How to Choose Swim Fins
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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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Jonathan
1 month ago.
I just joined a lap swim class that requires fins. My shoe size is 16 extra wide. Will I be able to find fins, or is this hopeless? Are there any products you can recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello,
These are the biggest fins we carry, size 15-17.
https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/bettertimes-floating-swim-fins-1264/
GGlaze
1 month ago.
Can you share your thoughts on fins that float (TYR Burner EBP) Vs find that don’t (Finis Zoomer Gold) I dont care for the floating style, but guessing it’s because they are making me work harder. If so I’ll stick with them.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello,
The TYR fins just help make your feet/legs buoyant to help with position. Both fins are going to give an equal workout.
Mary Jane Large
1 month ago.
I’m working on increasing strength in my gluteal muscles- I realized after all these years I was using my arms too much!! Anyways, what fins do you recommend? I’ll orobably get short blade speedo or TYR but thought I’d ask. My physical therapist says activate those GLUTEALS!!
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
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. Here's an example - https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/finis-z2-gold-zoomers-swim-fins-3568/?color=206
Opie16
1 month ago.
Hello - I am 47, 6'2", 215# and am swimming 1 mile/day each of 3 days/wk with a snorkle & old rubber training fins that rub too much. Which fin would you rec to build max leg strength & cardio? (I also have some ScubaPro Veloce fins I may try in the pool.) Thank you.
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Short fins create resistance in the water while forcing the swimmer to use a faster kick, making them ideal for free-stylers and back-strokers.

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.

Here is a suggestion for you - https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/finis-z2-gold-zoomers-swim-fins-3568/?q=1&richrelevance&ViewedPurchased&item_pagerr2
Gar Stahl
1 month ago.
Swim Outlet Please Help Me. I swam competitively in school but that was 53 years ago. I have now hit 70 and have started lap swimming. I am old, out of shape and don’t have the lung capacity I use to have. I am a male and have a size 12 shoe but have a hard time finding anything that will fit. Does anyone make a swim fin in an extra wide foot and what type would you recommend. I was thinking a shorter fin with some flex but need them to fit my wide foot? Any help will be be appreciated.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello,
Since we do not carry fins in a wide width, we recommend that you size up. The TYR CrossBlade Training Swim Fin (product code 8490) should work for you in the size 13-15.
Heidi Villaran
2 months ago.
Hi, can someone please help? I got fins for Christmas, how do I know whether they are for the pool or for scuba, and whether to re-gift? I am a swimmer, they are IST Otter brand.
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Since they are IST, they are more than likely scuba fins.
Heidi
1 month ago.
Thank you, and is it true that scuba fins can actually make you a WORSE swimmer over time?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
If you are training or doing laps you should not be using a scuba fin, you should be using a training or floating swim fin.
Daniel Easter
2 months ago.
I am 69 yr old male, I weight 183 lbs swim laps in pool twice a week and want to strengthen my legs muscle , do American Crawl faster, and good fitting. Thinking about Sport Floating Swim Finn's 23059. What do you recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Daniel,
The Sporti Training Swim fins will work your legs out more. Short fins help build power and kick.
Mike
3 months ago.
I am in 9th grade (14 yrs old) and am trying out competitive swimming for the first time. My coach says I need fins, so I was wondering what you'd recommend. Thanks!!
Swimoultet.com
3 months ago.
Hello Mike,
You will want a pair of short fins (training swim fins). These are intended to help with proper kick techniques. You can try the Sporti Training Swim Fins.
Arjun Karalkar
4 months ago.
I am in 8th grade (13 yrs) and a regular swimmer . My coach has asked me to buy fins ? Which would be the best for me?
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hello!
Since you are a regular swimmer, we suggest a short blade fin such as the Sporti Training Swim Fins (product code 23088). These are intended to help with proper kick to propel you through the water as fast as possible.
Mary
4 months ago.
My daughter is 8 and has just started swim squad and swimming laps. She now needs fins. Which would be the best ?
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hello Mary!
Since your daughter in a beginner with fins, we recommend a long blade swim fin like the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color).
Porto
4 months ago.
Help please! What kind of fins would you recommend for a 60 years old woman with weak knees? Thank you very much for your help. Porto
Swimoutlet.com
4 months ago.
Hello!
We recommend trying the FINIS Z2 Gold Zoomers Swim Fins (product code 3568).
Jodi
5 months ago.
amd has been on a swim team for the past two and a half years. She needs fins for a swim team and has outgrown her old ones. Which fins would you suggest for a good young swimmer? Thank you.
SwimOutlet
5 months ago.
Hi Jodi,

We would recommend a short blade swim fin such as the Sporti Training Swim Fins. You can view them by clicking on the link provided below.

