Ready to kick your swimming performance up a notch?
The leg kick is estimated to contribute an average of 31% to swimming propulsion–a hefty amount. And that doesn’t take into account its positive effects on body position and technique– helping you to further cut down on drag in the water.
Needless to say, a kickboard can be a valuable tool to help develop your kicking speed, endurance, technique, and lower body strength, ultimately making you a faster swimmer.
In this article, I cover the best kickboards for swimmers and share some expert tips on using them to take your swimming to the next level.
Best Kickboards for Swimming: Power Up Your Kick, Ignite Your Swimming
Here are the best kickboards for swimming-
- TYR Kickboard
- FINIS Alignment Kickboard
- Sporti Adult Kickboard
- Sporti Junior Kickboard
- Sporti Hybrid Pull Buoy Kickboard
- Arena Kickboard
- Mizuno Kickboard
- Sporti Momentum Kickboard
- Dolfin Kickboard
Top Pick Overall
Swimmers on a Budget
TYR Kickboard- Top Overall
If your looking for simplicity, performance, and durability– the TYR Kickboard would be my top pick.
Quick Summary: The TYR Kickboard is the perfect kickboard featuring simplicity, performance, and durability for all swimmers. The kickboard has a traditional design and is constructed from highly-durable 2-inch close-cell EVA foam. Additional chlorine resistance ensures durability.
The TYR Kickboard features a durable 2-inch closed-cell EVA foam design, making it thicker and more sturdy than most other kickboards for swimming. Chlorine resistance further contributes to the durability of this kickboard.
The TYR Kickboard features the traditional swimming kickboard design allowing you to grip it wherever suits you best around the edges of the board.
The board measures 20×11.5″, packing the ideal size for most swimmers while providing enough surface area to enhance your body position during kicking sets.
- Material: EVA Foam
- Size: 20×11.5″
- Thickness: 2″
- Type: Traditional
FINIS Alignment Kickboard- Top Technical
The Alignment Kickboard is no ordinary kickboard. With its unconventional, sleek, and sturdy design, it poses to be more than just a kickboard–but rather a tool for technical swimming perfection. La perfection!
Quick Summary: The FINIS Alignment Kickboard is a state-of-the-art kickboard ideal for improving your technique and kicking. The kickboard is designed from durable chlorine-resistant foam and includes a hand strap for a comfortable grip. The board boasts improved body alignment, ease of use, and reduced shoulder pressure.
Packing a far smaller design than the TYR Kickboard, this board features a sturdy and hydrodynamic chlorine-resistant foam design and packs a stabilizing hand strap. That’s a mouthful!
So how exactly is this kickboard going to refine your swimming technique?
Firstly, its smaller, lightweight design floats just below the water surface. This urges you towards an ideal streamlined body position–one of the most critical factors for reducing drag in swimming.
Secondly, the board is effortless to control, providing a solution to the limitations of standard swimming kickboards. This board allows you to effortlessly do flip turns, underwaters, streamlines, and a variety of swimming drills in all of the swimming strokes.
As a bonus, the smaller, submerged design and stabilizing hand strap reduce the pressure on your shoulders.
This makes it perfect for anyone with previous shoulder issues–or in that case, any swimmer ever! We can all do with a break on our shoulders.
So whether you choose to use the atypical FINIS Alignment kickboard in isolation or in combination with standard style kickboards is entirely up to you.
Luckily with its compact design, you won’t have trouble loading it into your wet bag along with the rest of your arsenal of swimming equipment.
- Material: Sturdy foam
- Size: 12×13″
- Thickness: 3″
- Type: Arrowhead
Sporti Adult Kickboard- Top Budget
On a budget? No worries!
The Sporti Adult Kickboard is a high-quality kickboard perfect for most swimmers–and it comes with a budget-friendly price tag.
The kickboard features a traditional design and is made from 100% high-density EVA foam to maximize the durability of your swimming kickboard.
With its rounded edges allowing for a comfortable grip and its overall sleek, streamlined, and contoured design, this board will be perfect for your swimming training. Viva la kicking!
