shinfinTM fins intensify Tom’s swim training exercise and he finds them very comfortable with no clunkiness, unlike regular foot fins. Flip turns improve by entering the turn a bit harder. He trains in a pool and also in more open water in his large outdoor pond.
Tom’s review from New York, USA
“I find them ingenious in design and very helpful in swimming. One knows they are there, but just at the edge of awareness. There is not the least bit of clunkiness to them. Works really well and very comfortable on my feet, unlike normal flippers. I use them to make the exercise of swimming a little more intense. Chiefly in a 100 meter pond on our farm upstate and in a pool here in NYC at NYU where I work as a professor. I do hope they become widely known and used. Great invention.”
Tom’s review: Comfortable & more intense exercise swim training fins
“Works really well and very comfortable on my feet, unlike normal flippers. Though I find it hard to flip turn with them on in the pool. Is there a trick to doing turns with fins on? They impede the flipping motion. Using them this summer I was outdoors in a big pond and hadn’t noticed that awkwardness.”
“Also, will the straps last for a long time? I have the sense that they take a fair amount of abuse as I pull them through the slots.”
“Good work on a great product.”
Many thanks for your kind reply Tom. It sounds like you are going well. I think I can help with the turns. With shinfinTM fins you need to go into flip turns a little bit harder to lift the fins out of the water. This can be a training benefit. For normal (non-flip) turns, bring your knees up and forward as you come to the wall. For flip turns, and normal turns, they don’t interfere with your push-off from the wall (like foot fins). I trust this helps.
To increase the life, just rinse the fins (especially the straps) after use. Keep the straps away from the the sun and chlorine when not in use, and you should get a good few years of use from the straps too.
“Thanks for that help. Pool use, where you can’t escape some chlorine, must hurt then. But I will take care with them.”
“P.S. Was it foot discomfort, which was my problem, that motivated you to design shinfinTM fins? Or was it a desire to improve the swimming itself?”
Just rinse the chlorine water off after use and you should be fine.
The original idea was for fins you could walk in and to avoid comfort issues. But the thing that really motivates me, is to achieve the correct biomechanics of streamlined swimming. Like “no-fins” swimming but faster. This can’t be achieved by conventional foot fins because of where they attach.
“Sure, use any compliments that you can. I find them ingenious in design and very helpful in swimming. One knows they are there, but just at the edge of awareness. There is not the least bit of clunkiness to them. Putting them on is an art in itself, of course, and one has to take a few minutes to learn that art. Best of luck, Tom.”
I’m sorry the straps aren’t as intuitive as I would like. By following the tips we sent with the fins (and by email), each fin usually takes about 30 seconds to put on, 5 seconds to take off, and a few seconds to tighten or loosen whilst wearing the fins. Here is some more information to help you.
“Yes, I find the straps buckle and unbuckle relatively easily. However, there is no denying that doing it in front of, say, my wife, leaves her a little nonplussed about how to do it. The look and feel of the buckling is pleasing to me as a new adept but off-putting to her and others who see me doing it and say to themselves “that looks hard”. No remedy for this that I can find. What’s elegant about the buckling, the use of simple friction along the double slots that make up the buckle, is what seems to non-users or new users intimidating.”
Yes, Tom, I think you are right. The buckle system can intimidate some people at first. It is a tricky design issue. Lots of criteria to meet. I’m aiming to improve it to make it more intuitive.
Tom (about 1 year later)
“I use them to make the exercise of swimming a little more intense. Chiefly in a 100 meter pond on our farm upstate and in a pool here in NYC at NYU where I work as a professor.”
Yes, they do help to intensify your swim training exercise and fitness, comfortably. As you have probably already found, they are designed to work best with a good streamlined kick like swimmers use for freestyle, backstroke or fly (not breaststroke). We get a lot of great feedback from swimmers saying that swimming with shinfinTM fins (especially full stroke swimming) improves their horizontal body position, breathing, speed and overall swimming technique (arms too). The shinfinTM kick does more than just add leg power. It balances your arm pull and supports good breathing technique. For example, in freestyle, there is often a larger kick down with the left leg when the right arm pulls (and with the right leg when the left arm pulls): a diagonal force balance across your body.
Most importantly, the benefits of swimming with shinfinTM fins transfer across to your “no-fins” swimming too, especially if you swim a bit more just after you take off your shinfinTM fins. This is because the shinfinTM kick is very similar to a proper streamlined “no-fins” kick. You feel the shinfinTM power in your thighs, buttocks, stomach and torso: the same muscles as for good “no-fins” swimming.
A foot flipper kick is very different, with more knee-bend and power in your calf muscles and ankles, so foot flippers can’t provide the same benefits. Their biomechanics is all wrong for a proper streamlined “no-fins” kick.
Full stroke swimming
I think they work best for full stroke swimming. That is what I really designed them for. For kicking exercises, you might like to keep your arms going but with longer strokes and not pulling so hard. Then your kick technique is most likely to remain the same, so you are strengthening for the right action.
Also, you should feel your arm stroke lengthening and becoming smoother, and your breathing nice and regular: other benefits of training with shinfinTM fins. You can use them for kick only exercises (with or without a kickboard) but your body position and hence kicking technique is more likely to change (especially with a kickboard).
I have a suggestion for you. Immediately after you have swum with the shinfinTM fins for a while, take them off and swim a bit more. You should find that your body remembers the shinfinTM kick pattern, so your “no-fins” swimming improves too. If you keep doing this each time you go swimming then you should notice continual improvements in your swimming technique.
I would be very interested to hear how you get on with this in your farm pond and pool swimming.
Thanks so much. I do hope they become widely known and used. Great invention.
Thank you for your kind reply Tom. Yes, the shinfinTM word is spreading well. It is a long road bringing an invention like this to the market and it is great to hear how people are enjoying them.
shinfinTM fins are a comfortable way to intensify your swim training exercise in pools and open water. You can improve your flip turns by entering the turn a bit harder. They are lightweight, not bulky and easier to kick, unlike regular foot fins.
Here is a review about how they also reduce back problems. Please see the FAQ summary as well.