I have had my eye on the FINIS Strapless Agility Paddles since they first came out and have been anxious to give them a try. I recently got a pair from the good folks at AquaGear.com and have been using them over the past few weeks.
First of all, if you haven't seen them in person, these are COOL looking paddles! They are molded from transparent yellow plastic and look very "futuristic".
The paddles I have always used have all had some type of rubber or silicone strap. After a while in the chlorine filled pool, the straps tend to break down and come apart. The Agility paddles have taken care of that problem by eliminating the straps all together. Instead of straps that go over your fingers or wrist, there is a single thumb hole in each paddle. You may wonder, how do they stay on? The paddles are designed to teach correct "palm positive" position for every stroke and will only stay on when you apply pressure by pulling your hands through the water. If you glide too long or if your hands are not in the right position, the paddles will twist or come off. They take some getting used to (especially on the recovery), but after a while they felt very natural to me.
The paddles can be used for all four strokes (Back, Breast, Fly and Free). Although I am almost exclusively a freestyler, I do work other strokes into my workouts. Typially I do not use paddles for any of the other strokes, but I found that I like the Agility paddles a lot for backstroke. I also liked the paddles one-arm butterfly (regular butterfly with paddles is too tough on my shoulders).
Another advantage of these paddles over the strap variety is that they can be taken off very quickly if you are switching between pull and swim sets on a tight interval.
My only minor complaint is that the thumb holes were a little rough on the edges. This should be easily fixed by using a file to get rid of the ridges.
Overall, I like these paddles quite a bit and would recommend them to other swimmers without hesitation. You can pick up a pair at AquaGear.com for $19.95.