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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 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.

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Mae
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
1 month ago.
Are aquasphere zip fin vx any good for swim workouts in a pool
Swimoutlet.com
1 month 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
2 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
2 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
2 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?
Joyce
4 months ago.
My daughter is a middle-distance runner who is currently injured and needs to swim for cross-training purposes. Would fins help give her a tougher workout and if so, which ones would be best?
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hi Joyce,

Yes, fins will definitely help give her legs more of a workout. I would recommend short fins like the Sporti Training Swim Fins or FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins. It will make her kick faster in water. Feel free to contact us again if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Nancy
5 months ago.
I started snorkeling several years ago, when I went to the Caribbean for vacation. I love it & use a ski belt because I am not a strong swimmer. I decided to try fins to help me go faster. Can you recommend a good set that wouldn't be so bulky for traveling but would get the job done. Thank you.
SwimOutlet.com
4 months ago.
HI Nancy,

I found the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins which are long fins but are lighter and should be easy to carry for travel. Below is a link to those fins:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-alpha-fins-5265/?color=12816

I wouldnt recommend shorter fins since you're not a strong swimmer and you need these more for recreational rather than competition. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Peggy
6 months ago.
I have been using fins for about 3 weeks and my knees are hurting. The doctor suggested I use split fins. What is your recommendation?
Becca
6 months ago.
My eight year old has started swimming this year. She has a very pretty stroke but does not use her legs very much. Was looking at fins to see if this would help her. I have no clue what kind to get her.any suggests?
Sarah
6 months ago.
I am a 60 year-old who has been swimming laps for about a year. I'd like to increase my endurance. Should I use a short or long fin?
Alyssa
7 months ago.
I am a competitive swimmer who is looking for fins that will build my leg muscles yet help my kick. Previously I used long fins but I noticed that they were not helping after I took the fins off. Now I am deciding whether to get the Zoomers Gold or the z2 from zoomers. The aphla sphere fins have good reviews too. Please aid my confusion…
Swimoutlet.com is a very nice online swim shop which provides quality that is inexpensive. Thank you for the service!
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Alyssa,

You would want to go with the short fins if you want to build your kick. Either one of the Zoomers would be perfect for you. The Z2s are the updated model of the Zoomers. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Have a wonderful day!
Matt
7 months ago.
Hi, I recently joined master swimming and wondering what type of swim fin would best suit my practice purposes as I plan on practicing on my own outside of class. I have read the various reviews but still a bit confused at what my best option would be.
swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Matt,

I would suggest the short training fins for practicing. The shorter fins will make you kick faster and will be ideal for you to develop your kicking tempo. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
anneliese
8 months ago.
I am having a problem with fitting my 13 year old with fins. He has a wide foot and a high instep. He's about a size 10 mens. The length of the fin is fine he just can't get his foot in.
SwimOutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Anneliese,

We unfortunately do not have any fins that specifically come in wide sizes but you may want to try the Sporti Floating Swim Fins that tends to run a little bit big and may have extra room that will be comfortable enough for his foot. You can view those fins by the link below. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/23058.htm?color=12816
Eric
8 months ago.
Hi Swim outlet,
I recently bought Zoomers Finis Gold. After about 3weeks of using, it I feel I am losing my natural motion in the water with my legs. When I take them off I feel there is not enough resistance in the water for my kick. Can you recommend fins that will be more consistent with a finless kicking tempo.

Eric
Swimoutlet.com
8 months ago.
Hi Eric,

I would recommend the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins which is much lighter and will let you kick better. Below is a link to those fins. I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/5265.htm
Erik
9 months ago.
I have bought TYR BURNER EBP flippers. A friend of mine has recommended aqua sphere flippers. They are made from a foam material and while they are more comfortable and don't restrict your foot, other people have said how great TYR flippers are. Which is better?

