Designed to create ‘less drag and more speed,’ the new Nike Vapor Goggles could change the way you swim. We jumped into the pool with the pros and put them to the test.
Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to visit the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. There, I got to meet the masterminds behind the new Nike Vapor Goggles. We had real pool time with some of Nike’s best master swim coaches and put the gear to the test.
I was on a swim team for a brief time growing up and have vivid memories of having to wear goggles and a swim cap. I remember the pulling, tugging, and annoyance of it all. It was honestly one of the main reasons I hated going to swim practice.
Despite my early dislike of swim gear, I’ve recently become an avid swimmer. I’m far from a professional, but I do swim up to three times a week and am currently training for some big open-water swims in New Zealand. After seeing a little teaser on how Nike’s new Vapor goggles would create “less drag and more speed,” I was excited to test them out.
Nike Vapor Swim Goggles Review
When I got the Vapor goggles in my hands for the first time, my initial thought was, “Damn, I’m going to look so fast in these!”
I couldn’t help but keep rubbing my hands over the smooth, non-angled, oversized, curved lens. There’s usually a seam to the side of the goggles, but these are smooth all the way through.
When I put them on, the first thing I noticed was the very comfy eye gasket. Usually, eye gaskets are quite intense and can “grip” your eye socket. But these felt more like a hug around the eye.
After talking to Erika Gentry, the head designer and director of gear at Nike, she said it was because the Vapor is what they call an “over-mold style.” This means the gasket is molded over the lens rather than the two being made separately.
The stock nose bridge didn’t fit my little button nose. But switching out for the smaller nose piece was very easy and streamlined. There was none of the pulling or yanking I remember from my youth. The back clip and straps were also noticeably comfortable.
Other straps have a hard, rubberband feeling, but these felt silky. And the back clip was soft and curved so it fit the shape of my head.
In the Water
After hearing how amazing they were, I was excited to finally jump in the water with them. Pushing off the edge of the pool, I hit my best streamlined position. And if I wasn’t there to test and critique the goggles, I would have forgotten they were on.
In fact, when we stopped to talk to the coach after a few 100m warm-up laps, I didn’t take them off. Normally, I’m the first to take off my goggles because of how much they dig into my eyes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case with these. And better still, they didn’t let any water in!
While I couldn’t tell if I actually swam any faster, I did feel faster. And I could see a whole lot more than I usually do in all directions. I didn’t need to tilt my head to see the person in front of or to the side of me.
And while we didn’t get to test the Vapor in open water, the coach did have us do an exercise in sighting. I was amazed at how little I actually had to lift my head to see because of the wide, oversized lenses.
The lens color was also very pleasant. Mine had a rose tint to it, which helped temper the sunlight coming in through the windows without darkening it too much.
Nike Vapor Goggles: Overall Thoughts
Gentry, a longtime swimmer herself, said her main goal in creating these goggles was to address and fix all the problems she faced as a swimmer. She said, “If I can do my part to make swimming more enjoyable for the people after me, then I will feel accomplished.”
After swimming in these for the past 2 weeks now, I’m certain she did her part. These goggles are the best I’ve come across. I can see better in all directions and can wear them for an hour straight without needing to take them off or mess with them.
And while I may not actually be any faster, they do make me feel very professional.
Why You Need Nike Vapor Goggles
These are FINA approved, meaning they passed a slew of strict regulations and can be worn in the Olympics. But they’re meant for everyone.
As Gentry stated, “Anyone who moves is an athlete.” And I couldn’t agree more. These goggles are for anyone who is an athlete in their own right and wants to enhance their swimming experience.
The Vapor Goggles retail for $30 and will be available on November 15, 2019.