Almost four years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Mills. Well, not really, but we met. He was carrying something that caught my eye – a pair of round, weird-looking fins. I knew Glenn had swum breaststroke in a former life. He seemed to think he was pretty good. So I asked if you could do breaststroke in those things. He said yep, and I was hooked. I’ve had a pair of PDFs in my equipment bag for four years. I use them every day.
I don’t know what PDF stands for. Maybe I could do some research. What it SHOULD stand for is Pretty Darn Fast. I can MOVE in these things, and they’re comfortable, too.
Before you read my product analysis of the PDF, you should know that I am not sponsored by PDF, and my opinions are completely my own and not those of Go Swim. Go Swim, however, DOES sell them.
I’ve rated the PDF on 5-star system (5 stars being the top rating) and according to four categories:
* Utility (ease of use)
If you give your PDFs a 4-hour dose of chlorine every day and then throw them in the back of your 1996 Nissan pick-up so that they can be bleached by the sun, you’ll get about a year to a year and a half out of these fins. If for some reason you get the notion to take care of your PDFs, then they might last a few days longer.
The rubber ankle straps do tend to rot (they’re rubber, after all) and eventually break. Several people I know have replaced the strap with a bungee cord like the one you use for goggles (which, of course, Go Swim also sells).
You build these things to fit your foot. This is cool, but sometimes they’ll still rub you the wrong way. Different sizes are available, and I’ve humbly accepted that I wear the same size as 90% of the girls on our team. They are the most comfortable fin I’ve ever worn. I can really move in them without tearing up my feet. This is unlike some other fins I’ve worn that rhyme with ‘boomers.’
In the sets that we do, we are always changing equipment. PDFs are super easy to take on and off. And once they are on, they don’t slip off while you’re swimming. They are the most versatile, practical fin I’ve found, primarily because you can do breaststroke kick with them. If you’ve ever tried to do breaststroke kick with regular fins, you know what a big deal this is. It takes some experimenting to do breaststroke kick with the PDFs, and they don’t allow you to get into a really ideal breaststroke kick position, but it’s very close. What they DO teach you to do is grab water with your feet as you kick.
If you can get one to two years of use out of a pair of fins, I feel you are getting your money’s worth. With proper care, you’ll get at least this much use from your PDFs, which makes them worth every penny because of all their great features. I know very few people who have tried PDFs and not liked them. I doubt you’ll buy any other fins once you try them.
OVERALL RATING ****
I’ve not found a better fin than the PDF. The only thing that spends more time on my feet is my Bunny Slippers. I thought you would like to know how the Bunnies stack up against the PDFs, so I analyzed them as well.
The Bunnies have been around for only a few months and I’m noticing significant wear in the heel. Chlorine tends to flatten the fur, and some of the stitching has come loose. One of the bunnies lost an eyeball.
Footwear doesn’t get much more comfortable than this. Bunnies keep my toes warm, and they slide on and off with ease. Once in the pool, however, the Bunnies soak up water like a sponge, and wet Bunnies are not fun to wear.
Terrible. Sub-zero on the star rating. Don’t ever try to use Bunnies for a kick set. They provide virtually no propulsion, and they make your legs sink to the bottom. It’s like trying to wear two soaking wet mops on your feet while you swim. It takes them an hour in the dryer just to dry out, and meanwhile I have to wear my PDFs around the house. Half a day of hanging out in the sun will dry the Bunnies out as well.
While they make terrible fins, Bunnies are comfortable when dry. At $9 per pair, I consider them a decent value.
You WANT the PDFs. You don’t want the Go Swim Bunny Slippers, trust me.