Probably the most important piece of equipment in mermaiding is no doubt- the monofin! I get asked ALL THE TIME "You actually swim in that thing?" "How can you swim in that?" "How have you not drowned?"... Well, the answer is the monofin!
What IS a monofin anyways? Well according to Wikipedia, "A monofin is a type of swimfin typically used in underwater sports such as finswimming, free-diving, and underwater orienteering. It consists of a single or linked surface attached to both of the diver's feet, emulating the fluke of Cetaceans like whales or porpoises." Basically, it's like the bi-fins, or flippers, that one might wear when snorkeling or scuba diving, but joined together in one piece. It's what gives us propulsion, and allows us to swim while having our legs bound by a mermaid tail. You may have also seen Michael Phelps wear one when racing that shark, or Omar Syed Shaaban when he performed the highest jump out of water.
Is a monofin really necessary? ABSOLUTELY! Please please please do not purchase a mermaid tail for your children or yourself, with the intention of swimming, and skip the monofin. There have been far too many accidents involving mermaid tails that could have been easily avoided by 2 things- 1- actively supervising your children, and 2- having a SAFE monofin.
How do I know if a monofin is safe or not? For those just getting started in mermaiding, this is definitely a dilemma. It is hard to know. But, that is the whole point of this blog! On websites and apps such as amazon, shein, and aliexpress, etc, you will likely come across tons of really affordable mermaid tails. Most of these are much cheaper that the ones you will see us recommend. You may think that this is perfect for a beginner, or for your kids who might be "over it" after a few tries, or will just outgrow the tail in a month anyways. These tails are most likely to have unsafe monofins (as well as feature stolen artwork). They are often a couple of cheap flippers zip-tied to a piece of plastic. This piece of plastic often can break, cut the feet, and then no longer give the necessary propulsion needed to swim, leading to some pretty terrible accidents. This is why we recommend the tails and monofins that we do. Safety is our #1 priority! (At the time of this blog posting, we have no affiliations with any mermaid tail companies.)
So how do I choose a monofin? to answer this, I reached out to the Windy City Merfolk Pod. It is not an easy, straightforward answer. Everyone has their own preferences and swimming style. So I have gathered a list of safe monofins and got opinions on as many as possible. These aren't every safe monofin out there, but they are the most common in the industry. There are definitely some favorites and some not-so-favorites. If you have a local mermaid pod in your area, this can be a great opportunity to try one before you buy one! Also, keep an eye out on Mermaid At Any Age, as they are working on setting up several monofin try-out opportunities around the country in 2023/ 2024!
So, let's "dive in" to The Windy City Merfolk Pod's monofin reviews!! (Pun intended)
Finis: The brand Finis makes several monofins, as well as other swim equipment, and is a very reputable company.
Finis Mermaid Dream:
This is a nice monofin for kids. I have seen them in Target and they are affordable. I have not seen any mermaid tails made for this fin, yet. -Emily
I only used this one once or twice. It wasn't super comfortable, but I think it would be great for younger mers. It's stiff and gets a bit of propulsion, but I don't feel like as much as the finfun amp.- Dasia
it’s fine for a kid fin, ankle strap slips off constantly, which is very frustrating.- Carron
This was my first monofin, and it was fine. I did have issues with the strap slipping and had to get creative with some elastic ribbon to get it to stay.- Emily
The Finis Foil was my first monofin! It fits easily into Finfolk tails, has decent propulsion and the rubber material is comfortable around the ankles/feet. It is a pretty flexible fin as well. While I prefer to use the Linden in my Finfolk now for extra propulsion, I love taking the Foil for gym/lap swims. - Amanda
A good training fin, but requires quite a bit of strength. It's super speedy once you get going, but it's large size means that 1) dexterity can go down and 2) many tails are going to be too small to use this fin in. The foot pockets can and will melt and distort in a hot car, so be careful of that.- Kate
The Finis wave is a smaller version of this fin, and is specified for youth. I have an old Mertailor silicone tail that I believe has the Rapid inside. The foot pockets are a bit distorted and uncomfortable, so I will be working to fix that. -Emily
The luna is really heavy. It's all silicone. The heels are adjustable, but foot pocket was snug on the top of my wide feet. I didn't like this one because it is very flexible, but other mers I know like it for that very reason. It looks like a betta fish tail when you swim with it and gives a flow which looks great on tails with dangly parts. - Danielle
My favorite of the Finis offerings. Attractive at the end of fish scale leggings. Comfortable foot pockets that are okay on wide feet. Adjustable ankle straps (one of mine has a tear after 5 years of frequent use.) Silicone, so it sinks like a rock. Not good inside a skin, but decent propulsion on its own. Monofin movement is pretty in the water. -Carron
