the best fins for lap swimming

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The Athlete Approved Guide to Using Fins for Lap Swimming

Fins are a must have for all swimmers! Fins add a ton of value to your training. They help strengthen your leg and core muscles, improve your ankle flexibility, and make swimming fun!

There are hundreds of different models, materials, and functions for fins. If you are looking to use a pair of fins, but do not know where to start, then read on.

Our Athlete Approved Team created a guide to the best fins for lap swimming including:


The Arena Powerfin Pro fins are our top overall pick for the best swim fins. In the world of swimming, Arena is a major player with this being one of their most popular tools. The comfort, performance, and look of this swimming tool is second to none.

The silicon material of the Powerfin Pro deliver maximum comfort vs. traditional rubber fins. Our team has been using these for years and our feet are blister free.

The thrust of the fins gives you an even up and down kick. The toe-drain release ensures they will stay on your feet.

These functions make this fin the best option for competitive swimmers, fitness swimmers, beginner swimmers, and even body surfers.

This fin comes in a beautiful assortment of colors. We recommend sizing up if you are between sizes.

Athlete Approved Note: We love DMC Swim Elite 1 Fins! Unfortunately, they are out of stock in most sizes. DMC anticipates new shipments to release in early 2022!

When it comes to DMC Elite 1 vs Arena Powerfin… Let’s just say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Our pick for the best swim fins for beginners is the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins. They are made of closed-cell EVA foam. In other words, they are super buoyant, comfortable, and soft.

The most common thing beginners need to work on is their body position in the water. It is important for swimmers to keep their head in-line with their body and resist the urge to look ahead.

The Aqua Sphere Alpha Swim Fins float to help you maintain that proper body alignment. That is also an added bonus should you drop while open water swimming.

These fins are incredibly popular with triathletes!

Aqua Sphere Alpha Swim Fins come in blue and have a sea creature-like look to them. Stocks are currently limited on Amazon to extra smalls, so try SwimOutlet!


Finis Edge Fins are fast! It is a must have for body surfers, snorkelers, beach lifeguards, and any lap swimmer who wants to swim at top speeds.

These Finis fins have a unique design with side rails. This gives you max speed while building hamstring and quad muscles. It takes power to use these fins and they will make sure you are kicking with proper technique up and down.

The soft silicon based material on all these fins gives it a super comfortable fit. Over time, they will mold to your foot!


Our pick for the best kid’s swim fins are the Finis Long Floating Fins. These fins are a great standard start up fin for children. Swimmers can use these for training and recreationally. They additionally are one of the lowest costing fins on the market.

The Long Floating Fins are designed with a long blade to provide buoyancy and propulsion. These will assist in learning how to kick from the hips instead of the knee. They also float which will help learn proper body alignment.

If you are a swim coach working with young swimmers, the last thing you want to do is to waste time at practice sorting fins. These fins have a color combination associated for each size. That makes it quick for teams to hand out shared equipment.

Finis makes these fins in ten sizes! They come in size XXXXS – XXL.


The Finis Zoomers Gold Fins are designed to make you work hard! These short blade fins are made to be less propulsive compared to other fins.

Zoomer Gold Fins are best used to increase your cardiovascular capacity and quickly build leg strength. The short blade also encourages short and fast kicks, which is the proper technique to use when swimming.

They are perfect for swimmers looking for some extra propulsion, but not too much.

We also love these fins for their small compact size. They will easily fit into any swim bag!

Finis sizes these using letters C, D, E, F, G, and H. Reference the sizing chart to determine the correct fit.


No one does monofins (and snorkels) better than Finis! The Finis Foil Monofin is a light weight monofin that teaches swimmers how to properly kick butterfly.

Underwater butterfly kick is known as the “5th stroke”. A monofin can be used to perfect the even up and down kick thrust needed for an effective kick. Use this monofin for underwater streamline kick and butterfly.

The Foil Monofin is designed for technique and strength building. It will build up your core muscles to power butterfly kick and keep your legs together to kick evenly.

