We’ve been using goggles from Skyline’s Barracuda line for a while now and want to keep you updated on the progress. If you’re new here, you might want to go back and check out the final review of the Hydrobat goggles, the initial review of the Ultimates, and the initial review of the Predators.
Background on Barracuda:
All three sets of goggles are from Barracuda, a small company based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Barracuda Sports Products and Skyline Northwest manufacture an entire line of swimming gear, including these goggles, swim caps, cases, paddles, shampoo and quite a few other items.
Barracuda goggles were created by Dr. John Runckel after he was unable to find goggles that fit well, didn’t leak, and didn’t leave red rings around his eyes. Dr. Runckel, a dentist, used his experience taking dental impressions to develop a technique to produce goggle frames that allowed for differing bone structures. These frames don’t use suction and pressure to seal out water, they use the ergonomic design of the goggle to prevent water intrusion.
Having used used goggles from Barracuda for a few months now, we can safely say that Dr. Runckel has done a great job figuring out what makes goggles work.
Look and Feel:
According to the folks at Barracuda, the Ultimates are their most popular goggles and after testing, it’s not hard to see why. Compared to the Hydrobats, these goggles are a little larger, but not quite as big as the Predators. Basically, they’re a good mid sized goggle that will fit most faces. We’ve been concerned with the goggle frames, as they’re made of very soft rubber, but after using all three goggles in many different environments for a while, we’ve seen no damage to the rubber and nothing that would lead us to believe this is going to be a trouble spot.
Fit and Comfort:
After using the Ultimate goggles in the pool during our HIM training, we decided to test them at the White Lake Half. Just as in our testing, we didn’t experience any pressure from the actual goggles, the positive pressure system really seems to work. Our biggest concern in at White Lake was losing the goggles because they fit so softly on your face. However, we made the entire swim without any problems or contact with other swimmers.
The anti-fog coating continues to work well and we’ve been unable to cause a serious fogging issue, either in warm or cold water, inside or during an OWS.
As mentioned above, the Ultimates are a bit larger than the Hydrobats, giving you a bit more field of vision. At White Lake, we didn’t have any trouble seeing the bottom of the lake for most of the swim and we were always aware of other triathletes as they got close to us in the corners. The slight tinting was very helpful during the early morning sun.
We have been consistently amazed while using these googles. As we’ve said before, it’s hard to imagine swimming 2500-3000 meters and not experiencing some discomfort or redness around your eyes. But it just doesn’t happen with these goggles. The positive pressure system works just as described; you get a watertight seal without the pressure and redness that you’re used to with other goggles.
Our only concern with these goggles is the durability of the soft rubber eye cups and straps, but after pretty tough use in pools and open water, we don’t think this will be an issue. Of course, if these goggles develop problems in the future, you’ll be the first people we tell about the problem.
We test a lot of products here and we’re a bit oblivious to marketing claims and hype. Most triathlon products we test actually work and work well enough to recommend to our readers. The Barracuda goggles go a step further. They are one of the most helpful, useful, and well made products we’ve encountered. We cannot imagine buying another pair of goggles. If you pick up a pair of these, you won’t go back.