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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