10 Best Swimming Fins Reviewed & Fully Compared
You are ready to start swimming or training or just exploring the world mysterious yet beautiful world under the sea and now you are interested in getting a pair of fins that will fit your needs. There are swimming fins on the market for every use and sport in the water you can think of. Recreational swimming, triathlon training, snorkeling, surfing, etc. the list really goes on and on. So which fin will fit your needs? That depends on what you’re needs are.
- TYR Sport EBP
- Cressi Gara 3000 LD
- Dries Fast
- Hydro Tech 2
- Comfortable & Good Fit
Once you have figured out what your purpose for swim fins are, the question that most often comes up is how important are fins to swim training? It mostly comes down to your skill level. For instance, pre-masters and masters swimmers will find a huge value in using fins to improve upon their speed and produce closer intervals. Fitness swimmers might not necessarily have to much concern for technique and style but more for overall caloric expenditure. Then there are triathletes, and people who participate in multi-sport races are not too heavily worried about burning fat or burning extra calories but more about efficiency. The swim fins reviewed below were guided by metrics including fin type, propulsion, comfort and muscle wear, and tear.
10 Best Swimming Fins
1. TYR Sport EBP
While pull-buoys can help beginners with your form and kick, they often can be detrimental to learning how to efficiently develop these skills in a natural way. These fins will help you by refining that ability to keep your body afloat and give you the thrust you need to also support your upper body rotation.
Race training cadence
For triathletes who are training for the swimming portion, cadence is crucial. Having too quick or slow of a cadence can destroy your performance, productivity as well as a quick pace. These fins are a perfect partner to the triathlete who needs to execute cadence training. You can pair these fins with a kickboard to get the right amount of resistance while maintaining and exacting a much quicker natural cadence.
Cost and Value
The short design of these fins will help you get a decent and challenging workout that will burn calories at a higher rate if fitness is your purpose. If training for stroke and cadence, such would be the need for competitive racing athletes, these fins are excellent just for that. While you can use them in snorkeling, that is not where they shine, pool training is where you want these to definitely get the best benefit. The tough rubber materials that make up these fins will keep their lifespan long and their performance abilities at peak.
Excellent for training at race cadence
Can double as fins for snorkeling
No latex, these are only made of rubber
Interchangeable for either foot
Short fin for a more challenging workout
Can be on the heavy side
Not great for diving, while you can use them they will not have the expected thrust
2. Cressi Gara 3000 LD
The construction of these blades help you swim more comfortably and with much more ease. If you are on the surface, the tension can be tough on your hips and knees and the effort can wear you out fast. These fins, however, will aid you in easy free diving, and with a simple couple of kicks your joints won’t feel the stress and you will be flying away and cutting gracefully through the water.
Cressi’s material molding
Cressi has their own process for how they manufacture their materials. They use varying compounds that by binding them the mixture offers flexibility for your foot to aid your movement but a bang of power to propel you through the water. The stiffness of this process is what provides for that power so you get to utilize the benefit of the fin over the shear strength of your legs alone.
Cost and Value
These fins are going to get you into deeper water faster while providing exceptional flexibility and comfort. It may take a moment to get yourself used to long fins, but once you got it down, your body will be benefiting from the ease of use and the speed at which these fins will perform. These are very much for freediving it takes a lot out of you to just snorkel on the surface. Because they are so long they breach the water a lot. They are great at getting deep quick without using too much effort.
Can be worn with or without neoprene socks
Included is a nice travel bag
Dries fast with the air mesh in the upper
Height and leg strength not a huge issue, even shorter individuals can move fast through the water using these fins,
Pairs perfectly for spearfishing and freediving
Are a bit bulky for travel
Could be a bit snug for wide feet
3. Hydro Tech 2
Hard rubber will almost always cause painful sores on your toes and ankles and that doesn’t help anyone want to get in the water. This is a silicone based, soft fin made of a material called T-Form that is going to fit your foot well and flex nicely so you will have less friction on your delicate skin.
Jet Flush system
A bonus that anyone can appreciate is the Jet Flush system. The fit and the structure of this fin will keep sand and pebbles out so you won’t have to constantly take the fins off and on to empty out all the junk. If any do get in a few hard kicks pushes them right out. Easy.
Cost and Value
Any surfer is going to appreciate these surf fins. The comfort level is unmatched, the material quality is durable as it is nice and soft. You can enjoy a significant thrust and speed for hours. There is just no beating fins that can effortlessly empty debris.
