Swimming fins are to swimmers like running shoes to runners and are an invaluable piece of specialized gear that helps swimmers achieve their goals. Specially designed swim fins not only provide a full-body workout and improve cardiovascular fitness but also help with speed training for both amateur and professional swimmers.
For amateur swimmers, swim fins help to reduce excess bending of the knee while kicking and develop leg and core strength and overall power in the water. Professional swimmers use swim fins to replicate their kick in the water, work the quads, calves, and core, and add speed to their regular pace.
Benefits of Using Swimming Fins
Swimming fins are considered to be the best tool for learning how to kick faster and more efficiently and developing more power in the legs. Swim fins allow the ankles and feet to become more flexible over time due to the position of the feet while kicking – ankles rotate, and the toes naturally flex to point when kicking.
Swim fins enlarge the surface area of water that your feet move through and once you have mastered the position of the feet when kicking, you can increase the intensity of your kicks and develop a higher moving speed. Leg muscles from the calves to the quadriceps are used when wearing swim fins and become more flexible, lean, and toned with the use of swim fins, and the core is strengthened by maintaining the correct body position in the water while kicking.
The best swim fins can be used for both increasing speed and endurance, developing both physical endurance and muscular complexion, as well as speed in the water.
Swim fins can be used for both increasing speed and endurance.
Swimming Fins vs Snorkeling Fins
Swimming fins are different from snorkeling and scuba diving fins in that they have a much shorter fin length. The shorter the fin length, the harder the legs have to work, thus providing a better workout for the legs. Shorter fins also allow for a regular kicking tempo, as opposed to a slower kicking tempo with long-blade fins.
Long-blade fins are best for snorkeling or scuba-diving.
How to Choose the Best Swim Fins
There is a wide range of swim fins on the market designed for a variety of swimming activities from leisure swimming and training to swim-run events and triathlons. They are made from rubber or silicone and have different designs from open, slingback flippers to closed-back fins across a variety of brands.
Shopping for swim fins is like shopping for shoes – you will need to try them on to find the best fit for your foot. Your fins should always be one size larger than your shoe size to avoid your feet being squeezed while you swim, which can lead to cramping.
When it comes to the design of the fins, be sure to choose the correct blade size for your needs. Generally, very short blades are ideal for short, fast workouts that aim to increase your kick rate and strengthen your legs.
Medium-length blades are for stronger, more experienced swimmers as they work the legs the hardest. Long bladed fins should only be used for freediving, snorkeling, and scuba-diving as they slow your kick rate down, which isn’t conducive to increasing speed and leg strength while swimming.
Best Swim Fins
Whether you are training for a competition, working on your endurance, or wanting to add some extra speed to your workouts, a good pair of swimming fins will do the trick. I spent some time in the water with a variety of swim fins and compiled a list of the best swim fins on the market for all your swimming needs.
FINIS Zoomer Gold Swim Fins – Best Overall Swim Fins
FINIS Zoomer Gold Swim Fins are voted by swimmers as being one of the best swim fins for training. These 100% natural rubber fins boast a sleek, singular design that is ideal for building endurance, speed, and leg strength.
They have a flexible foot pocket for a comfortable, snug fit, and very short blades that allow for a very high kick rate and swimming at maximum speeds. These fins are soft and flexible and can be worn for long periods in the pool.
- Soft, flexible rubber makes these fins super comfortable to wear
- The open-toe foot pocket and closed heel provide a snug fit
- The super-short blades allow for full-range ankle movement and a very high kick rate
- These fins are ideal for race-pace training, working on speed, and kick technique
- It may take some time to get used to the very short blades as they work the legs much harder than other fins
- The open-toe foot socket may cause some rubbing if the fins are too small
Speedo Short Blade Swim Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Speed and Endurance Training
Speedo Short Blade Swim Training Fins are one of the top pairs of fins on the market for both amateur and experienced swimmers. Designed to meet the exact needs of swimmers, these silicone fins are built to increase speed and strength, as well as promote a natural kick and improve stroke technique.
