How to Wear Swim Goggles Properly: Steps & Mistakes to Avoid

Wearing goggles is not just about looking cool or professional when it comes to swimming. It serves an important role in protecting your eyes from potential irritants and providing clear vision.

However, to truly harness the benefits of swim goggles, you must master the art of wearing them properly. In this in-depth guide, find out the steps to put on swim goggles including with a cap and glasses, common mistakes to avoid plus answers to frequently asked questions

Wearing Swim Goggle Properly: Steps

Here are the steps to don your swim goggles correctly.

1. Prepare the Goggles and Your Hair

Rinse the lenses and interior with clean water to wash away any residue. This clears any remaining chlorine or dirt. If your lenses don’t come with an anti-fog coat, apply a small amount of defogging solution like anti-fog spray or saliva to lenses to prevent fogging.

If it is a new pair, loosen the straps to make it easier to adjust and fit them properly.

Clear hair – Pull back any stray hairs around the eyes and under the areas you’ll lay the goggles. Contain long hair in a bun or ponytail.

Before placing goggles on, dunk the lenses briefly in the pool first. This wets the interior to create a suction effect for a tight seal.

2. Fit the Gaskets Around Your Eyes

The gaskets, those soft rubber or silicone rings around the goggles’ lenses, play a vital role in creating a watertight seal that keeps water out of your eyes. To fit the gaskets properly:

Hold the goggles against your eye sockets without using the head strap then gently press the goggles against your face, allowing the gaskets to create a gentle suction around your eyes. If the goggles stay in place for a few seconds without shifting and the gaskets form a secure seal, you’ve achieved a proper fit.

3. Adjust the Goggle Straps

A proper fit is important for comfort and ensuring that water doesn’t seep into your goggles. To adjust the basic straps, simply hold the goggles against your eyes, making sure the lenses align with your eyes’ contours then pull the head strap over your head, positioning it at the crown.

If the straps have buckles, pull the loose end of the rubber strap through the buckle slot on the side of the frame to tighten the goggles. If you need to loosen them, lift up on the buckle lever and pull the strap out slightly to put a little stretch in it

It is important to note that goggle straps come in different styles, hence tightening and loosening may vary depending on the brand. Just ensure a snug and secure fit that is neither uncomfortably tight nor almost-falling loose.

4. Check Seal and Comfort

Before jumping into the water, it’s crucial to conduct a final seal and comfort check.

Press the goggles against your eye sockets again, to ensure they keep a secure seal and you can see clearly through both lenses.

Blink a few times to ensure the goggles remain comfortably in place without causing discomfort or shifting.

Make any necessary adjustments to the head strap to achieve optimal comfort and a secure fit.

Properly worn swim goggles
Perfect seal and fit!

Wearing Goggles with a Swim Cap

You can combine swim goggles with a swim cap to further enhance your swimming experience. Follow these steps for effective dual wear

  1. Put on the swim cap first, ensuring it covers your hairline completely and sits snugly on your head
  2.  Place and pull goggles on over the cap
  3. Align the goggles with your eyes for proper visibility.
  4. Carefully adjust both the swim cap and goggles to ensure that neither accessory compromise the seal of the other.
Goggles over Swim cap
Swim goggles and cap

Wearing Swim Goggles with Glasses

If you require prescription glasses, you can still wear goggles but with some considerations:

 Prescription Swim Goggles

If you rely on prescription glasses, the best option is to invest in prescription swim goggles. These goggles combine corrective lenses with the benefits of swim goggles, providing clear and accurate vision underwater.

Prescription swimming goggles
TYR Prescription swim goggles

Regular Glasses and Goggles

If prescription swim goggles are not available, you can still wear regular glasses beneath your goggles. Here’s how:

  1. Position your glasses on your face as you normally would.
  2. Gently place the goggles over your glasses
  3. Ensure that they sit stable and comfortably without causing pressure on your glasses
  4. Ensure glasses don’t compromise the goggle seal

How to Help a Child Put on Swim Goggles

Introducing children to swim goggles can be a delightful experience, but it requires patience and understanding.

Kids swim Goggles
Colorful goggles for kids

Follow these steps to help young ones embrace the world of swim goggles:

  1. Practice on Land: Allow children to practice putting on and adjusting goggles while on dry land. This familiarity can ease any anxiety they might have.
  2. Ensure Proper Fit: Children’s faces are smaller and more delicate, so ensure that the goggles fit comfortably on their faces without causing discomfort.
  3. Kid-Friendly Styles: Opt for colorful and playful goggle designs that pique children’s interest and make the process enjoyable.
  4. Respect their Comfort: If a child is genuinely uncomfortable wearing goggles, respect their feelings and avoid forcing them. Gradually introducing goggles in a non-pressure environment can help them adjust over time.

Remember patience, practice, and encouragement are key in aiding goggle-wearing success with kids

Common Mistakes when Wearing Swim Goggles

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when wearing swimming goggles:

Not doing a seal check before swimming – Failing to check for leaks means you may end up with unexpected vision issues and water intrusion while swimming. Press goggles to face and inhale to confirm no air gaps before entering the pool.

