Scuba fins: they allow you to glide seamlessly through the water on your dives; without them you’re likely to flail about like a drunken octopus (that’s missing several tentacles).
If you’re looking to buy your first pair of scuba fins – or upgrade from your beginners pair to those more suitable of a more seasoned diver; read on.
Here’s your first piece of free advice: the best fins for scuba diving are open-heel because they’re easy to take on and off; which is handy when you’re wearing heavy dive gear.
Open-heel fins can also accommodate dive boots, which are often necessary as temperature quickly drops when you’re diving.
Sure, you may have dived with closed-heel fins if you’ve rented equipment at a dive centre before; they’ll do the trick but they’re really more suited to snorkeling.
Next piece of advice! Like any piece of scuba diving gear, dive fins vary in price a lot; the more expensive options generally have more specialised features and/or higher quality materials.
For example, an awesome feature seen in some dive fins is spring heel straps; which adjust to pressure changes by loosening or tightening on their own to provide an-ever consistent fit.
As well as scuba diving fins in classic styles there’s also some pretty out-there designs on the market today. But are they worth the hype? And why do some people rip on split fins so much?!
To answer all these questions and more, we at Diving Squad have throughly reviewed our own scuba fins, interviewed other divers about theirs and even included a few online research summaries of scuba fins we don’t yet have but which are high on our wish-lists!
Tusa are a respected dive equipment manufacturer, having been around since the 50’s. They’re renowned for creating comfortable, high quality scuba diving gear in vibrant colours.
Enter the Tusa SF-22 Solla fins! These open heel fins are easy to get on and off whilst the patented EZ strap & buckle system allow effortless adjustment, even whilst being worn.
The bungee spring strap is specially shaped to offer a balance of flexibility and control which together with the anatomically designed foot pocket provides superior comfort, with reduced heel slippage.
These scuba diving fins incorporate ForcElast technology: a proprietary thermoplastic elastomer compound that delivers superb propulsion and speed, with only moderate output.
Also, Tusa’s patented 20 degree angled blade design, combined with each blade’s three channels, ensures maximum efficiency throughout the kicking cycle.
Because of this, the Tusa Solla fins provide a lot of power, meaning they work well even for weaker swimmers.
They also offer extremely good value for money, being more affordable than many other models of beginner’s scuba diving fins.
If you’re a beginner looking for high performing and easy to use scuba diving fins at a reasonable price point, the Tusa Solla are our number one recommendation!
RK3 fins have been the standard gear issued to US military, special ops, coast guard and public safety divers for decades now.
These robust tech fins are also superb for recreational divers thanks to their reliability, ruggedness and high performance.
The blades are made of a durable thermoplastic rubber material that holds up in even the coldest environments and is capable of withstanding extreme abuse.
Being fairly short also makes these fins excellent for use in confined spaces such as wrecks and caves.
The Apeks RK3s feature spring heel straps which compress and contract with changing pressure caused by depth – this ensures a comfortable and consistent fit during all parts of the dives.
The Mares Avanti are a long running and well known line of scuba diving fins.
Because of their comfort and ease of use, they’re extremely popular with dive shops as rental equipment, which lends testimony to their reliability.
The newest model of Mares Avanti fins: the Quattro Plus have four channel grooves to optimise thrust angle. They also have stabilising trim tabs to enhance strength for improved kicking motion.
As well as this, the blades are lighter and softer compared to previous models, meaning less strain is put on the calf muscles.
These features, combined with an ergonomic and comfortable foot pocket means the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus fins provide an excellent job of transferring energy from the foot pocket to the fin blade.
The end result is that these comfortable and attractive fins provide more power with less effort.
The simple bungee spring strap makes for easy donning and doffing– it also features a large finger loop to make pulling it back effortless. Because it’s a spring strap, it automatically adjusts to changes in pressure!
Available in a range of colours, the main offset of the Quattro Plus fins is that they’re pricier than other fins, but as far as simplicity and comfort are concerned, they’re some of the highest quality scuba diving fins on the market.
Lightweight, simple and comfortable, AquaLung Stratos ADJ fins shorter than most dive fins which makes them great for frog-kicking and use in tight spaces such as shipwrecks and caves.
An elasticated membrane stretches over the blades which stores and releases power allowing excellent thrust – that said you need to have some leg strength already to get the most out of them.
