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How to Choose Swim Fins


Swimming fins are designed to help swimmers develop a more powerful kick, increase their kick tempo, and improve ankle flexibility. They also help swimmers move through the water faster, which makes them a very attractive piece of swim equipment. Since fins for lap swimmers come in a wide array of styles that vary in length, stiffness, and heel design, this guide helps swimmers choose the fins that best meet their swim practice needs.

Training Fins

The length of the fin blade has a big impact on how it will affect a workout. The longer the blade, the more resistance there will be in the water. That means that the legs have to work harder, but that the swimmers also kicks at a slower rate. Each fin blade length serves a slightly different purpose, explained below.

  • Short fins create resistance in the water while forcing the swimmer to use a faster kick, making them ideal for freestylers and backstrokers. Short fins also help swimmers develop proper kicking tempo and technique. Most lap swimmers or swimmers on swim teams use these short "Zoomer" style fins.
  • Notched fins (fin blades with a V-cut) are also intended for serious swimmers, as they mimic the natural path of the foot through the water. Most notched fins have the same short blade that promotes proper kicking technique.
  • Mono fins and breaststroke fins are rarely used, but certainly have their benefits. Mono fins force swimmers to keep their feet together as they kick, enforcing correct butterfly/dolphin kick movements. Breaststroke fins are curved and allow swimmers to execute a correct breaststroke kick (impossible with traditional straight fins) while increasing resistance.
  • The stiffer the fin blade, the more resistance it will provide. While this sounds appealing to those who want to increase leg strength, it also leads to a slower, ineffective kick without fins. Softer fin blade material provides a more natural movement through the water.
  • Some fins include channels that direct the flow of water over the foot. The more the fin is designed to mimic the feel of swimming without fins, the more benefit the swimmer will get.
  • Long fins are best for young swimmers who are still learning how to move in the water, snorkelers, and recreational swimmers. Long fins improve ankle flexibility and leg endurance.

Fin Heel Styles

Most lap swimming fins are "full foot," meaning they are designed to encase the entire foot like a shoe. However, some models come with an adjustable back heel strap instead. The attributes of different heel styles are explained below.

  • Swim fins usually have a "full foot" or closed heel — a soft rubber pocket that helps keep the foot inside the fin while kicking. Because the foot is totally encased in rubber, an improper fit can lead to rubbing and blisters. Carefully look at the size chart before purchasing.
  • Open heel fins use a strap across the back of the ankle to keep the fin in place. This usually results in less rubbing on the heel, but may not provide the same secure fit as a full foot fin.
  • Some swimmers get blisters from fins. If this happens, wear fin socks. These are specially designed to prevent chafing.

Swim Fin Advice

The right swim fins help their users increase leg strength and develop proper kicking technique. Once you have the right fit and model, you're sure to enjoy the speed and variety fins add to swim practice. Remember, though, that swimming with fins all the time will make it that much harder when you have to take them off.

Shop all Swim Fins

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spencer jones
3 weeks ago.
hi,i currently have a set of head fins which are relatively long and give me calf cramps after a few lengths of the pool (being a former rugby player my thighs and calves are pretty chunky). could you suggest a pair of fins with a smaller surface area and provide less resistance,thanks. ps I am a European size 44
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Spencer,

It sounds like you may need training fins. Training fins are shorter and even though you are kicking faster, your legs do not feel the same resistance as longer fins. Below is a link to our training fins. The Sporti Training fins and the TYR Flex fins. I hope you find a pair that you like. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fins-c9646/
hailey
4 weeks ago.
I am a 12 year old girl and i were a size 8 shoe. i take a advanced 2 swim class at my local rec center. me and my mom would like to know how to find the right fins for me.
pleas get back with me.
- Hailey
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Hailey,

It sounds like you would want the shorter training fins. Below is a link to our training fins. A couple of our popular ones are the Sporti and Finis training fins. The sizing goes by the womens shoe sizes. I hope you find ones that you really like. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a great day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/training-swim-fins-c9647/
Carol
1 month ago.
Although I have been a swimmer all my life, I am now a much more serious swimmer, swimming 4 -5 days weekly, a mile and half each day. The lifeguard at my health club suggested swim fins and gave me a loaner pair. I find that I swim better and faster with them. I would now like to buy a pair. The fins I have been using are longish and straight. From what I have been reading, I think the notched fin might be better for me. Please give me your best advice. Thanks.
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Carol,

The TYR CrossBlade Training Fin and Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) sound like the kinds of fins you are looking for. The links to both fins are below.

