If you happen to spot me at the grocery store or coffee shop after swim practice, you might wonder if I’m morphing into a panda bear.
That’s because wearing swim goggles that suck onto your face like a vacuum cleaner for an hour causes dark rings to form around your eye sockets. (I think it’s your body, seeking revenge.)
It’s just a fact of life for swimmers, and I never gave it much thought until the other day, when a pair of Snake and Pig swim goggles arrived at Pam LeBlanc Adventure headquarters.
A Taiwanese engineer named Michael Menq (he’s the Snake, in Chinese calendar terms) and a Venezuelan communications expert named Melissa Gonzalez (she’s the Pig, in the same calendar) teamed up in 2016 to develop a pair of goggles that wouldn’t cause “panda eyes.”Their goggles feature double-walled gaskets that are softer than the gaskets on most goggles. They also come with three interchangeable nose pieces, to ensure a custom fit.
I’ve always worn Speedo Vanquisher goggles, which cost $21.99 at www.swimoutlet.com, and been fine with them. I like them because they’re low profile and fit my face without leaking. But I decided to test the Snake and Pigs, mainly because I like that they’re Austin born and bred and I dig the name. Plus, my husband wears them and loves them, as do several friends.
I’ve been using them for the past week. Thoughts so far? No panda eyes. No leaking. Comfortable, once I changed out the nose piece to a smaller size (easy!).
But the first two days I wore the Snake and Pig goggles, they kept fogging. I contacted a marketing representative, who suggested I dip the goggles in pool water just before practice and use my finger to smear around the built-in defog coating. I tried that, and it worked perfectly. No more fog.
I’m not sold just yet, though. I’m getting used to the slightly larger profile of these goggles. The straps are thicker and the goggles themselves are beefier, and the feeling is a little like wearing a pair of thick plastic-frame glasses when you’re used to more streamlined wire rims.
Plus, at $35 a pop for the Basilisk model I’m trying, they’re more expensive than what I’ve always used.
Still, I love supporting local products, and we’ve got a lot here in Austin, from Gossamer Gear to Howler Brothers to Yeti and Kammok.
Four local shops carry Snake and Pig goggles – Austin Tricyclist, Swim Freak and Tom’s Dive & Swim, all in Austin, and Blur Cycleworks in Round Rock. You can also buy them online at http://snakeandpig.com.They’re available in clear or several different colors of tinted lenses, which work well in bright sun.