The bungee strap adjusts to pressure changes whilst the quick releases makes for easy donning and doffing. Rubber anti-slip pads on the foot pocket provide a comfortable fit that suits most foot shapes.
These are stylish and attractive fins available in several vibrant acrylic colours that makes the wearer easy to identify underwater, even in poor visibility conditions.
Overall if you’re looking for a fairly affordable pair of short fins that are durable, comfortable and powerful – provided you use them right, they’re a pretty decent option.
Inspired by the structural frames used within race cars, the Atomic Bladefin’s unique design means that the top part of the foot pocket is actually part of a single structure that includes the frame rails.
The lower half of the pocket; which is connected underneath, gives the wearer a feeling as if the fin is bolted to the foot, which creates an extra secure fit as well as providing maximum sensitivity between feet and fins.
Ultimately this means that the Atomic blade fin’s quirky design provides two benefits – it results in a pair of extremely slick and streamlined looking fins and it enhances their performance!
Atomic Bladefins are available in a variety of bright colours and with their unique design and “wicked fin and buckle styling” system, make for a trendy and obvious compliment to the Atomic series scuba masks and snorkels.
Vertical stabilisers on each fin capture water and channel the flow down each blade and off the stabilizer tips – this keeps the blades tracking in the right direction for enhanced user stability and balance.
Power is controlled with two frame structures (monocoque and framerail) to fully optimise the paddle design for maximum kicking effort.
The EZ lock buckle system lets you effortlessly snap the buckle on and off, with zero risk of it accidentally coming undone.
These are the most expensive beginner’s fins going but if you can afford them they offer fantastic comfort and sensitivity, whilst also looking insanely cool!
TUSA are a highly respected scuba gear manufacturer – in fact it’s a pair of Tusa Fins: the SF-22 Solla, that topped our list as best fins for beginners.
However, if you’re on a low budget, the Liberator X-Ten series are an extremely affordable yet still very decent quality alternative option. These are the cheapest scuba fins that still offer good quality out there!
They might not look quite so slick as the Solla fins, but the Liberator X-Ten fins still get the job done – they’re reliable, easy to get on and off or adjust and they provide ample thrust, even for less experienced swimmers.
These cheap dive fins racy, hydrodynamic design is made from a specially compliant material to provide extra stability and flexibility.
The comfortable open heel pocket is lightweight and fits most foot types, although it’s worth mentioning that these fins do only come in two sizes: small and regular (see more info on fin sizing here).
TUSA’s EZ strap and buckle system with squeeze side style release buckles allows the fins to be quickly and easily adjusted with minimal effort, even as they’re being worn.
Low cost yet high performing and easy to get the best out of, these are a great pair of beginner’s scuba fins for divers who don’t want to splash out too much!
Scubapro Go fins have been designed especially for travel – they’re the most lightweight scuba diving fins out there, with a pair weighing just 2.6 lbs / 1.2 kg (size M-L) – including the bungee straps!
These compact fins also feature an innovative stacking system: an interlocking tooth on one fin blade hooks into the second fin and then the bungee strap from the second fin hooks the heel of the first into place.
Just like that, the ScubaPro Go fins are stacked together and it’s like only having to pack one fin!
Despite the Go Travel fins lightness they’re still incredibly durable due to being made from 100% monoprene.
It’s actually quite surprising how strong these ultra light fins can be – they are able to deliver a good amount of thrust with minimal effort.
The blades have a 25 degree to accommodate for diver leg bend and also feature power bars on the underside of the rail to deliver excellent speed, stability and manoeuvrability.
A self-adjusting bungee heel strap allowing for a versatile fit. The open toe foot pocket is comfortable against a bare heel, which is just as well as the foot pocket won’t accommodate dive boots; though it can fit neo socks.
You’d think with so many great features, these fins would be expensive, however they’re cheaper than most other beginner’s fins!
These sleek scuba fins are designed by the Italian manufacturer Seac. They’re built for power with long running channels, narrow side rails and an extra stiff structure for providing superb thrust and acceleration.
It’s worth noting that the extra stiffness of the Propulsion S fins does mean they take more effort to use, so they’re really suited for a diver who is physically very fit and won’t tire from having to use more energy for each kick cycle.
Donning and doffing is easy thanks to the simple bungee strap which comes with a large, easy to grasp finger loop.
