Open-water goggles: how to choose the right lenses

Helen Webster explains the different tints and finishes of open-water goggles and which work best for different conditions


Clear lenses in open-water goggles are unusual, as the tint is designed to help you see in strong sunlight or murky conditions. If you want a pair to use in the pool as well as open water, look for a lighter tint. 

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Tint colours are designed for different conditions. Grey/smoked lenses work like sunglasses to reduce brighter light and glare, amber lenses are good for cutting some glare while also enhancing visibility, while pink/violet lenses reduce glare in moderate light.

Polarised lenses are worth considering if you’re racing in strong sunlight. The same as polarised sunglasses, they cut out glare while also making everything look crisper – which is ideal if you want to see what’s happening underwater, too.

Photochromatic lenses work by adjusting to the light conditions and varying their tint accordingly, from clear to smoked. Ideal if you may face differing conditions on race day, or want goggles that have the versatility to be able to handle any conditions.

Mirrored lenses again work to cut out glare. Plus, if you need another reason to try a pair, they look pretty cool and are great for psyching out your fellow competitors before the klaxon goes…


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