Silicone material provides top comfort
No worry about ulcers or sores on feet and toes
Fits true to size
Offer a great leg workout while still allowing for easy use for hours
Light colors won't get hot
If you have a wide foot, you may need a larger size
Be careful of things that are sharp in the ocean like reef, it can eat up the soft material
4. Cressi Agua Short
Enhance your training and performance with this flexible fin. The fin itself is light and has a design that will offer you some serious propulsion and the ability to change your kick speeds. This is a fin that won’t hinder you at all in the ocean or the pool water.
Cressi designed a self-adjusting foot pocket that is super form fitting. The ability to adjust your pocket size is not only going to increase your ankle flexibility which, with the design of the fin allow you to be agiler in the water. It is also a nice having that adjustable option for a smaller benefit, it makes it that much more easy to put on and take off.
Cost and Value
These fins are light and comfortable. The self-adjusting foot support will make a huge difference in their usability in the pool or ocean, they are easily used to tread water efficiently. An excellent choice for snorkelers and swimmers who want to use for recreation or for lap and distance training.
Quality brand name
Very light and comfortable feel
Lightweight and easy to pack and travel
Offer maximum flexibility
Design reduces ankle fatigue
Great for snorkeling, not open water deep diving
5. Wildhorn Topside
You cannot be more practical than a fin, which by definition is designed to be used in water, that can do what it is designed to do but also perform as a pair of shoes to effortlessly walk on. They are compact and easy to travel with so when we say it is for the adventurous, we mean it. You can travel the world with these fins that will support you in the water and then support you on land and everything in between.
These fins might as well be discussed terms the way quality shoes are. They are fitted just like a shoe and have that durable high-grade polymer base for the support and protection you would want if you are going to be walking on sand or gravel, or rocks even. Yet, while they can protect your foot on most terrains, they are made with free-float technology so you can use them for pretty much any water surface activity including river tubing, swimming, body boarding or even snorkeling.
Cost and Value
There is really not any other fin on the market as unique and functional as these fins. They are easily adjustable so that you can make sure that they fit you comfortably in the water or land. They are built to intrinsically have more room in the water but be tighter on dry land. The hook and loop strap system will allow you to customize the amount of adjustment is right for you in any environment.
Can be used on water and land
Perfect for traveling
Rare concept and design
They take more work in the water
Not easy to propel against strong currents
If you are new to using fins in the water, these should be on your list to try. They are comfortable to wear when swimming as their pocket utilizes a soft material that feels smooth on around the ankle and foot. Their specific design is aimed at muscle training that will not wear you out fast or cause any unwanted side effects from exertion such as cramping.
You aren’t just getting a set of fins, you are getting a kit. The pad will help stop deformation in the pocket so you can easily pack these fins without too much concern about their placement in your bag. The mesh carrying bag will hold it all together and keep all the parts in place without losing them. It also keeps the fins compact enough to just hang up wherever you are so you can easily store and find them when you need them.
Cost and Value
A fantastic fin option that provides a great, soft fit that is snug enough to stay on but not overwhelmingly tight. They work well in the pool and in the ocean, they are a terrific compliment for snorkelers. They offer great maneuverability in the water. The added bonus of the pads and bag doesn't hurt these light fins.
Terrific for fast propulsion
great for lap swimming in the pool
Easy to pack and travel
Can run larger and wider for some people’s foot size
Can rub the skin on your toes depending on the your foot size
Even though everybody can benefit from these fins, athletes and veteran swimmers to children, it is the kids that really will have fun with these. They are the perfect compliment for swimming instruction, boosting their confidence with the speed they will feel as they glide through the water with each kick. They also help with form, because the use of these fins will help stretch their ankles so they can learn the right way to kick.
The fins float, so it is much easier to kick and for the rest of the body to simply float on the water. This is a huge benefit for anyone who is using these as a tool for training because the buoyancy aspect allows you to focus on the detail of how to grasp proper strokes and kicking skills. You are easily going to learn flutter kicking or how to properly do butterfly kicks, which, if anyone has ever swum butterfly knows that it is the hardest stroke to master and it takes the most amount of strength and skill.
Cost and Value
These fins are a really nice option because not only are they attractively priced, but they are extremely practical and useable. You can use them for training or for playing because, simply put, these fins are lots of fun. Take them to your next practice session and cool down by splashing around gliding through the water when you are done. You’ll easily be able to keep them on your feet for hours of fun or training because their closed heel will support your foot and ankle and provide protection against over-flexing.
Perfect compliment for training
Sole inserts are great for long distance running and wear
Fun for kids to wear for training or playing
Flexible fin with a comfortable design
May have to try multiple sizes to find the right size for your foot
Sizing chart can be confusing to read
8. Atomic Aquatics
Think of the fins of a fish, or a mermaid for that matter. They are split. Atomic Aquatics uses that same natural design in this fin, so what does that mean for you? The strain that occurs when using a traditional paddle fin to sustain high speeds can cause discomfort for the diver as well as well as require a greater energy expenditure. By adding a simple split, you will actually be able to go faster in the water with less energy thus making you highly efficient in the water.
