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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.

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Stacey
2 weeks ago.
Hi, I'm trying to buy a pair of fins for my dad. He's 65 and swims for exercise. He mainly swims freestyle but only using his arms. Never really learned proper form so just sorts of drags his legs behind him if that makes sense. I think he'd enjoy fins that would start to add the legs to his movement. Suggestions? Thanks so much!
swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Stacey,
The Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) are a good option. These have the shorter blade to aid in the proper kicking form. They provide ankle support and float to surface in case one ever falls off he can easily locate. We also offer the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color). These have a longer blade to emphasize each kick and will aid in the proper kicking form as well while providing more resistance. I hope this helps!
Pat
2 weeks ago.
Which fins would you recommend for exercise lap swimming. Just starting to swim again. 63 year old female and I wear 8-8.5 show size. Slowly building up stamina. Do you recommend using a snorkel? I am retired so can't spend a fortune!
swimoutlet.com
1 day ago.
Hi Pat, I suggest the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color). They provide a long blade to provide resistance to increase leg strength. So your legs will be accustomed to this resistance and you can eventually swim without fins if you'd like. Your size would be a M 5-7/W 7-9. We definitely recommend using a snorkel. The FINIS Swimmer's Swim Snorkel is a great option!
Jackie
3 weeks ago.
Looking for a long fin for women's size 6.5 - with wide foot. So far all of the fins I've seen are very narrow at the toe box.
swimoutlet.com
1 week ago.
Hi Jackie,
We currently do not offer a wide size for the selection we offer. I apologize for the inconvenience!
Joshua
3 weeks ago.
Hello, I am looking to go into the special forces and need a good fin to prepare my ankles and legs for that. Which one should I be looking at? I read somewhere that I should get fins where I wear swim shoes underneath; is that correct?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Joshua, I'm not aware of fins that you are able to wear actual swim shoes underneath. I suggest purchasing two types of fins. For example, the FINIS Floating Swim Fins (Product Code 13413). These are long fins which will help in building leg strength as well as accustom your ankles to this type of training. The second type of fins are short blade fins. For example, the FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins (1267). These will help with building speed since they have a shorter blade you must kick faster. I hope this helps!
Deanna
3 weeks ago.
I am 52 and have had a history of knee problems. My orthopedist wants me to improve my quads and I have been doing aqua therapy for about 6 weeks. He says I should swim. What would be the best fin to use to build up my quads without hurting my knees?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi, Deanna. You will need long fins in order to build quad strength. Take a look at the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Product Code 23058) and FINIS Floating Swim Fins (Product Code 13413). Both of these will work well for your needs!
Tanya
3 weeks ago.
I own snorkelling fins. I want to know how I can best utilise these in a swimming pool for a good workout? I an 23 years old and an expert swimmer. As of now, I use them for butterfly, freestyle and backstroke.
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Tanya,
Using fins while swimming will help you swim faster and strengthen your core and legs. You can kick just how you normally would while swimming and wearing the snorkeling fins for freestyle and backstroke. The butterfly kick (also known as dolpin kick) should come from your abdominal muscles and the rest of your legs and feet will follow through. Try not to kick from your knees as it is not as efficient and can be detrimental to your physical health. Since snorkeling fins are made from Thermoplastic, it will be harder to push off the wall while in the pool. For lap swimming I would recommend either the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Product Code 23085) or the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Product Code 23088) to provide more flexibility and endurance!
Dawn
4 weeks ago.
I had a knee injury in January and need to build up my quad muscle due to atrophy - I am not a swimmer, but I am athletic and can swim. I am a 47 year old woman who still plays sports. What would be the best fin to buy to build strength?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Dawn,
The Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) [Product Code 23059] offers a longer fin which is best for building leg muscle as it provides more resistance. I hope this helps!
Johnson
4 weeks ago.
Hello, im a beginner in swimming and quite muscular which makes floating difficult, which type of short fin should i use, as am perparing to go for a dive course, thereby very serious with my classes. Thanks
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Johnson,
The FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins (product code 1267) are a great option. These are highly recommended!
Abby
4 weeks ago.
I have been Swimming for 8 years and I just had a set back caused by my ankle. I need to find the correct pair of fins to help increase my kick. Any suggestions?
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Abby,
We suggest the TYR CrossBlade Training Swim Fin or the Cressi Light Swim Fins (limited sizes available right now). The benefit of the second fins is the weight. They are lightweight compared to other fins. I hope this helps!
Mimi
5 weeks ago.
I am 56 and have to get in the pool for exercise as I am having some back issues. I have been swimming laps for about an hour, and really like using a fin. However I do not want to rely on them as when I take them off it is a struggle to kick on my own. Any suggestions of what to buy as I am using the pools flippers for now. I want something that is not so hard to take off and swim on my own.
swimoutlet.com
5 weeks ago.
Hi Mimi,
I suggest to continue using the flippers, but slowly decrease the amount of time you use them. For example, try swimming without the flippers every other day to begin with. I hope this helps!
Patricia
1 month ago.
I wear a 10.5/11 woman's shoe. I've gotten back into swimming, and mix up straight lap swimming (crawl, breaststroke and backstroke) with leg-only laps. I've been getting bad calf cramping using the longish fins available at the high school pool. Any size and fin length recommendations?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Patricia, The long fins provide a tough load on your legs, but are great for increasing leg strength. We offer the Cressi Light Swim Fins which will still help increase leg strength, but are lighter and shorter than your standard long fins. Your size would be a Men's 8.5-9.5 (comparable to a women's 10.5-11.5 but this is temporarily out of stock. A second option is Aqua Sphere Microfin Fitness Fin, the size 8/9 is compared to a women's 10-11. I hope this helps!
Vincent
1 month ago.
I am 48 years old, and have been swimming for about 3 years. My kick sucks! I have the classic, stiff runner's ankle. I am trying to improve so I can do triathlons. My coach suggested a training fin. Something that will help me learn proper kicking form. I wear a US size 10.5. Any and all suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Vincent,
I suggest the Sporti Floating Swim Fins. These will help you focus on proper kicking form. Your size would be M 10-11,W 11-12. I hope this helps!
Kimberly
2 months ago.
I need a swim fin for practice, I am just getting back into swimming and trying out triathlons. I wear a size 5-6 women's shoe. Thank you for your help!!
swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Kimberly,
Each brand sizes differently. For example, for the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) you might be the size M 3-5/W 5-7, but we suggest you measure your foot and compare it to the measurement of the foot pocket length which is 9". You can copy and paste the following link in your browser to take you directly to this item:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-floating-swim-fins-(color)-23059/

Then you can click on "View Sizing Chart" right above the size selection. I hope this helps!
Neelam
2 months ago.
My daughter is 7 years old and has started practice on swim team (have already been swimming for last 2 years). Swim instructors have asked her to get Short Blade training fins. Her shoe size is Youth 1. Can you please help me find right size Short Blade Training Fin for her.

Thanks
!!
swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Neelam,
On the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) [Product Code 23088], she might be a size Y 11-1 which has a foot pocket length of 8.2". We suggest you measure her foot and compare it to the foot pocket length shown on the sizing chart. You may copy and paste the following link in your browser to take you directly to this item:

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

and click on "view sizing chart" right above the size selection. I hope this helps!
Ajitabh
2 months ago.
I am a national swimmer.my age is 11.my main strokes are freestyle and butterfly. Which fin should I use long or short blade fin
swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Ajitabh,
You should be using a short blade fin. I hope this helps!
Lyn
2 months ago.
I have bad knees and a bad hip. Can I use fins to help with backstroke kick without making them worse?
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi,
It's best to stay away from fins since it's possible it will only worsen the pain. If you must purchase fins, I would suggest the short fins. The FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins would be a great option. These fins will provide resistance but not as much as the long fins meaning it will cause less strain!
girish
2 months ago.
Hi, My Daughter is 6 years 8 months old and she is been swimming since 2 yrs (6 days a week). Do you advice training fins at this age? Some people say that it might affect her ankle.

