The Magic 5 Smoke Magic open water swimming goggles with water splashes on the lenses and placed on a rock

The best open water swimming goggles in 2024

Posted on: BY: Saga Svensson
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Outside of the narrow lines of a swimming pool, in open water, where the dark, deep yawns beneath your belly, you need every bit of help you can get to stay on track and sight clearly and confidently. One of the most important items on your open water swimming kit list therefore is a pair of open water swimming goggles….

A bad pair of goggles can ruin your swim, making you feel uncomfortable and disoriented, while a good pair can give you confidence and improve your performance. For that reason it’s worth investing a bit of money in a pair that are specially designed for open water.

Below you’ll find our list of the best open water swimming goggles in 2024. But first, let’s summarize the essential characteristics of open water swimming goggles as compared with regular pool goggles, and list the most important requisites of a pair of goggles in open water races or wild swimming environments.

Why seeing properly is more important in open water swimming, compared with the pool

It’s really important to see where you’re going when you are open water swimming. Not that you don’t need to see in the pool, but lap swimming is so repetitive that you can pretty much do it with your eyes closed. In any case, everything is very well lit, with lines and lanes so it’s easy to see and to be confident in what you are seeing.

When you are open water swimming on the other hand, there are lots of things to see, and you don’t have the same certainty. At various times you will need to be able to see obstacles and debris, other swimmers, water traffic such as boats, as well as far-off visual markers such as buildings and mountains. 

The best open water swimming goggles stay free of mist

Seeing well also involves keeping your goggles clear of mist. There’s nothing worse than getting a few hundred meters into a swim and finding your goggles are misted up. It can feel like you are swimming with your head in a bag.

Fixing your misty goggles is trickier when you can’t stand up in the shallow end to do it. A good pair of goggles should have a magical coat on the inside of the lens to minimize foggy goggles.

The best open water swimming goggles have special lenses

Open water swimming goggles should filter bright sunlight. If it’s a bright day, or you know that you are going to be swimming into direct sunlight, such as towards a sunrise or so that you are constantly breathing into a setting sun, having a bit of tint to your lens can be a life saver. 

At times tinted lenses can act as a hindrance, adding a few degrees of extra darkness at dusk and dawn when you most need the light to be able to make out shapes. It’s not a bad idea to have a reliable set of clear or very light-tinted goggles in your arsenal for murky wild swimming situations or swims at dawn or dusk.

Some goggles offer the best of both worlds – lenses that adjust to the amount of light by themselves.

The shape of lens makes a difference too. Good open water goggles have a wide lens that increases your peripheral vision, helping you to see wider across the water.

The best open water swimming goggles have an unbreachable seal

If your goggles leak, it could completely throw you off, especially if it happens in a race or in deep water. Even the worry of your goggle seal leaking can ruin your enjoyment and peace of mind in the water, so it’s important to be entirely confident in your goggles before embarking on a serious adventure. 

Your goggles should fit your face perfectly so that they not only do not leak, but can be tightened properly to prevent leaks without causing discomfort in the process.

A decent strap and fastener is crucial too. For a seal to be faithful, your strap needs to do its part, which means maintaining the same tension for the duration of your swim. If you find that after having your goggles a while, you are getting leaks or need to tighten them during your swim, it might be time for a new goggle strap.

Do I need a mask or goggles for open water swimming?

Masks, as well as goggles which do not sit in your eye-socket tend to be more comfortable for longer distances. Because they do not have so much frame, masks can sometimes offer a wider view across lakes and oceans, and a good pair will give you the feeling of not wearing anything over your eyes at all. 

On the other hand, open water swimming mask designs are often far less streamlined, so many swimmers opt for goggles to reduce drag in the water.

OK with no further ado, let’s cannonball into the OWW list of the best open water swimming goggles in 2024.

The best open water swimming goggles in 2024

THEMAGIC5 CUSTOM GOGGLE Smoke Magic

The smoke magic Magic5 open water swim goggles sitting on top of their black box, reflecting the blue of the sky, with blurry background
The Magic5 Smoke Magic open water swim goggles are comfy, don’t leak, and look like they were sent from the future.

Magic5 have done a good job at disrupting the goggle market, exploiting the fact that many people have bad-fitting and problematic goggles. Their great differentiator, which you might even remember from the Shark Tank, is an app that allows you to map the contours of your face and eye sockets with your mobile phone. The results of the scan are uploaded and used to create a custom fit unique to your face. 

The Smoke Magic model is a good choice for sunny open water conditions. The glass’s smoke tint gives you excellent sun protection while still allowing you to see clearly out in the lake or ocean. 

There’s no denying these goggles look pretty slick, but they are on the pricey side and definitely not for a beginner open water swimmer. If you find your goggles constantly leaking and causing confidence issues though, they are definitely worth a try.

AqtivAqua DX Wide View Swim Goggles

a woman wearing a purple pair of Aqtivaqua open water swimming goggles on a blank white background
Aqtivaqua swimming goggles are reasonably priced, comfy and adapt to open water lighting conditions

As the name suggests, AqtivAqua’s DX Wide View goggles are specially designed with a wider view to aid with sighting and to improve peripheral vision in open water swimming scenarios. 

