No activity is complete without the proper gear. Using the right equipment gives you an added advantage. Swim fins are very beneficial, but for that, you need to choose the best fit and type for yourself. Loose fitting or very tight fins could keep bothering you and make swimming/diving inconvenient. So, check out the various specialized fins and tips for buying them.
✦ Activity: Different activities require different fins. What may be ideal for swimming may not work for diving.
✦ Expertise: Some types of fins may be perfect for experts, but very uncomfortable for beginners.
✦ Location: While some could be suitable for tropical areas, they may not be appropriate in cold regions where thermal protection is necessary.
✦ Comfort: What is the point of buying a swim fin if you are not comfortable using it? It is supposed to improve your performance. Certain styles may not be comfortable for some people.
The correct choice of fins will help you in many ways, and make your activity much more enjoyable and productive.
|Activity||Appropriate Swim Fin|
|Snorkelers||Lightweight flexible fins|
|Divers||Extremely long fins|
|Scuba Divers||Large and wide fins|
|Ocean swimmers/bodyguards||Smaller comfortable designs|
|Underwater sports||Full-foot or open-heel fins|
You can make a wise decision by understanding what different swim fins offer. So, let us have a look at the different types.
✦ Closed foot
They are suitable for warm to temperate waters, which don't need thermal protection. Since they completely cover your feet, no added gear-like boots are required. This makes them less expensive and easy to carry for trips. The material is usually soft, and the fins are comfortable. But there can be a problem for large sizes as it does not have any adjustable gear.
✦ Open foot
It is ideal for cold waters, as the boots worn inside provide extra insulation. An adjustable belt makes it very comfortable and convenient and it is also easy to remove. The only con is that it is more expensive since you have to buy the boots.
✦ Split blade
This type is perfect for beginners as it is more flexible and comfortable. Movement is faster, but it can be a problem while turning back. Since this swim fin is lightweight, many swimmers don't feel the weight, which can be a drawback. As the fins are split, the resistance is less, which makes it easier to swim. It is ideal for new divers and snorkeling.
✦ Paddle blade
This type is stiff, offers more resistance, and gives a good sense of direction. A little extra effort is required, but the speed gained by using these fins is more. The stiffness may be too much for some divers and can cause leg cramps. A paddle blade is ideal for swimming in strong currents or diving in commercial spots.
✦ Long or Short blade?
The logic here is very simple: longer the blade, more the resistance. If you want a better workout for your legs, go in for longer blades. Short blades are suitable for newbies or people who want faster strokes.
Various companies are manufacturing specialized swim fins that give better results. Customized shapes and structures are available to meet your needs.
✦ Shinfins: As the name suggests, these are attached to the shin. According to manufacturers, they reduce strain from the legs and prevent leg cramps.
✦ Flipfins: The foot and blade are separate in these open-heeled fins, but can be attached using a clip. This feature makes them very convenient for walking. Amphibian is a product that helps you to move freely as if you are wearing shoes.
✦ Delfins: They are short fins with the end shaped like a forked homocercal caudal fin. It gives a better sense of direction and faster movement. Manufactured by Mor Fin Corporation, the fin is according to the body structure of different aquatic animals.
✦ Force Fins: Designed by Bob Evans Designs, their specialty is the open foot pocket that encloses only the instep, leaving the toes free so that the foot can flex.
Special care needs to be taken while buying swim fins for kids. Water activities are all about fun and frolic, so make sure that your child is not feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
✦ Different types of fins are available for kids. Make sure you check thoroughly the specialized function of each type before buying.
✦ The correct fin will help your kid to increase his/her speed and swim with the right posture and technique.
✦ You can talk to your child's instructor before buying a swim fin.
✦ Before buying, don't forget to check various sizes to ensure the best fit.
✦ Strength: The added resistance provided by these fins makes your leg muscles work harder and increases cardiovascular activity.
✦ Safety: They give you powerful kicks, which help in strong currents and also protect your feet. They prevent your feet from getting hurt by corals.
✦ Position: Your technique and position improve because of the added thrust.
✦ Speed: Using fins helps to increase your speed.
Remember to try an extra size; it is always better to buy a bigger size than a smaller, tighter pair. You can always wear socks inside for some extra padding and fitting.