Scuba diving is a thrilling sport that makes you one with the sea, but inferior or poorly fitted rental equipment can put a serious damper on the activity. Blisters, cramped toes, and cramps are just a few of the adverse side effects of mediocre fins. Meanwhile, a solid personal pair of underwater footwear means more minutes swimming with the fish and less time curing foot pain.
Wondering what the best scuba diving fins on the market are? We’ve put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to scuba fins to help you acquire the best possible pair. Take your time to explore the following products and features of scuba fins before making a purchase. Happy scuba diving!
Read along to learn more about what considerations to make before making a pair of scuba diving fins.
Full Foot vs. Open Heel
The type of foot pocket you choose is extremely important. Typically, fins have either a full foot or open heel foot pockets. Full foot pockets tend to be lightweight and are not worn with booties. When it comes to full pocket shoe pockets, users must purchase their precise shoe size to ensure they fit snuggly. Meanwhile, open heel foot pockets feature adjustable heel straps and are worn with sock-like booties. This style of foot pocket straps to your foot and can be adjusted length-wise. Whereas, it is important to scrutinize the width of the pocket.
Style of Blade
Scuba diving fin blades vary in style too. They can be split (like a propeller), paddle-shaped, or contain deep water circulation channels. Split fins are intended to minimize diver effort by circulating water in a centrifugal motion. Meanwhile, paddle fins utilize a diver’s downward thrust to create propulsion. In both cases, channels, vents, and wings help to redistribute water to reduce the fin’s drag. While old-fashioned paddle fins were often rigid, many of today’s fins feature flexible joints that reduce pressure on the ankles and legs.
Fins come in all different shapes and sizes. Just like shoes, what works well for one diver may not for another. To ensure a pair of fins is comfortable, consider the fit, material consistency, weight, and aerodynamic qualities. What’s more, consider how you will be using it and what type of conditions it should be expected to withstand. While many fins are made from thermo-resistant or flexible materials, those that are not may not handle harsh sun or rapid currents well.
So, some of the products we reviewed feature fabulous patterns and colorways. Before settling on neon pink fins or tiger striped foot pockets, think about the environment you will be diving in. Will bright colors attract predators or scare away sea creatures? These are important considerations that should probably outweigh your style preferences. Of course, if you don’t believe that it will be a problem, go for those flashy fins and neon dive suit!
If you’re buying your fins online, read through customer reviews to ensure that they are comfortable for long-term use. A common complaint about scuba diving fins is foot pockets with sharp protrusions. The slightest bit of excess material can feel like a mountain when trying to propel you forward. Ergonomic foot pockets are designed to embrace the natural curves and contours of the foot. Alternatively, many fins have flat bottoms with low-lying covers. For people with large feet, this is extremely detrimental.
While shoes are sold in pairs with complementary left and right styles, the vast majority of fins are designed to fit both feet. What’s more, some fins are even sold as singles, further complimenting the buying process. If you’re buying universally shaped fins, consider how your feet and legs will respond. The whole point of buying your own scuba diving fins is to increase your comfort not have you pleading to go barefoot.
The Apeks RK3 HD is a premium rubber fin with adjustable stainless steel spring straps. The blades are short and wide with a few lateral grooves to increase thrusts. They have a slight point at the end. There are also three slotted vents just beyond the toes. These help to circulate water beyond the fins and subsequently increase maneuverability. There is also a small oval-shaped vent on the toe-side tip of the fins. The straps are held in place with pairs of high-quality stainless steel nuts and bolts. Meanwhile, the custom-made spring-loaded strap features an ergonomic heel cup.
The fins come in four different colors, including black, orange, white, and yellow. Coordinate your fins with your other equipment and never misplace your gear again. These fins are designed to withstand harsh environmental factors. They won’t show signs of wear when scraped up against rough rocks, exposed to hot deck-side conditions, nor when used frequently.
