Gear Review: X-Sight GogglesBy Dominic LazzarettoB.T.com Gear Reviewer
Before we get too deep into this, let me admit to a bias: the last three pairs of goggles I’ve purchased were from TYR. When I go to buy new goggles, I try on everything in the store but end up putting the TYR goggles in my basket. Their designs tend to fit well on me.On Comfort/FitIf you read my SwiMP3 review, you know that I have what my wife endearingly refers to as a “high contrast face.” For the uninitiated, that means I have a large nose. Not “Oh-My-God,-what-is-that-thing?! Get-away-from-me-and-hide-the-children!” large, but large enough that a goggle fit can be a bit tricky. The old style goggles with the plastic nose bridge never worked right for me—I’d end up with angry red lines on my nose for hours after a workout.
TYR seems to understand that noses have feelings too, and have designed several lines with very soft nosepieces. In the past, the soft nosepiece has been just a solid mass that didn’t really mold to your face so much as it didn’t dig into it. A great example of this is the TYR Technoflex, which were my preferred goggles before putting on the X-Sights.Enter the new TYR X-Sight goggles. The X-Sights have been designed with a flexible nose bridge that (surprise, surprise) is shaped like an “X”. The holes in the nosepiece allow it to flex and mold to the contours of your nose, keeping the goggles flat against your eye sockets no matter how Roman your nose may be.
These are the most comfortable goggles I’ve ever worn. They keep the water out without having to be on so tight that you end up with raccoon eyes.
In addition, the goggles use a flexible uni-body frame combined with a neoprene material (called Glideskin) around the lenses to seal out the water. The neoprene is soft and comfortable and doesn’t leave the dreaded raccoon eyes after a workout.
Because the nosepiece and neoprene gaskets fit so well, you don’t have to make the goggles very tight in order for them to seal to your face. In fact, I kept over-tightening them because I couldn’t believe how loose they could be and still keep the water out.The X-Sights are considered performance goggles, so they’re bigger than racing goggles. They sit on the bones surrounding the eyes rather than sealing to your eye sockets. I find this much more comfortable, but the racers out there may find these goggles to be a bit large.
If the X-Sights have a weak area, it’s adjustability. There is a single, split strap for tightening the goggles and that’s it. Because the entire frame flexes and stretches, the goggles can naturally fit many face shapes and sizes, including children, but there is no ability to fine-tune the fit like you can with goggles that have changeable parts and multiple straps.The strap is very easy to work with and is made of a soft, rubbery plastic that doesn’t pull your hair (yes, I swim without a cap – I’m evil, I know). One thing I really like about the strap is that it has regularly-spaced ridges on it that help you keep track of the right size for you—kind of like the holes on a belt. It stops you from having to guess if the strap is the right length.On OpticsTYR says the X-Sights feature a “non-surround, suspended lens [that] increases light absorption” and include a “lens-within-a-lens for improved peripheral vision.” That means absolutely nothing to me. All I know is that I’m fairly certain I can see behind me when I’m wearing these goggles. Now that’s peripheral vision! The only odd thing is that the squared and tapered sides of the lenses tend to bend images, so something that’s perfectly straight, like a lane line, can sometimes look curved when you see it out of the corner of your eye. But I’d rather be able to see something incorrectly than to not be able to see it at all.
The goggles are made with optical grade polycarbonate lenses that are anti-fog and UV protected. I haven’t fogged up the goggles once since getting them, but I’ve never been one to have a lot of trouble with goggles fogging up on me. The lenses keep images crisp and clear and their large size makes for an excellent field of vision.The lenses are available in clear, smoke, and blue. I have tried the smoke and the blue and would recommend the blue for cloudy outdoor or indoor situations and would recommend the smoke for bright outdoor use. There is very little glare when you have on either tinted style, but on very sunny days, the darker lenses help a little more. On FashionThey haven’t yet made a pair of goggles that look fantastic and they probably never will. That being said, the X-Sights come about as close to cool as anything out there.The frame and retention device colors vary according to the lens color in order to provide a cohesive look that is subtle and attractive. While the lenses are larger than racing lenses, they aren’t so big that they take over your whole face.Because the frame doesn’t wrap around the entire lens (only across the top and sides), they look fairly sleek – more like a pair of sunglasses than a traditional set of goggles. The “X” nose bridge provides a unique and modern appearance. In fact, with the possible exception of the kind that come with mirrored lenses, these goggles provide the most hi-tech look I’ve seen. All-in-all, they are a good looking pair of goggles.The Bottom LineThe single most important goggle factor is fit. Without good fit, you might as well keep your head above water and doggie-paddle for 2.4 miles. Fit is so important that most of us would sacrifice some comfort to ensure a good fit. The beauty of the X-Sight goggles is that you can have both without a moment’s compromise. Simply put, these are the best fitting, most comfortable goggles I’ve ever owned. If TYR stopped all efforts at innovation and just kept making these goggles from now until the end of time, I’d be completely happy.The X-Sights also make great goggles for the triathlete. The wide field of vision and solid construction make them feel right for the trials of open-water competition. They’re a great middle ground between tiny racing goggles and the clunky swim masks you see people wearing from time to time.
TYR X-Sight Goggles (www.tyr.com)
*based on the fashion magazine, not the sitcom characterRandom Thoughts That May Only Interest Me
This may be the first product to come out in the past decade that didn’t utilize the letter “X” just to appeal to the Gen-X crowd. At this point, would anyone be surprised if Xerox started referring to itself as “The X” in order to appear more extreme?
One thing I’ve always liked about blue lenses is that they can make murky lake water look not so disgusting.
Things you learn while doing research:o I never knew whether you were supposed to say “T-Y-R” or “tier” or “tire”. It turns out that the company was named after Tyr, the Norse God of War, and it’s pronounced “tier.”o TYR designed and “customized” those glorious red swimsuits worn by all cast members on the TV series "Baywatch."
I promise that this is the last time you’ll have to hear about my nose for a while. It’s just a coincidence that the last two reviews had goggle components. I normally don’t like to bring attention to it, I swear.
A Note on the Author: Dominic Lazzaretto has completed five triathlons (kind of near the front of the age-grouper pack) and has competed in dozens of road running races, mountain bike races, and road cycling events. He is one of the official gear reviewers for Beginnertriathlete.com