(PS. I am not an athlete, I swim for the exercise)
Swimoutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Erik,

I wouldn't say that one is better than the other. Both got the same high customer ratings. It looks like the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins provides a bit better ankle flexibility. The biggest difference between the 2 would be the shape of the fins and that just depends on customer preference. I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any further questions. Have a great day
Ramon
10 months ago.
Hi... a Long fins and i don't feel comfortable swim butterfly whit this ones.
So i would like to know what fins do you think it is the best for swimming butterfly.
SwimOutlet.com
9 months ago.
Hi Ramon,

The monofins would be the perfect ones to help keep your feet together for butterfly kicks. You can also use breaststoke fins. Below are links to some of those on our site. I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Monofins_s/395.htm

http://www.swimoutlet.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=breaststroke training fin&UserSearch=Yes&checkRealSearchInput=Y
Ramon
9 months ago.
Thanks...
kenshin
10 months ago.
Ive been doing breastroke laps and try do work on my freestyle coz I get tired easily and my kick was not good.What is the approriate fin that I can use for freestyle and breastroke?ever used fin before...

thanks!
Lexi
10 months ago.
I am just joining a swim team and am about to learn how to swim competitively. My coach said to buy short fins we can wear to practice. Which ones should I buy?
John
10 months ago.
I practice martial arts. What type of fins would you recommend for someone who's attempting to strenghten his insteps and increase ankle flexiblity? Thank you.
swimoutlet.com
10 months ago.
Hi John,

To increase ankle flexibility I would suggest you go with long fins. This will also help build leg muscle as well. Below is a link to our long fins;

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Recreational_Fins_s/593.htm

Our most popular and highly rated ones are the Sporti and Bettertimes fins. Let us know if you have any further questions. Have a wonderful day!
Wendy
11 months ago.
My daughter is just starting her second year of swim club. They use fins and they had to be a certain type. She has been complaining of sore ankles and she thinks it is because of the fins. They are blue and yellow long fins and the kind that go on like a shoe (a bit of open toes but heels covered.) Have you heard of this problem. Any recommendations? Perhaps a different fin?
Bunny
1 year ago.
Where is your size chart that is referenced in the "fin heel styles"?
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Bunny,

Sizing charts can be found at the very bottom of any page you are on. Here is the direct URL to our Sizing Chart page:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/size-charts/

They do go by brands and if you find a pair of fins you like, you can just click on that specific size chart link located right above the select a size drop down menu on the product page. I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you need any help picking out fins. Have a wonderful day!
Margaret
1 year ago.
I have been swimming laps while wearing long fins for about two years. I feel much more confident in my strength and swim stroke. Would short fins be a better choice for me now?
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Margaret,

You can definitely move onto short fins if you want to improve your kick and technique now that you have your endurance built up. 2 of our most popular short fins are the Sporti Training Swim Fins and FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins. You can see both via the links below:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/23088.htm
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1267.htm#color=206

Let us know if you have any more questions. Have a wonderful day Margaret!
Pat
11 months ago.
Margaret, I use fins too, and I've used semi long long fins (tyr makes good ones). The only problemo is that when you just use your feet, you will definitely notice a much slower pace. I switched to zoomers which are a lot shorter, but have made me a better swimmer w/ fins.
sam
1 year ago.
Hope you can help, my friend has just started swimming and he can only breaststroke, unfortunately when he gets in the shallow end his feet hit the bottom, can you tell me if the breast stroke fins float thanks a lot
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Sam,

Most of the breaststroke fins are actually pretty lightweight so they should float. The Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins are the lightest. Below is a link to those fins. I hope this information helps! Let us know if you have anymore questions. Have a great day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/5265.htm
Manae
1 year ago.
I'm a mature person looking for a set of fins to help me get in shape. We use fins in my water exercise class and I would like to purchase my own pair. Do you have any suggestions?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Manae,

Which kind of fins do you use in your water exercise class? For training purposes I would recommend the shorter fins like the Sporti Training Swim Fins or FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins (links to these fins are provided below) Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/23088.htm
http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/1267.htm?color=206#color=206
Brenda
1 year ago.
when wearing flippers, do you bend your knees like your crawling or do you use your thighs and bend your knees very little? What mask would you recommend that has the easiest one hand adjustment for snorkeling?
Thanks
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Brenda,

Are you talking about while in the water with the fins? I would not say that you bend your knees too much with fins on. Here's links to a couple masks that have easy adjustable straps:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/19612.htm?color=25857

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/38813.htm?color=9325

http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/22902.htm

I hope you like one of these! Have a great day!
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