The Triathlete crew reviews the Zoggs Predator Flex, Aqua Sphere Caiman, Tyr Nest Pro and the Blueseventy Hydra-Vision goggles.
Zoggs Predator Flex, $34.99
The Predator Flex boasts the best nosepiece we have tried this year. It is a flexible rubber bridge with a hard plastic support in the middle. The soft rubber allows the lenses to move independently in any direction, which helps them conform to the wearer’s face and creates a reliable seal. Several nosepieces offer this degree of malleability, but the hard plastic piece gives the Predator Flex both strength and flexibility while preventing it from stretching out after dozens of trips to the pool.
The gaskets sit on the outer portion of the eye socket, which relieves pressure on the face and keeps it comfortable into the second hour in the pool. This gasket wasn’t the softest in the test, but it stands up to repeated use and the free-moving lenses help the gaskets form a strong seal.
The dark mirrored lenses provide good sun protection during an early morning race, but they don’t completely block out glare and they are still light enough to use in a pool. The lenses wrap far around the side of the head and allow for full peripheral vision.
Aqua Sphere Kaiman, $19.95
The Kaiman has a soft, non-adjustable nosepiece that twists and bends to lay the gaskets flush against the face. The stretchy material allows the lenses to pull far apart from each other, so the Kaiman is best suited for a swimmer with a wider gap between the eyes. Aqua Sphere also offers the Kaiman Small Fit for those with narrow faces.
The Kaiman’s supple lenses and frame let the goggles wrap around the outside of the face and create an incredible seal at all points. The gaskets themselves are equally malleable, which again strengthens the connection between the goggle and the swimmer’s face. The soft nose bridge stretches slightly over time, which eventually affects the seal next to the nose.
The Kaiman’s soft and supple rubber doesn’t last forever, but a fresh pair swims better than goggles twice its price. They are the most comfortable goggles we tested for this review.
Tyr Nest Pro, $20
The Nest Pro offers swimmers a comfortable fit, with a tight nosepiece that stretches for those who need more room. The straps are easy to adjust and the goggles don’t have to be worn too tightly to prevent leaks, allowing you to get out of the pool without noticeable goggle lines around your eyes.
The Nest Pro has a wider lens than traditional goggles, allowing for greater peripheral vision and making them handy for open-water swimming. Because there is a lot of goggle in between each lens, your direct line of sight is a bit impaired, making the black line at the bottom of the pool fuzzier than normal. The lenses are UV protected and have anti-fog properties, as well.
If you’re looking for a pair of goggles to aid in open-water swimming, the Nest Pro’s comfort, tight seal and gift of greater peripheral vision make it a bargain at $20. But if you’re looking for a pair to drag with you to the pool every day, you’d probably be better off with a more traditional style.
Blueseventy Hydra-Vision, $22
The Hydra-Vision is a soft, supple goggle with a tight seal. Like most goggles built for open-water swimming, its nosepiece is nonadjustable, which means that if you have a wider nose, the goggles might not fit correctly. Given this, it’s best to try them on before purchasing.
Compared to traditional goggles, the Hydra-Visions provide swimmers with increased peripheral view, which is great for open-water swimming. They are also effective in the pool, as the sleekly designed nosepiece provides swimmers with an unimpeded direct line of sight. The tinted lenses also help reduce the sun’s glare.
While the Hydra-Vision goggles were the most stylish in this review, at $22, we found them a little on the expensive side.
Reviews by Aaron Hersh and Courtney Baird.
FILED UNDER: Gear & Tech / Swim TAGS: 2011 goggles / Aqua Sphere Caiman / best goggles / goggle reviews / googles / how to buy goggles / triathlon gear / triathlon goggles / Tyr Nest Pro / Zoggs Predator Flex