Kickboards for swimming come in many different shapes and sizes. Depending on your swimming goals there will be an optimum type of kickboard for your swimming style and goals.
When choosing a kickboard (also known as a swimming board or flutter board depending on where you are in the world) the first thing to know is that there are typically four different shapes.
- The Tombstone Kickboard
- The Pull Kickboard
- The Sprint Kickboard (Also known as “arrowhead”)
- The Alignment Kickboard
1. The Tombstone Kickboard
The Tombstone Kickboard, also known as the classic kickboard, is the most common type of swimming kickboard used.
It has a basic rectangular shape and is usually made from high-density foam or rubber to provide buoyancy while swimming.
This kickboard can be used for all types of swimming drills, such as kicking drills, buoyancy drills, and even balance drills.
2. The Pull Kickboard
This type of kickboard is designed to do two things:
- Act as a kickboard so you can hold onto it and work your legs.
- Act as a pull buoy, with a thin middle profile so you can place it between your legs like a pull buoy and work your arms.
3. The Sprint Kickboard
The Sprint Kickboard, or “arrowhead” kickboard, is the most versatile board in terms of shape and size.
This kickboard has a triangular shape which allows it to cut through the water easily when swimming. It can be used for a variety of drills, such as sprint drills, kick drills, and flip turns.
4. The Alignment Kickboard
The alignment kickboard is designed to help swimmers improve their technique and body position when swimming.
This kickboard has a curved shape that helps promote proper alignment in the water for a more efficient stroke. It’s also great for doing drills such as kick drills and stroke drills.
Which Kickboard Is Best?
Knowing your swimming style, and why you want a kickboard will help you to find the best kickboard.
My top recommended kickboard is the Speedo Adult Kickboard, a tombstone shape with hand cutouts.
It has enough buoyancy to use for drills, yet is not too large and bulky like some similar kickboard designs.
- Very comfortable
- Ergonomic design
- Hand grips for position changes
- Contoured for better performance
The 11 Best Kickboards For Swimming
Here are the 11 best kickboards for swimming. These are all top swimming kickboards.
1. SPEEDO Adult Kickboard
Top of my list is the Speedo Adult Kickboard. Being a great brand, Speedo uses high-quality materials that feel nice to hold and are not too bulky.
The streamlined profile of this kickboard is really good. The way Speedo has trimmed the two bottom corners really helps with gliding through the water and also makes it easier to fit in your swim bag.
Having the option of hand cut-outs is a big win for me. When doing drills it is important to feel comfortable with the board. The cut-outs make it easy to hold the board for certain drills and they provide a level of repeatability to your swim drills as your hands can always find the same position.
2. TYR Kickboard
This is a much larger kickboard than other models. It is long without any additional bells and whistles.
If you like a longer kickboard or are a beginner looking for a solid and sturdy kick float then this is a good option.
3. MARU Two Grip Fitness Kickboard
If you are looking for a shorter and wider kickboard then the Maru Two Grip Kickboard is a good option.
With hand grip cut-outs, this gives the kickboard a little more flexibility when used.
This float is much lighter than the Speedo Adult Kickboard, so could be a good option if you want a lighter and more compact kick float.
4. NO LABEL Swimming Kickboard
This is a very well-designed and versatile kickboard for swimmers who like the streamlined “arrowhead” design yet need a wider kickboard. The No Label Swimming Kickboard ticks a lot of boxes.
What I love about this kickboard is the multiple hand positions available. As well as having standard hand cut-outs, there is also the option of a narrower mid-section for those who like a narrow kickboard and then a wider section for those who like the option of a wider kickboard.
As a shorter swimmer with narrow shoulders, this works great for me but I can see this working for a taller swimmer with broad shoulders too. That is quite an achievement!
Overall it is a large kickboard, which offers good buoyancy.
5. SPEEDO Unisex-Adult Swim Training Kickboard
This is a kickboard that more advanced swimmers may prefer. The kickboard is thin in comparison to others in the same range, but for elite swimmers who are not as dependent on the level of buoyancy offered then this is not a concern.
The non-slip surface and side hand grips make this a very comfortable and effective kickboard.
Not the cheapest Speedo kickboard on the market, but for swimmers who want an ergonomic and comfortable tombstone kickboard, then this is a good option.
6. NO LABEL Swimming Float
This is another uniquely shaped kickboard from No Label. The “arrowhead” profile allows for multiple hand positions and the hand grips are a nice addition.
With this float, the hand grips are to the rear, which some swimmers will love, but others may find this position a little cumbersome as it can cause a little extra strain on the lower back since there is less buoyancy for your head. This is swimmer dependent and I am afraid there is no way to determine if you will love or hate this float until you try it.
The ingenuity and clever design of this float, with multiple hand positions and widths, gets a big thumbs up from me. As someone who likes to experiment with different swimming drills and hand positions, this works well.
Overall, even the small size kick float in this range is actually very large, so great buoyancy, but very large.
