Buying swimming goggles, particularly online where you cannot feel or try on the goggles, can be a daunting and confusing thing.
I recently purchased a pair of female fit swimming goggles, and being female, I was keen to find out if these “female fit” swimming goggles were any better than my usual Speedo unisex swimming goggles.
In theory, female fit goggles are designed with the female face and bone structure in mind. Although the facial structure is just indicative of gender and not conclusive, some swim goggle designers use these bone differences to develop female-fit swimming goggles.
I must admit, when I first saw the term ‘female fit swimming goggles’, I was super sceptical. Being a design engineer myself, having designed many products for the mass market, I was very curious about what data they were using and if female-fit is actually a legitimate fit or just marketing jargon.
I contacted a major swimming manufacturer of one of the most popular female fit swimming goggles and asked them to explain what ‘female fit goggles’ means.
In this article I will cover:
- What are female-fit swim goggles?
- What does ‘female-fit goggles’ mean?
- Are female-fit goggles good for a small face?
- Are female-fit goggles any good?
- How do I know what swim goggles fit?
- What are the best swim goggles that don’t leave marks?
What Are Female-Fit Swim Goggles?
At a first glance, female-fit swimming goggles look the same as any other swimming goggles.
Typically, the only way to identify female-fit swimming goggles is the description that comes along with the name of the goggles.
For example, here is one of the most popular female fit swimming goggles on the market, the Speedo Women’s Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Goggles.
From looking at many types of female-fit swimming goggles, the only distinction I can see compared to other unisex goggles is that the height of the lens is taller.
The female-fit model (blue colour) has a much larger cup and lens size with a teardrop shape.
This taller lens could just be unique to Speedos’ female-fit design. The best way to check if the goggles are designed for a female fit is to check the product description.
What Does ‘Female-Fit Goggles’ Mean?
When I purchased my female-fit goggles, I had a lot of high hopes.
I was not sure what to expect, to be honest, but given that the manufacturer took the time to research different fits, I had high expectations.
One part of me assumed they would be on the smaller side, as often female-sized sports gear is a little smaller from my experience, but these were the largest goggles I ever purchased.
With these specific Speedo Female Fit Goggles, a few noticeable things stand out:
- They are very large, with an excellent viewing angle
- The lens is very tall
- The lens dips into a triangular tear-drop shape
- They have brighter design colours
To my eyes, there is nothing about these goggles that scream they fit a female face better than a male face, or vice versa. In my opinion, they are a unique design that you will either love or hate, whatever your gender.
I had to ask Speedo what a female fit means, and what made these goggles more suitable for a female face. Speedos’ amazing customer support kindly took the time to give me this answer.
With “female fit” it is mostly based on the differentiation between the male and female bone structure and this is heavily looked into and studied and the products are then developed around these averages.Speedo Customer Service Team
This is a very concise and clear answer from Speedo and a big “thank you” to Speedo for taking the time to give such a good answer.
In a nutshell, there are bone structure differences we cannot necessarily see, but they have based their female fit design on these averages.
I don’t know much about physiology and bone structure, but I am super curious about any differences between male and female skulls and if the difference is great enough to have an impact.
I believe that if the difference in male and female skulls was great enough, there would be a full range of male fit and female fit goggles on the market and not just the occasional female fit.
So how different are male and female skulls?
Male Vs Female Skulls
Speedo was correct when they said that the bone structure of males and females has been heavily studied, as there is a load of research done in this field. [source]
The vast majority of research agrees that skull features are just indicative of, or an estimation of, a male or female, but they are not conclusive.
For example, let’s say an archaeologist finds an ancient skull on an excavation dig. Looking at features such as the brow, eye socket and other aspects of the skull, they can take a best guess or estimation on whiter the skull is male or female.
They will determine that the skull is “indicative” or “probably” male or female. They will not be conclusive or say categorically that this is definitely a female.
Going back to the world of swimming and goggles, from our point of view, the areas of the eye sockets and brow ridge are where the goggles sit, so how do these differ between males and females?
Here is a list of how bone structure may differ between male and female skulls, in the region where swimming goggles sit: [source]
|Male Skull||Female Skull|
|Less rounded forehead||Rounded forehead|
|Prominent brow||Smoother brow|
|Squarer eye sockets||Rounder eye sockets|
|Blunt upper eye margins||Sharp upper eye margins|
Although the above list seems very clear and may lead you to believe that of course there should be male and female fit goggles, the bones structure differences can be so small visually that it takes an expert in the field to really look at a skull and determine if it is male or female.
For example, when I saw that a female skull has rounder eye sockets, I instantly got excited as I was like, “yes of course we need a female fit”, but when I looked at some sample images of male and female skulls which can be found on this site, it is difficult to identify the difference in eye sockets between males and females without training.
Putting on my design engineering hat, as I have over a decade of engineering design experience, the soft seal of the goggle gasket will compensate for the minor differences in bone structure, making designing for a male or female fit futile.
In conclusion, yes, there are differences in bone structure between male and female skulls, but whether the differences are great enough to warrant a specific female fit is highly debatable.
Are Female Fit Goggles Good For A Small Face?
Although female fit goggles are designed with bone structure in mind, they do not seem to consider the size of the face.
As a female skull is generally lighter and smaller than a male skull, I assumed female fit goggles would be good for a small face. [source]
From my experience and purchases, female fit goggles are much larger than most goggles.
If you are looking for goggles for a smaller face, stay away from “female fit” unless the product description tells you they are designed for smaller faces.
With female fit goggles, as designers seem to design for bone structure, rounder eye sockets and eye margins, the goggle lens can be really tall, which is not suitable for smaller faces.
If you are looking for goggles for a smaller face, I have covered this in greater detail in this article, “Best Swim Goggles For Small Faces (Measurements included)”
Are Female Fit Goggles Any Good?
From my experience of purchasing and trying female-fit goggles, I have found nothing remarkable or different about goggles that are specified as women’s goggles or female fit.
Just like all swimming goggles, you will either love them or hate them.
The female fit goggles I can comment on specifically are the Speedo Women’s Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Goggles.
Like all Speedo Goggles, these are well made and durable and if you are considering these goggles, here is what I found from trying them out.
You will love these goggles if:
- You have a large face.
- You swim only breaststroke.
- You like good visibility.
You will not like these goggles if:
- You have a small face.
- You swim front crawl. I find that the large eye lens lifts water and can splash water in the face while turning the head during the front crawl.
For me personally, the tall lens (also known as a cup) is too large for my small face and the sloped lens shape is the perfect angle for allowing water to run off into my mouth while breathing.
These are still great goggles, however, and if you can identify with the pros listed above, you will love these goggles, whether you are male or female.
Female fit swimming goggles are designed to account for the differences in bone structure between male and female skulls, but it is debatable whether this actually improves the goggles’ performance.
Some women may find that female fit goggles are too large, while others may appreciate the larger lens size. If you have a small face, I recommend looking for swim goggles specifically designed for smaller faces.
A good pair of goggles which fit well is the main priority for all swimmers, regardless of gender.
I appreciate the innovation that manufacturers demonstrate in trying to find new designs and improve our products, but I have to be honest and admit that I personally have not felt any benefits of female-fit swimming goggles.