There are not many tails designed specifically for the Luna. CapeCali does have a line for the Luna, and I have seen some manage to fit them into a Finfun tail. -Emily
I didn't like the Shooter because the heels of the feet felt rigid compared to the linden which is an adjustable heel. It also felt narrow in the toe where I have a wide toe box. -Danielle
It hurt to use it after just 30 minutes in it. It’s too rigid to get a good kick in. Tiring too! - Genevieve
I notice the power with this but I do end up with sore feet/legs when I do -Karen
I also love my Shooter. It is lightweight, extremely comfortable, and has one of the best propulsion that I've used. Definitely a great monofin for pool training. -Antonio
I have two finis shooters. One I bought new, and another I bought used. It’s funny because they are both the same size, but one of them bothers me a little bit. I’ve gotten small cuts on my feet for wearing it too long in the water. But I’ve never had any issues with my other one and I really love/recommend it!! I’m not sure why one is better than the other considering they are the same model and size. also, I like how fast I feel in this fin. I think it had great propulsion. I feel like such a slow poke after I take it off and swim with my normal legs. -Erika
My above all fav monofin. It's fast, it's comfortable without socks, and the energy-to-propulsion ratio is fantastic. I use it alone or in my finfolk tail!- Sarah
This is also one of my favorite monofins. It is also highly recommended by Finfolk for their tails. I get good propulsion, and agility (especially without the tail). However, the foot pockets can be quite snug, even on my very small feet. I cannot quickly release from this fin unless I've sized up (my mythic tail has a large I believe) I also prefer to wear dive socks with this fin, as it beats my feet up a bit. -Emily
Finfun: Finfun tails are great and affordable starter tails!
Finfun Pro and Pro Jr:
I don't like the finfun because your feet are in one large area and can move or touch. I think it's great for beginners or one-timer trying to decide if they like merlife, but not intermediate. -Danielle
Good in a pinch, and has the best features of the AMP, with the drawback of feet touching and sliding around inside the fin sock. The foot movement causes foot and calf cramps, so I don’t use this monofin if I can avoid it. -Carron
This is fine for me to play in a pool. But it's so flimsy that it isn't good for mermaid training. It is my fav on the go tail/ monofin. -Sarah
It’s okay but only to play in not for workouts or training- Stephanie
My first time in a mermaid tail I used this fin. It was a great introduction to mermaiding, and helped me fall in love with it. After swimming in other, more high-end monofins, then going back to this one, I found that I had much less propulsion, but did have good agility due to its small size. As mentioned, great for beginners, but not so much beyond that. -Emily
I love how easy this fin is to kick off, especially for beginners who might find the fin disorienting! The center stitching does make for a secure fit around the feet, but it does mean that the fabric cover can't be taken off or replaced.
I personally think the fin's motion is a little too forgiving and can encourage bad form habits. It's also not especially strong for a rigid-bladed monofin. -Kate
great starter fin! It's very comfortable and easy to get into. Mine took a lot of wear and tear and it can be a bit tricky to repair in the middle since the neoprene goes through the board in the middle. -Dasia
Great starter fin! It's very comfortable and easy to get into. Mine took a lot of wear and tear and it can be a bit tricky to repair in the middle since the neoprene goes through the board in the middle. -Jen
Used as my “kick around” monofin, I truly like the AMP for how light and portable it is. If I want to pop in the pool for a quick swim at work, easy to put on and kick off I if I need to get out quickly. I can kick it off easily, but it stays on as I swim. The seam in the middle of the monofin causes the entire fin to have to be replaced, every 12-14 months in my case, but I like that my feet don’t touch and are forced to stay in place. -Carron
This fin is newer to the finfun family, and is designed for Finfun's professional "Elite" tail line. It is larger than the pro and the amp. -Emily
I waited a long time for this monofin. It’s designed with a good balance of rigidity and flexibility, which allows for good propulsion while being graceful. The foot pockets are very narrow, sized for the medium-width foot. The strap is adjustable and will be easy to replace if it breaks. The monofin is very tight and uncomfortable for the first couple of swims, needing to be broken in. I had multiple people swim in mine before I was able to use it without cramping. Overall, I’m pleased with it and would recommend it to people with narrow feet. -Carron
Mertailor: Mertailor monofins are solid silicone, and were sculpted by Eric (the mertailor) himself! They offer tailskins specifically designed to fit their monofins. Their current silicone Spellbound tail flukes are made the same way. You can also order them in custom coloring.