Atomic Aquatics is a solid company with a positive reputation in their industry. The products they manufacture come to the consumer with a consistent, high quality. They are always reviewing changes in technology to design products that work well
Cost and Value
The shoes are made of noteworthy materials. They have a really nice look and added details for extra comfort. They will support you with an amazing grip and improved feel on the ground with each footstrike and the shock absorption to keep you running longer.
Comes with a plastic carrying bag
Lighter weight scuba fin
Soft full foot pocket
Atomic uses their own blend of materials to ensure high performance
Quick release and adjust buckle
4 sleek color options
Can be a large fin for shorter individuals
The blade is short and curved and this design is meant to advance kick efficiency and build up kick strength. You can bet that if you are working on improving your kick mechanics so that when you are in the water your legs are giving you the best output possible, these fins can help you be successful.
Kiefer is the industry leader in U.S. competitive swimming since 1947. They have a long history of focused products that are highly tested for safety, toughness, and longevity with ultimate comfort. Founded by Adolph Kiefer an Olympic Gold Medalist, they are the experts in performance gear in the water.
Cost and Value
This is a nice, light fin for daily training that will provide you with a tremendous advantage during your kicking and swimming drills and also your training sets. This fin will help you develop and improve upon your skills without overtraining your muscles. It is a perfect option for schools, aqua clubs, coaches, and athletes at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Floats in water
Easy to put on and take off
Soft foot pocket
Can be snug at the top of the ankle for some
10. Speedo Switchblade
These fins use a delta shape and a notched tip for their blade which takes advantages of drive and momentum for each of your kicks in the water while providing a solid stability for your feet and legs. You will definitely see an improvement in your stroke, and and the ability to better focus on your rotation so as to improve upon your freestyle technique. If you are not a swimmer and need to train for a race that has a swimming component like an ironman, for instance, this is a solid blade for you to chose.
For some fins it is recommended to wear socks, others not so much. Even when there isn’t a recommendation for socks, some people's preference is to still use them. These fins have a nice feel around the foot, but for those of you who prefer sock wearing, a neoprene type would be the best to reduce chafing of your feet. If you do decide to wear socks, it wouldn't be a bad idea to purchase one size up.
Cost and Value
Speedo is a trusted provider and well-known name in the swim world for competitive swimming gear such as fins, bathing suits, swim caps, goggles, etc. that are all designed to help swimmers better train and race. This fin is no exception, the technology which it uses in its design is exactly aimed towards improving an individual's ability to maximize their performance in the water. It comes to you at a fair price, and its put together with durable materials that will last through countless hours of training.
10 degree angled fin to magnify down kick
Flex points in the foot pocket
Provides a natural amount of propulsion
Excellent option for fitness training in the pool
Perfect for lap swimming
Not neutrally buoyant
Regardless of your how your body responds in the water to your kicking, taking some time during your training to incorporate fins is advice best heeded. While you don’t want to solely rely on fins for all your swim training, a portion of your time working with these tools will come back to you in increased speed and improved stroke. When training with fins you can better zero in on your upper body technique and make strides in your personal endurance because you don’t have to focus a significant amount of energy on your kicking. Once you have your stroke style and strength down, you will find that with no gear at all, you will have made a drastic progression towards being a significantly stronger and more efficient swimmer. Maybe the best part about incorporating fin use in your training is the silent and painless benefit that fins naturally will help your ankle flexibility advance and without you even focusing on it, once you take off those fins your kick will have improved on its own.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation
There are many different types of activities and exercises that people can participate in the water. Perhaps the type of fin that has been around the longest would be long blade fins. Swimmers will often use these to help with taking the emphasis off kicking and allowing you to focus on upper body motion as they provide such intense propulsion. The downside to these blades is that they can put tension on your Achilles’ tendon.
Shorter blades have become more widely used over the last many years. While they provide a bit less propulsion, they can still help you spend energy focusing on your upper body technique but they also will inadvertently help build your natural kicking skills. These won’t be as hard on your Achilles’. The shortest fins are used to help improve swimming abilities and master other strokes, most notably the breaststroke. These have the least amount of propulsion.
There are many variations of each of these above categories, that have their own features and benefits. Wildhorn is a great example, because those fins are almost a cross between trail running shoes, swim shoes and functional all-around swimming fins. They have a ton of usability. Atomic Aquatics splitfin is another great example. The split fin takes a solid fin’s propulsion and energy requirements and increases the propulsion while it decreases energy needs. It provides you with a super efficient swim fin.
