The Next Evolution of Swim Goggles
What running shoes are to runners, swim goggles are to swimmers. Goggles are literally the lens by which swimmers engage with their aquatic world. Goggles are the most important swim accessory because they can make or break your entire swim experience.
Open water, pool swimmers and triathletes have an endless array of options to choose from. From the compact, minimalist Swedish goggles to the larger panoramic-vision wide-lens with UV coating, aquatic athletes have hundreds of models to choose from: optical, prescription, polarized, tinted, clear, competition, recreational, mirrored, or transition with single, split, bungee or dual straps. Because human heads, faces and noses come in all shapes and sizes, the market has responded by offering goggles in all shapes and sizes.
But how did we get here? Let’s take a look back at the evolution of the most important swimming accessory.
Dating back to the 14th century, Persians divers used polished tortoise shells to help them see underwater. While it took until the 1970’s for goggles to become a staple swim accessory, open water swimming pioneers found use for early iterations of the goggle decades earlier.
Gertrude Ederle wore tinted goggles in her famous 1926 English Channel crossing. Photo courtesy of National Museum of American History.
It was Adolph Kiefer, a 1936 Olympic gold medalist and International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer, who distributed the first soft molded swim goggle gasket that many swimmers around the world found most comfortable.
Tom Blower used some old-school goggles on his unprecedented 15 hour 26 minute crossing of the 33.7 km North Channel between Ireland and Scotland in 1947.
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer Abilio Alvaro Da Costa Couto is shown below with his Father O’Flanagan’s patented goggles.
Imre Szénási, an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame who completed six 24-hour swims and a number of cross-border marathon swims between 1958 to 1973, also swam with these goggles.
The original Swedish goggles were produced by the Swedish company Malmsten AB and were first designed in the 1970’s. Swedish goggles influenced many other goggle designs and generic Swedish goggles are widely available.
Swedish goggles are notable for a lack of a gasket or seal around the eye cup, as found on most other goggles.
Elite age group swimmers viewed Swedish goggles as a right of passage, because it would take weeks or months for the eye socket to mold to the hard plastic. During that time, swimmers complained of excruciating pain.
In contrast, the most popular brands of the next several decades focused on comfort with either rubber or foam gaskets to create a seal with suction. While these goggles delivered on comfort, it can take swimmers many purchases to find a goggle to fit their particular face and head shape.
Even with all the options on the market today most swimmers, professional athletes or recreational pool-goers, have the same complaints about goggles – they don’t always fit well.
But one company has taken a quantum leap forward in the evolution of the swim goggle by offering the world’s first custom-fit swim goggle.
THEMAGIC5 aims to eliminate the distractions of poorly fitting goggles so that people can better enjoy the introspective, immersive nature of swimming.
World’s First Custom Fit Goggles
It was the issue of fit THEMAGIC5 set out to solve. Instead of relying on suction, the silicone gasket is made to reflect the unique contours of every individual’s face so swimmers don’t have painful marks left from hard plastic like with Swedes, or with “raccoon eyes” from tight suction of other modern day goggles.
THEMAGIC5 founders Bo, Niklas & Rasmus were each from Denmark, loved swimming and none of them had found a pair of swim goggles they liked. Bo was a software developer. Niklas was a professional swimmer for the Danish National Team. Rasmus had startup experience and a talent for branding.
In 2016, the three founders set out to make swim goggles that eliminate the distractions that prevent swimmers from being truly one with the water and to create a better swimming experience for everyone.
The Optimal Fit
Using app-based facial scanning technology, THEMAGIC5 records the contours of your face to guarantee a fit. According to the website, “If the fit is not perfect, we will review the data used to build your goggles and if we can’t fix it, we will refund your entire purchase.”
Once the face is scanned, customers can choose from a wide selection of goggle colors and tints. THEMAGIC5 then uses the scan to create a unique made-to-order goggle at their American facility in North Carolina and ship it directly to the customer’s door.
To check out the magic of custom fit goggles, download the app & scan your face today.
- The Next Evolution of Swim Goggles - 02/24/2022