A business idea: Super Swedes

These are swedish goggles:

swedish goggles

Swedes are only goggle I’ve worn since 1992, and are among the most iconic swim gear ever. Their sleek, minimalist esthetic transcends both time and nationality. Their simple construction renders them both disposable and indestructible. Here’s an interesting history of swedes (the goggles, not the people) from Malmsten AB.

So popular are swedes among competitive swimmers that Speedo was forced to offer Speedo-branded swedes (with original Malmsten lenses, naturally) so their sponsored athletes could wear swedes at the Olympics without being in breach of contract!

Swedes’ functional minimalism cuts both ways, though. They’re cheap goggles. The lenses scratch easily. The latex straps rarely last through more than a month of regular chlorine exposure (I opt for an after-market bungee strap).

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s this:

blueseventy carbon fiber goggles
Blueseventy carbonRZR goggles

The ultimate in superfluous luxury. Carbon-fiber frames? Anti-scratch polycarbonate lenses? It can be yours for $100 – same price, incidentally, as 25 pairs of swedes. There’s an appealing sort of geek cachet to goggles made from the same material as an airplane fuselage. I’d never buy them, though. I can’t stand rubber gaskets.

But what about souped-up swedish goggles? High-quality anti-scratch lenses; chlorine-resistant straps; a nice carrying case? I might actually pay up for something like that.


Super-Swedes. It just might be the best idea since the Jump to Conclusions Mat.

25 thoughts on “A business idea: Super Swedes”

  1. I think it is unfortunate that you did not show more sensitivity to those of us that are nose bridge challenged. I have been wearing TYR Racetech for years, and will have to give up swimming when they are discontinued. As far as Swedes go, if they are anything like the first pair of goggles I tried to use in 1971 (no gasket) then there isn’t anyway they can be properly adapted for nose-forward swimmers like me.

    1. The only goggle I’ve known to rival swedes in intensity of loyalty is the Hind Compy. When they were discontinued, I know of at least three friends who literally called up a retailer and bought their entire stock.

      For adapting swedes to less, erm, “Scandinavian” probosces, you might consider using a small piece of the strap as the nosepiece:

      phelps swedes

  2. Swim Outlet produces Swedish goggles with their house brand, sporti, that I think has some design improvements. The holes for the straps are larger, making them easier to thread. They have a plastic bit for the back of your head, instead of a knot, to tie the return strap together. And the nose bridge holes are larger, making it a lot easier to thread a regular strap through, which makes the nose bridges last MUCH longer than normal swedes. They fit the same for me, and they seem to be a dollar or two cheaper. The mirrorized goggles seem to be a couple dollars cheaper. For what is, in my opinion, an even better product.


    1. Hey Tim. I’ve tried the sporti swedes, and while I agree the strap is an improvement, I find the lenses just don’t feel quite right. For me at least, they don’t fit as well and are less comfortable. There’s a reason why the Speedo swedes use the original Malmsten lenses.

  3. I have tried to use Swedes on multiple occasions. For whatever reason, I cannot get them to seal – they just don’t fit my eye sockets. Do they make junior swedes?

    1. Sully, were you using someone else’s swedes, or ones that you fit yourself? The custom fit is essential with swedes.

      1. I can’t get the housing alone to seal (no straps of nose piece). I just couldn’t find an angle, position, etc that fit. I tried to refit with nose piece and straps to no avail.

    2. I can’t get them to seal either. I’ve only tried the Sporti ones from Swim Outlet. I can see why people like them so much, but no matter what I did they wouldn’t seal.

      1. Meh on the sportis…

        Katie, if we ever meet I will personally assemble a pair of old-school swedes for you, and they will fit. I’ve got the magic touch, I tell you!

        1. PErsonally, I’ve got the speedo swedes and eventhough the cups won’t seal when independent, with the elastic they seal perfectly and stay very comfortable.

          You should perhaps try putting the elastic and swimming with it.

  4. I found that the TYR Socket Rocket offers the best of both worlds for goggles. Basically Swedish goggles WITH a rubber gasket. They come in different colors and also mirrored lens too. Have done pool races, triathlons and open water swims with them.
    I also adapted a bungee strap instead of the band that comes with goggles, no more dry rot and busted straps.

    1. Hey Josh,

      I might like the Socket Rocket, except for the part (see above post) where “I can’t stand rubber gaskets.” 🙂

      In case it wasn’t clear, as far as I’m concerned, Swedes are the perfect goggle. The only things I’d change are the durability of the straps and the scratch-proneness of the gaskets.

      I’ve been swimming for 75% of my life… I’ve tried them all (usually through having to borrow someone else’s for a workout).

      1. Evan, I Totally agree. I do love my sweeds too. However I would have to give a strong second to the SOCKET rocket. ( same goggle, but soft on the eyes literally!!!)
        TIP: To prevent Scratch proneness for gaskets of swedes–use a nail file or rub them on the grout of pool deck (old school)

  5. I used to always use swedish goggles, even on long swims like Lake Zurich. I was shocked to see what I looked like after this particular swim, I looked like I had actually spent 9 hours being punched in the face rather than swimming!

    Haven’t worn swedish goggles in almost 2 years I think … mostly because I can’t seem to find them in any shop around me (and I’m living in … Sweden … hmm) and that the ones I’ve got, albeit bulkier, do the trick.

  6. Im also facially challenged. The minimalist Swedes are right up my alley but I just can’t get them to seal, and wearing them feels like wearing someone else’s prescription glasses. I hate rubber gaskets too, and after years of searching have settled on the speedo CGC with neoprene gaskets. Dorky

  7. I didn’t see this until now, but as a Hind Compy devotee I like similar things in my goggles, cheap and simple. Of course the irony is that I have to ration out the few (20+) pair I have over the rest of my swimming life. Suddenly they’re not so cheap.

    1. Too, too funny. I swim with a guy in SB who is also working his way through his doomsday stash of Compys. You guys are such dorks.

  8. I’ll never forget my first pair of Swedes. I was 11 and my old foam Speedo goggles broke right before a 50 fly. I had to borrow my friend Tammy’s…and it was love at first sight. I’ve never enjoyed swimming fly as much since. My mom was more than happy to to buy me a pair, since they were so budget friendly. I spent the next hour assembling them, and they were the only goggle I wore for the next 15 years. I still pool train in them, but can’t seem to keep them on my face for open water swims. I also have a huge fear of getting kicked or elbowed in the face during a mass start of a race and never being able to see again, so I use TRY’s femme ellipse goggles in open water. Dorky, but my fear of being blinded is non-existent.

    1. That’s such a sweet story 🙂 And hey – those TYRs aren’t bad looking at all!

      When I first started racing OW I bought a pair of blueseventy hydra-visions (supposedly, designed specifically for OW) because of the same concern about getting kicked in the face.

      I danced with them once or twice, but the attraction just wasn’t there. My swedes forgave me for cheating, and we’re living happily ever after.

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