A Fin is a fin….right? Wrong. Today fins come in all different shapes, styles, and lengths with each fin model creating a different type of training. At a broader level, one could break the fin world down between short fins and long fins.
Long fins are great for beginner swimmers as the long blade rewards the swimmer with easy forward propulsion and raises the hips to the surface. However, these long fins make it difficult to replicate the type of quick kick you will use when racing. While some people like the longer “snorkeling” fins which make it is easier to swim, many coaches and swimmers prefer something more swimming-specific. This led to the development of the first short-bladed fins, the FINIS Zoomers®, over 15 years ago.
Unlike long fins, the short bladed Zoomers® allow your legs to cycle fast enough to keep up with a normal arm stroke rate and still maintain a 6 beat kick. By reducing the length of the blade and positioning it at the correct angle, the legs and feet mimic a natural swimming kick. As a result the swimmer can build true swimming-specific leg strength and hit a race tempo, all without fatiguing prematurely.
With over 15 years of experience and customer feedback, FINIS product developers have fine-tuned the original Zoomers® design and also created a few new Zoomers® family members. The original Zoomers® have switched to a new gold color with the rubber softer and more comfortable around the foot (no more blisters!). The introduction of the Z2 Gold Zoomers® and Zoomers® Fit have also been very popular, as the short blade design has been developed to promote a more fluid up and down kick, working both sides of your legs.
With short blade fins being found in most equipment bags these days, it is no surprise that many swimmers can actually swim faster with shorter fins than longer fins. The shorter fin allows you to kick at a much higher rate over longer periods of time, ultimately churning past those floppy long fins. Finding a short fin with the optimal blade stiffness like Zoomers® is great for building a stronger, faster kick with ideal propulsion. You are ultimately getting 2x the benefits over long fins!
There ultimately is no right and wrong fin; you just need to determine what you want to accomplish. If you are training to build leg muscle, increase your flexibility, and be able to maintain a swimming-specific stroke, then short blade fins are they way to go (we obviously recommend any one of the Zoomers® family). But if you are out for a leisure swim and just want to watch the fishes go by beneath you, then long fins will probably be your preference.