How to Choose Swim Fins

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How to Choose Swim Fins

How to Choose Swim Fins

Question: Do you need to train with swim fins?

Answer: Only if you want to become a better swimmer.

Swim Fins Make Better Swimmers

How To Choose a Swim Fin
Need Help Choosing Swim Fin?

Swim fins are a vital training tool for all swimmers, increasing ankle flexibility and strength for a stronger and more efficient kick, as well as providing a great workout for leg muscles. With consistent use, adding swimming fins to your workout will make you stronger and faster in the water.

Training with swim fins provides excellent results – it’s truly a no-brainer and any swimmer serious about boosting their athletic performance should do it.

However, swim fin selection isn’t a no-brainer. In fact, swimmers that are new to fin training often find it difficult to make an educated decision on what fins to buy, justifiably confused by the variety of fin styles on the market. There are several factors to consider before buying, including fin shape, fin length, thickness, and stiffness.

The following Fin Selection Guide makes it easy for anyone buying swimming fins for the first time to choose the right swim gear for the job.

Reviewing The Most Important Decision – Long Or Short Fin Blades?

The biggest decision is selecting fin length – and Kiefer offers both short and long fins.  The longer the fin blade, the more resistance will be added to your kicking. Kiefer recommends that beginners choose long blade fins. Slower tempos caused by the added resistance of longer fin blades means you won’t be able to kick as fast with a long blade, but this will give leg muscles additional loading for a better workout. Short blade fins promote a faster / higher kick tempo, important for freestyle and backstroke training. However, the range of motion needed to develop a strong double legged dolphin kick is best left to long fins. Ultimately, short blade fins are better suited for an experienced swimmer.

How To Choose Swimming FinsChoosing your swim fins – what model is right for me?

We recommend choosing one of five different Kiefer brand fin swim fin models to help you perfect your kick.

Long Blade Fins:
We offer two long blade fins: Kiefer Thrust and Kiefer Cruiser. Both styles offer a closed heel for a secure and comfortable fit, ensuring they stay in place during your swim. Kiefer Thrust has a moderate level of stiffness/thickness, while Kiefer Cruiser offers added stiffness/thickness. So if you are looking for a more intense workload for your legs, Cruiser is your fin. For a more standard resistance and muscle loading, choose the Thrust fin.

Short Blade Fins:
Kiefer offers three short blade fin models: Kiefer Power Fin, Kiefer Training Swim Fins, and Kiefer Silicone Training Fins. These short blade models are especially effective for training freestyle and backstroke because they improve flutter kick speed, offering considerably less resistance than long blade models. Kiefer Power Fins would be considered the standard model, essentially a shortened Thrust Fin. The Kiefer Silicone Training Fin provides added comfort over other standard rubber fins. Split blade Kiefer Training Swim Fins, slightly longer than Power Fins, provide a transitional blade length for swimmers moving away from long blade training to shorter blades.

Monofins are perfect for developing a Dolphin Kick, increasing both strength and range of motion. Instead of a pair of fins, the monofin is a single unit that features a single blade fin with twin foot pockets. Kiefer currently carries the Finis Foil Monofin.

I hope this helps you make an informed decision when purchasing fins. We’d love to hear what you think!

P.S. Check out more advice on using Center Mount Snorkels and read a review of Kiefer Conqueror Swim Goggles.


About Emily Milak

Emily Milak is a lifetime competitive swimmer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Emily is a US National Team champion, NCAA champion, and USMS champion with extensive coaching experience. She is a product development consultant at Kiefer.

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I've been a swimmer my whole life. My parents started me with lessons as a three year old and by five I had joined my first team. I started swimming year round at eight and by thirteen I was qualified for Junior Nationals. By fifteen I was a member of the US National Junior Team (National 'B' Team) and a Senior National Qualifier. I attened my first Olympic Trials in 2000 and finished third in the 200 butterfly. I am a US National Champion, three time NCAA Champion, NCAA record holder, and was a memeber of the US National 'A' Team for five years. I've competed in two World Championships, two Duel in the Pools, a Pan Pacific Championship where I earned a bronze medal in the 200 fly, and competitor in the Goodwill Games. I love to swim and love to coach. I have been working with 12 & Unders for the past ten years including a lengthy stint as the head age group coach in Houston, TX with the toughest bunch of little swimmers I have ever had the privilege of working with. Now I am a mom who swims! I substitute coach and swim master's. I have only competed at one Master's Nationals but walked away a two time champion.

  • Kas says:

    I am a senior women swimmer. Have had knee repair 5 years ago and find I swim much faster and longer with fins. My 10 year old fins are long 16″ closed heel but the rubber is ripping. I swim 3 times a week. There are so many to choose from I’m confused. I only swim free style due to chest and arm surgery and need the help of fins. Any suggestions. Thanking you in advance.

  • norman krumholz says:

    I am a senior swimmer, having had recent hip surgery. I currently use a long blade swim fin. I don’t want to work too hard, but I want to develop muscle. Is this the best type of swim fin, in yor opinion for me. Thanks Norman

    • Robin Kiefer says:

      Your fin choice will really depend on what kind of stress the fins put on your hip – and how that impacts your recovery. Longer blade fins will tend to raise your hips higher – so consider your hip healing will handle this upward force. Ultimately I think the higher kick cadence of a short fin would be good to avoid during your recovery, so you may wish to stick with easier kicking on long blades.

      But don’t torque too hard on those long blades. Allow yourself a proper recovery and test your options.

      best of luck!

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