Original Fantasea Fin and Kids' Fantasea Fin:
Not too much experience with this fin, but it's wild how much it likes little ankle flicks, from how it swam the times I've used it.- Kate
Low profile, comfortable to swim in. IMO Best propulsion of all the Mertailor offerings. Sinks. The silicone stretches over time but holds up very well. -Carron
I think this is a great travel fin. It's small and light. I however feel the opposite, as I get very little propulsion from this fin. -Emily
Fantasea Fin Too:
Has great propulsion in the water. Definitely an ankle workout but very smooth and flows well. I have to wear mine with scuba socks or it’ll slide off my heels. - Jen
This one tended to put more pressure on my ankles when I swam! I preferred the 3- Hannah
I love it! It's very pretty, but it did feel heavy the first time I swam in one. -Emily
Fantasea Fin Three:
Gorgeous fin that you have to be more careful with. Floppy. Good to mosey around in vs fast swimming. -Amanda
extremely comfortable on your feet. Very heavy, would not recommend for a newer Mer. In my opinion, the prettiest of the Mertailor monofins. Sinks like a rock. -Carron
I have a FF3. It's the only Mertailor Monofin I've ever used. I love how it swims, but it's heavy to lug around and travel with... I once took it all the way to Florida. -Antonio
love this fin! This feels the most comfortable for me- Hannah
I feel like this is an overall favorite mertailor fin for many people! It has that traditional mermaid shape and good propulsion. -Emily
Fantasea Fin Four:
better propulsion than the three.- Carron
This is my "zoomy" fin. I usually prefer to swim slowly and gracefully, but if I'm looking to move- this is the fin I wear. I love its "natural" shape, like a dolphin or whale. -Emily
Fantasea Fin Five:
This is the newest addition to the mertailor family. It's basically a wider, longer version of the three, and is quite heavy. I have heard it swims great. Perfect for those who love those big flukes! -Emily
I picked one up and held it, no swim. It’s massive.-Carron
The community is quite divided over this fin. You either love it or hate it! It's not my favorite. The shape feels quite cartoony to me, and the foot pockets will destroy your feet. Swim socks are a must! The propulsion however is fine, and it is a nice lightweight fin. you can even fold it in half to travel (don't store it that way though). It's also thick in some areas and ended up causing a couple of holes in my neoprene fabric Finfolk tail. -Emily
Second monofin I owned, came with my Swimtails Betta. Ridged construction makes it highly propulsive. Floats. Aesthetic is pleasing to look at. Wide enough to fill out the entire Betta fluke. Sucker tore up my feet every time I use it. Sz 9, I had the teal monofin, which I believe was sz 7-9. (I can’t find the sizing with the Google search. Odd.) The foot pockets were bigger than my sz 9 foot, so I had space in the foot pockets for multiple pairs of neoprene socks, which didn’t help with the rubbing. In 2021 I declared I had enough and I yeeted my Mahina to Mexico. (Literally. It’s in Monterey with my friend.) (The sores on my feet caused by the rubbing took 6 weeks to heal and were intensely itchy. This is when I bought the Linden.) -Carron
I love this fin, it's the only fin I swim with. This fin was designed in Australia by a pro mermaid for mermaids, it is strong enough to swim in ocean tides and is made from recycled materials I believe. You do need to wear some sort of protective sock with it but other than that it is very comfortable. It's also designed to be able to kick off easily, which I found to be the case. While it's not necessarily designed to be worn in a tail, I wear it in my finfolk fabric tail and it works wonderfully. I had to clip the tips off but I didn't mind, I like the shape better after clipping and there are several flukes it will fit in without clipping. It's not everyone's cup of tea but as someone who was a competitive swimmer for longer than I've been a mermaid, it is perfect for me. -Kat
Lucia Fish Fin-
I have swam in this fin and it's quite nice! Lucia has recently added a second, smaller fin to their offerings as well. I will note that in my search for unsafe monofins, I ran across a few counterfeit versions of this fin, so please make sure that you are getting the Lucia version. -Emily
The fish fin has a really excellent balance of propulsion and flow. The foot pockets are on the narrower side, so don't count on being able to wear socks. -Kate
Mermaid Linden by Body Glove:
Last but certainly not least is the Linden! This has become quite the favorite in the mermaid community. There is even a kids' version! It is extremely versatile, many tailmakers make tails for this fin including the Mertailor Guppy Line and the Finfolk Discovery line. Some have even fit them in their Finfun tails (takes quite the stretch, however). This is the PERFECT tail for beginners, kids, and adults alike, and is something you can advance with, as it also fits many of the larger more high-end fabric tails. It is also affordable! I know the foot straps break sometimes, but you can reach out and they will send replacements. (Finfolk also sells replacements). -Emily
I love the linden. I like that it gives me power and doesn't flop around. I broke a silicone strap on the back and they sent me a new strap for free. It is rigid enough that it can take me scraping something in practice and not messing up. -Danielle
Really comfortable and zoomy fin. The buckles are somewhat high profile, but it looks nice all the same. Like all rigid blades, the linden is a great core workout. Its zoomy quality does sacrifice a liiiitle bit of dexterity/agility, but it's small enough that a lot is retained.
