Swedish Swimming Goggles: All you need to know
Updated 19th of May 2021
What are Swedish goggles?
Swedish goggles were created in the 70’s by a company named Malmsten AB . And you guessed it – they are based in Sweden. Tommy Malmsten was the founder of Malmsten, and as the Swedish national coach, had a good idea of what elite swimmers needed.
The Malmsten Swedish goggle was unique after its introduction for many years. Its unique aspect is that it is designed without a gasket or seal around the eyes. It relies on the contour of the Perspex lens and strap pressure to form a watertight seal.
These days, the term Swedish goggle isn’t unique to Malmsten. Many manufacturers have copied the design idea, and some have continued innovating with designs such as TYR Socket Rockets , and Arena Swedix .
Read on for all you need to know about Swedish goggles. But if you are after some quality Swedish goggle recommendations, check out these options shown below.
Purpose of Swedish goggles
Swedish goggles are designed for competition. They are extremely low profile and have great peripheral vision. Swedish goggles are the lightest goggles you can buy. They are also exactly customizable in terms of the width of the nosepiece.
While they are designed for competition, many swimmers find they fit their face perfectly. If you take good care of the lenses, a pair of Swedish goggle can last a very long time. In addition, some swimmers prefer their goggles to not form suction around their eyes (like a normal style swim goggle does), but rely on pressure only. This can help with sensitive skin and raccoon eyes.
Fitting Swedish goggles
Swedish goggles generally come completely disassembled. You receive a box with 2 lenses, a latex strap, a string for the nosepiece, and a rubber sleeve for the nosepiece. The rubber sleeve stops the string cutting into your nose - should the string hit your nose when fitted.
Nose piece options
There are a few options for the nose piece material. You can use an offcut of the strap material, or string with a rubber sleeve. String is highly recommended.
Strap as a nosepiece
Using a strap offcut as the nosepiece has the advantage that it is easily adjustable in terms of width. It is also soft on your nose. This is the perfect choice for discovering the ideal width for your Swedish goggles. Using the strap has the disadvantage of stretching over time, or accidentally moving position.
String nosepiece, and adjustment
A string nosepiece is highly recommended once you are familiar with how a correct fitting Swedish goggle should feel. But adjusting the string nosepiece to the correct length is a challenge that requires patience.
Use a strap offcut to get an understanding of the correct positioning in terms of width between the lenses. Don’t rely on goggle feel out of the pool. Test the goggles in the pool (or a bath!). Sometimes what you think is the correct width in fact doesn’t work out. Once you know how the ideal adjustment performs in the pool, set aside time switch to string and make the adjustment permanent. This is simply a trial and error process. Make your first attempt at replicating the width you want to achieve. Don’t tie the knot too tightly. Then try on the goggles and see if the width is correct. If you didn’t get it right, keep trying until you get the result you want. Note that you may need to cut the rubber sleeve protector to size.
Once you have the correct width (and confirmed the width in the pool) you can trim the excess string. I position the knot at one of the lens eyelets.
Strap fitting options
A traditional Swedish goggle (for example, the Malmsten goggle) does not have an adjustment toggle you can fit to the strap. The strap is simply tied in a knot at the correct tension. Most users will use a double strap. This is where the strap is fed through each eyelet, and then the strap ends tied together. This results in two straps across your head. An alternative is a single strap, where a knot is tied at each eyelet. A single strap will not form enough tension for many swimmers. It will also be more prone to slipping if you are not wearing a swim cap.
Unfortunately Swedish goggle straps can degrade quickly. If you rinse your goggles after each swim, the strap life will greatly increase. This is not only an issue in terms of needing to replace the strap regularly. The strap can also stretch, resulting in the need to re-tie the knot. Sometimes the strap breaks when you try and loosen the knot. Some swimmers use aftermarket straps to avoid these issues.
Filing lens imperfections
It’s not uncommon for Malmsten lenses to have small ridges around the surface that rests on your face. They most likely won’t impact on performance, but be prepared to lightly file any ridges to form a flat surface should you experience problems. Filing the ridge will not damage the lens.
Customizing your Swedish goggles
Swedish goggles - like standard gasket goggles – now come with a range of options, including tints, mirror finishes, UV protection, and anti-fog coating . If you are unfamiliar with these options, have a read of our best swim goggles review where we detail the options and benefits. If you are after a quick version, a smoke tint is recommended for outdoor swimming, while a clear lens is best for indoor swimming where sunlight isn’t an issue. Mirror coatings are fragile. And anti-fog coatings are a must.