Putting on your first pair of SCUBA fins is an eye-opening experience as you realize your ankles, feet, and legs start hurting within the first few hundred yards. Or the fins do not fit right. Or – even worse – you did not realize you needed to wear scuba booties with your new fins that made your first day with fins even MORE painful. So, there are a lot of lessons learned when it comes to swimming with fins. Here is a good question from a future SAR / Rescue Swimmer:

Good morning sir,

I have been using your blogs and videos while training for SAR School, and I passed Selection this week. Thank you for the help! Now, I am desperate for some real customized insight...

I am the only female in my agency who passed selection for our SAR School. Our squad was issued Rocket Fins. However, they only go down to a size men's 7, which slips right off my foot (I am a men's size 4). I am trying to find a good alternative, since right now I am at a major disadvantage using regular scuba diving fins. (Whether that's smaller fins, fins with a narrow foot slot and a strap that can be jerry-rigged, etc.)

Despite a ton of research, I have not found a good alternative for my size and problem. I found your blog post about special operations fins, and thought you may have run across something or know a female who has figured this puzzle out. 

Good question.

You may want to check out the Jet Fins made by Scuba Pro or IST fins - I find them to look identical to Rocket Fins but less stiff.

The foot well maybe an issue. We always had them big so we could slide them right over our combat boots. So, you need a much bigger bootie. Maybe one with a full sole – Like this: (just your size)

These will likely help the best. Plus they are great for run – swim – runs on the beach while you carry your fins. Give it time to get used to the fins. Your ankles, feet, legs will require 2-3 weeks of swimming before capable of going for long distances without pain.


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Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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