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-crossblade-training-fin-8490/

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-training-swim-fins-(color)-23088/

Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Rachel
1 month ago.
Hi SwimOutlet, thank you for assisting me. I just started tri training and a decent swimmer. I'd like fins that will help me develop my technique but won't leave me fin-dependent. Something with channels? Not stiff? Unsure, please help.
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Rachel,

Congrats on your start to tri training! You may want to try the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins (Heres the link http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-alpha-fins-5265/) Or the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Heres the link: http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-training-swim-fins-(color)-23088/)

These fins are one of our lightest but will still be able to give you the same workout as a heavier pair of fins. Hope this one works out for you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Frances
2 months ago.
I am 69 and a good swimmer, but when I tried some training fins that are floaters, they pulled my feet up and it strained my back. What fins would be better? Is it the floating feature that gave me trouble?
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Frances,

Its hard to tell if the floating feature was the cause of your back strain. Most of the fins we carry do float. I did find a pair that do not float. The link to those are below. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!

FINIS Z2 Gold Zoomers Swim Fins
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/finis-z2-gold-zoomers-swim-fins-3568/?color=206
Richard
2 months ago.
Has anyone compared the DMC Elite Fins vs. the Finis Positive Drive Fins? I'm wondering which ones are better for IM training.
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Richard,

We haven't compared the DMC Elite Fins vs. the Finis Positive Drive Fins but from the looks of it, the Finis Positive Drive fins would be a better choice for you since you can actually do breastrokes in those fins. The DMC Elite fins look too big and would probably put too much resistance on your knees. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Leanne
2 months ago.
Im confused and not sure which type of fin i should get.
I take an aqua class called "Finning". We use lap boards and water weights while swimming laps with fins on. I want to get my own fins as the ones at the gym are a total mess. I don't want to experience any cramping. Would a longer or shorter fin be best in this situation? A little help please! Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Leanne,

For finning, a training fin is recommended so your legs do not get overworked. And they would be easier to move in with lap boards and water weights. Below is a link to our training fins. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/training-swim-fins-c9647/
tricia
2 months ago.
Am trying to find the right size for my daughter. She is 7 and wears a size 2. I can't seem to find that size on your sight. Can someone please help:)
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Tricia,

She would be a size M1-3 on most of the fins that we carry. The Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) is one brand where she would be a M1-3. I hope this information is helpful.Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Tricia,

If she wears a size 2 then a M1-3/W3-5 would be the right size for her in most fins. We also have some that are sized 2-3 as well. Below are the links to those fins. I hope you find a pair that she likes. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!

Size 2/3:
http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fins-c9646/#cat=9646&page=1&sortby=Popularity&allsize=2&viewall=no

Size 1-3
http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fins-c9646/#cat=9646&page=1&sortby=Popularity&allsize=1&viewall=no
Barbara
3 months ago.
I am a recreational swimmer. I wear a size 10 women's shoe. My current fins are 9-11( not from your website) and am getting blisters on my toes. I cannot fit them with socks on and the toe area has split because they are so tight. Which fins have the most flexible toe areas and what size should I order?
SwimOutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Barbara,

Our Sporti fins (floating and training) have a flexible foot pocket that may work for you. Below are links to both. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

Sporti Floating Swim Fins
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-floating-swim-fins-23058/?color=12816

Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color)
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-training-swim-fins-(color)-23088/
Clara
3 months ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your very useful guide to fins! I appreciate knowing the difference in stiffness and blade length. However, as helpful as the guide is, it's difficult to apply to your products since there's no indication of whether a particular model is stiff or more flexible.
I'm looking for short blade fins that AREN'T too stiff (notched or not, not sure yet). Which models would you recommend?

Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Clara,

The Speedo Short Blade Training Fin and the TYR Flex Swim Fins are 2 of popular ones that have a softer blade. Below are links to both fins. I hope you find one that works for you. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-short-blade-training-fin-42699/?color=11590

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-flex-swim-fins-3471/
Vanessa
3 months ago.
Hi,
I swim laps for 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. I dedicate about half the time (in each session), to using fins while I do freestyle, backstroke and use the kickboard. I would appreciate your advice about which fins are best to support this routine that also helps to tone my butt, legs and hips - giving that lower part of my body a good workout!

Many thanks!
PS By the way, I am not an "athlete", but do it for the exercise, weight loss and toning.



many thanks,
Swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Vanessa,

I would recommend that you go with a pair of long fins because that will give your legs the most workout. Our Sporti Floating fins and the Finis Floating fins are both popular fins with high customer reviews. You can view both those in the links below. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/finis-floating-fins-13413/

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-floating-swim-fins-(color)-23059/
Lyn
3 months ago.
I am a female fitness swimmer, age 60. I have been swimming a mile a day for many years. I am looking for a fin that is lightweight and comfortable (have some knee issues) but gives me speed to make my swim more enjoyable. I have the zoomers, but they don't give me as much speed as a longer fin. Some of the longer fins feel too heavy. Womens size 10 shoe. Any recommendations?
SwimOutlet.com
3 months ago.
Dear Lyn,

Have you tried the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins? Those ones are one of our lightest fins we carry. And it's longer than the Zoomers. You can use the link below to view.

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-alpha-fins-5265/

Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Maria
3 months ago.
Hi
I swim 3-4 times' per week about 1 mile each time. I use the Sporti gloves (LOVE those for my arms) but have never used fins. I think I need to get short ones to begin with, but they need to be lightweight. Also, I have very narrow feet (womens 9.5 narrow) - so which brand's fit and type would be best for me? I've taken a look at these 3 but don't know which would be best: TYR Burner EBP Floating, Finis Floating Fins, Aqua Sphere Micro Fins.
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks
Maria
SwimOutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Maria,

One of the lightest fins we have is the Aqua Sphere Alpha fins (http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-alpha-fins-5265/?Search=SAYT-aqua+sphere)

Finis and TYR are both great brands and both those fins have gotten really great customer reviews. More customer felt the Finis Floating fins ran small compared to the TYR ones. So with narrow feet, I would suggest trying out the TYR one. I hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Erica Rose Siegel
4 months ago.
Whenever I swim with fins, I always seem to get cramps in my feet. I feel the cramp in my toes. I have not used fins in a while because I am scared of this happening again. I am training for my first half-ironman and I am decent swimmer and I would love to be able to get a good pair of fins that don't hurt me. Suggestions? Oh and I also have plantar facitis and that occasionally acts up too. Thanks a bunch! #IronRealtor Training for #MyFirstHalfIronMan
SwimOutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Erica,

I can feel you with the cramps! I get them all the time, but not from fins. I've heard that its the way you kick that can cause you to cramp up. For some people if they kick hard they tend to cramp up. You should be good with any pair of fins. If you're looking for a pair of training fins, then the Sporti Training fins and the Finis Zoomers are 2 of our most popular ones. The links are below. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

Sporti Training fins
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-training-swim-fins-(color)-23088/

Finis Zoomers
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/finis-zoomers-gold-swim-fins-1267/?color=206
Elizabeth
5 months ago.
My son has a wide foot. He wears a mens size 11, but usually has to wear a size 13-14 fin because of the width. This causes the fin to move oddly and split because the length isn't correct. Can you please suggest a fin for competitive swimmers that have wide feet?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Elizabeth,

We unfortunately do not have any fins that specifically come in wide sizes. Although some customers say that the Sporti Training Swim Fins tends to run a bit big. I would also recommend trying fin socks as well if the fins are too big. Below is a link to the fins socks we have. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=fin+socks+&checkRealSearchInput=Y
Eric
5 months ago.
Hello. So I will beginning rehab for a ruptured Achilles's Tendon in the near future and planned on doing water exercises. Really, I'm looking to strengthen my calf, ankle, and tendon without the additional weight. What type of fin would you recommend for pool training for a man who wears a 12. Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Eric,

It sounds like you would need a training fin. One of our lightest ones is the:
Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-alpha-fins-5265/
We also have the
Sporti Floating Swim Fins
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-floating-swim-fins-(color)-23059/