The fins have an asymmetrical shape for easy movement through water, and an open-toe, closed-heel which provides a secure fit and prevent cramping. Short, stiff, contoured blades provide streamlined efficiency in the water and thick side V-rails give the blade “lift” and ensuring correct body position in the water. Medium-sized blades provide resistance in the water and are designed for increased kick tempo and leg strength development.
- The high quality silicone that the fins are made from promise a long lifespan
- The short blade allows for a natural kicking movement and helps to improve stroke technique
- The stiffness of the blade helps to develop strength and power faster
- The open-toe, closed-heel, flexible foot pocket provides a secure fit and super comfort
- The straight, short, non-vented blades for streamlined efficiency in the water
- These fins are suitable for all levels of swimmer from beginner to advanced
- The fins have a thick sole and make them quite heavy
TYR CrosBlade Training Fins – Best Multipurpose Training Swim Fins
TYR CrosBlade Training Fins are rubber, multi-purpose training fins that are perfect for race-pace training and building strength and speed. The fins have medium-sized blades that combine the attributes of both short and long blade fins that are ideal for developing leg strength and increasing kick tempo and speed and improving technique. Soft rubber foot pockets ensure a comfortable, snug, and non-slip fit in the water.
- The flexible open-toe foot pocket provides a comfortable, non-slip fit in the water
- Medium-sized blades help with development of leg strength
- These multi-purpose training fins are ideal for race-pace training
- The medium-size blade makes it difficult to work at very high speed
- The open-toe foot socket can become uncomfortable if worn for long periods
Arena Powerfin Pro Swim Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Ankle Flexibility
Arena Powerfin Pro Swim Training Fins are made by one of the top swimming brands in the world and meet the mark when it comes to top-notch design and fit. Made from 100% silicone, they are very comfortable and have an open heel construction which allows for maximum ankle flexibility and control when kicking.
The fins have a sloping surface that provides super thrust and side rails for better movement through the water. These fins are also great for improving your kick rate, and building endurance.
- The soft silicone the fins are made from makes them very comfortable to wear
- The sling-back heel allows for excellent ankle flexibility
- The sloping blade produces amazing thrust and power
- These fins float in salty water
- The design of the fins renders them quite bulky and heavy
Z2 Gold Zoomers® Swimming Fins – Best Swim Fins for Working on the Up-Kick
Z2 Gold Zoomers® has an innovative, streamlined design that allows for maximum efficiency in the water, decreasing the effort required to kick. The best feature of these fins is the flex on the bottom of the fin helps catch water on the up kick, targeting and strengthening hamstrings and glutes.
A unique fluid separator on top of the fin allows the foot to easily slice through the water while reducing resistance on the down kick and fatigue on the quad muscles. Made from natural rubber, these fins offer a soft and secure fit, while at the same time, inhibiting hyperflexion.
- The bottom flex is fantastic for catching the water and working on the up-kick
- The innovative, streamlined design provides maximum efficiency in the water
- They are soft, flexible, and comfortable to wear
- A unique fluid separator reduces resistance on the down kick
- These are not great fins for developing power
- They can feel quite heavy
Arena Powerfin Hook – Best Swim Fins for Comfort and Style
Arena Powerfin Hook fins are ideal for swimmers looking for a comfortable, flexible pair of fins with a snug fit and short blades that help with correct body alignment in the water and position of the legs while kicking.
The fins have an open-toe and closed heel design and promise a glove-like fit that won’t constrict the feet when working out. The fins are available in a range of funky colors and sizes and are suitable for all levels of swimmer.
- Super comfortable fit and great ankle flexibility
- The short, semi-stiff blades for ideal for maintaining body alignment and a natural kicking position in the water
- They are funky and bright and look great in the water
- The sizing can be on the small side, so you will need to size up
DaFin Swim Fin Pro – Best Combo Fins for Swimming and Surfing
Designed and developed by Hawaiian surfer Andy Cochran, the DaFin Swim Fin Pro are short-bladed fins that can be used in both the pool and the sea and are the only swimming fins approved by the United States Lifesaving Association.
The fins are made from natural rubber and have an open-toe, slingback design for maximum comfort. Short blades and side rails allow for a super-charged kicking tempo and the medium weight contributes towards the development of leg strength and endurance.
- Designed by a surfer and swimmer
- They can be used in both the pool and the ocean
- The blade size helps with a high kick tempo and maximum efficiency in the water
- They are the only swimming fins approved by the United States Lifesaving Association
- They float in salty water
- The sizes are small so you will need to size up
- They are slightly more expensive than other brands of fins
Kiefer Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Long Swims
Kiefer is one of the most reputable brands in the swimming industry and has been designing and producing high-quality swim gear for several decades. These Kiefer Training Fins have a soft, flexible open-toe foot pocket with a closed back that provides a comfortable, blister-free fit.
The blades are short and curved to help develop kick strength without overtraining muscles and improve kick efficiency. The fins unisex and are available in a range of two shoe sizes and float in water.
- The soft rubber makes them super comfortable to wear on longer swims
- The short, curved, flexible blades help to improve kick efficiency
- These are great for developing kick strength without overworking the muscles
- The sizing is not standard so you will have to try on a few pairs to get the right fit
Speedo Biofuse Swim Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Outdoor Training
Speedo Biofuse Swim Training Fins are an excellent pair of fins for building muscles, increasing swimming speed, and enhancing overall performance. Made from 100% silicone, the fins are latex-free, environmentally friendly, and chlorine, and sun-resistant.
Designed by one of the world’s top swimming brands, the fins have a soft, contoured, and flexible foot pocket that provides a comfortable, blister-free fit. Short, stiff blades have contour lines for maximum efficiency in the water and the durable material helps build muscle power and strength.
- Great for outdoor use as they are chlorine, and sun-resistant
- Latex-free and environmentally friendly
- Soft, contoured, and flexible foot pocket makes them very comfortable to wear
- The short, stiff blades with contour lines help to build speed
- The small toe opening can cause blisters after a long set or swim
TYR SPORT EBP Burner Fins – Best Swim Fins for Improving Kick Tempo
TYR SPORT EBP Burner Fins are high-performance fins made from 100% rubber with very short blades and a flexible closed foot pocket. Short, stiff blades are ideal for maximum kick tempo, and a flexible open-toe closed foot pocket provides a comfortable fit in the water. One great feature is that the fins are interchangeable between feet and have a wide opening for the toes to prevent rubbing on long sets.
- These fins are interchangeable between the feet
- The flexible, open-toe, closed-back foot pocket is very comfortable to wear
- The short, stiff blades allow for natural kick movement and help with high speed tempo
- Great fins for building speed and improving your kick rate
- They don’t have a lot of thrust power due to the very short blades
- They feel quite heavy on the feet
MP Michael Phelps Alpha Pro Fins – Best Swim Fins for a Natural Kick
Endorsed by Olympic champion and the world’s greatest swimmer, Michael Phelps, the MP Michael Phelps Alpha Pro Fins are unique in their design and style. Made from EVA foam material, the fins have an asymmetric design that mimics the shape of the foot and moves innately, allowing for a natural kicking movement.
The fins are super lightweight which helps maintain the correct body position in the water and allows the swimmer to kick at a high tempo with minimum effort.
- These are super lightweight on the feet and very buoyant in the water
- The asymmetrical design mimics the shape of the foot and allows for a natural kick
- The soft EVA foam material makes them very comfortable to wear and the slingback heel allows for maximum ankle flexibility
- It is difficult to reach high speeds with these fins
- Not the best looking fins
BPS Short Blade Swimming Fins – Best Swim Fins for Quick Adjustment
BPS Short Blade Swimming Fins have a durable, futuristic design with an open heel and click-and-pull mechanism for easy adjustment to ensure a comfortable, snug fit. The fins are made from polypropylene and thermoplastic rubber material for maximum durability and are lightweight in the water. Stiff, contoured blades are designed for maximum efficiency and power output, and an anti-slip sole offers safety on slippery pool decks.
