In the world of triathlon, we are used to equipment being expensive. Sometimes it takes us months, or even years, to save up for our latest piece of kit.
As such, you could be forgiven for overlooking your swim goggles as almost a throw-away purchase.
However, the difference between a good pair and a bad pair of goggles can make an enormous difference to the comfort of your swim sessions.
So how much do swimming goggles usually cost? The average cost of swim goggles is 48 USD while ranging from as little as $30 for beginner goggles, up to almost $80 for a top-of-the-range pair. The price of the goggle mainly depends on the brand model, the material used, and the type of lenses used
On average, for most age group triathletes are expected to spend around $40 for a pair of goggles that will serve them well.
Check out the swimming goggles we use and recommend (Amazon link)
We have scoured the internet for the most popular triathlon goggles and put them in a handy table for you below so you can do an easy price comparison:
|Zoggs Predator Flex 2.0||$29|
|Zoggs Predator Flex Polarized Ultra Reactor||$82|
|Speedo Biofuse Flexiseal||$29|
|Roka R-Series Model 1||$38|
|Aqua Sphere Kayenne||$30|
|Swans Ascender Mirrored + MIT||$65|
|Yonda Hydro Glides||$30|
|Speedo Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Tri Goggles||$46|
|Aqua Sphere Vista Pro||$65|
Any of the above goggles will serve you well for both training and competition. The choice will come down to personal preference and the fit of each goggle.
If you wear glasses you can also get yourself prescription goggles. Check out How Much Does Prescription Swimming Goggle Cost? Types and How To Pick One
As we all have different sized and shaped faces you will find that while one person may rave about their goggles being the best ever, you may find the same goggles are uncomfortable as they are not suited to your face.
Your best option is to see if you can test a few different styles and manufacturers before investing so that your money is well spent. At the very least try and get to your local swim store and get a feel for them on your face.
Check out our recommended goggles listed in the Best Triathlon Battle-Tested Budgeting Gear
How Do You Choose A Pair Of Goggles?
As mentioned from the outset of this article, a proper fit is essential for your goggles. Goggles that leak can disrupt your training and lose you massive amounts of time in a race if you have to stop and tread water while clearing out your goggles.
A good fit should mean that the goggles are fully sealed against your face and that no water can get in. At the same time, they should not be pressing into your eye sockets so hard as to cause discomfort.
A common area to check for leaking is on the edges closest to the bridge of your nose.
If you have a larger than average nose then you may find this is a difficulty but it can be solved by avoiding goggles with fixed nose pieces. Instead, look for something like the Speedo Vanquisher (Amazon Link) which comes with 4 different nose pieces so you can adjust it for the best fit.
If you do have a larger than average head, or long hair, then be sure to check out our article on big head swim caps.
Another area to check is the lower outside corners of your goggles.
If you have a smaller face then you may find that this area does not wrap around fully in order to create a proper seal. If this is the case then look at a different manufacturer, or even a different style altogether as will be discussed next.
Probably the biggest thing that you will notice when you start looking at triathlon-specific, or open-water goggles, is that some look like traditional swimming goggles such as the Arena The One (Amazon Link), while others look more like a snorkel mask such as the Aqua Sphere Vista Pro (Amazon Link).
The mask-style goggles give you much better peripheral vision which comes in handy when spotting in open water.
They also seal around the face rather than the eye sockets so you may find that they are more comfortable for longer distances.
The downside to this style is that, due to their bulkier nature, they are more likely to get knocked off by another swimmer. This is particularly a concern at the start of an event when competitors are very close together. You will also need to find a touch more space in your bag for the mask style as opposed to traditional style goggles.
In terms of performance, you will not find any speed advantage from one style to the next so a lot of this choice does boil down to which ones fit best and which you prefer the look of.
The next thing to consider is the type of lens that you need. Contrary to popular belief, the different color lenses are not there just to look cool (although they achieve this too), they serve different functions:
- Smoked lenses help to reduce the glare of bright sunlight, so if you are training in a sunny climate then these would be a good option. This is particularly true if you swim early morning when the sun is low and reflects off the water very strongly.
- Mirrored lenses also reduce brightness and help cut out glare and have the added benefit of looking very cool indeed.
- Polarised lenses go one step further by reducing glare in the same way as polarised sunglasses do. Once you move over to these lenses it will be really difficult to go back to standard lenses because they make everything so clear and sharp.
- Amber, yellow, and orange lenses still reduce some of the glare but they also increase visibility. If you do a lot of training in lakes, or other bodies of water where visibility can be an issue then this is the choice to go for.
- Photo-chromatic lenses change the amount of tint depending on the conditions. So if you are in the pool where there is no natural light, they will be totally clear. If you are open-water swimming on a sunny day, the lenses will darken to full tint.
What If I Wear Glasses?
If you are concerned that wearing glasses will hinder you when swimming, then do not worry. You may not have the same range to choose from, but there are still plenty of options available for prescription goggles.
The table below gives you an idea of available products and a range of prices and styles has been chosen, so you should find something there to suit your needs:
|Sutton Swimwear OPT2017 swimming mask||$34|
|Aqua Sphere Eagle||$52|
For more details on this topic, check out our post on How Much Does Prescription Swimming Goggle Cost? Types and How To Pick One
Although goggles are likely to be one of the cheapest parts of your triathlon kit, don’t let that be a reason to not put some decent thought into what you buy.
Making sure that your goggles are suitable for the type of swimming you do, as well as a comfortable fit, will mean you will get the best possible use from them. In the long run, a little research will go a long way.
If you are interested in learning more about triathlon swimming then take a look at our article on how many lessons you will need to achieve each triathlon swim distance.