Swimming goggles: how should they fit and how tight should they be?

They might be the cheapest bit of tri kit you will buy, but the wrong fit could ruin your chances race day. Here Helen Webster explains how a pair of swim goggles should fit, and how to tell if they're too tight or not tight enough

Just how tight should your goggles be?

As with any other piece of triathlon kit, the first thing to consider with swimming goggles is fit.


After all, get this wrong and your goggles will leak and impede visibility – costing you time as well as being an annoyance you don’t need on race day. Many triathletes favour a larger, mask-style goggle for racing as it feels more protective. However, there’s a downside too – the bigger your goggles, the more vulnerable they are to being knocked in the melée of  an open-water swim.

Choose something smaller and closer to the face and they will be less likely to get knocked out of place (and on this – always put your goggle strap under your swim hat to keep it safe!). However the smaller the goggle the tougher it is to get the fit perfect. To test whether they’re tight enough, swim goggles should still stay in place within your eye socket once you remove the straps. If they are too tight they will hurt and be uncomfortable.

There’s a little trial and error in finding the correct fit, but with many brands offering a range of fits and sizes based on face shape, there are plenty of options out there. Neil McConnochie, CPO of Zoggs, tells us: “Typically there are two key considerations, firstly the shape of your head and secondly the size. Swimmers with narrower faces or smaller heads are better suited to smaller or profile-fit frames compared to larger frames. The best way to determine which goggles suit your face is to try them on before you buy. If you get a second of suction and they’re comfortable around the nose and eye socket then they’re likely to be right for you.”


If you want a unique fit, though, then new company The Magic 5 will custom-make goggles to fit your face (from £48.78). First you scan your face using an app on your mobile phone, then that is sent to the lab where a pair of goggles are custom-made just for you.