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Painful Monofins

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jul 6, 2004
I have searched previous threads about monfins and understand that different monofins will give you different levels of comfort and performance but I need to know just how uncomfortable they should be.

I recently bought a Specialfins Dolphin and have had trouble getting the sizing right, on my second attempt Jyri graciously sent me another in a larger size but when I wear it for 10 mins (in the water) they become extremely uncomfortable and the nail bed of my big toes go purple, I still think they are too tight and I don't even have room for booties yet! :waterwork

Judging from discussions in previous threads it sounds like this particular style of footpocket is slightly uncomfortable anyway but how much is too much? Does anyone else have the same 'chinese footbinding' sensations, is this normal?
I've never tried monofins before but maybe you can try to use the same remedy I did with my regular fins. I either heat up the foot pockets with the sun or a hair dryer and then insert a plastic drinking tumbler in it. I've seen my buddies put spaghetti sauce bottle in theirs. This would loosen up the pockets for those divers blessed with wide feet. Hope this helps.
Hi Aquosus,
hey another Aussie !

Do you have Omer style footpockets or are they conventional monofin style pockets ?

Do you use any socks at all ?
Most finswimmers use 2mm half socks which just go on on the front of the foot. If you don't use these it's killer on the toes. If you have an old neoprene sock for long fins, then just cut them in half will work fine. I have a WaterWay fin and the footpockets get uncomfortable after about 10 minutes of wearing them. In general conventional Monofin footpockets aren't intended to be used for long periods of time. They should fit tight. When I trained with the finswimming club we would only wear them 10-15 minutes at a time. Then we took them off and used a kickboard to get the blood back into the feet. :t

I have heard the specialfins footpockets are a lot better then the WW ones so perhaps the sizing you have is still not quite right. But if you get too big a size it can almost be worse ie movement and rubbing on the toes.

G'day Wal,

I have you to thank for referring me to this site! (via www.extremesprearfishing.com.au )

My Dolphin has the conventional open heel footpockets. I am able to squeeze into them wearing a pair of 4mm Cressi soft soled bootie socks, this makes it more comfortable for my toes but the real killer is the band around the back of my heel, it is really tight on my hamstrings and I'm worried about causing some damage to them.

I have arranged to have a larger size sent over to compare but I wonder if I should just go for the OMER footpockets....Would I be able to wear them for longer than 10 mins?

G'day Aquosus,

The OMER footpockets are just like using regular fins, you should be able to wear them for hours at a time. (That is if the normal OMER longfins are a good fit for you). They are heavier and I don't think they perform as well for doing something like dynamics. For depth diving and just fun diving in the ocean they are a lot more convienent. Comfort wise they should be heaps better.

A few ideas:
-4 mm socks are pretty thick. It might be that your foot is not all the way in and thus the heels are giving you trouble (mine would not even go on with 4mm socks)

-In my experience a mono is "supposed" to feel a bit thight the first few times you use it. But if you use it regularly your feet will be accustomed to it eventually. If I don't use mine for a while, then it will ache in 10 minutes. But "mid season" I can wear it for hours.

-In the pool, I usually just put some tape on my toes to prevent blistering, no socks. If the water is warm enough you might try this. A lot of people use socks that cover just the tip of the foot (toes). In open water I use 2 mm socks. I've seen people cut off the tip of the sock, wearing the tip on their toes and the rest of the sock on the OUTSIDE of the footpocket. Looks silly, but works (or so I've been told)

-Of course if every session is sheer agony, you really just might have one that is too small, but these are a few things worth trying.
Thanks for all of your advice..
I will try using less neoprene next time, the discomfort I felt when trying it the the first time wasn't enough to deter me from the awesome ride, I'll either get used to it with time or try the different footpocket style.

It's funny, I don't want to sound to corny but it brought back a memory of the story of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. In the story the mermaid makes a deal with the sea hag and she swallows a potion which will give her a pair of legs instead of her tail but every step she takes with her new legs is like walking on knives. OK so it's not quite that extreme but it is interesting the trade-offs we will make for something we love..
Hi Aquosus,

A couple of month's on, what sort of pocket did you end up getting and how do your feet go in it? How long would you wear them in a session? I'm thinking about getting a monofin but the price is a killer and I want to get it right first time!

Hey Benny,

Good questions, I should've reported earlier come to think of it...
I ended up getting the specialfins Dolphin with the standard 'open?' heel. My feet are pretty happy when I wear a 2&1/2 mm bootie but I can still only wear them for a good 15-20mins depending on how much work I'm doing.

I'm not sure exactly of the difference between the open heel and full foot pocket, I get the idea it has something to do with the fins response and power. If I were going to buy another monofin I would go for a sebakfins full foot pocket mono though, simply for comfort and length of wear.

Hope that helps,

Hey guys,

Haven´t really read your answers in full, but this is how it goes:

OMER-footpockets don´t belong on a monofin, if you are going for performance. The pocket is to loose and you will loose valueable power that will just get lost in friction between your foot and the pocket.

Using a tight footpocket like the WW will make the (almost) perfect contact from the foot to the fin.

Don´t use neoprene -your foot will move to much.
Use a plasticwrap around the foot with a little soap on it and it will be easier to get in the footpocket -it will wash of!

The perfect footpocket has not been made yet, but it is inside my head, so if anyone wants to bye the idea...

Peter P
Thanks Lisa. I think i'm leaning towards the open heel at the moment. My training usually involves having the fins on for about 20-25 minutes. To be honest I didn't know that Specialfins made an open-heel pocket. Now I have to toss up which of either Specialfins or Waterways.

Hey if you are coming to Sydney for Wal's course in November drop us a line on the extremespearfishing.com.au forum. I did it in August and it's well worth it.


ps. You're from Coffs right? I grew up near Port Macquarie. It's God's country up there!
Hi guys,

Thanks for your contribution Peter, I've give some of your techniques a try!

I'm all set for Wal's course in November, I'll be sure to PM you through e.s.f when I'm on my way down.



PS. Yes I'm from Coffs Harbour, recently declared a natural disaster area!
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