With outdoor swimming becoming ever more popular, manufacturers are upping their game with an expanding range of open-water goggles we test five for form, fit and function
The Maru Focus has a traditional low-profile socket fit design and comes supplied with three nose bridge pieces to help customise the fit to your features. Once you’ve chosen the correct one – trial and error is the best way – you’ll enjoy a secure, comfortable fit. Indeed, there’s virtually no leaking with these goggles. Visual acuity is good thanks to the anti-fog properties, though whether that perseveres over a greater period than our two-month test remains to be seen. The dark mirrored lenses provide excellent clarity and contrast in bright sunshine, but would be too dark for use on severe overcast days. While peripheral vision doesn’t match that offered by a mask-like fit, it’s adequate for navigation purposes. The soft, silicone rubber strap is easy to adjust and is split to help it grip onto the back of your head or on your cap.
Comfortable and most suited to bright, sunny days in the open water
BLUESEVENTY HYDRA VISION
The Hydra Vision from Blueseventy is touted as a ‘crossover’ goggle that can be used equally effectively in the pool and open water. They’re available with blue, yellow and mirrored lenses to accommodate differing light levels, and have a one-size-fits-all silicone frame. The frame feels pretty rigid in your hands, but the soft silicone gaskets around each eye socket are very comfortable when on and adjusted correctly. The yellow lenses in our test pair were superb in low-light conditions (often experienced in early morning training) and there were no issues with leaking or fogging up. The field of view is marginally narrower than in the Aqua Sphere Kayenne, but not so much that you’d notice. The only potential issue – as with any one-size-fits-all design – is that if for any reason these don’t fit you well, there’s little adjustment to compensate
Versatile pair for pool or open-water with great light-enhancing lenses
ZOGGS PREDATOR FLEX REACTOR
An exclusive to Rebel Sports in Australia, the Zoggs Predator Flex Reactor swim goggles could be a one-goggle solution for open water swimmers with its new anti-fog coated photochromatic lens that reacts to the suns’ rays, automatically darkening in bright conditions or staying clear when it is overcast or when swimming indoors. This is a terrific feature, especially in sunny Australia. A patented Curved Lens Technology (CLT) provides 180-degree undistorted peripheral vision allowing for optimal sighting. Reactors feature a larger frame, super soft silicone gaskets and a unique 4 Flexpoint Technology which allows enhanced frame flexibility to provide a more contoured and comfortable fit. The only drawbacks are price and the lack of nose width adjustment. These goggles should be tried on before purchase. On the plus side, the goggles come with a cool Oakley-esque hard case for protection.
Pricey, but worth it as a one-goggle solution with photochromatic lens
The Eyeline Stellar goggle range is designed with long open-water training sessions in mind with an increased field of view and arguably the most comfortable silicone lens gaskets and split back head strap. The silicone is super soft and seemingly cradles the eyes for a very comfortable, leak-free seal. Even after a 45-minute session the goggles feel weightless and unnoticeable, two traits highly desired from anything placed on your face. The Stellar features two wide-angle high-definition polycarbonate lenses which provide excellent sighting as well as ultra-violet protection and anti-fog coating. For an added bonus, the goggles come with three removable centre nose pieces so you may adjust for the perfect fit. Extremely comfortable and reasonably priced, Eyeline has hit the mark without leaving a mark on your face or a dent in your wallet.
A surperb fit with a competitive price makes for a great purchase
SPEEDO RIFT PRO MIRROR
With the white frames and contrasting golden-mirrored lenses, the Rift Pro Mirror is probably the most striking pair of goggles on test. Awash with ‘Bio-Fuse’ technological features born from Speedo’s research and development programme, they promise a high level of performance and comfort. Fortunately, they deliver on these promises with a secure and comfortable fit, outstanding lens clarity and visibility, and a leak-free seal. The dark mirrored lenses are best suited to bright sunny conditions but, as they’re not quite as dark as Maru’s lenses, they can also be used in flat light (other lens colours are available too). As they’re reasonably bulky, those from a pure swimming background may be put off (and they feel a bit over-engineered for pool use), but as an open-water-specific piece of kit, they’re hard to fault.
A high-performance pair of open-water goggles that won’t disappoint