In terms of gear, swim fins are often overlooked as a serious piece of training equipment. Most people view them as a way to have fun while swimming. And while they can be fun, they’re also key to developing a stronger and faster kick.
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If you’re wanting to better your training in the water and build up your kick, fins are the best way to do it. Not sure which to get? Here are the 10 best swim fins for swimmers of any level.
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- Best Swim Fins for Swimmers
- Benefits of Using Swim Fins
- How to Pick the Right Swim Fins for You
- Frequently Asked Questions about Swim Fins
- In Closing
- Bonus Content
- Want to Improve at the Pool?
Best Swim Fins for Swimmers
|Arena Powerfin Pro
|FINIS/Sporti Long Fin
|Rubber & Latex
|FINIS Edge Fins
|TYR Hydroblade Fins
|TYR Crossblade 2.0 Fins
|FINIS Zommers Z2
|FINIS Zoomer Gold
|TYR Stryker Fins
|DMC Repellor Fins
Arena’s Powerfin Pro is one of the best fins out there. It’s my go-to fin for practice and the majority of my team uses them.
Related article: A Swimmer’s Review of Arena’s Power Pro Fins
Made from 100% silicone, they’re soft and easy to slip on/off. However, the material is thick and durable, meaning it can stand up to numerous sets.
Their design features a sloped surface and slits on the top of the blade to allow faster and more natural kicking. While the open heels allow maximum ankle flexibility. These blades are customized for the left and right foot, which may add a second or two to put them.
But best of all? These fins, rarely, if ever, give me blisters. And I’m so prone to blisters on my boney swim feet that these feel like a miracle at times.
Related article: How to Stop Your Fins from Rubbing
That said, when they’re brand new, the tops of the fins can be a bit stiff. Which can put some pressure on the top of your feet and toes. Once they’re broken in though, they’re extremely comfortable. For fins, that is. 🙂
One downside of these fins is that they’re heavier than some other fins on this list.
For some, that’s not a big deal. And it’s great to build up leg strength. But for some swimmers, they may hurt your knees until you’ve built up the strength/endurance to use them.
Lastly, we like how many color/design options these fins come in. From solid and dual colors, to flag and Pride colors!
As a sizing reference, I wear a shoe size 10 (US women). The best fin size for me is the 9.5-10.5 option, which has some wiggle room. With fin socks on, they fit just right.
Arena Powerfin Pros are best for beginners, competitive, triathletes, and fitness swimmers.
When it comes to long swim fins, both FINIS and Sporti are good fin options. Both are made from 100% rubber, they float in the water (all the others on this list will sink), and their sizes are color-coded.
They both feature closed heels for extra support and are easy to slip on/off.
Long swim fins are ideal for younger and beginner swimmers, as they can help develop the kick. The floating nature of the fin helps add buoyancy to the legs for an easier kick. And they can build up leg strength over time.
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That said, it’s our opinion that long fins are not best suited for competitive swimmers. These fins will help build up leg strength but they don’t do much to develop a short and fast kick.
We call them ‘cheater fins’ on our team for a reason 😉
One thing to note is that the Long Swim Fins from Sporti are not latex-free. If you have a latex allergy, you should look at getting a fin that’s 100% silicone to be on the safe side.
As a reference, a FINIS Red/Black size 9-11 fit my feet (shoe size 10 – US Women) best.
FINIS has several pairs of fins that make this list. One of them is their Edge Fins, which are designed to give your legs a workout. All while helping you improve your technique.
They accomplish this through the side rails on the fins. These help focus your kick so that you start the kick from your hips and not your knees. The angle of the blades is designed to feel like an extension of your foot and the cutouts help water pass through as you kick.
These fins are made from 100% silicone for a comfortable fit that conforms to your feet in time. The silicone is less likely to rub and cause blisters than rubber material.
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The heel is open to allow for maximum ankle flexibility while kicking. And the fin blade is just a tad longer than that of the Arena Powerfin Pro.
They come in sizes S-L/L and are only available in yellow. As a reference, I wear a Large (shoe size 10 – US Women), which has just enough room for fin socks.
FINIS Edge Fins are best for beginner, youth, competitive, triathletes, and fitness swimmers.
These fins from TYR are extremely close in design to Arena’s Powerfin Pro but with a few small differences.
Like the Powefin Pro, the Hydroblade from TYR is designed to help develop a short and fast freestyle kick. It features an open heel bottom, side rails, and angled blades to direct water for a natural kick, and an open slot on the front for your toe.
