Tactical Fitness: Are Boots or Socks Best for Swimming with Fins in BUD/S?

Infantryman swims with fins.
Pfc. Michael Prince, an infantryman with Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, conducts the swim portion of a run, fin, run training event at Davie Point, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 22, 2018. (Lance Cpl. Luke Kuennen/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Stew --

I have a few questions about diving fins, booties and the best way to swim using them. I bought dive boots and dive socks to wear with my fins. Is this how they do it at BUD/S? The boots made it much harder for me to get a good kick. With just the sock, I was much better and swam 45 seconds per 50 meters. Will I be allowed to wear just the sock and no boot at BUD/S? Also, is it better to use constant flutter kicks or big scissor kicks or dolphin kicks? 

You wear booties at BUD/S. I had one with a sole to it, which helped a lot since you walk around in them during the dive phase, often while carrying a lot of heavy gear. But some candidates wore the socks with a thinner sole. This helps if you have a foot that's smaller or bigger than the well in the fin.

I do constant flutter kicks on my weak side, and in between, I do big scissor kicks and little flutter kicks on my strong side.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to Military.com to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues