Short Fins Vs. Long: When To Use Each

Whether you’re a recreational or competitive swimmer, fins are a must have in your mesh bag. However, with a range of lengths and blade shapes to consider, determining which fin is best can be a challenging endeavor. So to help you understand the difference between short and long blade fins, we’re breaking things down below.


A common staple in the mesh bags of both novice and advanced swimmers, short blade fins are designed to promote a more consistent kick. By allowing athletes to mimic a natural race tempo, short fins empower swimmers to increase speed, enhance balance and improve upper body technique. Because short fins are engineered to boost propulsion and amplify power in the water, they tend to be a popular piece of equipment among coaches. However, when purchasing a short blade fin, length is not the only component to consider.

Material, comfort, shape and weight are all important aspects of any short blade swim fin. For example, a fin with an angled blade surface will create upward kick resistance in the water. This in turn will force a swimmer to exert more energy during a set. For competitive athletes, learning to build stroke-specific strength in the legs is imperative.


By helping to elevate the legs and hips, longer swim fins provide athletes with the forward propulsion necessary to move more easily through the water. Great for the beginner, intermediate and recreational swimmer, long fins are constructed to create more resistance and flexibility in every kick. By covering a larger surface area than their shorter counterparts, long fins activate and strengthen the muscles in the legs without causing immediate burnout. As a result, athletes looking for comfort, easy movement and speed will most likely want to pick up a longer fin.

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