What’s different is the convenient pull tab on the back of the heel strap. This design feature makes it easy to pull your fins on and slip them off if you’re in a hurry.
These fins come in white and but have color on the tip of the blade and heel strap. Colors are specific to size, which range from S – XXL. They’re 100% silicone for a comfortable fit and the thick material makes them durable.
TYR Hydroblade fins are best for competitive and fitness swimmers, and triathletes.
The TYR Crossblade Fin is longer than other fins on this list, but we don’t classify it as a ‘long fin’. This means you can still get some speed work out of the fins and build up your length strength.
These fins remind me of the type of fin I used throughout high school. A simple blade design with a rounded edge design and a place to slide your foot in. They’re not incredibly fancy but they get the job done.
They’re made from natural rubber, which can leave them prone to rubbing. Additionally, over time, the opening for your toes may start to rip/tear from the blade itself, which can lead to rubbing.
One fix for this is to wear fin socks to prevent any chaffing or rubbing.
Related article: How to Select the Best Fin Socks
The material is thicker than their original Crossblade used to be, making it more durable.
Sizes run from XXS – XXL and are color-coded by size. This makes them super easy to your size in a pile of fins.
TYR Crossblade fins are best for youth, beginner, competitive, triathletes, youth, and fitness swimmers
In college, I used a pair of blue and white FINIS Zoomers and hated them with a passion. They were stiff, inflexible, and gave me blisters every time I wore them.
But they were great training fins. As much as it pains me to admit it.
Fast forward a few years and FINIS has revamped their fin for a better fit and feel.
The rubber material is much more flexible and softer, making it extremely comfortable to wear. The fin itself is also very lightweight, which makes it ideal for new, young, and older swimmers.
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It’s a short blade fin that’s just a bit shorter than the Arena Powerfin Pro. But a touch longer than FINIS Zoomers Gold. This makes you work harder than using longer fins but helps you develop shorter and faster kicks.
The blade on top of the fin helps break through the water and the closed heel ensures a tighter, more secure fit.
Both pairs of my FINIS Zoomers Z2 ripped down the heel. Part of that may have been how I stored them, with the summer heat making the rubber more brittle.
One negative of this fin is the rubber material can cause rubbing after long use. Mine typically started to rub on top of my foot and over my toes. Fin socks helped prevent this and also gave them a tighter fit.
FINIS Zoomers Z2 are sized from K12 and A-I.
Please check their sizing chart for the best fit. As a reference, I use a size E and wear a shoe size 10 (US women). While their size chart says I would best fit size F, it was actually too large and I had to drop down to a size E.
FINIS Zoomers Z2 fins are best for youth, beginner, competitive, triathletes, and fitness swimmers.
Another set of fins from FINIS! The FINIS Zoomer Gold fins are the shortest on the list but don’t let the size fool you. They’ll make you work harder on your kick sets than any other fin.
The short blade on the FINIS Zoomers Gold helps you develop a shorter and faster kick. At the same time, they can help improve your ankle flexibility, while increasing your leg strength.
These fins are best for long freestyle sets and backstroke, as the short blade can help with rotation. I find that they work best for me when I’m sprinting.
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FINIS Zoomers Gold is made from soft rubber, just like the FINIS Zoomers Z2. However, these fins are a bit heavier than their Z2 counterparts. They can also rub at your toes and cause blisters.
They come in sizes C-H. And like the FINIS Zoomers Z2, their sizing can be a bit funky at times.
FINIS Zoomer Gold fins are best for competitive, triathletes, youth, and fitness swimmers.
Speedo Switchblade fins are a bit similar to TYR’s Crossblade Fin. They’re a medium-length blade with a closed heel. The sides of the blade are angled with side rails to help hip rotation and work the down part of your kick.
These fins feature flex points along the middle of the fin to help avoid foot cramping. This is a nice feature, as long sets with fins can lead to cramps in the arch of your foot.
They’re made from 100% rubber, which can cause chafing for some swimmers. Additionally, the opening for the toes may start to tear over time.
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Some swimmers may also find that Speedo’s Switchblades are a bit heavy. New fins may be a bit stiff until they’re broken in and the rubber has a chance to soften.
When it comes to sizing, Speedo suggests that your toes fit within the toe pocket for your comfort. If they fit a little inside the toe pocket, that can work too.
Speedo Switchblade fins are best for beginner, competitive, triathletes, youth, and fitness swimmers.
