Swim like a Fish with Darkfin Webbed Gloves - ITS Tactical

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Swim like a Fish with Darkfin Webbed Gloves

By Bryan Black

Darkfin GlovesWhen I first saw the Darkfin Gloves featured on the members-only discount website, Huckberry, I knew I had to try them out. As an avid swimmer and all around water enthusiast, I wanted to see if the increased surface area would translate into faster speed in the water.

I try to swim in open water whenever possible, but lately many of my swim days are limited to swimming laps. That being said, I headed to the pool to see how the Darkfin Gloves would perform.

Darkfin Gloves

Made in the USA from natural latex rubber, the seamless design of the Darkfin Gloves utilizes no adhesives, so bonding is permanent. They also feature cotton-flocked surfaces for enhanced grip and form fitting cuffs. I haven’t found any “stretching out” of the cuff thus far in the ten or so times I’ve used them for hour-long swim sessions.

Darkfin GlovesThe first thing I did when putting on the gloves was to get the gloves and my hands wet. They come dusted with food-grade corn starch for easy donning in a non-water environment such as sky diving, but for water, they recommend submerging the glove to don them.

After jumping into the deep end of the pool at my gym, I treaded water for about 10 minutes and found that I was treading with decreased effort and able to keep myself further out of the water if I wanted. I wish I could have used these for The Tread during 2nd Phase at BUD/s while I was in the Navy, it was an evolution where you were required to tread water for 5 minutes with twin 80 SCUBA tanks on your back and your hands out of the water. Although, just using hands would have made that more enjoyable. I didn’t pass it until my third try out of four possible attempts.

Something mentioned in the Darkfin instructions and literature is that the gloves will NOT make you a better swimmer and that they’ll cause muscle fatigue in people who do not possess the necessary upper body strength to support the additional resistance created.

While I found the first statement to be true, I somewhat disagree with the last one. I certainly didn’t expect them to make me a better swimmer, but the muscle fatigue will come for anyone that isn’t already integrating resistance training into their swim routine, i.e., me.

I felt the use of the Darkfin Gloves in my shoulders after swimming laps with them, but it wasn’t a lasting soreness. Not using paddles or any resistance in lap swimming for a long time, contributed to the soreness, yet it wasn’t for a lack of upper body strength.

Time and Stroke Decrease

Here’s a look at the typical difference I’m seeing in my stroke count and lap time moving at a moderate pace through the water on a 25 yard lap.

  • Without Darkfin Gloves – 00:57:93 / 21 strokes / 25 yds.
  • With Darkfin Gloves – 00:54:91 / 17 strokes / 25 yds.

I’m anxious to try the Darkfin Gloves out with other activities such as open water swimming, sky diving and scuba diving. Although, since there’s not much in the way of paddling done while scuba diving other than treading water, they may be more of a hinderance than a help. More to follow!

You can pick up the Darkfin Gloves directly from http://www.darkfingloves.com/

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  • jaw

    We just used socks .

  • Virius

    I am really considering buying either the webbed ones or even just the regular ones. I go underwater spear fishing a lot and it would be nice to get down deeper faster with the extra help.

    Do you think you would be able to shoot a pistol type grip pretty easily, with the webbed ones? It says on the website that you can cut the fingers off to make them fingerless gloves but I think that would kind of defeat the purpose of having the protection of the material. Any thoughts?

  • Richard Childers

    You keep droppin’ dark hints about your time as a SEAL.

    Let’s hear more about why you are no longer in the military.

    And – how many passports do you have, by the way? You mentioned something about serving in the IDF, too.

    Just curious.

    • Actually, I make references to my time in the Navy and at BUD/s, not being a SEAL. I add my experience into what I write about, both successes and failures. I don’t hide behind the computer, you can read my bio right here http://www.itstactical.com/the-its-tactical-crew/ and why I’m not in the military any longer. I also have one passport buddy and don’t appreciate the accusations. You’re mistaken about me being in the IDF. We have had a contributor that was in the IDF though, that’s probably what you’re remembering.

    • Nigel Hunter

      Good, gracious repsonse, Bro.

    • Vespuccio

      Mr. Childers,
      I was wondering what girl scout troop you have been attached to and how long it took you to get your first vagina badge? Also how many pass ports do you take with you when traveling from state to state. Tell me Mr. Bond, do you take as much pleasure in killing as I do? I personally served with the GFY.

      Alpha Mike Foxtrot

  • I would just use the hand paddles, they work great and are easy to use.

    • This is just an alternative Eric and a good one to bulky paddles. I agree paddles are easy to use, but they can be unwieldy and bulky.

  • I saw this first as a facebook ad, and was skeptical. But seeing it here on ITS brings some legitimacy to it, and now I’m interested again. Thanks for posting!

  • Lee

    I always considered buying these gloves. They look cool but I was unsure of the performance. It would be interesting to see the changes in mobility in the water with fins on as well. I would assume that you could maneuver better underwater. I like to use my hands more than most while diving, either for working around objects, or when turning. How strong is the construction of the gloves?

    • From what I can tell Lee the construction is very good. Something I neglected to mention in the article is that they recommend you store them with something in the cuffs, as in the heat the rubber sticks together a little bit. Not to the point of damaging the rubber though. I like the cotton-flocking they use to increase the grip.

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