tweaking swim fins

I’m interested in finding out what suggestions people might have for “tweaking” Viper V5 swim fins.  I’ve had a pair for a while and hadn’t noticed this problem until recently (probably b/c I’m now spending more time body surfing)… I think the way they were molded left the insides of the straps so they aren’t flat, and the imperfections are rubbing my ankles raw.  I tried wearing the neoprene socks, but fins are snug with my bare feet, so with the socks, the fins are too tight to be comfortable.    

I read a post that mentioned using a dremel tool to tweak the fins but I’d like to explore other possible options.  The same post may have also mentioned gluing neoprene onto the straps for padding, and that’s the direction I’m thinking of going in… any potential issues people have experienced?  What would be the best adhesive?  Something that would bond the neoprene to the rubber straps while staying flexible and not “melting” the rubber.  I talked to somebody at a surfshop who suggested the stuff used to patch wetsuits or shoe goo… any thoughts one way or the other?

I also have a pair of Churchill Makapu’us, but the straps are deteriorating and I think it’s a matter of time before the rubber gives out.  When that happens I can look into another pair of fins, but for the mean time, I’d like to get my Vipers so they are “comfy”.


Ah yes… me, I went to the ‘wear boots all the time, get the fins a size bigger’ trick, but try a little contact cement and a wee neoprene pad. Also, they make some thin ( 1mm?) rubber fin socks which might do the trick for ya.

Hope that’s of use

doc… love my UDT duck feet

Hey Doc… I appreciate the feedback.  I’m leaning towards the contact cement and neoprene suggestion… I tried looking for adhesives at a few places today with little luck.  Contact cement should stay flexible enough… just hope it holds to the rubber straps.  So I’m thinking a combination of what you suggested with the neoprene wrapping around the strap and using neoprene glue to adhere it to itself on the outside of the strap.  Maybe even throw in some stitching for good measure… I’ll see how it goes. 

I found that post I initially referred to… here’s the link and quote posted by Nico_SB in 10/07:

What Are The Best Fins For Body Surfing?

One tip for making them more comfortable is to fashion a heel pad out of neoprene (like an old wetsuit) and wrap it around the heel strap of the fins. Staple the ends and glue up the seam with heavy duty neoprene glue (it will take a couple of coats to get a good, long-lasting seal). This will save your ankles and heels from blisters and calluses. It will also give the fins a bit of a snugger fit so they can’t get ripped off your feet as easily during duckdives, underwater somersaults, trips over the falls, etc. 

I realize Sway's is all about DIY but there are are several commercially available fin pads that are relatively cheap.

 I use 'em on my UDT's are the ones I use myself.

Not only do they do some padding, they mean you don’t have to go though ‘damn, I had two fins just a minute ago…’


Hey Unclegrumpy and Doc… you guys are on to something.  When I initially posted, I didn’t know about the commercially available options… I’d seen tethers but hadn’t seen them combined with the heel pad.  For the money, I think it makes sense to go this route, which means I can pick up a pair in the next day or two and be back in the water.  My ankles are sure to be thanking me.  And I, in turn, thank you guys!