The word ‘premium’ was invented for this new top-end outdoor swimming mask from Aquasphere called the Defy.Ultra.
Admittedly, though, it does also manage to look like the kind of thing you’d find in a sci-fi comic if your superhero was a cross between a pro cyclist and a snowboarder and decided to take up swimming.
Those unique looks are down to the brand’s pledge to create a mask that allows ‘infinite vision’, a phrase in itself that sounds pretty futuristic.
So what does that mean for the humble open-water swimmer? Well, nothing but good things, luckily.
Aquasphere Defy.Ultra review
The Defy.Ultra is designed around giving you the maximum clarity and visibility, which means that one-piece lens is unhindered by any central column or dividing piece, so there are no blind spots at all – a feature which is helped by the ‘DuoCurve’ design, which shapes the lens to allow superb peripheral vision.
If you want to see absolutely everything that’s going on around you as you swim, this is likely designed just for you.
We tested the ‘Indigo Titamium Mirrored’ version, but the mask is also available in smoked (£90) and yellow titanium mirrored (£117) options.
The Indigo version was good at blocking bright sunlight and enhancing colours, but equally still allowed good clarity on a grey day.
It’s less of a performance point, but we did like how the mirrored look made this mask feel a little bit more race appropriate and closer to a set of Oakleys than the kind of swim masks you see on (usually!) older ladies at the pool.
In the water, we found clarity was unrivalled by anything else on test.
We found ourself looking forward to visiting venues with more to see under water during the test period, and really seeing the detail in the underwater plants and tiny fish in our local lake more than before.
Whether this is handy for racing (you don’t want to be stopping to sight-see!) is debatable, but there’s no doubting the range of vision you get.
Of course, if you’re the kind of swimmer who likes to race in interesting or exotic places – or for the journey, not the splits – then you’ll welcome the ability to take it all in.
Although hard to test during our swims, Aquasphere claims the formed nose piece and low profile help with hydrodynamics. So if you’ve been put off masks for reasons of marginal gains, this could be worth exploring.
It’s certainly very light, too, thanks in part to the ‘cool inject frameless technology’, which means the silicone gasket sits directly onto the lens, with no surrounding frame.
The goggles didn’t leak at all, though on long swims we did find the huge gasket gave us a bit of a headache at first – lesson learnt to loosen it off a bit.
Adjustment is simple via the large side buttons and the mask comes with a half-hard/half-mesh case.
Verdict: Taking swim masks to the next level. Unparalleled wide-view, but not cheap at all.
Top image credit: Steve Sayers/Our Media