- Material: 100% High-Density EVA Foam
- Size: 18.5×11.4″
- Thickness: 1.3″
- Type: Traditional.
Sporti Junior Kickboard- Top Kids
Does little Sammy need a new kickboard?
Well, the Sporti Junior Kickboard will make an excellent fit–transforming little Sammy’s weeny kick into Sam’s mighty kick.
All jokes aside, the Sporti Junior Kickboard has a great overall design similar to the Sporti Adult Kickboard–the main difference being a smaller design ideal for toddlers and younger kids.
Additionally, it even packs a cheaper price as well! How’s that?
Features include rounded edges ensuring a comfortable grip, a sleek hydrodynamic and contoured design, and a high-density 100% EVA foam build for durability.
- Material: 100% high-density EVA foam
- Size: 13×9 5/8″
- Thickness: 1.25″
- Type: Traditional.
Sporti Hybrid Pull Buoy Kickboard- Top Hybrid
Our list wouldn’t be complete without one of these bad boys!
As the name suggests- the Sporti Hybrid Pull Buoy Kickboard is a combination between a kickboard and a pull buoy, allowing you to use it as either.
Quick Summary: The Sporti Hybrid Pull Buoy Kickboard is perfect for saving space and making the most of your swimming training, allowing you to use it as a kickboard and pull buoy. The hybrid has a functional and hydrodynamic design. Keep in mind that this design won't be ideal for all swimmers.
This hybrid features a hydrodynamic, comfortable, and durable design. It has a contoured channel replicating the design of a pull-buoy and a front grip so that you can use it as a kickboard as well.
The benefit of this hybrid is a more compact design with the need for less equipment in your wet bag. It also poses something different, keeping your training interesting.
Downsides? Some swimmers might find the hybrid design slightly too large for use as a pull buoy and, on the contrary, too small for use as a kickboard. That said, it depends on personal preference and will probably take some getting used to.
- Material: N/A
- Size: N/A
- Thickness: N/A
- Type: Hybrid
The Arena Kickboard is one of my favorite kickboards for swimming and one I use when training.
Quick Summary: The Arena Kickboard features the traditional kickboard design and focuses on functionality and performance. The kickboard is designed from 100% high-quality EVA foam and features grip holes for added comfort. This board is also slightly thinner. Still, it is very durable.
The board is designed using 100% high-quality EVA foam and packs a thinner 1-inch build. That said, even with the slimmer design, the board is still very durable and will last many swimming seasons.
The kickboard packs a traditional design with a hydrodynamic and streamlined construction.
One of my favorite features? Grip holes. This allows you to switch up your gripping positions on the board and generally provides a comfortable grip when kicking.
The Arena Kickboard features slightly smaller dimensions than other kickboards making it ideal for adults and younger swimmers.
- Material: 100% high-quality EVA foam
- Size: 16×11″
- Thickness: 1″
- Type: Traditional
With a premium look and feel, the Mizuno Kickboard is an excellent option for swimmers.
The Mizuno Kickboard is built for comfort and durability, with a modified EVA foam design taking responsibility for that.
This ensures a comfortable training experience–especially on longer kick sets. It also guarantees a kickboard that will last you a long time.
The board features a traditional design and is slightly thicker than the Arena Kickboard but also somewhat thinner than the TYR kickboard. This allows for a perfect in-between thickness of 1.6 inches, allowing for a sturdy and stable kickboard when training.
- Material: EVA Foam (modified for comfort and durability)
- Size: 18×11″
- Thickness: 1.6″
- Type: Traditional
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Sporti Momentum Premium Kickboard
With its streamlined arrowhead design, you’ll be slicing through the water like a warm knife through butter.
Okay, maybe not… More like a shark through the ocean!
Quick Summary: The Sporti Momentum Kickboard boasts a practical, hydrodynamic, and streamlined design. The kickboard features an arrowhead design and is built using dual EVA foam for durability. Furthermore, grip handles allow for added comfort.