- Durable polypropylene and thermoplastic rubber material makes them long-lasting
- Stiff, contoured blades allow for super thrust and speed in the water
- The click-and-pull mechanism on the side offers easy adjustment in the water
- The anti-slip sole makes them safe to wear on a wet pool deck
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- The material they are made from is quite hard so they are not very comfortable to wear on long swims
- These fins come in limited sizes
CAPAS Short Blade Silicone Swim Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Cardiovascular Training
CAPAS Short Blade Silicone Swim Training Fins have a simple design that is ideal for both beginner and advanced swimmers. Made from soft thermoplastic rubber, the fins are comfortable to wear.
The fins have short, stiff blades with contour lines on the underside that allows for fast, efficient kicking and building leg power. An open-toe, closed heel foot pocket promises a comfortable, blister-free fit, and is good for building ankle flexibility and developing leg strength.
- The lightweight, soft thermoplastic rubber makes these fins very comfortable to wear
- Stiff, contoured blades are excellent for streamlined efficiency in the water
- These fins are designed to build ankle flexibility and leg strength
- Helps fitness and competitive swimmers build cardiovascular conditioning
- They can be slightly tight if you have large feet
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HEAD Energy Swim Fins – Best Swim Fins for Building Speed
Italian-designed HEAD Energy Swim Fins offer the ideal combination between comfort and functionality with a closed-toe, closed heel foot pocket and medium-sized, stiff blades. Made from high-grade polypropylene, the fins are extremely durable and offer a comfortable, snug fit.
Stiff, contoured blades provide streamlined efficiency in the water and are great for improving kicking tempo and building leg strength and overall power.
- The stiff blades are great for building speed and working on leg power
- They have great thrust and help with improving kicking tempo
- The foot socket is hard and can become uncomfortable on longer swims
- The open toe can cause rubbing due to the hard materials the fins are made from
Aqua Sphere MicroFins – Best Swim Fins for Durability
Aqua Sphere MicroFins is a solid, durable pair of fins that are great for developing both endurance and speed. Made from enhanced TPR polymer material, the fins provide a snug fit around the foot, allowing for maximum kick temp for extended periods.
A rigid, anti-slip sole prevents slippage on wet pool decks and helps to prevent cramping when swimming. The fins have an open-toe, closed heel foot pocket that helps to strengthen and tone muscles while swimming.
- The ergonomic design of these fins ensures controllable motion of power from the foot
- The open-toe, closed heel design provides excellent ankle flexibility and stability
- Short, stiff blades for building speed and muscle strength
- Rigid, anti-slip sole prevents slipping on the wall when flip-turning
- TPR polymer material makes them very durable and long-lasting
- The opening for the toes is very small and can cause rubbing on the toes
- The sizing runs small on these fins so you will need to size up
Cressi Agua Short Fins – Best Swim Fins for Open Water Swimming
Made by renowned scuba-diving brand, Cressi, Cressi Agua Short Fins are a shorter version of the Agua long blade fin used for snorkeling and diving. These short-blade fins are designed for training in the pool or the open water.
They feature a comfortable, open-toe, closed heel foot pocket created with state-of-the-art technology known as a Self-Adjusting Foot Pocket System, which ensures a perfect fit for a variety of foot shapes. Made from 100 % technical polymers, the fins are lightweight, extremely durable, and easy to use.
- Comfortable and snug fit – ideal for the open water
- Open-toe, closed heel provides good ankle stability
- Short, stiff blades help to build speed and muscle strength
- The self-adjusting foot pocket system allows to easy adjustment in the water
- The blades are slightly too flexible for getting up to any great speeds
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Hydro Tech Swim Fins – Best Swim Fins for Body Positioning in the Water
Hydro Tech Swim Fins are award-winning Australian-designed fins that can be used for both swimming and bodyboarding. Made from T-form silicone-based materials, the fins have an asymmetrical design based on the body’s natural movement that distributes force equally around the foot.