The foot pocket has been designed for comfort as well as to reduce ankle twisting and fatigue that might come with using stiffer fins.
Sea Propulsion S fins are made from an insanely durable rubber. It holds up well at low temperatures and is also uv and crack resistant, meaning a pair of these fins should last a long time.
Do bear in mind, that these fins are longer than most other options we’ve reviewed and subsequently they can take up more packing space!
If you’re physically fit and an experienced swimmer, you can get a decent amount of power from these simple to use fins, however if you’re swimming technique is less developed check out the Tusa Solla instead!
Since the early 60’s, ScubaPro have been the manufacturer of choice for divers who like high quality scuba gear that is of a traditional design yet has modern features added in.
Available in a huge selection of matte colours and camo-patterns, Scubapro Jet fins have been a top selling model for some time now, with hundreds of extremely positive reviews on the internet.
The classic paddle fin design has been enhanced with vented blades to maximise propulsion and power.
Water flows through the vents on the down stroke of fining, which reduces pressure on the leg. When fining on the up stroke, the vent’s angle means the fin acts as a solid blade for maximum thrust.
The Scubapro Jet Fins are like tech fins in that they’re both wide and also quite short, which makes them ideal for tight spaces such as wrecks.
Because of this, they work particularly well with frog kicks, but still also function just fine with the standard flutter kick.
They also come equipped with corrosion resistant spring heel straps which are easy to adjust as well as ditch and don.
Spring heel straps are depth compensating – when you go deep and your dive boots compress due to increased water pressure, they contract. They re-expand upon ascent, ensuring a consistent fit during the whole dive.
Do note, these fins foot pockets are notoriously small, so if you want to wear a dive boot with them, you might want to consider getting an extra size up than you normally would (more info on fin sizing here!).
For those of you who can afford to break the bank a little these are the most indestructible, highly specced out beginners’ dive fins currently on the market.
Splitfins require some practice but when used correctly they have the potential to generate more thrust for less effort.
When you kick using splitfins, the two separate blades of each fin twist and in doing so create a propeller surface that significantly and easily increases lift.
Atomic Aquatics have persisted with the split fin design since the early 2000’s – their newest model: the “smoke on the water” series of split fins take the best elements of the split concept and makes it easier to use.
Created using the latest plastic polymer technology to give a lightweight fin that’s excellent for travel, these surprisingly durable fins have the capacity to provide huge amounts of kicking power.
The semi rigged flex battens set in the soft blades control the precise wing shape to optimize thrust and reduce drag whilst a highly flexible hinge point between the battens causes the blade to react quickly to the slightest kick.
Also, the large surface area of each blade improves pivoting, turning and alternate kick cycles and there are power rails on either side perform to act as the backbone of each fin, storing and releasing energy with every kick.
These fins are exceptionally comfortable thanks to the anatomically contoured foot pocket which is specially moulded to fit the foot without any stress points and features a semi open toe.
They are equipped with EZ squeeze quick release buttons which snap on and off as well as a spring heel strap that automatically compensates for changes in boot compensation and adjust with changes in depth.
Although they’re the most expensive scuba fins going, the quality offered by the Atomic Smoke on the Water’s is truly formidable.
Admittedly, split fins don’t appeal to the diving style of everyone – but if you know it’s a design that works well for you, you won’t find higher quality split fins than these.
Mares X-Stream fins have forever redefined how we imagine scuba fins can look but their futuristic appearance does more than just make them look cool.
These extremely high quality dive fins took two years and four patents for Mares to develop; they’re inspired by marine mammals and are immensely popular among experienced divers.
The uniquely designed foot pocket, which is very soft and flexible, is riddled with perforations on the outside to reduce drag.
On the inside, internal ribbing offers an exceptionally comfortable fit by eliminating foot suction and distributing pressure over the foot evenly.
As for the blades, they feature an optimised pivoting system which allows them to maintain an optimal angle throughout the kicking cycle, resulting in a continuous thrust with minimal effort and next level stability.
The blades also feature a large central super channel in addition to two traditional lateral channels for added thrust. These channels are surrounded by vents to reduce turbulence during each fin stroke.
The adjustable straps and buckles are of the Mares patented ABS design come equipped with large pull tabs for easy donning and doffing and can easily be adjusted whilst being worn.
