As distractingly attractive as I look in the photo in that last post, its possible you may have noticed the fancy red white and grey goggles I was wearing.

In ocean swimming, like in most sports these days, the kind of kit you use is both very important, and the topic of endless discussion amongst the crew.

Goggles are a very big and endlessly fascinating topic for ocean swimmers, even more so than for pool swimmers. You need to remember that we are out, far from shore, and trying desperately to swim in a straight line (no black line on the bottom of the pool for us!). Leaky goggles can cause serious issues with our ability to see where you’re going, how far we actually swim, and how comfortable we are while we do it. And we don’t carry backups. When we are racing, stopping to fiddle with ill-fitting goggles takes time we don’t have…plus we risk getting in the way of the other swimmers if we have to stop and tread water.

Then there’s the fact that different people have very different facial structures. Women generally have narrower faces. Eye sockets, nose bridges, and angles of cheekbones are very different on different people, so there is no such thing as one size fitting most when it comes to goggles.

If that wasn’t enough, different goggles are better in different conditions. I certainly have a selection that I can choose from for any given swim. I have clear goggles for training at the indoor pool in the evening. I have dark tinted pairs for bright summer days, particularly if the sun is going to be on either side of me (or both, if the course is a long loop), and polarized lenses for high glare or low light days (my favorite). I also have smaller sleeker line goggles for racing when the conditions are flat, and chunkier ones (and usually older pairs) that I save for days when the surf is pounding…there’s a higher chance I’ll lose them, plus, they’re not going to seal properly the whole swim, no matter what, so the newer higher quality ones are wasted. Other people have different preferences. I know people who are fiercely loyal to one type of goggle and never wear anything else, so that is certainly not universal.

Then you need to think about the fact that ocean swimmers are particularly hard on their kit. We are in saltwater and chlorine. A lot (particularly in summer). We get pounded by waves and scorched by sun and buffeted by wind. Goggles get exposed to all this, plus they’re clamped on faces slathered in sunscreen and thrown in bags to rattle around with sand, sand and more sand. Down on the beach there’s not always the opportunity to rinse goggles off with fresh water, and if you’re running between races and cheering on your friends, it’s easy to forget the best of intentions and throw your poor goggles into your swim bag instead of parking them carefully back up in their dedicated cases.

Add to all those considerations that goggles aren’t super cheap, and they are easy to lose, especially in big surf.

So all I want is something that is…
-cheap
-resilient
-fits
-seals well
-and works for e conditions you’re swimming in.
-with a homing device.
Simple, right?

I’ve taken the liberty of sampling numerous types of goggles over the last 3 years. Nothing at all to do with the fact that I get a bit obsessed with this sort of thing, I assure you. To share the benefit of my experience, I’m planning on posting reviews on here. So if you’re looking to buy goggles, don’t know where to start, and think my opinions might help, please watch this space.

Update: Zoggs Predatorflex review

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