The most elite swimmers shred the water and they look so smooth and seamless when they do it. Have you ever watched one of these people race and they barely move the water around them because of the slice through, especially with freestyle, only the water in front of them. It’s almost as much an act of beauty as it is an act of extreme style, discipline, and athletic skill.
Now here is the difference between them and most the rest of us. Our body position isn’t going to be effortlessly high on the water smoothly cutting through it in a nice, neat straight line. You know what? That is ok because unless you are an elite, this ability isn’t something you are born with. It requires practice, constantly adjusting and training. One of the ways you can train to be on the trajectory of learning how to be this clean, fast and efficient in the water is through the use of fin training.
The buoyancy of fins and the acceleration they can provide can help you zone in and spend time on the details of your stroke. Because the majority of your propulsion comes from your upper body, this is where most of your training concentration should be focused. The fins themselves help your ankle flexibility which is an added bonus that we already discussed, but useful to reiterate. The fins will help give you that extra boost you need on the back to progress you to a more streamline position overall. The more streamlined you can be the faster and stronger your upper body will become and the more your natural abilities as a swimmer can improve.
We can all agree that if something hurts to the point that it tears up your skin and leaves you with open wounds and welts, well, you are probably not going to use it too much if at all. Because you use fins in the water it is incredibly important that they are made of materials and designed in such a way that your foot can fit comfortably inside. Once inside, when that delicate skin gets wet, it is even more important that the friction of the fin to the skin does not cause discomfort or downright pain.
The amount of room you need to keep your feet comfortable and water out is important to keeping your fin reasonably secure. The foot pocket cradling your grip point and enveloping your ankle should work well for you too. You want to stretch and flex your ankle, not strain it.
Muscle Wear and Tear
As discussed above with fin type, there are different ways the different styles of fins will put stress on your muscles. For some people a fin with minimal propulsion and high resistance is perfect. These would be people who are purely using fin training for exercise purposes and goals. Those that want to use a fin for a great calorie expenditure, for muscular endurance and strength, for hip strength and flexibility, for instance.
Some others who are training for races or improving their skill levels may want a fin with some tension but moderate to low, so they aren’t fatiguing their leg muscles before they can work their upper bodies. They also don’t want to be focusing on the burn of their legs when the technique of the upper needs more attention.
Last, for the snorkelers or surfers who want to spend a ton of time in the water relaxing as they take their time gliding around, they would prefer a low tension fin. They don’t want to tire out before they are ready to leave. Specifically, deep divers are going to want fast propulsion at a low muscle expenditure so that they can get deep fast and elevate out fast when they are finished. Getting too tired out to get to the depth you want or not having the energy to drive yourself up to the surface when you are ready is not what any swimmer wants.
Other Important Factors to Consider
While really good, quality fins can be very affordable to almost cheap, there is still the gamut of prices on the market. The fins reviewed in this guide also took this into consideration. You can easily spend big bucks on a really nice set of fins but could have saved yourself a ton with a suitable alternative that will perform almost identically but for a good amount less in money. The fins that are typically going to cost you more and where you should expect to see some higher pricing will be your sport specific fins, deep diving fins, for instance, will tend to be pricier.
If you are looking for training fins, weight and packability is a good thing to know. Finding a fin you like that is easily packed up and taken with you when you travel is something worthwhile. Especially if you are planning a vacation where you plan to be swimming. You could save yourself a ton in rental expenses by bringing your own fins.
Q: Can you really get a good workout training with fins?
Yes! Not only is swim training, or water fitness accessible to most everyone it can give you great versatility in how you want to use it. Water aerobics can not only help with cardiovascular health but also with strength. Lap swimming is definitely an endurance builder and a low strength builder. Training with fins gives you the ability to take in a lot more oxygen. How does that help? Get used to a high intensity where you are using more muscle mass for an extended period of time. Not to mention, training in the water takes all the stress off your joints, so the elderly or those with joint issues can still get a sweet workout without the pain or the sacrifice of more stress to decrepit joints.
Q: Are fins good for children?
Absolutely! Fins are great for anyone. Children are perfect for fin use because as children they need the most help learning how to be buoyant in water, learning how to swim, and gaining confidence in themselves. Fins are going to help them out tremendously. Not to mention, that they are super fun to play with. Who doesn’t like flying through the water like a sailfish? Racing like they are Michael Phelps? Get a pair for your kids regardless of training, because they can have tons of hours of pool fun at a pretty inexpensive price.
Q: How can you make the most of your time swim training when there are limited pool hours for it?
If you have a time restraint, fins are going to make your training time the most efficient you can get. You can get an incredible amount of done in the most minimal of time with fins because they can help to up your heart rate faster and stay beating in the appropriate rate for the majority of your time training.