Even if pool goggle purchases are never going to break the bank, buying an unsuitable pair can be frustrating and a waste of cash that can be spent on kit elsewhere.
So it’s important to check out a variety of different styles, many of which are represented in the 10 pairs featured in this test, and stick to the ones that work for you. Try on the goggles that take your fancy before buying them
if possible. Or, if you can borrow a pair for a couple of lengths, then even better.
Pool goggles differ from open-water goggles in that they’re traditionally smaller, less mask-like and offer less peripheral vision. But things are changing with the former, where even competition goggles now offer greater vision. This means stronger swimmers can scout out their opposition and less experienced swimmers and those sharing public lanes can swim with more confidence thanks to wider, curved lenses. Plus, the updated shape can actually decrease drag.
HOW WE TESTED THE POOL GOGGLES
We tested all the pool goggles in heated 25m pools, subjecting them to long aerobic sets and sprints totalling no less than 4km for each pair. We also took dive tests to check the strength of the seal. Light conditions can also be changeable indoors, so we tested in one pool with no natural light, and in another with full-length glass windows next to our lane to see how the mirrored offerings would adapt to sunlight. If any came with multiple lens options and straps, we tried all variations, and for consensus we consulted two club swimmers to provide extra opinion on the pool goggles.
Key things we looked out for when testing the goggles here included the quality of the seal, which included dive tests and fast turns during all-out sprint efforts, and also how the lenses responded to different light levels. We consulted several other swimmers to try out the test pairs, with factors such as build quality, value, ease of adjustment and anti-fogging all considered.
The V Class Vue goggles netted Speedo a prestigious Red Dot innovation award for the application of their IQfit technology and superior anti-fog, said to last twice as long as regular goggles. From our test period, we’d agree that they’re absolutely leak-free and there’s no fogging to be seen. But we still think there needs for further refinement to match Zogg’s Predator as an all-round training goggle.
The frames are large and we found our arms knocked the sides of them mid-stroke. We also noticed that vision appears distorted and it takes a while to get used to them, something noted by other swimmers who tried them out. While some will appreciate the comfortable and strong gasket seal, we think the frames are too bulky and would appreciate a slimmed-down appearance. They’re also expensive for a goggle aimed at more recreational swimmers.
Verdict: Leak- and fog-free throughout, but bulky, pricey and the clarity isn’t perfect 70%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
The Fusion Air goggles from Zoggs are a no-frills option with a soft tint in the lens, which would come in handy if you do most of your training in a pool with limited natural light. They still have some UV protection for bright conditions and the lenses provide good clarity and crystal clear vision, giving a light blue hue underwater.
Where the Fusion Airs fall short is comfort. Although Zoggs claim the Air Cushion Technology should provide a barely-there feeling, the foam is quite rough compared to silicon seals, and we felt them digging in. The nose bridge is an odd shape with a very acute curve, so it’s crucial you pick the right size from those provided. As a cheap backup goggle these are adequate, but they’re still £18, and there are similarly constructed basic goggles from other brands for half the price that will do the same job. zoggs.com
Verdict: good clarity and vision but too basic and not the most comfortable release 66%
Buy from www.simplyswim.com
The Volaire is a brand-new race goggle from Zone3, with low-profile mirrored lenses offering 100% UVA and UVB protection. While you could be forgiven for thinking goggles might be an afterthought for a brand best known for wetsuits and tri apparel, that definitely isn’t the case here: the Volaires received universal acclaim from us and everyone else who tried them during testing.
They’re that hallowed ‘stick on and go’ pair, achieving that magic balance of hydrodynamic appearance yet feel more like a training goggle due to their super soft seal. They look similar to Arena’s Cobras, but the Volaires manage to offer a greater level of comfort while still keeping a neat, slick aesthetic. They aren’t hugely cheap but, at nearly £20 less than similarly performing race goggles here, it’s hard to find any performance compromises at all.
Verdict: A mightily impressive set of goggles that tick all the performance boxes 94%
Buy from zone3.com