In the world of swimming there are two kinds of people; Those who wear padded goggles and those who wear Swedish Goggles. In reality it is a personal preference but in the eyes of a swimmer it just may have a little to do with how tough you are.
Back in the early 1970’s Tony Malmsten, a successful swim coach in Sweden, invented goggles for one of his swimmers who suffered from allergies and eczema due to the foam found on goggles. The Monterbara, later named Swedish Goggles, quickly became a common product in Sweden and eventually became “the most copied goggles in the world”. One of the main reasons this style of goggles became so popular was that by building it yourself you were ensured a perfect fit.
Swedish Goggles, also known as Swedes, are made up of 4 main pieces: the hard plastic goggle for each eye, a nose piece, and an elastic band. Typically these pieces come in a bag, separated, with little to no instructions on how to assemble them. So how the heck do you put them together?
I have been a competitive swimmer since 8 years old and could tell you a thing or two about the sport. For this post I want to teach you the fine tuned, sometimes sneaky, way to make your own pair of Swedish Goggles.
The Traditional Swedish Goggles
You will need the following tools to get started: Sharp scissors, nail file, and your Swedish Goggles kit. Before starting it’s best to pull these tools together and sit in a well lit, comfortable area, with a soft surface. Building Swedish Goggles can be a relaxing and therapeutic activity. Get comfy, take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Take all of the pieces out of the bag: Plastic goggle (2), String (1), Blue plastic nose piece (1), elastic strap (1).
With the nail file, file down the inside of the goggle that will be touching your nose. Sometimes there is extra plastic from the manufacturing process and filing will prevent cutting your nose. After filing, place goggles on soft surface pointing in opposite directions as if you wearing them on your face.
Run string through the left nose hole, slide blue plastic piece on string, then run string down through the right nose hole.
Tie extra string from both sides in a light knot, hold up to face, and evaluate if you need to loosen or tighten the length. Everyone’s nose is different, go with what “feels” right.
Run elastic through the left outer hole and back down through the right outer hole. You will pull the elastic all the way through until you have equal amount of extra elastic off each side. You are also setting up the loop portion of the elastic to fit around your head.
Put goggles on eyes, pull elastic loop over your head and adjust the loop for fit. To adjust the fit you can pull or loosen the extra elastic hanging off each side.
Once you feel the elastic is good and the nose piece feels right, you can tie the loose ends of the elastic into a tight knot. Voila, you have a pair of Swedish Goggles!
The Swedish Goggles Hack
As soon as I started to use Swedish goggles, I found the string and blue plastic nose piece method can sometimes be hard to do, difficult to get the right length, and if you mess up you might have to cut the string and start over. I quickly learned that there is an alternate method for making the nose piece that is easier, faster, and allows for easy size adjustments at any time. Basically all of the above steps stay the same, except you replace steps 3 and 4 with the following steps:
With scissors, cut a clean piece of elastic from the end of the elastic band. You want to make sure you have the angle you cut the elastic come to a nice sharp end so you can run it through the nose piece holes. (See image for exact shape.)
Take one side of the small piece of elastic and put the sharp end through the left nose hole, then repeat with the other side of the elastic in the right nose hole.
That’s it, now you have a nose piece that is soft, easy to adjust, and much easier to deal with. The best part is if you mess up, you can just cut another piece of elastic off since there is always extra.
How do I know if I built my Swedish Goggles right? If water is leaking in, it’s time to make some modifications! You will need to adjust the nose piece or the elastic band for a tighter fit.
There you have it, the fine tuned process of building a pair of Swedish Goggles. Everyone develops their own style, order, and tricks with which they build a pair to suit them. My question to you is, how do YOU make your Swedish Goggles?