The rubber provides a soft, comfortable, and secure fit. It is also safer to use in a lane with shared swimmers compared to other monofins with sharp edges.

It is meant for lap swimming, but there is nothing wrong with having fun getting your mermaid on!

Finis makes these in X-Small to X-Large sizes.


It is no surprise that Finis makes its fifth appearance on this list. They know swim equipment better than anyone. The Positive Drive Fin is our top budget pick. Do not let the price fool you. This is a great fin for multiple reasons.

The Positive Drive Fin can be used for all four strokes. Yes, that includes breaststroke too! Since there are not many fins designed for breaststroke, this swim tool is great for IM work.

The ergonomic foot pocket gives it an easy fit. The adjustable heel strap keeps the fin stable. The adjustability of the strap is also great for kids with growing feet.

This fin comes in Finis’ signature yellow and black color. It is sized in X-Small to XX-Large.

Why You Should Use Fins for Lap Swimming

Fins build strength in your leg and core muscles

Similar to how paddles will focus on your upper body strength, fins will focus on your lower body strength. It is healthy to diversify your training by working different parts of the body. Wearing fins will give an extra burn in your legs. Try butterfly kick on your back with fins. It is one of the best core workouts ever.

Fins increase ankle flexibility

Often times new swimmers do not have flexible ankles. Many runners and triathletes also struggle with this. Studies and real life experience within our team have shown that having flexible ankles is more important to kicking than leg strength. If you are that swimmer who kicks and goes nowhere (or even backwards), you likely have poor ankle flexibility. Use fins to increase your range of motion.

Fins help you learn to kick evenly up and down

Too many swimmers focus solely on the down kick. They slowly bring their foot back up only to reload for the next down kick. This kicking method could not be more wrong. Learn to work both the down and up kick with fins to enhance your kicking efficiency.

Fins make swimming fun

Have you ever wanted to feel like you were swimming at world record pace? Put a pair of fins on and go for it. There are few better feelings than the feeling of water rushing by you while you are being propelled by a pair of fins. Swimming can get monotonous if you are doing the same old routine. Adding fins mixes it up and makes it fun!

Who Should Use Fins

Every beginner to advanced swimmer should use fins.

Fins are great for beginners. They can help you learn proper kicking technique. Learning the correct way from the start is crucial to making healthy technical habits. When starting out, there is no shame in using fins to increase your speed. This will help you get into the proper body position needed for efficient swimming.

They will also assist you as weaker swimmer that would like to keep up with a group.

Advanced swimmers use fins all the time. They can be found in just about every competitive swimmer’s equipment bag. Since they can be used for all four strokes (yes, that includes fins for breaststroke), veteran swimmers will use fins regularly.

How to Use Fins for Lap Swimming

The first thing to consider is transportation. Fins can be on the larger side and take up a lot of room in your swim bag. We recommend a bag made for swim equipment, a mesh swim equipment bag, or carrying them outside of your bag.

Once you get to the pool, work in fins periodically throughout your workout. You really cannot go wrong here. Some swimmers will wear them for a portion of warm up for kicking. Other swimmers will save them for the end of the workout to help them finish strong. For further guidance, read our Athlete Approved Guide to Creating Your Own Swim Workout.

Keep in mind the fast feeling you get when you put on fins will be opposite when you remove them. So try not to become too dependent on them.

Athlete Approved Tip: Walking backwards is the safest way to walk when wearing fins. #LessTumbles #MoreTumbleTurns!

When you finish up, maintenance of fins is minimal. Our main advice is to store them out of the sun to reduce long term sun deterioration.

Conclusion on The Athlete Approved Guide to Using Fins for Lap Swimming

Overall, fins are an amazing tool to use when swimming.

They can be used for speed, fitness building, technique and more. Use this guide to determine which pair(s) are right for you.

We would love to know if you have a pair to recommend to us. Let us know if you agree with our Athlete Approved fin picks for lap swimming. Post in our comments and on social media!

See our Athlete Approved Buying Guides for:

View all of our Athlete Approved gear here!

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