Choosing The Right Fin

You might have noticed that on our DVDs and in our new book we only use mid-length flexible fins:

click to play short video clip
We recommend this style of fin for all swimmers as they give you good propulsion and support when performing drills - which is the primary purpose of using them.

Shorter flippers such as zoomers can work well for elite swimmers but for most of us they do not provide enough propulsion for stroke correction work. It's critical that you feel well supported when performing drills so you can focus fully on the drill and not be worried about kicking hard enough to move forwards.

When Purchasing Fins:

- Choose something 'mid length' - i.e. longer than a zoomer but shorter than a full length scuba fin.

- Make sure they are made from a soft and flexible material such as rubber. Some fins are made from plastic which is much stiffer and places a lot of load on your ankles and feet. If you suffer from cramping in the foot with fins then a softer material should help.

- For some reason we've never understood most fins are slightly smaller than stated. So if you have size 9 feet, you're probably best going for a size 9-11 pair rather than a 7-9.

In short, choose something like this:

Fins Aren't Cheating!

A mid-length fin gives you proper
support for drill work.
There seems to be a school of thought out there that you should never use fins as they are cheating but nothing could be further from the truth.

When used with a specific purpose in mind they are extremely valuable to help you develop your stroke technique in ways that would otherwise be very hard to achieve. New movements in swimming can feel very alien so it's important that you are able to really relax to get the feel of them.

As a rough guide, in the Swim Smooth Squads we use fins for about 400m at a time for structured drill work. We do this with all our swimmers, from the relative beginners right up to our elite swimmers such as Jono Van Hazel. As an added bonus, using fins regularly helps to develop and maintain their ankle flexibility which is key to efficient freestyle swimming.

Not allowed to use fins at your pool? This is a frustrating problem to have and you can find our suggestions about it here.

Blatant Plug Of The Month

We've just got some of the excellent Floating Fins from Finis in stock on our website shop. These have the perfect combination of flexibility and length we are talking about here:

Fins like these are easy to find in Australia but we know that in recent years they have largely disappeared from the UK and European markets. So a big shout out to Finis for introducing them again.

Swim Smooth!


Vasily said...

I'm a beginner (about 20 min for 1K freestyle) and I'm still afraid of using fins. I have tried them once and it felt like I'm flying through the pool but when I took them off there was immediate disappointment from my real low speed. So from then on I do all my drills w/o fins because eventually I think I'll have to master technique w/o them, right? Or am I still wrong and fins are a must anyway?

Adam Young said...

Hi Vasily,

How do you feel about your swimming? What do you feel is holding you back? Any idea on your Swim Type?

I can probably offer you some more specific advice with that info.



Vasily said...

Hi Adam!
I think I'm more of a superglider, with relatively weak upper body, long legs and relatively short arms (didn't measure my exact ape index yet). Lately I try to work on my catch efficiency and main muscles strength. Actually I was going to join your september clinic in Majorka but my working schedule didn't allow me to attend. Maybe next year in may (I hope). Thanks for your resource anyway!

Fins for Swimming said...

Fins for Swimming
Swim training is an important aspect of being successful in the pool

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