Although swimmers are well served by a variety of excellent fitness trackers and watches that record their workouts in great detail, they generally can’t get the same benefits from the devices as runners.
The obvious reason is that swimming involves the arms a lot more than running, so while you can check your stats on the go during a run and adjust your pace or start the next section of your session accordingly, it’s tricky to get live feedback mid-swim without stopping.
Form’s smart goggles, which launched last month, address that problem by putting a heads-up display in the goggles themselves, so you can see your stats any time you like. The goggles display two stats at a time, one of which is total time and the second you choose from a long list of options including split time, distance, stroke rate, distance per stroke, pace per 50m or 100m.
To that list you can soon add heart rate. Form has announced a partnership with Polar, manufacturer of fitness trackers, running watches and heart rate monitors, and a software update to Form in November will mean you can take the sensor from Polar’s OH1 arm strap and attach it to the goggle’s strap to take a reading from your temple. For those who take their swimming seriously, or who are following a training plan to improve in the pool, the addition of heart rate can help to make sure you’re putting in the right amount of effort.
The goggles are only designed for pool swimming and lack the GPS needed to record open-water activities accurately. You also have to set the length of the pool you’re swimming in before starting, as with wrist-worn trackers.
With 16 hours of battery life, the goggles will last a couple of weeks on a single charge even if you’re swimming for an hour every day. You’ll probably need to have that level of commitment to swimming to stump up the $199 price plus shipping costs, because unlike multisport watches, these goggles won’t track anything else. The goggles also don’t come bundled with Polar’s heart rate monitor, so you’ll have to buy that separately. If you do, opt for the OH1+ which includes the clip needed to attach them to the goggle’s strap.
As well as being smarter than your average pair, the Form goggles also come with a range of nose bridges so you can find the one that offers the perfect fit for you, plus there’s a 45-day guarantee that allows you to send them back if you’re not satisfied (although free return shipping is only available in the US and Canada). They’re not available from UK retailers at the moment, but Form does ship to the UK if you buy the goggles on its website.
Buy from Form | $199 (approx £165), plus shipping