The fins come in medium, large, and extra-large sizes. Customers should select their size based on their shoe size and the style of booties they wear. It is important to note that these do not come in small sizes. Due to the high price point, we recommend these for serious scuba divers. They are extremely durable and can withstand years of abuse. What’s more, the solid rubber foundation and stainless steel closures are made from high-quality materials.
The Scuba Pro Seawing Nova Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins boast a state of the art articulated joint that enables the blade to pivot to generate a ferocious downward thrust. With fewer kicks required for momentum, scuba divers can easily extend their personal endurance times and make the most out of expeditions. The blade also features a unique geometric surface pattern that consists of rivets and grooves that help circulate water. All this results in less drag and more thrust regardless of the angle of attack.
The entire fin is constructed from indestructible Durable Monprene®. The fins also feature upward-facing wings that increase the aerodynamic qualities of the footwear. The heel strap consists of a wide bungee. Meanwhile, the foot pocket features an extended heel plate. The fins come in seven different colors and five sizes, ranging from extra-small to extra-large.
The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus is a unique non-vented fin made from high-quality composite plastic. The fins have an outstanding flex and can generate a sizable thrust without weighing you down. While there are no cutout vents, the fins do feature depressed channels that help with water distribution and reduce drag. This is an open heel fin with a comfortable anatomical foot pocket.
The fins come in six high-contrast colorways. They come in small, regular, and extra-large sizes. They are held in place with a bungee heel strap. The strap is adjustable. The foot pockets are snug enough so that you can wear these beasts with or without booties.
We’d recommend these fantastic vent-free fins for refined divers who want a lightweight option with a premium strap. They are reasonably priced and feature some fun colorways to spice up your equipment. They are extremely durable and will last through countless scuba trips without showing any signs of wear or tear.
The Atomic Aquatics full foot split fins are bargain-rate performance fins with a stunning unique design. The over-the-heel foot pocket fits like a rubber boot and is around half the weight of fins with heel closures. The pocket features open toes and soft, flexible walls. Split fins are becoming more and more popular, as their unique design increases your thrust without asking for more power. The design works similarly to that of propellers, in that the combination of multiple blades creates a centrifugal movement of water.
The fins are made from a super lightweight multi-plastic composite material. They are extremely flexible and grippy. They come in solid black or a high contrast yellow and black colorway. Sizes are based on shoe sizes and cannot be adjusted. The smallest size is 4.5-5.5, while the largest is 12-14.
We recommend these fins for divers who are looking to conserve air and time by maximizing the efficiency of their thrust. While not all scuba divers are sold on split fins, they are a really fun and dynamic option. If you struggled with uncomfortable heel straps in the past, the whole foot pockets are yet another reason to check out these interesting fin alternatives.
These Cressi Adult Snorkeling & Scuba Diving Fins feature non-vented triple-layered blades. The pockets are made from thermo-rubber Elastomer, while the blade is made from Techno-Polymer Polypropylene. The foot pocket is computer-designed for a snug ergonomic fit. The top features channels that help maximize a diver’s energy expenditures. According to the manufacturer, layering three materials of varying densities results in a 20 percent increase in useful surface material.
These Italian-made fins seem to lack a certain aerodynamic quality. Nevertheless, they are extremely affordable. They also feature a unique triple-layered material technology that has yet to be explored by competing companies. We recommend these fins for divers on a budget who are looking to increase their performance stats.
The Tusa Hyflex Switch fins feature the one-of-a-kind PuRiMaX Polyurethane Blade System. These blades feature a pivoting joint that creates a water vortex. This helps to maximize thrust and performance. The fins also feature multi-compound foot pockets that efficiently transfer energy to the blades. The blade features a subtle arch and ergonomic channels for water distribution. Finally, the fins feature universal bungee heel straps. What’s more, the straps feature a pull tab for easy positioning.
The fins come in a wide range of color options, including white, yellow, blue, and red. Sizes range from extra-small to large with a 66 percent fitting accuracy rating. Overall, these fins hold up well in currents and other difficult conditions. They are extremely durable and can handle a solid beating too.