The Sporti Momentum Premium kickboard features a dual EVA foam construction allowing for maximized durability. As already mentioned, it also has an arrowhead design, ensuring more hydrodynamics when kicking.
This board also features grip handles. However, unlike the Arena Kickboard, these are located on the sides of the board. Nevertheless, the gripping on this board is still very comfortable.
Overall, the Sporti Momentum is a high-quality kickboard that brings something different to the table for swimmers looking to switch things up or break away from the norm.
- Material: Dual EVA Foam
- Size: 19×12.5″
- Thickness: 1.1″
- Type: Arrowhead
Another great kickboard focused on simplicity, comfort, and performance is the Dolfin Kickboard.
With a thickness of 1.8 inches and a 100% EVA Foam design, the Dolfin Kickboard is built for longevity. Additionally, the thicker design contributes to the stability of the board.
The Dolfin kickboard has a soft foam design ensuring comfort. Furthermore, the traditional design allows you to grip the board however required.
The overall dimensions of the kickboard are almost precisely the same as the TYR Kickboard (my top pick), making this another excellent option for most swimmers.
- Material: 100% EVA Foam
- Size: 20×11.5″
- Thickness: 1.8″
- Type: Traditional
Pro tip: Doing some light kicking with a kickboard as part of your cool-down or recovery sets can be a great way to loosen up your legs, especially if the set was a kicking set!
How to Pick The Perfect Kickboard for Swimming
Below are a few factors to consider when choosing your ideal kickboard for swimming.
Our article covers 3 of the main types of kickboards, namely the traditional-, arrowhead, and hybrid design.
Traditional type kickboards are the most popular among swimmers for the straightforward reason that they are simple, effective, durable, and easy to use.
Arrowhead kickboards are similar to traditional kickboards in many ways but offer a more hydrodynamic design, allowing for faster kicking (in theory, at least). They may also have different contours and gripping points, allowing for more comfort.
Hybrid pull-buoy kickboard types aren’t as popular. Still, they may have their place in your wet bag, especially if you frequently and quickly need to switch between pulling and kicking or if you’re looking to save some space. Or if you simply want to stand out on the pool deck.
The size of the kickboard is crucial as it needs to be comfortable for you to grip and hold on to. If it’s too small, it will be challenging to hold on to, and if it’s too big, it will be a pain to maneuver.
Most kickboards are about the same size, while some may be slightly bigger and others marginally smaller. However, the size won’t be a significant factor for most swimmers.
Toddlers may opt for a kid-sized kickboard, but many young swimmers will also be fine with adult-size kickboards. On the contrary, adult’s looking for a smaller design can also use kid-sized kickboards.
It’s all about finding what’s comfortable and ideal for you to use when swimming.
Some kickboards may offer gripping positions while others don’t.
Grips may make the board easier and more comfortable to hold than boards without clear, gripping areas.
That said, some swimming coaches believe that a kickboard shouldn’t have any gripping holes and is meant to be held at the back of the board or the front.
The material of the kickboard is also vital as it needs to be durable and long-lasting. You don’t want a kickboard that will fall apart after a few uses.
Ideally, you want a kickboard made of EVA foam or a similar material. This material is durable and will last you a long time.
Luckily, all of the boards on our list fall into this category.
The thickness of the kickboard is also essential as it needs to be sturdy and stable. You don’t want a kickboard that will wobble around when you use it.
Ideally, you want a kickboard around at least one inch thick. This will be sturdy and stable while also being comfortable to use.
If you wish to increase the stability and durability of your kickboard, you may opt for a thicker design. However, remember that this may make the board less comfortable to grip.
How to Use a Kickboard for Swimming: The Bare-Bone Basics
Using a kickboard is relatively simple, and most swimmers already know how to use one. In case you don’t, here are a few quick pointers-
How to use a kickboard for swimming-
- Grip the kickboard on the front, sides, back, or gripping holes if your board features those.
- Extend your arms in front of you so that they are straight.