Available in a variety of bold colours, the X-Stream fins shine through particularly well in terms of the superb comfort their unique foot pockets offer but the crammed with features blades are not to be underestimated and offer superb power as well.
Another unique and exciting design, Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins were created to combine the power, ease of use and manoeuvrability of paddle fins with the comfort, efficiency and lift of split fins.
To achieve this, they feature articulated joints which allow them to effortlessly propel the wearer through the water with speed and agility.
Think of how a dolphin’s tail moves as it’s swims: the tail’s natural structure makes it bend and this provides the animal with a lot of power. By having articulated joints, the seawing novas work in much the same way!
Pivot control ensures the most efficient angle of attack is maintained so that no matter how hard or soft you kick, these fins generate thrust with minimal effort and without drag.
Once more like the dolphins tails by which they’re inspired, the blades feature a varied geometry so that as the foot moves downward, the fin flattens out to provide extra thrust and power.
Ridges and winglets on the inner blade assist with channeling water in the right direction for optimum balance.
The spring straps automatically adjust to changes in pressure and have a large finger tab for easy pulling back to make donning and doffing a breeze.
Quirky in design and exceptional in performance, the Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins are another example of the exciting technology being incorporated into modern dive fins.
Compared to longer running dive gear manufacturers like Mares, Scubapro and Tusa, Dive Rite are fairly new; only being founded in 1984.
However, over the past few decades, they’ve gained a strong reputation for producing reliable, no-fuss dive gear and the XT Fins are arguably their nicest piece of kit yet.
Updated in 2020, these fins now have a POM swivel buckle that secures the marine grade stainless steel spring-strap to the blade and which can swivel out of the way for easier donning and doffing.
(Do note, currently, it’s only the red and black versions of these fins that feature the POM swivel buckle!).
To ensure a constant fit, the spring heel strap automatically adjusts for the changes in dive boot compensation that come with pressure differences caused by changing depth.
Divers can further customize their strap fit by moving the buckle locking screw between two positions – a feature not usually seen in dive fins and one that ensures you can get a 100% perfect fit!
Dive Rite XT Fins are moulded from a monoprene blend to strike the perfect balance of power to work ratio, providing efficient finning whether in high flow or stiff currents.
The blade is shaped for a variety of kicks including modified flutter, frog kicks and power kicks providing stellar manoeuvrability and balance throughout.
Despite being stiff, blades have plenty of snap and are lightweight, which means they are very powerful yet take minimal effort to use.
A moulded heel pad provides ample comfort, whilst low profile finger hold improve ease of use without creating any snag points.
True, they’re a little pricey compared to most beginner’s fins, but don’t cost more than what you’d expect to pay for a pair of good quality fins designed for experienced divers who want longer lasting kit! `
If getting the optimum fit and maintaining it throughout all parts of the dive is your number one priority, these fins, which also provide very good kicking power with minimal effort, are the one’s for you.
Split fins are able to provide a lot of power with minimal kicking effort but achieving this does require a knowledge of how to use them properly.
Although we’ve reviewed the Atomic Aquatics Smoke on the Water as the best quality split fins overall, one thing the Smoke on the Water fins don’t have is any colour choice – they’re only available in silver.
Enter the Scubapro Twin Jet fins which come in many vibrant colours and are also more affordable.
Manufactured from a bi-material for the ultimate blending of flexibility and performance; whilst producing a slightly stiffer blade, they’re ideal for divers who prefer a little more feedback / sensitivity.
The distinctive hydrofoil shape allows water to flow between and around each of the twin blades for enhanced propulsion.
An extended soleplate provides additional leverage to improve power transfer from foot to fin, whilst side rails enhance blade stability throughout each kick.
To give even more kicking power, vents between the foot pocket and the blade helps water move around the fins with each kick cycle, greatly reducing drag.
The soft, open heel foot pocket offers a comfortable fit whilst the spring heel straps make ditching and donning a breeze as well as adjusting to changes in pressure caused by altering depths.
If split fins match your diving style and you want a high quality pair that are literally crammed with performance enhancing features and available in just about any colour you want, these are an awesome choice.
The Aqua Shot FX has taken successful features from unisex fins and incorporated them into a design with a foot pocket that’s been moulded especially for women’s foot proportions.
It is narrower and more slight than traditional unisex fin’s foot pockets and also features a customised inner sole to provide a grip effect.
