How Are Swimming Goggles Supposed To Fit?

Swim gogglesSwimming is a great sport, providing easily accessible exercise for any person without the impact upon joints that other workouts such as running might incur.

Swimming is also great because it requires very little equipment. For many a pool and swimming kit is enough, but for those who take their dip a bit more seriously, another piece of invaluable gear is a pair of well-fitting swimming goggles.

Why Swimming Goggles

Swimming goggles are used by recreational and competitive swimmers alike, as they offer protection for the eyes. Not only do they keep water out of the eyes, allowing the swimmer to see underwater, but they also keep out any chemicals that can be found in swimming pools, primarily chlorine. By keeping your eyes chlorine-free, you can prevent the redness and irritation that exposure to chlorine can lead to.

Swimming goggles are also useful while swimming outside as they keep saltwater out of the eyes when swimming in the sea, and they allow you to see underwater which can help prevent collisions.

Swimming gogglesA Proper Fit

Once you’ve decided that swimming goggles seems a good idea, you want to make sure you get a pair that properly fit. If you have an ill-fitting pair, you might just find yourself spending as much time fussing over your goggles as you do swimming, which can really ruin the whole experience. You want to be sure that your goggles fit properly and don’t hinder or impede your swim in any way.

Loose Goggles

If your pair of swimming goggles are too loose, not only can they repeatedly slip off your head, which is a considerable annoyance, but more significantly they can leak water. If you find your goggles are leaking and filling with water, your eyes are still exposed to the water and you may as well not be wearing them.

A good fitting pair of goggles should be loose enough to sit on your face comfortably, but tight enough that they don’t move or allow for leakage.

Tight Goggles

If a pair of goggles is too tight, they can become incredibly uncomfortable, especially if you plan on going for an extended swimming session. This can be partly a case of how much you tighten your goggles, which is easily remedied, but it is possible for the frame of the goggles to be also a bit of a squeeze. Once you have adjusted the goggles to be as comfortable as possible, if they are still a little tight you might want to consider trying a different pair on.

Too-small goggles can negatively affect your health by tight straps putting unnecessary pressure on the nerves in your face leading to what is referred to as ‘swimmer’s headache’.

A good fitting pair of goggles should be tight enough to reliably stay on your face and not easily come off with changes of facial expression or head movement, while not being so tight that they are a cause of discomfort.

Getting the Right Pair

It is plain to see that if you want a good pair of goggles, they should fit. But every person has differing facial shapes and head sizes, so different people will need different pairs of swimming goggles. So how can you tell if a pair fits?

Really the best method of testing out goggles is to wear them in water and try them out. Unfortunately most shops don’t have a swimming pool on hand for your use and just to add insult to injury, most shops won’t accept returns on goggles that have been used in water.

Fortunately, it is possible to try on goggles out of water and get a decent enough idea of whether or not they fit as they should.

To test the fit of a pair of goggles, lean all the way forward with your face towards the floor and press the goggles over your eyes firmly but gently, until they form a seal. Even without the straps on, the suction should hold the goggles in place for a good few seconds. If they don’t stick to your face comfortably or fall off after only a couple of seconds, you might want to try a different pair.


With any good pair of swimming goggles, the most important thing is to ensure that they fit your face properly and won’t be a hindrance to your swimming. So before you buy them, make sure they won’t be a cause of annoyance by properly testing them out.

Once you are certain that you have found a good fit, you can plan a long swimming session safe in the knowledge that although your limbs might ache afterwards, your eyes will be protected and raring to go!

An article by Rob Holman who recommends Mailsports to buy Speedo goggles, at pretty competitve prices. Photos by gerrythomasen@flickr and wikimedia.

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