Do Swim Fins Float?

Swim fins are designed to help people become competitive swimmers. Many people use swim fins to increase buoyancy in the water and build muscles while swimming. 

Swim fins can float. They are designed to lift the legs above water to facilitate swimming, improve body alignment, and reduce drag. Swim fins are made of floatable rubber, which means they can float in salty and freshwater. 

Swim fins can be used in both the pool and open water. They feature short blades making them ideal for quick kicks and leg strengthening during swimming. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Swim Fins

Consider size and comfort when shopping for swim fins. In addition, the best swim fins should be comfortable to wear and fit the feet snugly. 

Size

Swim fins come in three different sizes, including:

  • Short blades
  • Medium blades
  • Long blades

Each type is designed for specific swimming applications.

Short blade swim fins are suitable for moving faster over short distances. They are much easier to kick with, making them suitable for beginners. In addition, this type of swim fins is suitable for water aerobics because they facilitate faster and more fluid movements. 

Although many short blade swim fins are lightweight, some versions are a bit heavier. The heavier short blade swim fins are designed for strength training and for building muscle and stamina while swimming. 

Medium blade swim fins are slightly longer than the short blade swim fins but shorter than long blades. They are ideal for swimming in pools or snorkeling in the ocean. Medium blades are lightweight, which allows you to cover longer distances without feeling fatigued. 

Medium blades provide better propulsion than short blades. They can help you cover long distances, which works your legs and builds muscles. 

Long blade swim fins have the strongest resistance and feel heavy on the feet, making them ideal for experienced swimmers and deep-sea divers. However, some new long blade swim fins feature lighter materials to reduce drag. 

Comfort 

Quality swim fins come with a soft rubber padding and are open-toed to enhance comfort. Uncomfortable swim fins can interfere with your ability to swim and train effectively.

Fitting

Try out different swim fins before choosing one. Test if the fin fits snuggly by checking the space between your foot and the fin. If you can fit several fingers through that space, then the fin is oversized. If your fingers barely pass through, then the swim fin is too tight. 

Lose or tight fins can cause chafing and the development of blisters. The best fin should fit your feet snugly and leave adequate wiggle room for the feet to move while swimming. Check out the site’s Snorkeling Recommended Gear page for water socks that can help with that.

Purpose 

Not all swim fins are created equal. Some swim fins are designed for simple pool swimming, while others have advanced features for intense ocean activities. 

Consider the purpose of the swim fins you intend to purchase. Its design should give you an idea of its purpose. Short and lightweight swim fins are suitable for general swimming because they cut through water easily.

Swim fins for ocean diving feature unique designs for handling strong waves. In addition, the blades have raised edges for faster propulsion and quieter movement underwater. 

Blade Design

Some swim fins have notched blades, which feature a V-cut that mimics the natural movement of your foot underwater. This type of swim fins is suitable for quieter movement on the water to avoid spooking marine life.

Another type of swim fin is the mono-fin, which comes with two-foot pads attached to a single blade. This type of swim fin requires users to kick both legs harmoniously to move forward.

Mono-fins can be tiring and require a lot of coordination when swimming. However, some swimmers and deep-sea divers enjoy the challenge of kicking both feet together to move forward. 

The blades of most swim fins have different levels of stiffness. The stiffer the blade, the more resistance required to move forward and vice versa. Stiffer blades are ideal for professionals, while softer blades are suitable for beginners.

Heel Style

Determine if you want a swim fin with an open or closed back heel. The heel style of your swim fin affects its handling in water. 

Closed heel fins are suitable if you want your entire heel enclosed in the fin. A soft rubber pad between the heel and fin improves comfort when wearing the fin. Choose the right swim fin size to prevent blistering. 

Open heel swim fins are popular among experienced swimmers and divers. They have a back strap to hold the fin in place. 

Open heel swim fins allow foot movements, which minimizes the chances of blistering. In addition, swim fins with open heels and toes allow water and air to flow in and out of the fin, which improves breathability.

Top 5 Swim Fins in 2020

There are many types of swim fins on the market. Many people shopping for swim fins often find the available options overwhelming. Many swimmers are not sure about the best swim fins for their needs. Several brands have gained a reputation for having some of the best swim fins on the market. All of the following links are to Amazon.

Speedo Short-Blade Swim Fins

This type of swim fins is suitable for beginners. They feature a soft silicone foot pocket that conforms to your foot for added comfort. In addition, its blades are short and straight to facilitate smooth kicks and strokes. These fins are available in many sizes and colors to suit everyone. A distinct feature of this swim fin is the wider open toe design, which enhances breathability and prevents blistering. 

CrossBlade TYR Training Swim Fins 

These swim fins feature a V-cut that allows you to wade through the water quietly. They are easy to use and are recommended for leisure swimming or professional deep-sea diving.

The fins are 7 inches wide for added resistance and powerful propulsion. In addition, these swim fins come in various colors and sizes to fit all. Designed with high-quality rubber, CrossBlade TYR swim fins are built to last. The open toe and closed heel design allow your feet to fit snuggly while leaving enough breathing room.

FINIS Swim Fins for Training 

These swim fins come in a trademark Zoomers Gold color. They feature short blades with open toes and closed heels. FINIS swim fins are ideal for aerobic and anaerobic workouts. 

The short blades boost speed and endurance. In addition, these fins feature durable silicone, which conforms to the shape of your feet for added comfort. 

Sea Lion Buoyant Swim Fins

This is one of the best floatable swim fins on the market. They are made from a durable rubber that is highly buoyant. You can easily find it floating nearby in case it comes off. The blades are flat and wide to promote propulsion. Sea Lion floating swim fins are great for kids between 1 and 3 years. 

Hydro Tech Swimming Fins

These fins may not be large on buoyancy, but they score top marks for comfort and design. In addition, Hydro Tech swim fins come with excellent features for both swimming and snorkeling. 

These swim fins have a closed toe design and feature straps at the back. With the entire heel exposed, water quickly enters the foot pocket making the fin breathable. The fin’s blade is long and wide for faster propulsion. 

The Hydro-Tech swim fins are available in various sizes and are suitable for both men and women. You will find these fins in various colors, including gun grey, ice blue, or tung-navy.

Floatable swim fins allow you to move gracefully underwater while keeping your legs afloat. Choose swim fins that fit snuggly while leaving room for your feet to breathe. 

Final thoughts

All of the above swim fin information generally applies to snorkeling as well as swimming for exercise and training. However, snorkeling specific fins are purpose-built and have a different feature set, design, and size. If you want to know more about snorkeling fins, I have posted about the 6 different types of snorkeling fins and a buying guide along with a companion article on the 10 best long fins for snorkeling.

Be sure to check those out is you are looking for single purpose specific snorkeling fins, as they offer advantages in the open water compared to general swim fins.

And as always, once you’ve chosen your equipment, get out there, stay safe, and have fin…I mean fun.


Articles contain affiliate links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. The site is also an affiliate for other brands covered in our the content. We may earn a small commission when readers purchase through these links at no extra cost to the buyer.

Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

Recent Content