An open-toed, slingback heel design provides ultimate comfort and three draining holes that allow water to pass through the flippers. The fins have contoured ankle straps to ensure maximum comfort, and V-rails along the edge of the fins channel the water smoothly and help to give the blades “lift,” ensuring correct body position in the water.
- Made from T-form silicone-based materials that make them really comfortable to wear
- The asymmetrical design distributes force equally around the foot
- The open-toe, closed heel provides excellent ankle stability
- Short, stiff blades are good for building speed and muscle strength
- V-rails provide maximum efficiency in the water
- They are quite bulky and heavy
- The open back and sling strap might not suit everyone
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FINIS Edge High-Velocity Fin – Best Swim Fins for Design
FINIS Edge High-Velocity Fins use state-of-the-art technology to reduce drag and improve endurance and speed. Made from 100% silicone, the Batman-esque looking fins mold to your feet over time, creating the perfect fit.
They feature a wide blade with side rails for enforcing a correct and powerful kick that stems from the hips and are designed to improve endurance, technique, and speed. These fins are ideal for both aerobic and anaerobic training, activating hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, and the open toe design allows for a snug fit and prevents chafing.
- The ergonomic design of these fins reduces drag and resistance in the water
- Excellent training fins for improving endurance and speed
- Open-toe, slingback heel provides a snug fit and good ankle stability
- Side rails ensure a correct kick from the hips
- Short, stiff blades help to build speed and muscle strength
- Ideal for both aerobic and anaerobic training
- These fins are slightly bulkier and heavier than other styles
DMC Elite Silicone Water Fins – Best Swim Fins for Power Thrust
DMC Elite Silicone Water Fins are superior quality short training fins that are popular with Australian and International Olympic Swimming team members. Made from 100% silicone, the fins feature a molded pocket shape that ensures a comfortable fit, reduces the possibility of cramps, and increases overall comfort.
The asymmetrical shape allows for easy movement through water and an angled blade is designed for the least possible resistance to any kick action. A V-rail along the edge of the fin channels the water smoothly and helps to give the blade “lift” and ensure correct body position in the water. DMC Elite Fins are soft and tear-resistant and blade-to-foot area ratio to ensure the perfect fit.
- Molded pocket shape makes for a super comfy fit and reduces cramping
- The asymmetrical shape allows for easy movement through water
- V-rails lift the blades for correct body positioning in the water
- The short, stiff blades provide maximum power thrust
- The foot pocket may be too snug for larger feet
Dolfin Swim Training Fins – Best Swim Fins for Kids
Dolfin Swimming Fins are rubber, long-bladed fins that can be used for developing strength and endurance in the legs. They provide additional propulsion with the longer blades, making them ideal for swimmers looking to increase their distance without getting tired. The fins are made from 100% rubber and a flexible foot pocket provides a comfortable, flexible fit.
- Soft, flexible foot pocket for maximum comfort
- Long blades for added propulsion
- Ideal for kids and young swimmers
- Not suitable for endurance or high speed training
Swimming fins are an essential piece of training equipment for both leisure and professional swimmers. The best swim fins have a range of features that help improve speed and endurance, enhance stroke technique and body position, and assist in caring for shoulder injuries by reducing resistance and tension in the water created by pulling. Swim fins are a must in your kit bag if you want to achieve your swimming goals.
Swim fins are an essential piece of training equipment.
Mia Russell is currently the head swim coach at Aquasharks Swimming Academy in South Africa. She has worked as the head swim guide at SwimQuest Open Water Swimming Holidays in London and was previously a Swim Coach at Cybersmart Aquatics. She has a AIDA International Level 3 Freediving Certification, PADI Open Water Advanced Certificate, SSI Level 1 Free Diver Certificate and RYA Beach Lifeguard Certificate.