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-training-swim-fins-(color)-23088/
Mum
5 months ago.
My son is 13 years and wears shoe size 6. He is in the swimming club and now needs flippers. Please could you explain what type and size of flipper he needs.
Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hello!
Since your son in a beginner with fins, we recommend a long blade swim fin like the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) in a size M 7-9 / W 9-10.
Maureen
5 months ago.
Hi, I purchased fins for my son (he's new to swimming) but I am afraid they are the wrong size. The ends of his toes stick out over the lip of the footbed. He is a size 11 foot and I purchased the XL. Will this irritate his over time?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Maureen!
We suggest you go up a size.
Devon Brown
5 months ago.
I'm a 6'2" 200lbs adventure racer that just got conned into a double ironman distance triathlon. I have access to a lap pool 2x/wk and just started swimming. With 14 months to train, is there a fun or two that you would suggest adding to my routine?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Devon!
We recommend a short but flexible blade. This will help build up your leg strength. Something like the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) would work perfect!
Jennifer Zohn
5 months ago.
Hello. I am a 52 year old woman who is physically fit, and lap swimming workouts are part of my regular fitness routine. I have osteoarthritis and chondromalecia in my knees. I also have back issues. I would like to find fins to help strengthen my legs while kicking. I have TYR Zoomers, which felt great at first, but after a year or so started feeling too heavy in the water, fatigued my hips/hamstrings, my knee pain increased, and my kicking range of motion decreased. I recently purchased Alpha fins, but these feel unnatural to me and I can't seem to get comfortable in them. I want to use my swim workouts to keep my legs strong, while not adding too much weight or resistance that strains my knees. Can you please recommend a training fin?
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hello Jennifer!
We recommend trying the FINIS Z2 Gold Zoomers Swim Fins (product code 3568).
Linda
5 months ago.
I want to start open water ocean swimming and maybe eventually get into triathlons. I notice that swim fins are becoming very popular with other swimmers but have never used them except to snorkel. What do you recommend for ocean swimming...
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Linda!
It depends on what you are trying to achieve. Training swim fins (short blade) will provide plenty of resistance without affecting your kicking tempo, while floating swim fins (long blade) will allow for a slower kick, but more strength building.
Manon Frenette
5 months ago.
Hello. I am an ok swimmer but I now have 5 cervical hernias and I need to change my swim style. My chiropractor has recommended the Finis snorkel but I need suggestions for the hand paddles and fins. I am to only do the total immersive freestyle swim style. Txs in advance.
Swimoutlet.com
5 months ago.
Hi Manon!
For freestyle we recommend the FINIS Freestyler Hand Paddles (product code 1287) and the FINIS Z2 Gold Zoomers Swim Fins (product code 3568).
Gisy
6 months ago.
Hi.. im 43. Been snorkeling all my life.. but for some reason is super hard to swim at a pool. I been thinking of getting some pool flippers and may be goggles.. any recommendations?
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Gisy!
We recommend the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) (product code 23088) and the Sporti Antifog Plus Goggle (product code 22394).
Kristen
6 months ago.
I am a fit 57 year old woman that would like to use fins to help me be more confident in the lake when I swim for fitness. I often use the sidestroke. Wondering which fin style you recommend for me? Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Kristen!
We recommend the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) (product code 23088).
Terry
6 months ago.
I'm 67 male who enjoys swimming but have always been one those folks that sink like a rock so I feel as if I'm expending lots of energy just to keep afloat while doing laps. I'm thinking an appropriate swim fin will help keep me more on top of the water and improve/strengthen my kick. I have high arches as well. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Terry!
We recommend the Sporti Floating Swim Fins (product code 23059).
bill
6 months ago.
I have knee osteoarthritis and I have found swimming helps me feel better. My PT is a swimmer herself and she suggested that I get some short fins. I'm 61 years old, in decent shape--but with a sore right knee. I can swim a half mile slowly at the local lake, but I'm primarily interested in building the strength in my legs. Size 13' foot. PS. I already have long fins for snorkeling.
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hello Bill,
We recommend the Sporti Training Swim Fins (Color) (product code 23088) in the size M 11-13.
Sally
7 months ago.
Coach says to buy fins that are medium length you don't mention those. This for 9-15 year olds. They are working on breaststroke now and eventually butterfly. Recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
6 months ago.
Hi Sally!
We recommend the TYR Flex Swim Fins (product code 3471). These are between a short and long blade.
Mel
7 months ago.
My 13 year old son has a size 11 shoe, but has narrow feet. He does about 8 hours training a week and therefore need well fitting fins. We have Speedo fins, but they fit for the length, but are too big around the foot, therefore they fall off during training. Can you suggest a brand that will fit better? Thanks.
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hi Mel!
We do not have fins that are specifically narrow, but the Bettertimes brand has a reputation of running a bit narrow. Another option is to purchase from fin socks, this will help fill in some of the space. We hope this was helpful!
mia
7 months ago.
hello! my daughter just started learning how to swim two days ago. she's still a beginner and at the age of 12. what do you reccomend?
Swimoutlet.com
7 months ago.
Hello Mia,
We recommend a long fin since she is a beginner. The Sporti Floating Swim Fins (Color) (product code 23059) would be perfect for her!
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