The footpockets+socks thing is also a really nice touch and can accommodate wider feet nicely. -Kate
The best monofin I’ve used so far. I agree with what others have said on this one. -Amanda
has a great zoom factor to it with a tiny bit of flop in the water. I definitely wear scuba socks with mine or else the straps fall off. -Jen
I love my linden and it's one of my primary fins. I like that it is still rigid, but it looks really good in the water. Even though the buckles do stand out, and it can be kind of hard to pull into a tail, the adjustability makes it worth it. My only downside is that because I have thicker thighs, it can get taxing on my knees because of the way my legs are pressed together that I didn't get in my other fins. -Dasia
comfortable, easy to use and it feels effortless! -Genevieve
don’t feel like I'm going to drown. Super functional -Daniella
light & easy! -Karen
I’ve used the kids' Linden for butterfly technique for a number of years. They provide great propulsion and have held up extremely well to frequent use. The silicone on the edges is separating from the plastic on a couple of the fins, but that doesn’t interfere with use. Single strap with 3 hooks and foam foot pocket inserts included, which has allowed us to use them from a very small child through adult sz 10 women’s. Very well designed.
The adult Linden is one of my favorites because of its foot pocket comfort. I purchased it for use in my Swimtails betta, and I am very satisfied with the result. The vinyl inserts hide the bulk of the ankle straps, and the monofin is rigid enough to support the weight while providing propulsion. Adjustable straps and provided Neoprene socks make it fit a wide variety of foot sizes including wide feet. -Carron
I love my Linden. Very comfortable, and it's my favorite to use with dry-land photo shoots as well as looks great swimming in the water between Finfolk vinyls. I did once break an ankle strap though which happens... but Linden and Bodyglove are great about sending a replacement. Very fast too. -Antonio
I really like my linden so far. I use it in my Mandarin Goby and it helps me swim more gracefully in the water -Stephanie
I also reached out to our Instagram followers. Here's what they had to say:
You could not pay me to wear a mahina again. I had scars for years because they just don’t fit my feet. Even sizing up to where the whole size range is larger than my shoe size. Give me my fantasea fin or the linden any day!
Honestly have a lot. I have wide feet which knock out quite a lot of fins. The new finfun is way too narrow, the mahina as well, and honestly more 😅 mertailors fantaseas have been the best because their silicone and fairly forgiving. Jeeze I could write a book lol
The Mahina was not very friendly to my foot. I have high arches and the foot pockets tore up my skin, and we're too close together. The Luna and Linden are both incredibly comfortable and light. I love both of my Fantaseas, but they are SO heavy on land.
Least favorite is the Mahina. It would tear up my feet and ankles every time I used it, even with neoprene socks. It’s a beautiful monofin, just too ridged.
Whew.. That was a lot, and that wasn't even all of them! But we really hope this information has been helpful to you! Reach out if you have any questions and know that if you're in the Chicagoland area, you're welcome to join us and try out some monofins! Keep your eye out for the Grand Opening of the Windy City Mermaid School as well! We're working on gathering a handful of kids' monofins that your kids can try out too!
The monofins mentioned that are available on Amazon, we have added to our Amazon Store under "Mermaid School" (this is an affiliate link, meaning we make a commission of sales.)