- Go into a proper body position with your head, upper back, hips, and heels aligned in a relatively straight line.
- When you kick, keep your feet under the water as far as possible and kick from your hips, core, and thighs and not from your knees.
- Also, keep your head still when kicking with your kickboard.
Drills with a Kickboard for Swimming
Below are some great drills you can do with your kickboard to further improve your swimming and kicking technique.
This is a simple kickboard drill to increase your resistance in the water and make kicking significantly harder. Ultimately, this helps build a strong kick and powerful legs.
To perform this drill, grab your kickboard on the sides and hold it upright in the water to create a tombstone shape. Then start kicking as normal. The deeper you position the board in the water, the harder the drill becomes.
Backstroke Kicking Drill
This drill will help perfect and refine your backstroke kicking technique. In case you don’t know, your knees should stay under the water at all times when kicking backstroke–and that’s what this drill reinforces.
To perform, go onto your back and hold your kickboard above your knees. Then kick backstroke as normal while making sure that your knees stop just underneath the kickboard and don’t break the water surface.
Catch-Up Freestyle Drill
The catch-up freestyle drill is a great all-around freestyle drill to improve freestyle technique, rotation, glide, kicking, body alignment, and more. Fortunately, there is also a kickboard variation of this drill.
To perform this drill, kick freestyle as normal using your kickboard. Then while keeping one hand on the kickboard, take a stroke with the other. Make sure to maintain your body alignment when taking a stroke, with the exception of allowing your body to rotate as you take the stroke.
Then as you complete the stroke, tap your hand on your kickboard and repeat on the other side.
Speed Play Kicking Drill
The speed play kicking drill is a great way to develop your kicking speed and train short bursts of powerful kicking.
To perform this drill, go into the standard kicking position using your kickboard. Then alternate between fast kicking and easy kicking. For example, you can do 10 fast kicks and then do 10 easy kicks. Alternatively, you can kick fast for 5 meters, then kick easy for 10 meters and repeat that throughout a length.
As you progress with this drill, gradually reduce the number of easy kicks and increase the number of fast kicks.
This drill is meant to be done in short distances, say 2-4 lengths at most, as the emphasis is on kicking speed and technique, not endurance.
Kickboard Hug Recovery Drill
This is a fun drill you can do with your kickboard after a tough set. It has no other real purpose than helping you loosen up, grab a breath, and recover after giving it your all.
To do this drill, start on your back and place your kickboard on your chest. Then cross your arms over your kickboard in a “hugging” position. This will help keep your upper body afloat without the need for the arm-movement or a streamlined position.
Once in the position, perform a gentle flutter kick using your hips and glutes. Perform a few lengths while breathing deeply to recover for your next set.
Kicking Sets with a Kickboard for Swimming
Perform a proper warmup before doing these kicking sets.
When doing any hypoxic set, always ensure that there are lifeguards or coaches around.
Set 1: Endurance (3 Rounds)
- 300 Kick w/ board and fins, 15 seconds rest
- 6x50s Kick on 0:45/ 0:50
- 100 Kickboard hug recovery drill
- 1 Minute rest between rounds
Set 2: Hypoxic (2 Rounds)
- 400 Kick w/ board and snorkel, 20 seconds rest
- 4x25s Underwater Kick w/ fins on 0:45
- 4x25s Kick w/ board, only one breath / 25 on 0:50
- 2 Minutes rest between rounds
Set 3: Speed (4 Rounds)
- 200 Speed play kick drill w/ board
- 8x25s Kick blast w/ fins on 0:30
- 2x50s Kick for time w/ board and snorkel on 1:15
- 1.5 Minutes rest between rounds
Time to Rev Your Swimming Kickboard and Take Her for a Spin!
Start your engines! And away they go!
Now that you’ve selected your next kickboard for swimming, it’s time to get on the track–I mean in the pool, and take her for a spin!
So whether you are a beginner or an expert swimmer, a kickboard is a great piece of equipment to improve your swimming.