This Form Swim Goggles review is part of Street Smarts, FLEETSTREET’s series where we, with an unvarnished eye, explore the *who, what, where, when and why* of new products – from fitness gear to health gadgets to beauty creams.
Swimming truly is an instant mood-lifter and energizer. It’s one of my favourite ways to exercise. You know that feeling of accomplishment after you conquer your endless to-do lists or the burst of confidence following a successful meeting? For me, swimming gives me the same natural high as a gym session without all the sweat. With the fitness and wellness industry evolving with AI tech (hello sleep trackers and smartwatches!) along comes techy goggles that inspired me to grab my bathers. The Form Swim Coach goggles are making quite a splash in the tech fitness pool. Read on for my review of the only swim-tracking goggles around.
The Goggles – Form and HeadCoach:
At the helm of FORM stands its founder and chief executive officer Dan Eisenhardt, a 14-year seasoned competitive swimmer. Transitioning from the pool to the entrepreneurial waters, Eisenhardt blended sports and technology for real-time coaching you can see in the middle of your 200-meter butterfly. That’s thanks to the FORM Smart Swim Goggles’ augmented reality (AR) display. I’m talking about an instant analysis of your swim, two types of metrics (your Form Score and your HeadCoach Skills – more on these later) to gauge your technique, and offer a complete review of your progression over time, as you keep using these swim-tech goggles.
What you’ll see when wearing Form goggles is a transparent display of your swim real-time metrics, including pace, stroke rate, time and distance.
The FORM app – more than just swimming:
Before you slip on your Form goggles, download the app to sync the gear to your phone. Once you do that, you can download thousands of expert workouts straight to your goggles. As you swim, the screen inside your goggle lenses counts down the laps, shows you what to do next and records your performance.
You will also see your Form Score, which is a measurement of your overall swim efficiency, meaning how well your pace and stroke length are. It ranges from 0 to 100, with the average rate being in the 40-to-50 zone.
HeadCoach Skills, however, shows the five key areas that’ll help swimmers identify areas to focus on to improve swim efficiency. The five are:
- Head pitch: the angle you are looking up or down while you swim
- Peak head roll: the number of times that your head rolls to take a breath
- Time-to-neutral: the proportion of your breathing stroke it takes to return your head to the water
- Interval pacing: your ability to maintain a consistent pace length-by-length in an interval
- Set pacing: your ability to keep a consistent pace from interval-to-interval within a set
Users are assigned a rating from 0 to 100 for each of the above HeadCoach Skills. For each of these skills, Form provides a detailed analysis that will help you identify what skill you may need to work on the most and track how much you have improved these skills over time.
We Tried it:
I spent a large portion of my adolescent life in the pool. I swam competitively when I was nine years old and continued the sport into high school. Four days a week, I swam laps. My family knew my swim days, thanks to the chlorine-scented bathroom after my shower. Sure, later in life I moved on to Le Labo, but as a kid and teen, I loved everything about the water. For my early morning practices, my teammates and I would rip out our workout plan printouts and stick it on the side of the pool. I can picture my coach walking on the sidelines waving me along the pool.
Now armed with a virtual coach, I packed my Form goggles for a recent trip to Mexico. I had a date booked to use them for some light breaststroke swimming. The Form app offers a variety of underwater workouts, including endurance, recovery, sprint and technique. It even has workout plans for a more consistent training plan. Without the structure of pool lanes, I did a freestyle pool workout. The Form goggles were a great swimming partner, giving me instant feedback and insights without interrupting my groove.
I was tired after my short workout, I’m not going to lie. I felt out of shape because of how winded I was. Discouraged at first by how tired I was, once I got out of the pool and grabbed my phone to check out my results, I felt motivated. Seeing the results firsthand brought back memories of my youth and made me feel like a trip to the pool back in Canada was in order. The Form goggles aren’t just another gadget, for me. They’re a portal into a world of swimming that I never knew existed. I had no idea that technology could revive my passion for swimming.
The goggles let me track a plethora of metrics such as time, distance, pace, split times, stroke rate, stroke count, distance per stroke and calories burned (just to name a few). It even detects my form and indicates where I could improve.
The goggles run for $340, which is way more expensive than a regular pair of goggles, but way cheaper than a real-live coach.
For me, the fit is comfortable. I didn’t wear a bathing cap, and they didn’t once get caught in my hair, which I was happy about. Despite what looks like a small, rectangular box with two buttons on it on the side, the goggles felt balanced on my head. The seals were tight – water never leaked during my test runs – and the goggles didn’t fog up once. To make adjustments, you pull on the head strap and/or nose bridge buckles to create the perfect fit. The goggles come with three adjustable nose bridges from small to extra large to fit a variety of face sizes.
The price of the goggles includes a one-year subscription to the Form app, after which it costs $19 a month. If you’re chasing a swim goal, this is still a huge saving on employing a swim coach.
If you’re looking to seriously up your swimming routine or regularly use swimming as a way to get in shape, the goggles are worth the $340 price tag. I sort of felt like I was looking at the Peloton leaderboard when I saw my stats. It turned swimming into this mix of competitiveness (with myself) and fitness, making it more than just laps. It’s like your own aquatic adventure with a virtual coach. Simply pick the workout you want to try and start swimming.
If your idea of a perfect water day involves more tranquillity than tech, the Form goggles might be a bit too advanced for your taste. Instead, a simple pair of goggles will do the trick. But if you’re a nerd for fitness data and a water baby, then try these on for size.