How to Buy & Put on a Pair of Goggles

We created this webpage to educate swimmers & parents about the importance of properly fitting goggles.

Why? Because swimmers have come to our programs with… their mom or dad’s goggles, their sisters or brothers goggles, or in some cases goggles that were purchased without any consideration of fit. The outcome is that these swimmers end up spending more time having to deal with goggles that are leaking, fogging up, and then with eyes that are red and itchy, and worst of all… spending more time not swimming then swimming.

Poorly fitted goggles are the easiest way to waste an entire swim session!

We understand that the selection of goggles can be overwhelming and taking the time to try on pair after pair after pair, especially with children can be exhausting but we are here to help offer few hints at how to make the process simpler because properly fitting goggles will make the difference between time in the pool being enjoyable and valuable or not at all.

How do you pick a pair of goggles?

  • Most important is setting aside enough time to go to a swim store (e.g. Team Aquatic in Burlington). You will need time because you will need to try on almost all the models in the store before deciding on a pair.

  • Next, try on goggle after goggle. Start to get a sense of how different goggles feel on your face. With most models, the strap around the back of the head and the bridge across the nose are adjustable so the most important aspect that you will use to decide between goggles is the way each goggle lens fits onto each of your eyeball sockets.

  • There is a system to trying on goggles! Do not put the head strap around your head. Start by taking just one of the goggle lens and seeing if you can get it to ‘suction’ to your eyeball socket… on just one eye at a time. Again, because the strap around the head and because the bridge across the nose are adjustable on almost all models the only thing that matters is whether or not each lens of the goggle can get sucked onto your eyeball socket.

  • There is technique to trying on goggles! To test whether or not you can get a lens stuck to your socket, you need to stretch out your face. That’s right… you have to make a funny face (look at Michael Phelps putting on his goggles). See how he stretches his face long by opening his mouth and sticking out his tongue. Thats on purpose to stretch all the skin around his eyes to eliminate all wrinkles and skinfolds.  This ensures that the goggle lens actually has a chance to suction to your socket. Once the goggle is sucked onto your socket, then let your face relax and the skin around the goggle will make a secondary seal (that is if the goggle fits well).

  • Now… gently… seriously, gently push the lens onto your eyeball socket… can you hear or feel the lens suction to your eye? If so, then you should be able to let go of the pair of goggles and they should stay stuck to the socket of that one eyeball. It may loosen after a moment and fall off, but as long as you can get a bit of suction, and the goggle sticks for at least a moment or two… you probably have yourself a winner on your hands.

  • If this happens with the first set of goggles, don’t stop there! Try on more pairs. You may find some that fit better than others. Some may be a bit more comfortable, or offer you a better peripheral view, a better tint or shade, or you may just like how a different pair looks on you. Point is… keep trying on goggles. Why? Because once they touch water you cannot return them.

What happens when you don’t find a well fitting pair of goggles. Well, the solution used by most swimmers is that they start to tighten the head strap more and more and more. Eventually they will tighten the head strap so tight to try and prevent their goggles from filling with water that the strap will be so tight that it will give them headaches, or eye aches after only a few moments of swimming. On top of that, tightening the strap usually has little effect on solving leakage which only frustrates the swimmer to no end.

After fidgeting with goggles at the end of each length… after fidgeting more than swimming, many simply give up on goggles and switch to full face masks in order to alleviate all the problems they experienced with goggles. We do not recommend full face masks as a solution, we recommend that swimmers and their parents take the time to try on enough pairs of goggles, and try them on properly so that they find a pair that works for them.