The 9 Best Swim Training Fins

Updated May 06, 2017 by Chase Brush

9 Best Swim Training Fins
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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Serious competitive swimmers know that regular training is essential in order to improve speed, stamina and form in the pool. These training fins may come in different shapes and sizes, but all are designed to help you develop a powerful, natural kick while increasing ankle flexibility, reducing fatigue and strengthening hamstrings. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best swim training fin on Amazon.

9. Finis Positive Drives

If you're focusing on the breaststroke, you may want to consider the Finis Positive Drives, which feature unique ellipsoidal blades that allow you to safely build kick power. By promoting inward supination of the feet, they'll also improve your technique in other styles.
  • closed-toe construction
  • good for medley event training
  • can feel pretty uncomfortable
Brand FINIS
Model 2.35.100-P
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Head Energy

The soft foot pockets of the Head Energy mean you'll always enjoy a comfortable and snug fit. Their high-grade polypropylene construction is durable enough to stand up to grueling training sessions, though it also makes them more rigid than other models.
  • stylish detailing
  • come with a mesh carrying bag
  • sizes tend to run small
Brand HEAD
Model P.450000-SF044OR-P
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Aqua Sphere Alphafins

A pair of Aqua Sphere Alphafins consists of dedicated right and left units that offer full arch support for perfecting your kick with any style of stroke. Raised channels on their surface enhance water flow, while their extra buoyancy improves body positioning.
  • made of non-water-logging eva foam
  • incredibly lightweight
  • heel straps break easily
Brand Aqua Sphere
Model AS-08
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Tyr Sport Crossblade

The Tyr Sport Crossblade are a basic, multipurpose model designed to elevate all areas of your performance in the pool, from kick technique to muscle strengthening. Their intermediate length captures the best attributes of both short- and long-blade fins.
  • meant to be put on in water
  • snug fit does not gape or rub
  • not great for those with wide feet
Brand TYR
Model LFCROSS
Weight 1 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Speedo Biofuse

These Speedo Biofuse combine hard and soft silicone to offer a training tool that's as comfortable to wear as it is effective in improving your technique. Plus, the environmentally-friendly, latex-free rubber resists deterioration from sun and chlorine.
  • durable and long-lasting
  • available in 6 colors
  • too heavy for beginners
Brand Speedo
Model SBSTF
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Cressi Light Short Swim

The Cressi Light Short Swim are made from highly responsive, lightweight materials, at a length that is intended to help build muscles without causing cramps or fatigue. They're also fairly versatile, being suitable for recreational exercising or even snorkeling.
  • comfortable anatomic foot pocket
  • backed by 12-month warranty
  • sizes tend to run large
Brand Cressi
Model DP182039
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Tyr Sport EBP Burner

Freestyle and backstroke swimmers will appreciate the Tyr Sport EBP Burner, which are made for training at a pace like the one you'd maintain during a race. The shorter blades reduce strain on your ankles and feet while at the same time allow for a high frequency kick.
  • footpads grip walls and floors
  • improve posture and body position
  • great value for the price
Brand TYR
Model LFBP
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Aqua Sphere Microfins

The ergonomic design of the Aqua Sphere Microfins not only encourages consistent tempo and power throughout your kick cycle, but also allows for added grip on walls during flip turns, since they include some tread on their soles. That helps when walking on wet floors, too.
  • plenty of toe room
  • come in blue or black
  • may discolor but won't wear out
Brand Aqua Sphere
Model 205350-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Finis Zoomer Z2

You won't regret having prepared for your next race with these Finis Zoomer Z2, a highly-rated option that build cardiovascular conditioning while targeting your hamstrings and glutes. Unique fluid separators help your feet slice through the water with less resistance.
  • also reduce fatigue on down kicks
  • secure fit inhibits hyperflexion
  • encourage shorter and faster kicks
Brand FINIS
Model 2.35.004.74
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Swim Fins

A number of notable inventors experimented with swim fins throughout the years, including Leonardo da Vinci and Ben Franklin. In his younger days, Ben Franklin was an avid swimmer, and his very first invention as a young boy was a pair of oval planks designed to be used as hand fins. He drilled holes through the center so he could easily hold onto them. They allowed him to attain some extra thrust through the water, but they also tired him out very quickly and caused wrist fatigue.

His next idea was to strap a pair of boards to his feet. Unfortunately he found them awkward and clunky and decided to toss the whole idea rather than perfect the concept. He did, however, mention them in his memoirs and he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame 240 years after his death.

In 1914, a Frenchman named Louis Marie de Corlieu created the prototype of what would eventually evolve into the modern day swim fin. It was almost twenty years after inventing the swim fin that he actually filed for and received a patent. In 1939, he began mass production and started selling the swim fin.

In 1940, another inventor named Owen Churchill patented another type of swim fin, which was made out of vulcanized rubber. He claimed his design was inspired by natives in Tahiti, which would weave mats and dip them in tar to harden before strapping them to the feet and using them for swimming. He also purchased a license from de Corlieu to mass produce the Frenchman's swim fins and sell them in the United States. Churchill was the first to coin the term "swim fins," which is now their common English name.

Benefits Of Swim Training With Fins

Some people think that using swim fins is like cheating: they may help you swim faster, but once you take them off you are still just as slow as you were. This is actually completely untrue. Using swim fins will increase your swimming speed and ability for a number of reasons, even after they have been taken off.

One of the most important aspects of swimming is proper technique and body positioning. Fins can add more propulsion to a swimmer's stroke, which increases their speed and pushes them higher in the water. Better swimmers plane, while poorer swimmers drag their legs lower in the water with a more vertical positioning. By using swim fins regularly when training, a person gets used to their body posture when planing and will work to replicate that after the fins have been taken off. This is called neuromuscular patterning. In essence, the nerves remember the feeling of swimming faster and higher, and the body will seek to replicate the same experience. The more it is repeated, the easier it is to replicate.

It also takes more energy to propel oneself through the water with fins, than without. For those who are looking to train their body, the added cardiovascular conditioning that takes place when wearing fins is a good thing. Wearing fins also reminds a person to kick their legs more when swimming as opposed to just letting them drag behind their body.

One of the biggest advantages of wearing fins is increasing ankle flexibility. The better the range of motion in your ankles, the better you will be able to flow through the water. Many people have trouble extending their feet to a position where there are completely horizontal in the water. Instead, they often leave then at a somewhat vertical angle, which creates more drag and slows them down. It might not be noticeable when not wearing fins, but when they are on, the drag is extremely noticeable causing the person to work harder to keep their feet horizontal and helping to stretch the muscles and tendons in the ankle.

Getting The Right Fit On Swim Fins

Picking the right size swim fin is vital to comfort and performance. A well fitting swim fin should feel snug, without being overly tight. The tighter the fit, the better they will transition the power of your kick to the fin, but if they are too tight, they can cut off the circulation. Loose fins are inefficient as they will move about on the foot, transferring less of your power to your kick and also potentially causing blisters.

When buying a closed heel swim fin, a person will usually be okay if they purchase a pair in the same size as their running shoes. Some brands are known for running a little small, so if buying them sight unseen, read through user reviews whenever possible to see if they fit true to size. If you are in between sizes, it is best to pick the larger size. You can always wear a pair of thin fin socks to help them fit tighter, but you cannot make them bigger.

Most open back swim fins and dive fins require the user to wear either fin socks or dive boots. These are made specifically to be worn inside of fins to prevent blistering and chaffing. Since you will most likely be wearing some kind of under layer when using open back fins, it is often best to buy a pair one size up from your running shoes.



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Last updated on May 06, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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