Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins – Review

I’ve seen a lot of swimmers use these in recent years so I picked up a pair to try them out. The first things that struck me about them was how buoyant they are and their shape. Every time I put them on I need to give myself a second or two to check which one is for each foot, or rather, which part is the sole of the fin. It’s not the side I would have guessed from a stylistic point of view so I can only assume there is some engineering reason for this.
These are light fins made from EVA foam and according to Aquasphere they are “70%” lighter than traditional fins. I must admit they are far softer than the TYR pair I reviewed previously. This results in more flexibility within the fin itself as you kick. All well and good you might think, but what will that mean if I swim with them on? The stiffness of a fin determines how much you’re going to work, along with its buoyance and length. A stiffer fin dampens your range of motion, forcing your muscles to work harder in terms of strength. I find this helps cut out needless movement in the legs. As the Alpha fins are softer your legs can move more freely, this is a double-edged sword as there is the potential for incorrect technique to slip in so you need to focus more on what you are doing with your legs.

alpha amazonThe lack of stiffness means less power generated, this makes it an ideal fin to use to supplement your drills. Providing just enough extra speed to allow you to concentrate on the drill, but not overpowering you so that you are moving too fast to perform the drill effectively. Unfortunately, this also means you are underpowered when using the fins for an anaerobic kick set or for speed sets. Especially if your goal is to create lactate, in which case you should use stiffer fines. Maintaining  good technique in these while also trying to increase speed is a bit tricky, but I’m sure with some more practice this will get a bit easier.

While I did say these fins are buoyant, they are not so buoyant that they cause the kick to be harder. Aquasphere claim this extra buoyancy will improve body position, however if you plan to use these fins to compensate for very poor body position then I think you need something else as I found the effect on my swimming and body-position negligible. They are also very hard to get off, personally I put my heel on then while pulling out my foot, but at least they float up to me.
A personal note: from years of martial arts and other sports my joints are a bit sensitive, I find these to be lighter on them. So, if I want to use fins, but my legs and joints are a bit off form, then I use these. They are also my go to fins for drills.

Pros Cons
Forces you to work more on kick technique Hard to generate speed
Good to use with drills Not for strength/power
Easier on the muscles Hard to get off
Easy to get on

Prices will vary of course depending on the supplier and the time of the year, but you should be able to pick a pair up for in and around twenty euro. They are of course available on Amazon.

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