-own Swedish goggles which are even cheaper. Head’s Tiger Race also didn’t quite hit the spot, as the flimsy gaskets meant the seal wasn’t quite strong enough.
We liked Vorgee’s Vortech, although prefer the tinted lens version which we find more versatile. We also got on fairly well with Zoggs’ Ultima Air and the Zone3 Viper Speed, with both pairs feeling a little too large for this tester but receiving a generally positive response from our lane buddies.
Of our three favourites from Speedo, Swans and Huub, Speedo just edges the best on test award. While we really liked the Valkyrie and appreciate the work that’s gone into making the lenses top notch, the Aquapure Mirror just have a little more mass appeal due to the wider fit, while offering crystal clear vision and Speedo’s excellent IQ Fit adjustment system.