Another short blade for the list! TYR’s Stryker Silicone Fins are a short blade and closed heel fin. They’re decently light, which makes them a good choice for younger swimmers who want to develop their kick more.
The short blade promotes quick and short movements, while the slightly tapered fin helps you feel the natural motion of the kick.
TYR’s Stryker Fins come in with multicolored blades based on size, which can make them fun for younger swimmers. Or, those who want to add a bit of color to their gear!
They’re made from 100% silicone, which is less likely to rub than their rubber counterparts. However, they can chafe or irritate on longer sets.
TYR Stryker fins are best for competitive, triathletes, youth, beginner, and fitness swimmers.
This might seem unneeded in the pool. But for those who swim open water, it’s a handy feature! Especially as these fins will sink in the water.
The fins are made from 100% silicone for a comfortable fit. And the wide foot pocket ensures that they’ll fit most feet. Some swimmers may find that the fit is a bit too wide. For those, we recommend pairing with some fin socks to help keep the fins snug.
DMC Repellor Fins use a short blade to work a strong kick. And the side rails help you catch more water to create more power.
DMC Repellor fins are best for triathletes, open water, and competitive swimmers.
Benefits of Using Swim Fins
Swimming with fins is something every swimmer should add to their workout. Even if it’s just for a couple of hundreds. Fins help you:
- Develop a strong kick and build leg strength
- Help improve your kick technique
- Work your ankle flexibility
- Focus on technique
How to Pick the Right Swim Fins for You
1. Size of the Blade
Fin blades come in three different sizes, short, medium, and long. Based on the type of swimming that you do, the size of the fin blade can affect your swimming
- Short blades: These are best for competitive, fitness, and triathletes/open water swimmers. Short blades mimic the natural kick that’s used when swimming and can help develop a stronger and faster kick
- Medium blades: These can be used by any swimmer, as they’re a nice transition between short and long fins. However, because the length of the blade doesn’t quite develop a faster kick, they’re not the best long-term for competitive swimmers.
- Long blades: Young, beginner, and casual swimmers can benefit from long blades. They’re best at building up length strength but it takes more work to kick due to the length of the blade
2. Fin Material
Fins typically come in rubber or silicone. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. The type of material used for the fin is most important for durability and comfortability.
- Rubber: Rubber fins often are a bit cheaper than their silicone siblings and can range from short to long blades. However, rubber usually rubs and chafes the feet. And can crack/rip easier than silicone. You can prevent blisters from rubber fins by wearing fin socks
- Silicone: Fins made from silicone are usually more comfortable for most swimmers and less likely to cause blisters. Some silicone fins are heavier than others (such as Arena’s Powerfin Pro), but FINIS Edge fins seem decently light. Silicone fins tend to cost a bit more than rubber ones.
Frequently Asked Questions about Swim Fins
Can I Use Diving/Snorkeling Fins to Swim?
No, you shouldn’t use diving or snorkeling fins if you’re swimming. Diving and snorkeling fins are long and made for slow, easy motions. Like what you would use when you’re snorkeling or diving.
When you’re swimming, you want to use a short or intermediate length blade. Especially if you plan to do some sprint work.
If you try to sprint or go fast with diving fins, you run the risk of hurting your ankle. As the fin doesn’t move quick enough to keep up with your kick.
How Do I Keep My Fins from Rubbing?
The age-old problem with swim fins. They rub and cause blisters. To stop your fins from rubbing, you may need to switch to a silicone fin if you currently use a rubber set.
Related article: How to Select the Best Fin Socks
Or, you can look into fin socks to protect your feet. Fin socks can be as simple or as complex as you need. For those with severe rubbing, we recommend a 3mm neoprene fin sock for the best protection.
Are Short Fins Better Than Long Fins?
It depends on what type of swimmer you are. We only recommend long fins for young, beginner, and recreational swimmers.
If you fall outside of these groups, we suggest using short fins instead. As these will help develop a stronger and faster kick.
Swim fins are a great piece of training gear to add to your workout. They improve your kick, ankle flexibility, and can strengthen your legs. No matter which fin you pick, you’ll find that fins offer a plethora of benefits.
As always, happy swimming!
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Chevron is a current competitive swimmer with almost 20 years of experience in the pool. And although she fell into the sport by accident in her high school years, she still trains daily and competes throughout the year. She’s committed to providing guidance to all levels of swimmers and believes that everyone should know how to swim.