Both fins recieved great reviews from our customers. I hope you find one that works well for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
abby basmayor
6 months ago.
Hi! My son is in a swim team and we need to get a pair of fins.he is 11 yo and wears size of US 6.5, what size would be good for him?we purchased a pair before but it was too small.thank you??
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Abby,

Fin sizes depend on the type of fins. Most fins go by the men's shoe sizes and we have size charts attached to all fins. You can also find size charts at the bottom of any page on our site. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Ellen
6 months ago.
I want to preface my question with a comment that I am NOT a swimmer; I use the therapy pool at the Y to tone, condition & strengthen. I have bad knees, but can 'jog' in the deep end of the pool for 45 minutes. I also use Hydro Tone Bells for Core, Back, Chest, and Arm conditioning. I'm wanting to add stationary flutter kicks on the side of the pool to strengthen my legs even further & to add more cardio. What type swim fins do you recommend? Thank you.
SwimOutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Ellen,

For stationary flutter kicks, you would want to go with the short blade fins. You will get a better workout with the short fins because it causes you to kick faster. The Zoomers are our popular training fins. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Erik Hertzog
7 months ago.
My daughter is starting swim team this week. I need to get her flippers. She is 7 and very competitive. She wears a size 3 - 3 1/2 shoe. What size does she need??
SwimOutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Erik,

It depends on which fins you're looking at. We do have size charts for fins that have shoe sizes. It sounds like for most fins you would need a Mens 1-3 Womens 3-5. You can find size charts at the bottom of any page or by the link below. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/size-charts
Charlie
8 months ago.
I want to purchase fins for my sons swimming team practices. The sizes of their tennis shoes are US1.5Y (20.5cm) and US2Y. What sizes of fins should I choose for them? Thanks.
SwimOutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Charlie,

Sizing depends on the specific fins you choose. It looks like they would need a size 1-3. Below is a link to fins that come in that size. I hope you find something that your sons like. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fins-c9646/?rd=N&Search=fins#cat=9646&page=1&sortby=Popularity&allsize=2,1,3&viewall=no
Mae
9 months ago.
I am looking for fins to help improve leg strength and to use for rehab purposes. I am a triathlete and have a hamstring/piraformis strain. The physical therapist says I should swim on my back with fins to help build strength in my hamstrings. What type of fin would be best? Once I am recovered I will use them for my open water swim training in the pool. Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Mae,

You would want to go with a pair of short fins as that kind of fins is recommended for backstrokers. It will also force you to kick faster therefore building leg muscles. Below is a link to our short fins. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fins-c9646/#cat=9646&search=short_fins&sortby=Popularity
Anna
9 months ago.
Hi, I want to purchase some fins for recreational purposes that help me go faster and improve underwater / dolphin kick stroke. i have really narrow size 8 feet and my friend's short fins rubbed due to a baggy fit. Do you have any suggestions

thank you
Swimoutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Anna,

For recreational purposes you would want to get a pair of long fins. If the fins rub against your feet you may want to try fin socks. Below are links to both long fins and fin socks. Hope you find one that you like. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/recreational-swim-fins-c9648/

http://www.swimoutlet.com/swim-fin-accessories-c9652/
rio
10 months ago.
Are aquasphere zip fin vx any good for swim workouts in a pool
Swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Rio,

The Aqua Sphere Zip VX Swim Fins would be a great pair for swimming workouts. Its a shorter fin and will give your legs a good workout. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Sue
11 months ago.
I am recovering from a severe ankle fracture that has left the ankle very stiff. I was told to start swimming with fins to improve my ankle flexion and range of motion but don't know which type of fin to purchase. I am 60 and not very athletic but want better flexion in my ankle joint.
Swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi Sue,

You would want to go with long fins. Long fins are more for beginners and it also helps with improving ankle flexibility. Below is a link to our long fins. I hope you find a pair that you like. Feel free to contact us again if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/recreational-swim-fins-c9648/
Kate
11 months ago.
Hey there,

I am looking for some swim fins good for the pool that will really work my legs, hamis, gluts, thighs, etc. I am a 30 year old female, active but not super athletic, but I'm a great swimmer. I really just want to tone and get cardio. Suggestions?
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