For this weeks blog we have a product review of the Huub Altair swimming goggles that we have been reviewing for the past 8 weeks testing them in pools, lakes, rivers and sea swims.
The Trivelo offices goggles selection is dominated by Zoggs and Speedo historically with each of us tending to stick to our preferred brand being repeat buyers time after time. For me Zoggs have been my go to choice with various choices of Predators finding their way into the swim bag for the best part of a decade. This year after various pieces of feedback Zoggs redesigned the nose bridge after complaints of previous models snapping on this part of the goggle but for me this then ruined the product. The latest range has a very rigid and inherently strong nose bridge making them pinch around the eyes to compensate for this lack of flexibility. This prompted interest in the Huub range and a wonderful opportunity to work with them and help provide this review of their goggles for our Triathlon blog community.
This summer offered perfect timing for reviewing new goggles as I prepared for an endurance swim crossing the Solent for the Aspire charity meaning plenty of time swimming in every type of water. The choice of Huub goggle for this venture being their top of the range Altair goggle kindly provided by the very helpful team at Huub Design. Arriving in the post direct from Huub first impressions are very very good with the goggles in a hardened case with the multiple lenses and replacement nose rubbers. It shouts nothing but quality which is very much the experience Huub are aiming for and where the brand is pitched. Uniquely the Altair comes with inter-changeable lenses allowing you to have a single set of goggles for the various types of swimming you may do. This feature has long since been a part of cycling glasses design and therefore many of our triathlete readership expecting this and Huub leading the way with a clever design that enables this. The Altairs have three mirrored lenses (all made from a high-grade poly carbonate). Huub describes each of these lenses as follows:
- Yellow Mirror – Perfect for lowlight, dusk swims and to help spot swim buoys
- Silver Mirror – The ideal pool, artificial light or early morning swim lens
- Black Mirror – For strong sunlight and bright days
For me the key to a quality set of goggles has to start with comfort and this is magnified when you are considering endurance swims or triathlon events such as an ironman. Wearing goggles for over an hour can become a real chore if you don’t have the right fit which just becomes impossible to ignore over time. With comfort also comes reliability and in goggle terms this means a set that don’t leak and mean you won’t find yourself treading water part way round as the seals have failed and allowed water to ingress around your eye. It is very much a personal thing on what goggles deliver a comfortable fit as we all have different sized and shaped heads but the flexibility of the soft silicone gasket seal around the eyes and construction mean the Altair’s offer a quality fit for most people. Certainly all the freak shaped units that shuffle around the Trivelo offices on a daily basis found them comfy! Swimming for over 2 hours tends to mean you are left looking like you haven’t slept for days with bags under the eyes from the goggles pressing against your skull. No such issue with the Altair that allows a quality seal without having to overtly tighten the headstrap.
The design is a mid-sized goggle with similar proportions to the Zoggs Predators so aesthetically these are a good looking specimen and hugely practical for a triathlete with a familiar style that most will quickly find suited to them. If you favour more of a single lens diving mask style goggle then these may take some adjustment but given the comfort of them well worth a trial if you get the opportunity. The soft twin straps allow for adjustment and in many hours of testing resulted in no slipping without the need to make any adjustments so reliable every time.
The inter-changeable lenses are not just a gimmick and in many ways are Huub justifying the price tag as you are able to use a single set of goggles for multiple types of environment where you may have previously favoured more than a single set. The black lenses are a real black-out experience and best reserved for those hedonistic swims in the midday sun of the Mediterranean, the usual overcast British weather that generally presents itself above our lakes and rivers might not merit such sun protection. The yellow lens is fine for the pool or early morning starts where the sun is yet to fully surface. Personally I found the silver mirrored lenses worked well across all conditions and even on a really murky day such as the Solent swim visibility was not impaired by the mirroring. They also look great and being relatively new to the market plenty of fellow swimmers enquired what they were with envious glances.
I tend to keep a bottle of “anti-fog” in my swim bag in readiness for my goggles failing to remain clear on a swim but the Huub Altair’s seem to have some really durable anti-fog coating as to date I haven’t needed to use anything on them and visibility has been excellent. After 8 weeks you can see the coating starting to be affected by the regular usage but this has not affected the performance of the anti-fog. The lens is rounded that gives you some all round visibility but this isn’t significant and in line with many similar goggles of this style. I found the vision provided natural and not an issue in pool or open water.
Durability has been a question mark over some of the Huub range of wetsuits where they have focused on performance and comfort but this could come at the sacrifice of the strength of the products. Do the Huub Altair goggles suffer with the same issue? Hard to tell at this stage but in my view this is less of a consideration when buying goggles. Personally I expect a set to last me 3 to 6 months when I routinely tend to replace them so a set of strong goggles that will last me years doesn’t really feature in my decision criteria. Given this and most people more concerned with the comfort and performance of a set of goggles Huub are unlikely to find many dissatisfied customers. They are not cheap with a retail price of circa £50 which in goggle terms is very much premium. Given they come packaged with the hard shell case, spare lenses and spare nose rubbers they are well worth it. Couple this with something that has to be the most comfortable set of goggles I have ever owned and they are commanding a 10/10 rating. The final factor here has to be reliability. Swimming in force 5 seas is no easy undertaking as 2 metre waves slap you in the face. Having swam in these conditions using the Altair’s I was amazed they never once parted company with my head. Locked in place without compromise from beginning to end and when I finished up didn’t leave me with a headache or any residual impressions around my eyes. The Huub Altair goggles are first-class and without doubt my number one recommendation for anyone serious about swimming. Buy a set!