7 kids' goggles that swimming instructors love
These frustration-free swim goggles are swim teacher-approved
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It’s the height of summer and that means kids are spending a lot more time in the water. As their schedules get stacked with beach days, lake trips, swimming lessons, and pool parties, their eyes are going to need some protection.
A comfortable, quality pair of swim goggles will be one of the most important summer accessories you can buy, and they are more than just an accessory to appease a sensitive child. Not only do goggles help with underwater vision, making for a less anxious experience for new or burgeoning swimmers, they can protect against irritants.
Chlorine is a powerful and necessary disinfectant, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that eye-sting you feel after a day of swimming is not actually the eye’s reaction to the chemical itself. That sting is a reaction to the chlorine binding to the sweat, sunblock, urine, and other bodily wastes of swimmers. That binding is also what causes the chlorine smell at pools. When you think about that, a good set of goggles starts to feel like less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
What to look for when buying swim goggles
Kristin Levy, who owns and operates Aquabuddies, a swim safety school out of Los Angeles, talked to us about must-haves when shopping for swim goggles—and the biggest mistakes caregivers make when buying goggles for kids.
Invest in a good pair
Levy says the biggest mistake she sees are when parents buy poorly made goggles that lack suction. Parents reach for the Disney characters or glittery designs, but end up with goggles that miss the mark. Levy advises looking for suction, fit, and adjustability.
“Our teachers spend a lot of time fixing goggles and it really affects how much a child enjoys swimming. A good pair of goggles will make their swim experience better, so they can focus on learning to swim,” she says. “Those cheap pairs just aren’t worth it.”
Check the size
If you pull off your kids’ goggles and they have red raccoon eyes, it’s a pretty good indication that the goggles don’t fit. While swim goggles should have a snug fit, they shouldn’t leave a mark. Check first to see if you can adjust the pair you already have. If not, it’s time to size up.
“Again, it’s about making swimming more enjoyable. They’re not going to have fun if their goggles are pressing on their eye sockets,” says Levy.
Check the suction
Levy says a telltale sign that goggles won’t have enough suction, is when they have a thin strip of silicone around the lenses. A good design will generally have a thick liner of silicone to cushion the eyes and create a comfortable, waterproof seal on the skin. A good seal will help keep the goggles in place when they jump and provide better suction overall.
7 great kids' goggles for swimming
Here are top picks from Levy and our own research for swim goggles that will keep your little swimmers comfortable and protected all summer long.
1. A straightforward set with over 6,000 5-star reviews
Best for ages: 3 to 8
These top-rated, award-winning swim goggles by Speedo are Levy’s favorite swim goggles for kids, and reviewers seem to agree. With over 6,000 5-star reviews, you can rest assured that your child will be swimming in comfort. As one swim instructor and reviewer says, “They are easily adjusted.... Once adjusted they do not slip [and] the padding around the eyes is soft,” which makes for a comfortable fit for a wide range of kids and ages.
These goggles come in clear, mirrored, or tinted lenses, so be sure to select lenses for the conditions your child will be swimming in most often. Beach-goers will want tinted or mirrored lenses, while kids who mostly swim in indoor pools should pick the clear ones.
2. Olympian-level goggles that will last
Best for ages: 4 to 12
The Aqua Sphere brand of swim goggles is favored by triathletes and Olympians alike. Your kid may not be competing for gold medals quite yet, but they still deserve the same comfort and protection. These 100% UVA/UVB protection and scratch-resistant anti-fog lenses make all Aqua Sphere goggles a great choice for swimmers of all levels.
Reviewers love the curved lenses on the Junior Vista’s, citing that the style allows these goggles to fit a broad range of face sizes and shapes, which means they can grow with your child. Not quite a mask and not quite goggles, these straddle the best of both and are a good choice for kids who may be sensitive to the pressure of typical goggles.
3. A tug-free style that’s easy on the hair
Best for ages: 4 to 12
If your kid has screamed as the silicone of their goggles or mask strap has tugged at their hair, we have a solution. These goggles were invented by a dad and designed to keep goggles in place, while also protecting fine hair and sensitive scalps. The silicone, skull-style strap slips painlessly over hair and stays put through swim lessons, surf lessons, and through endless rounds of backflips and Marco Polo.
These are a great choice for younger swimmers and are a favorite in the autism community and for kids with sensory issues.
4. A cool two-for-one deal
Best for ages: 3 to 15
This set of two pairs of high-performing swim goggles (available for the price of one) has a tight seal against water, and are good at staying put. While the price is low, the function is still very high and on par with more expensive swim goggles. Levy likes these for their price point and fit. Parents love them for their anti-fog feature, the adjustable nose bridge, and the easy-release button that makes for pain-free strap adjusting.
5. A tie-dye set with super suction
Best for ages: 3 to 15
Another favorite of Levy and parents alike, these swim goggles have tie-dye to keep them on trend, and performance features to keep them functional. Parents praise these goggles for being easily adjustable, even for small children, and for really living up to their anti-fog claims. Says one parent: “The goggles stay put... and are easy for her to adjust…. They fit her face well and don't leak, so she's not distracted having to constantly take them on and off during swim class. Much better results than the myriad of discount goggles we've bought from the big box stores.”
6. A budget set of two with stellar reviews
Best for ages: 3 to 10
Levy recommends these for their affordability and functionality. At this budget price, these are less expensive than almost any discount pair you can find, yet they perform well and give kids a great fit. Parents like the adjustable straps, the “soft compression” suction, and the included mesh bag for storage. The double strap on the back makes for added comfort. Parents of smaller children really love these, but keep in mind that parents of kids over 10 say they can run a bit small.
7. A two-pack with an incredible fit
Best for ages: 6 to 14
The quick-button design of this adjustable two-pack means frustration- and pain-free sizing for any kid. The soft silicone seal provides a comfortable water seal and the ergonomic design makes for a perfect fit for a wide range of face shapes. We also like the scratch-free lens, which gives this affordable set added longevity—as does the included case.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.