How to adjust swimming goggles

How to adjust swimming goggles

Updated 5th of March 2021

Arena Cobra swim goggle image

What to make the most of your training session? Getting your swimming goggles adjusted properly beforehand is vital to not only stop leaks, but also to give a comfortable fit. Here we discuss how to fit and adjust your swim goggles - so you don’t need to adjust them after each lap…

Swim Goggle Fit

Points to consider with swim goggle fit include if the nose-piece is adjustable, strap tension, and adjustment for diving.

The Nose-piece

The first point to consider with swim goggle fit is if the nose-piece is adjustable. If this is the case, you need to start your goggle fitting by choosing the right nose-piece. This choice is usually clear through trial and error, testing the various nose-pieces. A nose-piece that is too small will result in the silicone gasket placing too much pressure on your nose. A nose-piece that is too large will feel like the gasket is sitting on your tear duct. Most interchangeable nose-pieces can be removed with a little pressure. Some have small indentations that require specific alignment for removal or fitting. If it’s not clear how to change the nose-piece for your pair of goggles, it’s best to consult the instructions that came with your goggles.

Swim Goggle Strap Tension

Once you have the nose-piece correctly set, hopefully when you place the goggles on your face (without putting the strap around your head), and apply light pressure to the lenses, your goggles suction to your face. If this occurs, you have a perfect fitting gasket for your face shape. If this doesn’t happen, you may want to look into purchasing new goggles. Every face is different. For that reason, there is not one ideal pair of goggles for every person. Having said that, there is definitely worse and better quality goggles (and goggle brands). Quality goggles will have a much better chance of fitting well.

With a nicely fitting swim goggle, the strap should simply apply enough pressure to keep this fit you have without the strap on indefinitely. That is, you only want the strap tight enough so that as you swim, the goggles stay lightly suctioned to your face.

Overtightening swim goggles

Yes – goggles can most definitely be overtightened. It is super common amongst new and experienced swimmers to overtighten swimming goggles. Overtightening goggles leads to more leaking and fogging. This is because the gasket deforms with excessive pressure. The gasket isn’t designed for this pressure. And as the silicone ages, it will harden in this deformed shape, which then needs even more pressure to form an effective seal.

You are not only damaging your goggles. Overtightening also causes discomfort, and raccoon eyes after your swim (those unsightly red circles around your eyes).

Overtightening swim masks

Swim masks deserve a special mention here when discussing overtightening. A mask gasket is much larger than goggle gaskets. And overtightening a mask can push the gasket into shapes that actually force the gasket away from your face – causing water ingress. With a mask, I recommend this technique. Start with the mask so it is only just holding in place using the strap. Push lightly on the mask and try and form suction. Then attempt to swim with the mask to see if it holds in place. If it doesn’t, tighten by a small increment and try again. Do this until you are leak free. The reason I am so specific with this procedure for a mask is that often swimmers do not realize the best fit they will achieve with a swim mask is when the strap feels overly loose.

Diving with goggles

Diving or race starts do require tightening your goggles further. It’s not great for the goggles long term, and unnecessary for lap swimming. But if your workout includes diving, there isn’t much choice... The extent you tighten your goggles relates to the importance of your goggles staying in place. For example, a professional racer will wear their goggles very tightly, as the cost of the goggles coming off during a dive is losing the race.

Where to next?

If you are still having issues with your goggles after correct adjustment, be sure to check out our article on keeping your goggles fog free. Alternatively if your goggle quality isn’t up to scratch, have a look at our article discussing the best goggles that are sure to please.

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