Displays have been getting more intimate for years, moving from the laptop to your phone to the smartwatch on your wrist. It’s increasingly common to rely on a gadget like the Apple Watch or Garmin Forerunner 935 to track your swimming, but wouldn’t it be better if the display was actually right in your swim goggles, able to put the most important metrics right in your field of vision? That’s the idea behind the Form Smart Swim Goggles—goggles that can tell you your swim stats like distance, pace and time as well as lead you though a huge library of guided swim workouts.
To be fair, goggles and masks with a heads up display (HUD) aren’t especially new. We’ve already seen them in a variety of sports including skiing and scuba diving. But to the best of my knowledge, these are the first and only swim goggles with a digital display. Not only does Form earn points for getting here first, but the brand’s goggles are pretty impressive, recently upgraded with additional features. I recently had the chance to get wet with the Form’s goggles, and I now look forward to working out in the pool. Here’s what you need to know.
MORE FROMFORBES VETTED
ByJennifer FordForbes Staff
Setting the electronics aside (we’ll get to that in a minute), let’s start with the fundamentals: Form is a fully adjustable pair of swim goggles. The package comes with seven interchangeable nose bridges, contoured silicone eye seals and an adjustable rubber strap, so it’s almost guaranteed to fit well and give you a solid seal no matter what size or shape your face happens to be. The lenses have a permanent anti-fog treatment that stayed clear through all of my pool time. And it comes with a handy capsule-shaped zippered carrying case for toting around to the pool or open water.
The bottom line: I found them as comfortable as any ordinary swim goggles, and I never felt like I was compromising on the essentials of goggle quality just to get a fancy heads up display.
Aside from price, that is. You probably wouldn’t pay $200 for a traditional pair of swim goggles, so what do you get for that price tag? Let’s talk about the tech. The goggles have a small computer hanging off the side of one eye which projects a bright and readable display right in the middle of one eye. Don’t expect high-res color graphics; the monochrome yellow digital display is pretty low resolution, so you can see the individual dots forming each character. But that’s pretty unimportant; the display is easy to read underwater (and even above water, for that matter) and the text takes up most of your field of view in one eye.
Prefer to have the display in your other eye? No problem — just flip the goggles around and change the eye preference in the mobile app. Form doesn’t care whether you’re right eye- or left eye-dominant.
The tech is obviously waterproof—up to 1ATM or 32 feet, to be precise. So you don’t have to handle these goggles differently or treat them with kid gloves. In fact, the only thing that’s different about these goggles is that you’ll occasionally need to charge them. Form comes with a USB charging cable with a magnetic dongle that snaps onto a pair of contacts on the side of the housing, and you get about 16 hours of use on a single charge.
Form offers a few different swim modes. For starters, if you just want to swim laps in a pool and use the display to track your stats, put the goggles on and use the simple two-button controls to choose a Pool Swim. Then set the pool length (there are defaults or you can enter the length manually), dive in and swim. The goggles recognize your stroke (breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke or freestyle) and tracks rate, count, distance, when you turn to split each lap and more. In the mobile app, you can configure what data the goggles put in the two line display so you can see the stats most important to you.
There’s more. The goggles display different information on the swim screen, when you’re turning and when you’re resting, and you can independently configure the screen for each of those independently.
In addition to using the goggles for a pool swim, it also has an open water mode and is compatible with some swim spas. For open water, you can sync the Form goggles with a GPS watch like the Apple Watch and certain Garmin models) to get accurate distance and pace information, or swim with just the goggles on their own. And if you have a Hydropool, Swimlife or ThermoSpas swim spa, you can connect the goggles to that as well. I only had access to an Endless Pool, so I wasn’t able to test this feature out—but even without connectivity, it can still track basic information like strokes per minute.
Those features have been around since the goggles debuted in 2019, but Form recently debuted a new capability: Workouts. And honestly, this new feature adds a whole new dimension to what you can do with the Form goggles.
You now get access to a library of professionally designed workouts in the mobile app. You can browse the collection or use the Workout Finder to filter by distance and choose between endurance and power exercises. Some workouts have recommended equipment (like paddles, pull buoys or a kickboard); others don’t require anything but your enthusiasm. Form tells you everything you need to choose the right workout, including the stroke, distance and intensity.
When you pick the workout you want, you can send it to the goggles with a tap—you can store up to five workouts at a time—and the goggles will tell you exactly what you need to do to complete the exercise. It takes a moment to understand the abbreviated instructions in the display, but the app helps you make sense of the shorthand before you get in the water.
Alas, following in the footsteps of workout subscriptions from the likes of Peloton and iFit, Form’s workouts aren’t free. You get one year of workouts included with the purchase of Form, but after that it’s about $10 per month.
Form has moved swim metrics from your wrist to a HUD that’s in your eyeline with every stroke you take, no matter where or how you swim. That’s pretty awesome on its own, but it’s the new addition of Form’s workout library that makes this a nearly essential tool for serious swimmers hoping to fine tune their performance.
And after swimming with these goggles for a few weeks, I am a convert. I often find that analytics drive me to try harder (I know I’m not alone in that), so my smartwatch pushes me to pedal the exercise bike harder, while the Burn Bar in Apple's Fitness+ app makes me put more into strength training. And now Form is here to compel me to try to up my swim game.
I’m sure the $200 price tag will put off some users. But you get a ton of value for the price tag—especially if you’re a dedicated lap swimmer—and the year of free workouts gives you so much variety in what can sometimes be a very same-same workout. The question is: After a year, will I want to start paying the equivalent of a Netflix subscription every month to keep working out in the pool? That’s much harder to say.