essential swimming equipment for beginners in 2023

Do you think that swimming equipment is expensive?


Dive into our ultimate budget-friendly guide to the world of basic swimming gear for beginners to kick-start your journey.
By Maria Rezhylo
3x World record holder in swimming & swim school owner
Mar. 9, 2023

Swimming equipment for beginners

Trust me, you don't need a lot to start your journey! The following list includes essential swim equipment and some optional equipment for beginners.
  • Swimming goggles
    The key to choosing your perfect beginner swimming goggles is finding the best fit for your face.

    All the models you'll find on the internet have adjustable nose pieces that can be easily switched. In addition, you can make the strap looser or tighter, depending on your preference.

    And think about the facility that you'll be swimming at! If it's bright or sunny, you should consider getting mirrored goggles for the comfort of your eyes.

    Many of my clients use the generic brand model from the picture. You can find them on Amazon. In most cases, they work just fine!
  • Swimming cap
    There are 3 most popular swim caps: latex, silicone, and lycra. How to know which one is your best fit:

    1. Latex is the least durable but light in comparison to silicone. Pros: they are cheap and work better in warmer environments. Cons: prepare to buy 10 of them because they don't last long.
    2. Silicone caps are by far one of the most popular on the market. Pros: durable, elastic, slick fit. Cons: tend to be slightly more expensive.
    3. Lycra caps are commonly used by recreational swimmers. Professional swimmers use them as an "under cap". Pros: durable, comfortable to wear, come in various sizes. Cons: a little more expensive than silicone and latex.
    I recommend getting a silicone or lycra off-brand swimming cap for beginners. That way, you'll save money and won't worry about ripping it.
  • Kickboard
    You can't underestimate the importance of a kickboard, especially when you are just starting your journey. You'll be working on your kick's mechanics, endurance, and strength, so a kickboard will come in handy. It's also an excellent addition for an easy cool-down kick.

    There are a lot of options on the market. For beginners, I wouldn't recommend anything branded and pricey. Practically, all the kickboards are the same and get the job done.

    My personal preference is a kickboard with holes for hands. That will allow you to rest your hands and fully focus on building that kick!
  • Pull buoy
    While everyone is familiar with a kickboard, pull buoy is one of the least popular pieces of equipment among beginners. Let me explain the purpose of it.

    Pull buoy is another type of board that you place between your legs. It'll lift your hips and legs to the water's surface. With pull buoy, you can work on your body position and pull strength without using your legs. It's essential equipment for those looking to go beyond basics and swim for fitness.

    As always, search for an off-brand pull buoy on the market. There are tons of options available in 2022.
  • Fins
    Ah, ask any swimmer what their favorite piece of the swim gear. I can bet it's fins! Everyone loves them because they make your swimming (read: life) easier.

    That's where it'll get a bit more expensive. Arena Powerfin is arguably one of the best models for beginners and advanced swimmers. The open heel ensures the best ankle flexibility possible. That is a crucial technical aspect of an efficient kick!

    You can opt out of buying Arena's model and get any other cheaper option. But I highly recommend investing in Arena Powerfin! You won't regret it.
  • Paddles
    Paddles are a piece of optional equipment for those looking to swim long-term. You might think, "Well, why do I need a piece of plastic on my hands?" That's a simple one to answer.

    Paddles on your hands create additional resistance when you pull. With paddles, you can develop upper-body strength and, ultimately, increase the distance per each pull you make. Your ultimate goal should be swimming efficiently and stronger, taking fewer strokes.

    My personal favorite is the paddles from the picture. You can purchase them right here. Those paddles are by far the most comfortable to wear.
  • Snorkel
    Let me say right away: swimming snorkel is not the same as scuba diving snorkel. The one you use on the beach won't work for swimming laps. But it's also a more intermediate equipment category that you can skip.

    Why get a snorkel? It's a perfect addition to your swimming journey. Snorkel ensures that you keep the proper head position. With it, you can work on your swimming technique while maintaining a correct body position.

    My personal favorite is Finis Original Swimming Snorkel. I've tried multiple models from MP, Speedo, and Arena and found that Finis' one works the best for me.

  • Mesh bag
    If you went far into investing in swimming equipment, you probably ran into a problem carrying it. What do if you don't want to put your wet equipment into a bag? Mesh bag is your solution!

    Typically, mesh bags range from $7 to $20, depending on the brand. It saves a lot of effort and frustration in carrying all of your equipment. All of them are pretty durable and last at least a few years. Plenty of models have additional pockets for your goggles, caps, and other little things.

    A must-have if you have more than one piece of equipment!
  • Earplugs
    I struggled with the swimmer's ear for most of my career, so I get it. It's just not fun to get ear pain after a few swims. Purchase earplugs and forget about it!

    After many trials and errors in searching for a perfect earplug model, I found Mack's AquaBlock. This model is the only one that truly prevents the water from entering your ears. These are inexpensive earplugs in comparison to fancier ones that Speedo or Arena makes. Bonus: for $10 you get a pack of 3 pairs.

    Can't beat that!
  • Fitness tracker
    There are plenty of cost-friendly devices for those looking to measure the calories spent during swimming. Best of all, you get to track your progress.

    Fitbit Versa 2 is probably one of the best products regarding price to quality ratio. It has a slick design, a durable battery, and enough fitness features for a beginner swimmer.

    Bonus: you get to track any other additional physical activities besides swimming. So really, you're investing in your overall fitness journey.
Related articles
Basic Swimming Tips — 12 tips From Pro Swimmers | Fast Swim Academy
1. Get swimming equipment, 2. Warm up, 3. Learn how to breathe, 4. Work on body position, 5. Build a strong kick, 6. Learn to relax, 7. Explore different strokes, 8. Focus, 9. Stretch, 10. Fuel, 11. Hydrate, 12. Rest

Now it's your turn! What's your favorite piece of swimming equipment?

Let me know in the comments below!