Strip the sport of swimming down to its bare bones and an athlete doesn’t need tons of fancy equipment to become one with the water. A suit is mandatory, but even caps and goggles are optional, although most aquatic athletes would prefer not to have hair floating in their face all practice on top of permanently red eyes after the workout.
Like progression in just about everything else in today’s market, goggles have come a long way from the once foam-surrounded bug-eyed look.
When searching for goggles on a well-known swimming supply website recently, I was presented with more than 500 options just for these pieces of plastic that cover your eyes. There are myriad different lens shapes, gasket sizes, colors, straps and nose pieces, which all give swimmers the chance to either go standard or to standout with their aquatic eye wear choice. Sometimes keeping things simple is the way to go, though.
Enter the original Swedish goggle – a classic, no frills goggle that is popular worldwide. Originally produced by Swedish company Malmsten AB back in the 1970s, the company claims that their design is probably the world’s ‘most copied swim goggles.’ Instantly recognizable from their lack of a gasket, the Swedish goggle has been donned by the likes of Australian legend Ian Thorpe and Hungary’s Iron Lady, Katinka Hosszu, giving the simple design credibility in performance at the world-class level.
But even everyday swimmers, both just starting in their competitive years and well beyond (ahem), can appreciate the Swedish goggle in all their basic, luxury-less glory. Here are just 4 reasons to love this storied piece of swimming history.
Aside from raiding a random clearance bin at your local swim store, I challenge you to find a quality goggle that is priced beneath the Swedish goggle. They’re usually priced right around $4.99 for the non-metallized lenses, which is cheap enough to buy several pairs at once and always have an extra on-hand. If you’re a parent, get your kids started on Swedes early! You’ll save hundreds in goggle cash over the years.
No other piece of swimming equipment is as customizable as the Swedish goggle. They come completely un-assembled with a set of eye lenses, latex strap, plastic nose piece and nose piece string. The ‘spare parts’ packaging gives the goggles’ owner full range of options for how far apart the eye pieces can be, how long and tight of strap is needed, if the plastic piece will be used for the nosebridge or if an extra piece of latex will do instead. You can even get creative, buy two pairs each with different colored lenses, and assemble the two goggles each with 2 different colored eye pieces.
They’re Probably Not Going To Be Stolen
In a world where some goggles cost upwards of $50, if a swimmer were to accidentally leave a pair behind or if a pair should be mistakenly taken by another swimmer, you’re out some not-so-inconsequential cash. However, with your Swedes, you’re only out just $5 or so. Plus, many people find Swedes uncomfortable since there’s no silicone or cushion surround the eyes. Not everyone can wear Swedes due to eye shape, pain tolerance, etc., so the chances of someone taking your cheapies is low.
They Just Look Cool
Something about Swedes equates to the vision of a ‘serious swimmer’ – the low profile, the gasket-less eye pieces, the no-messing-around simplicity. It’s easy to look like a killer, even if you hop in and just float around for an hour.