Goggles are often the bane of a swimmer’s existence. Foremost, one size does not fit all. The struggle to find the brand/model that you can tolerate, let alone forget about while swimming hours on end, is so trying that it turns us into goggle-hoarders. Even the first swim with a fresh pair of your fave brand/model requires constant fiddling during warm up to get them just right.
Difficulty in fit is behind that creeping feeling of dread while your current goggles fall apart—you know another cycle of goggle trial-rejection is ahead. Especially because the fickle goggle market seems to instinctively know when you’ve found the pair because then that brand/model is immediately discontinued.
My goggle-fit challenges are two-fold: 1) I have a small, narrow head/nose, and 2) bats have better vision than I do. Trying to find affordable and plentiful optical goggles that fit well has long been a challenge.
About five-six years ago I noticed that the big swim brands were discontinuing -10.0 and -9.0 goggles. I bought all I could find, but my stash finally ran out this past year. After hitting the internet to see what was available, I decided to try a new brand, the Sutton Mirror OPT1200 (http://www.prescription-swimming-goggles.com/sutton-swimwear-mirror-opt1200.html). Here’s the breakdown:
Appeal-factor: I was excited to find a pair that met my key requirements: Smoke, -10.0, adjustable nose strap, latex free. Added bonus: It’s the first time I’ve found an optical goggle with a mirror finish.
Fit: They’re bigger (wider across the face and larger lens surface) than any pair I’ve worn in years. Putting them on I felt like a true masters swimmer for the first time, like I was wearing the macular degeneration version of goggles. While the nosepiece is adjustable (three sizes to choose from) and the split-strap is adjustable, this pair is still too large for my face to fit well.
Function: The vision (both clarity and peripheral) is one of the best I’ve experienced in optical goggles. But, as they’re too large for me, they leak from the top and sides constantly, especially as I streamline off walls.
Cost: $33.19. While I’m sure perfect-vision swimmers are now shuddering, I’d be happy to pay this price on a regular basis if the goggles were the pair for me. But the Sutton Swimwear Mirror OPT1200 are not. The other problem? $19 for shipping (the company, Butterfly Healthcare, is based in the U.K.) made this experiment very costly.
Summary: As I can’t get a comfortable fit during practice, I certainly don’t feel confident about racing in them. Which means I’m going back to my old pair, an $8 Sporti S2 smoke -8.0. In this case fit trumps clarity of vision, as does savings.
Next week: Suit Spinners: Use or Skip?
Next week: Suit spin