How to Order the Correct-Size Swim Fins

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Using swim fins during training can help improve your cardiovascular function, ankle flexibility, leg strength and body position. Divers and snorklers use swim fins to be more efficient in the water. Swim fins are only useful to you if they fit your foot properly, though. When ordering fins, also consider the blade length you'll need to achieve your goals in the pool or open water.

Foot Sizing

  • Consult the manufacturer's size chart. Ask if the fins tend to run small or large, and adjust accordingly. Most fin sizes correspond with shoe size, so order a size 8 fin if you wear a size 8 shoe. Try them on in water. Dry fitted swim fins will seem to fit too tightly, as the rubber provides resistance as you try to slide your foot in. You do want each fin to fit snug against your foot as you swim. Fins that are too loose may result in blisters and chafing. If you're between sizes, go up a size and wear specialized swim socks with them.

Fin Length

  • The length of the fin's blade serves a purpose. Shorter blades cause a swimmer to kick faster, but create resistance in the water, so they help freestyle and backstroke swimmers become more efficient. Some short fins also have a notch, or V-shape, cut into the blade, which duplicates the way a foot naturally cuts through the water. If you're a breaststroker, or trying to perfect your dolphin kick, choose curved breaststroke or mono fins designed for these disciplines. Long fins work best for snorklers and help new swimmers improve ankle flexibility and leg stamina.

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