We recommend these fins for customers looking for professional scuba gear with maximum efficiency. The pivoting blades work well in all angles and conditions. The great colorways look nice in underwater films. What’s more, the vortex-generating system ensures divers use less air and muscle power when going the distance.
The Scubapro Jet Sport Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins feature vented performance blades. These fins are extremely affordable, pricing out under $100. The triple vents just below the toes help to efficiently circulate water and reduce drag. Meanwhile, the layered blades are lightweight and comfortable for hours on end. These fins also boast quick-release heel closures and ergonomic foot pockets.
We love that the Scubapro Jet Sport Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins come in six different colorways. What’s more, they come in seven sizes, ranging from extra-small to extra-large. They are extremely comfortable and easy to adjust.
We recommend these fins for scuba divers who don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend but still want to own their own equipment. They are a solid starter pair of performance fins that will last for a few years. They are a great option for beginner divers who want to feel out the waters before committing to an expensive equipment kit.
Aqua Lung Stratos 3 Full Foot Fins feature four deep channels to better circulate water along the blade. The fins are made from reinforced soft composite plastic and feature ergonomic foot pockets. They also feature raised side wings for increased stability. The manufacturer even included textured non-slip padding on the base of the fins, to improve stability and reduce falls on slippery surfaces.
While this fin has no vents, the deep circulation grooves help redistribute water. As such, these fins perform well in powerful currents as well as still water. They come in four different colors, including black, blue, orange, and yellow. Sizing is shoe specific.
Because of the low price point, we recommend these fins for snorkelers and divers who are looking for a little extra propulsion without having to break the bank. While the product may be somewhat heavy for beginners, it is buoyant enough that you can straddle the surface of the water with little effort. These fins are a great investment for frequent vacationers or snorkeling newbies.
The Seac F1S Scuba Diving Fins are lightweight minimally vented fins made from both hard and soft materials. The tip of the fin features deep grooves that help to disperse water and minimize drag. Meanwhile, the adjustable bungee heel strap system features anti-slip liner and a pull tab for easy ons and offs. The fins come in six fabulous colorways, with our favorites being white with teal highlights. These fins feature an extremely sporty look and perform well in harsh conditions.
We love that these fins feature a combination of both hard and soft materials. It feels as though you have maximum maneuverability, yet propulsion is made possible with very little movement. These products hold up to cold, heat, currents, and more. Meanwhile, they only weight just over 3 pounds.
We recommend these reasonably priced fins for professional or novice divers looking for a sporty replacement to common rentals. The foot pockets fit like socks and the adjustable heel strap never slips. The materials are extremely strong and do not falter in adverse water conditions. What’s more, they have a fun modern look that pairs well with gear. It is important to note that these fins are sold separately rather than in pairs.
Oceanic Manta Ray Open Heel Dive Fins feature a solid techno-polymer blade that the manufacturer compares to an animal bone. The blade has a slight curve in the center with flat pointed wings. The Rays boast the Power-X System, which is a flexible jointed system that maximizes thrust and minimizes drag. The fins also feature a soft padded heel strap that can be adjusted. The heel strap features a finger loop for easy ons and offs. There is also an EBA buckle adjustment system that enables custom fittings.
The Oceanic Manta Ray fins come in six different colorways. Sizes range from extra-small to extra-large. The unique design, with its deep center channel, helps to direct water flow and minimize diver demand.
As such, we recommend this higher priced pair of fins for experienced divers and snorkelers who want to improve their underwater traveling efficiency. The unique design helps reduce leg cramps, and the easy-to-adjust heel straps minimize chaffing and blisters.
After taking a look at several fantastic scuba diving fins, we’re confident you’ll be moving a little faster and smoother during your next underwater adventure. Not only that, but you can finally exempt yourself from the painful side effects of rented fins. We hope these products will give your feet a rest and help you channel your inner mermaid or merman.