If you suggest that its ok to use fins, please let me know the size (her foot size is 19.5 cms) and also let me know from where I can buy. I am from India and living in Bangalore.
swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Girish,
We do advise training fins at this age. I suggest the Bettertimes Floating Swim Fins (product code 1264). She would be a size Y 11-1. I'm not familiar with any website that will ship to Bangalore, please try searching online for sites that will ship there. I hope this helps!
Lukas
3 months ago.
Any recommendations on flippers learning to swim breaststroke?
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Lukas,
I'd recommend the Speedo Breast Stroke Swim Fins. These are great for beginners or experienced swimmers. I hope this helps!
pilar b
3 months ago.
I need to order long fins for my daughter for swim team . She is 5 years old - wears a size 11 -youth z what is the best find for her please - also which jr kickboard is best
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Pilar B,
The Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) would be a great option. Since her size is offered in two size brackets, we recommend choosing the higher size. Her size would be Y 11-1 Orange/Blue. If the fin fits a little too big, we suggest purchasing fin socks (we currently are not offering fin socks in this size on our site). I recommend the Speedo Jr. Team Kickboard. It features the underside finger groove making easier to grip. I hope this helps!
Christina
3 months ago.
Hi
I am a competitive swimmer that swims with my team six days a week. I am looking for a training fin that is good for mostly sprints and kicking. Any suggestions?
Thanks
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Christina,
Your best option will be the short fins. For example, the FINIS Zoomers Gold Swim Fins. These fins will increase endurance as they are meant for faster kicks. We also offer the Arena Powerfin Pro Swim Fins. These fins have the open heel design which provides more ankle flexibility and are made from 100% silicone so tends to last longer. I hope this helps!
Karen R.
3 months ago.
Hello, I'm a beginner swimmer. I have the technique (sort of), but my feet remain flat instead of pointing, so sometimes, I don't make any real progress trying to move. I have Neuropathy in my feet, so my toes cramp when I point them. I take Potassium to try to prevent this, but the cramps persists. I think a type of fin would assist me with movement in the water. Since I want to swim for recreation only, I don't mind depending on them when I get in the water. What do you think?
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Karen,
Please check out the Cressi Light Swim Fins. These fins are considered short fins and are very light. Since they are very light, it will reduce cramps compared to longer blade fins. I think these will be a great choice. I hope this helps!
Izzah
3 months ago.
Hi, Can u give me some advice about size flipper for snorkeling, I wish to know my shoes size is 6-7 N yg husband size is 7-8 So what is suitable size should i buy the fin flipper if i wore the warm diving snoerkling sock?
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Izzah,
Here are some suggestions for snorkeling fins:

Cressi Clio Fins, Your size would be "Male 4/5; Female 6/7" and your husband would be "Male 7/8; Female 8/9." The snorkeling socks are normally recommended for the warmth and to give you a better fit on your fins if they are a little too big. I hope this helps!
denise
3 months ago.
I'm an adult woman just starting to learn to swim. I was advised to get light flippers. What do you recommend? I wear an 8-8.5M shoe.
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Denise,
I'd recommend the Sporti Floating Swim Fins. These are not going to be very light, but also not too heavy. These fins allow you to focus on proper kicking form. Your size would be a M 5-7, W 7-9. I hope this helps!
Ashley
3 months ago.
Hi, is there any fin suitable for both athlete swim training and scuba diving/snorkeling?
swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hi Ashley,
I recommend the Cressi Palau Saf Fin. It's suitable for everything you listed. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Katelynn
4 months ago.
I have swim practice and this is my first year on a swim team. What do you recommend to buy for practice? Also I am a size 6 or 7 in shoe sizes and i can not decided to go with small or extra-small for fin. Which one will be better?Plus which fins do u recommend.?
swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hi Katelynn,
Generally, the following items are needed: a one piece swimsuit, swim fins, goggles, mesh bag or backpack. For a one piece swimsuit, check out the Sporti Solid Wide Strap Swimsuit. For the fins, I suggest the Bettertimes Floating Swim Fins in size 5 to 7 Yellow/Blue or the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) M 3-5, W 5-7 (Yellow/Blue) as these are great for training. For goggles, the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Goggle. Lastly, the Sporti Equipment Mesh Bag or Speedo Medium 25L Teamster Backpack to hold all your items. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
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