When choosing a mermaid tail for swimming, you will find several options, with a big difference in price. In this article we will talk about swimsuit fabric tails – made from nylon spandex. On the internet you can find spandex tails ranging in price from just over $100 to $350.
The reason for these prices is that, first, nylon-spandex fabric is quite expensive, and it takes at least 2 yards to make one basic tail. Second, the cost of the monofin is also expensive, and is included with your tail. Third, the mermaid tail store has to pay an expert to sew the tail well. All of these costs add up quickly.
But these costs are the same for everyone, so I cannot tell you why one place sells the same basic tail for close to $100 and another sells one for $350. I would guess that the former is selling the tails at a loss, or using very cheap labor and/or fabrics.
There are varying weights to the nylon-spandex fabric, as well as varying prints and colors. Spandex with shiny or metallic features on it cost quite a bit more. Heavier spandex is much better quality, and will last longer, and is also more expensive.
If you buy a spandex mermaid tail made out of thin fabric, it might wear holes in it somewhat quickly. The holes wear out in the fluke area (the end of the tail). That is where the monofin is, and where you are most likely to stand up in the water, or push off from the edge of a concrete pool. It is where the most wear and friction occurs. My first summer in a tail, I had thin, metallic fabric. I swam 2-3 times a week in a pool. By the end of the summer I had small holes in the fabric at the bottom of my fluke.
Note: Never, ever stand up or hop in your tail on dry ground. This is very dangerous and will certainly wear holes in your tail very quickly, no matter what it is made of.
Also, from the very first time you swim, if you stand up in the tail (in the water), push off the concrete, etc., you can expect some rubbing and wearing off of the metallic in certain places on the bottom of the fluke. Even though this occurs the tail still looks beautiful in the water, so this wear is not too noticeable. If you are very careful and don’t swim more than 2-3 times a week, your thin spandex tail will last you for more than one season. Of course, heavier, thicker fabric tails will last longer.
Many swimmers, however, don’t mind the wear and want a new tail color every summer anyway. So some of the mermaid tail stores offer a replacement tail skin, basically a new tail without the monofin. You can order a new colored tail every time the other one wears out, simply switching your monofin from the old tail to the new one. These tail skins are not too expensive, less than $100. (Many bikinis cost more than a $100!)
Caring for the spandex tail is quite easy. You don’t ever have to remove the monofin. After each swim, simply rinse the tail out well to clean out the chlorine or salt water. It will drip a lot after this rinsing, so it’s best to drape it in the bathtub or outside to drip dry. After it is done dripping, you can lay it flat to finish drying. If you want to wash it with soap, simply hand-wash it in the bathtub and rinse well.
In subsequent articles I will write about buying neoprene and silicone mermaid swim tails.