Over-tightening the straps – Excessive tightness leads to uncomfortable pressure on the eyes and head, often resulting in headaches during or after swimming. Find a snug but not painfully tight tension.

Incorrect Goggle Placement

Placing the goggles too high, too low on your face, or allowing the gasket to fold or get trapped under the head strap/hair can result in discomfort, compromised seal, and water leakage.

Align the goggles’ lenses with your eyes, ensuring they sit comfortably over your eye sockets. The gasket should create a gentle suction around your eyes for a watertight fit.

Forgetting to defog – Lenses that fog up with condensation impairs vision underwater. Be sure to apply a small amount of defogging solution or spit before swimming to allow clear sight.

Not securing hair under cap and goggles – Loose strands around the eyes or under the goggles can be painful and distracting. Pull hair back in a bun or ponytail and use a swim cap to contain it.

Reusing old deteriorated gaskets – Over time the gasket material breaks down, preventing a complete seal against the eye sockets. Replace gaskets once they become stiff, cracked, warped, or show excessive wear.

Putting cap over goggles – Swim cap straps worn over goggles can apply pressure and shift their positioning, breaking the watertight seal. If you have one cap, put the cap on first, then pull goggles on over it. If you’re double capping, the second cap can go over the goggle straps

Putting Goggles Upside-down– this is a common mistake among both kids and adult newbies. Use the logo/writings on the goggles as a guide to know which side should be up.

Pulling goggles on and off like a headband – Improper removal by pulling the goggles straight off your head stresses the straps and attachments. Remove by sliding your thumbs under the goggles and gently pushing them up and off the eyes.

Putting goggles on with dry hair – Dry hair can get caught and pulled when putting goggles on. It is better to wet your hair first or contain it under a swim cap to avoid tangling hair in the goggles.

Not rinsing after use – Allowing chlorine residue and dirt to remain on the lenses between uses can lead to foggy lenses, irritation, and damage over time. Always clean and store them properly after swimming.

Taking a bit of extra time to put goggles on carefully and customize the fit helps avoid these common pitfalls. Following proper usage and care guidelines keeps goggles performing reliably swim after swim.

In a nutshell, getting the perfect fit with your swimming goggles is key to keeping water out and your vision clear.

While goggles come in many styles, all rely on a tight seal against your face to function effectively. Taking time to properly wear and adjust for optimal goggle performance plus swimming experience


Here are some frequently asked questions about properly wearing swimming goggles:

Is it OK to go underwater without goggles?

Submerging naked eyes in the water can cause irritation, redness, and blurred vision due to chlorine and other chemicals. Additionally, the water pressure can cause discomfort, which can harm your eyes.

Should you wear goggles under or over your swim cap?

Swim goggles should typically go outside or over the swim cap. Wearing your cap first, tucking in any stray hairs, and then adjusting the goggles over it helps create a secure and watertight fit. However, if you’re double-capping, the second cap should go over the goggles

How do you prevent goggle marks/raccoon eyes after swimming?

Do not overtighten the strap which causes excessive compression and irritation on the delicate eye socket skin and veins. Use the properly sized gasket pairs for your goggle model and facial structure. Lubricating skin with a small amount of aloe gel where the gaskets sit can also help reduce friction.

How can I keep my goggles from fogging up?

Apply a small amount of anti-fog solution or spit inside the goggles before swimming. Avoid touching the inside of the lenses. Rinse with fresh water after each use.

How do you wear swimming goggles with long hair?

To wear goggles with long hair, gather your hair into a bun or ponytail at the back of your head. Slide the head strap of the goggles over your hair, ensuring it secures the goggles without compromising the seal.

How should nose pieces fit on swim goggles?

The nose piece of swim goggles should fit comfortably on the bridge of your nose. It should rest without causing pressure or discomfort while maintaining a secure seal around your eyes.

How do I loosen my swim goggles?

To loosen your goggles, hold the goggles against your eyes and pull the head strap gently away from your head. Adjust the tension by sliding the strap adjusters outward.

How to tighten swim goggles?

To tighten swim goggles, press the goggles against your eyes and pull the head strap’s adjusters inward. This will create a snug fit without causing discomfort.

How to adjust Speedo goggles straps?

Adjusting Speedo goggle straps involves pressing the strap adjusters inward to tighten and sliding them outward to loosen. Ensure a comfortable fit that seals the goggles without excess pressure.

Can you permanently adjust the goggle strap lengths?

No, only slide the sliders along the straps to find the ideal length and tightness. Altering slider buckles or cutting straps will ruin goggles.

Should you wet your goggles before swimming?

Yes, it’s recommended to wet your goggles before swimming. This helps create a better seal and reduces the chances of fogging. Simply rinse the goggles with clean water before putting them on.

At what age can babies wear goggles?

Children generally can start wearing goggles safely around age 2-3. Ensure a precise kid size and look for adjustable straps. Avoid forcing goggles if the child resists.

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