How to Find the Right Goggles


Finding the right pair of goggles is critical to your triathlon success.  If they are uncomfortable, leak or you just can’t see properly, your swim will be compromised on race day.  Thankfully, the cost of goggles is pretty minimal compared to the other investments triathletes must make.

Be cautioned: just because a pair of goggles is on the high end of the cost spectrum, that doesn’t mean they will work for you.  Keep in mind what you are looking for from your pair of goggles when you go shopping.  Here are some tips on what you should be looking for:

  1. Fit is critical for your swim goggle.  Everyone’s face is a little different, so just because a goggle is the most popular or is recommended by a friend doesn’t mean that will be the goggle for you!  Always try your goggles on before purchasing.  If you are purchasing online, be sure that the retailer will offer a full refund if you find the goggles do not fit your face.  Most swim goggles are oval-shaped and have a silicone gasket seal around your eye sockets.  The seal should be complete with just a very small tap on to the goggles and the suction will hold them into place even without the strap being around the head.  Make sure the goggles fit your face properly – they should not be too close together over the nose and they also shouldn’t let in any air pockets on the outside of the eyes.  Triathletes can also consider more mask-like goggles which offer more peripheral vision.
  2. Comfort is essential for racing because you will not want to take the time to stop and make adjustments as you are in the water. Be sure that the nose piece is not too tight or rubbing against the bridge of your nose.  The strap itself doesn’t really have anything to do with the seal of the goggles, but it will hold them in place, particularly on your starts and turns.  Many goggles will have a split strap (so 2 straps around the back of the head or one strap that splices into 2 strips toward the back of the head).  Those split straps are more effective on holding the goggles into place when you are swimming and/or turning faster.
  3. Sight is really the reason why you need goggles! Almost all new goggles come with an anti-fog coating and UV protection.  Be sure to not touch the inside of the lenses with your fingers, towels, tissues, or anything else as touching the inside removes the anti-fog properties the goggles came with.  The goggles also come in a variety of shades.  We won’t cover all of them, but let’s cover the most significant for triathletes:
    1. Clear – these goggles are designed for low light or overcast conditions
    2. Smoke – these reduce light transition and overall brightness – a great choice for outdoor swimming when there is sun present.
    3. Blue – this one allows a moderate level of light into the eye, but offers some protection from glare.
    4. Mirrored – this is the goggle to use when you want to reduce brightness and glare. Almost always, these are for outdoor use when the sun is bright.

Goggles are a personal choice and you should go with the ones that work best for you.  If you are looking for some help in trying to find the right goggles, or help with creating a triathlon training progam for you, pleae contact me.  I’ll get you on the right track!

Train Right, Tri Right!

Coach MJ


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