For the price and complex design, this is great value for money.
7. ZOGGS Kickboard
Zoggs is another great and dependable swimming brand. This kickboard is a wonderful design.
It is compact, yet has enough buoyancy to support a tall adult.
The “arrowhead” profile makes swimming with this kickboard super easy, and the hand holds are perfectly positioned.
If you are looking for a reliable and compact kickboard, this is a fantastic option.
8. ZOGGS Kickboard
This Zoggs kickboard is actually designed for kids, however, for good adult swimmers, this is a nice training aid.
If you are a good adult swimmer looking for a smaller and more compact kick float to help you with swimming drills or body position in the water, this kick float is a nice option.
The streamlined shape, smaller profile and handhold can work well for adult swimmers who are training and working on swimming technique.
If you are a beginner adult, then this is not the best shape and stick to the classic tombstone style such as the Speedo Adult Kickboard.
Alternatively, if you are an adult swimmer and want to grab onto a kick float to work your legs, avoid this as it does not have the same level of buoyancy as other kick floats.
9. FINIS Alignment Kickboard
For swimming technique and serious swim training, this is a wonderful kickfloat.
The idea behind this kickfloat is to help align the body to give a great streamlined position.
Unlike nearly all other kickboards, this kick float is not as bulky and cumbersome.
This item would not be recommended for beginners but for serious adult swimmers who want to work their leg muscles and build their swimming technique, this is a wonderful product.
10. ARENA Unisex Swimming Board | Pull & Kick
I have to be honest and say straight up that kickboards which double as pull buoys are hit-and-miss for me.
From all the designs on the market, I have found this Arena Unisex Swimming Board which doubles up as a kickboard and pull buoy one of the better designs.
The profile is versatile enough to work for a variety of swimmers as a pull buoy but many will not like the thick rails on the side of the kickboard.
Although there are cut-away parts in the profile to hold onto, it does not feel as comfortable and as streamlined as other kickboards on the market.
I appreciate the ingenuity of trying one design to do two tasks (kickboard and pull buoy) but you will either love or hate this profile.
11. 66FIT Swimming Kick Board Float
This kickboard from 66FIT is a straightforward kickboard with a nice profile and good buoyancy.
A great option for new swimmers and more experienced pros, this kickboard is comfortable, has a nice design and is great value for money.
All round, this is a good-looking and well-designed product.
Kickboards For Swimming – Frequently Asked Questions
Kickboards get mixed reviews from swimming coaches. Some swim teachers will not use kickboards for their adult swimming lessons as there is some debate on how good or bad they are for your lower back and neck strain.
As new swimmers are tense in the water, they tend to strain their back and neck when using a kickboard so it is important to be vigilant about this and stop using a kickboard if you feel any discomfort. [source]
For professional and elite swimmers, kickboards are a fundamental training aid that is used weekly.
So, are swimming kickboards a good idea?
Is Swimming With A Kickboard Good For You?
Swimming with a kickboard is an excellent way to improve your physical fitness and swimming technique. It helps to develop important muscles in the arms, shoulders, and core, thereby increasing overall strength and stability.
Kickboards also allow swimmers to focus specifically on their kicking form and power, as well as increase their endurance.
Additionally, using a kickboard can help swimmers learn new swimming strokes, as it helps them focus on the technique of each stroke and build up the muscle memory needed to master it.
In short, using a kickboard is an excellent way to get a great workout while also improving your swimming technique. With regular use, you will notice a difference in your speed and endurance when you hit the pool.
To learn more about the pros and cons of using a kickboard I have covered this in greater detail in this article.
Will A Kickboard Tone Legs?
Yes, kickboards can tone legs when used as part of a swimming routine.
When using the kickboard to swim, you target your leg muscles and help strengthen them over time.
Using a kickboard is a great way to work out your lower body without putting too much strain on it. Additionally, using a kickboard can improve posture and balance due to its ability to build core strength in the stomach and back muscles. With regular use, a kickboard can help tone and shape your legs for a leaner look.
How Do I Choose A Kickboard For Swimming?
When choosing a kickboard for swimming, it is important to consider the size, material, and shape of the board.
The size should be appropriate for your body type and swimming style; a board that is too large or small will make it difficult to swim efficiently.
The material should be sturdy enough to withstand regular use in the water.
Also, look for a board with a shape that allows you to rest your arms comfortably while you swim.
Finally, consider your swimming style. If you are a beginner then buoyancy is the most aspect of a kickboard. If you are an experienced swimmer looking to improve your technique then the shape and profile of the kickboard are more important.
When you swim with a kickboard it should feel comfortable. You should never feel strained or forced into a body position that puts pressure on your back or neck.
What Is The Best Kickboard For Swimming?
My top all round pick for a good kickboard is the Speedo Adult Kickboard. A nice design with good buoyancy, this kickboard with hand cut-outs is a great training aid.
- Very comfortable
- Ergonomic design
- Hand grips for position changes
- Contoured for better performance