The goggles have a comfortable double silicone seal which forms a tight seal against your skin, self-adjusting to the shape of your face.

There is just one strap on the DX Wide View, which might seem a bit weird, but it is designed that way and there is no question of your goggles slipping or leaking as a result. I did a lot of crazy dancing when i first put them on and i couldn’t get them to move at all.

The DX Wide View goggle also have Photochromic polycarbonate lenses which darken when they are exposed to UV Light and return to a clear state when the UV Light is reduced.

Adaptive lenses are an excellent solution to the ‘shades/no shades’ conundrum facing open water swimmers on long swims where you can often find yourself wishing you’d chosen one or the other. 

That said, the darker lenses are not as good as some all out tinted goggles on the market, so if you are going to be swimming mostly in very bright glary conditions the majority of the time you might want to opt for the PDX wide view goggles, which are polarized. 

To be honest, these goggles are so reasonably priced, if you like the fit, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to buy a pair of each.

TYR Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Swim Goggle

Man swimming in a wetsuit in open water wearing TYR Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Swim Goggle
TYR Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Swim Goggle is pretty sexy looking

TYR’s Special Ops 2.0 swim goggles are definitely among the most stylish available and the transparent ice color looks pretty cool with the polarized lens. 

TYR Special Ops 2.0 open water swim goggles on a white background.
TYR Special Ops 2.0 are nice in ice white

Despite being very much a goggle, with the sleek aerodynamics that come with a goggle design, they actually have incredible peripheral vision range. You can see people and objects around and behind you with ease. 

TYR Special Ops 2.0 Polarized filter out about 100% of surface glare, so even the brightest sunrise or the most annoying sunset shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the swim. 

TYR Special Ops has ‘durafit’ technology which means silicone gaskets that provide protection for your eyes and prevent water from seeping through the lenses.

At around 30 bucks at time of writing, the TYR are still one of the best open water swimming goggle options on the market especially for those seeking to maintain a sleek profile in the water.

Aquasphere Seal 2.0 Swim Mask

The Aquasphere Seal 2.0 swim mask in aqua color, with a white background.
The Aquasphere Seal 2.0 swim mask is a comfy open water swimming mask with great peripheral vision

I wanted to include a swim mask in this list for the reason that I actually recommend open water swimming masks for beginners and for those out to enjoy swimming more than shave a few milliseconds off their personal best. 

Why? First, because you will often find the peripheral visibility to be superior with a mask. Second, because they are often downright comfy. It’s definitely worth weighing up how important you consider aerodynamics in the overall context of your swimming.

The Seal 2.0 swim mask is an improved version of AquaSphere’s original and highly popular Seal swim mask. The Seal’s wrap-around lens design gives you a super wide field of vision. The lens itself has a curved geometry that gives you an even broader view.

The Seal is freeing in the water when compared with goggles, with a clearer view overwater. It feels easier and more relaxed to navigate in the open water environment.

AquaSphere’s ‘Advanced Fit Technology’ makes for a really comfortable fit against the face. Masks tend to be more comfortable for me anyway, but the Seal is in another league. With the additional peripheral vision you will forget you are wearing anything at all. 

If you are looking for a decent quality mask to try out, are proud to be branded a ‘fitness swimmer’, or already consider yourself a masked marauder, look no further than the Aquasphere Seal 2.0.

Zone 3 Vapour Swim Unisex Goggles

Swimmer wearing the Zone 3 Vapour open water goggles on a beach
The Zone 3 Vapour open water swimming goggles are a great compromise between mask and goggles.

As we have seen, many people prefer to opt for open water masks over goggles for the sake of comfort and vision. Others opt for open water goggles over masks for the sake of performance and speed. It’s no surprise then that there are hybrid goggle designs that try to offer the best of both worlds. The Zone 3 Vapour swim is one such goggle design.

‘No more choosing or compromising’, says the Zone 3 website, and it’s true that the Vapour is definitely more comfortable than goggles with a sleeker design that doesn’t have the clunky appearance of proper masks.

In the water, the Vapour feels like it looks – smoother than a mask, with a bit more peripheral vision than regular goggles can provide. The curved lenses further extend the field of vision and I was impressed by the overall sense of awareness and freedom I felt in the water.

The Zone 3 Vapour has photochromatic lenses that automatically adjust to various light conditions, darkening in brighter situations and remaining clear in low light. This adaptability gives you a bit more confidence especially on longer swims or in changeable conditions.

If you find that masks are a real drag, but hate the way goggles feel on longer swims, the Zone 3 Vapour is a great way to go.

Disclaimer: Our swimming adventure content is not intended to take the place of specific, current, local advice from qualified experts. We strongly recommend that you consult with professional safety experts and take all necessary precautions should you undertake any adventure activity, especially in open water. Swimming is a HAZARDOUS activity. Never swim alone or beyond your ability. There is the possibility of physical injury, emotional distress and/or death, and you assume the risk and responsibility for any such results.

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