In addition to providing a comfortable and specialist fit, these dive fins offer next level performance, thanks to the many awesome features they’ve borrowed from popular unisex models.
For maximum energy transmission, the foot pocket features a “power transmission zone” which anchors the foot to prevent unnecessary stretching of the pocket on the power stroke.
The power zone also sports integrated “V Boosters” to provide optimal power with each kick, whilst also providing the diver with a mid-foot pivot point on the fin, to eliminate foot and toe fatigue.
Side rails improve stability and balance underwater whilst adding to overall power by reducing drag.
Spring straps automatically compensate for pressure depth changes and make donning and doffing a breeze.
The Shot FX’ blade is shorter and softer than that of classic fins which makes them easier to kick, however stiffness increases with size, so divers can choose the optimum stiffness for their preferred diving style.
Available in a range of colours and with a sleek, modern design these high quality fins are ideal for women who find unisex fins don’t provide a comfortable or secure enough fit.
These scuba diving fins do indeed resemble manta rays somewhat and the reason for that is because their design has actually been inspired by the shapes and mechanics of powerful marine animals such as these!
The blades are made from techno-polymer materials to mimic the combined properties of bone’s strength, toughness and lightness. The result is powerful, easily manoeuvrable dive fins with plenty of thrusting power.
Meanwhile, the Power-X system acts as tendon and joint, improving propulsion by flexing during the down stroke and releasing stored energy prior to the upstroke.
The blades also have power channels made from flexible material to stimulate elasticity of skin by directing water flow off the back of the blade to provide superior thrust.
Winglets along the length of each blade act much like power rails by increasing kick power efficiency and keeping the fins tracking in the right direction for optimum balance.
The scuba diving fins come equipped with soft-pad heel spring straps that adjust to changes in pressure and have an ergonomic finger-loop for easy fitting.
The unique easy buckle adjustment (EBA) system allows for more than 2″ (5cm) of precise adjustments for a custom fit.
We love how the highly effective Manta Fins have drawn full inspiration from nature – having been improving aquatic designs for millennia, it knows exactly what it’s doing and can definitely teach us a thing or two!
As we’ve seen, split fins generate more thrust with less effort when used correctly.
However, the downside of split fins is that due to their highly specialised design, they tend to be quite expensive; especially when they’re also open-heeled, which scuba divers will want them to be.
That said, the X-Pert Zoom Z3 fins are considerably cheaper than other open heel split fins!
It’s not too surprising that these durable and stylish fins are designed by TUSA; considering their snazzy colour design, which is available in several bright colours.
These fins feature reinforced blade rails to keeps the split blades close together for optimum stability as well as optimized blade scoops for directing water behind them for increased thrust.
They also sport TUSA’s patented 27 degree angle blade design, which compensates for the leg’s natural bend and in doing so, keeps the fin in perfect position throughout the kick cycle resulting in more efficient kick cycles.
The EZ buckle system with squeeze-style side releases allows for quick and easy adjustments. It’d be great if it featured spring heel straps as well, but for the extremely reasonable price point, it’s not too surprising that it doesn’t.
Hollis F1 Bat fins are built for power, manoeuvrability and toughness, being similar to the vented Apeks RK3 fins in this regard.
However instead of vents, F1 Bat fins feature blade tip channels for enhanced acceleration.
To be honest, we prefer vents over channels – they offer more power which is why the Apeks RK3 fins are our favourite tech diving fins. That said, channels may be preferred by some depending on their diving style!
The F1 Bat tech fins are relatively short and wide fins, which makes them ideal for enclosed spaces and the frog kick although they’ll work with any kick cycle.
They feature an extremely comfortable steel spring heel strap, which in addition to changing in response to depth, is angled for improved comfort.
Also, the spring heel fin straps have unusually large tab loops – besides making it effortless to get the fins on and off, these are large enough that you can hang the fins by them for quick and easy drying.
Being constructed from high-grade, heavy-duty rubber, the Hollis F1 bat fins offer superb strength and durability – they’re virtually indestructible and can handle practically any temperature or rough handling.
As a scuba gear manufacturer, Hollis like to keep things simple, yet efficient and the popular Hollis F1 bat fins are exactly that.
Unlike an open heel fin (which all the other fins reviewed in this article are), full foot fins are non-adjustable, challenging to take on and off and can’t accommodate dive boots.
For this reason, scuba divers almost universally prefer open heel fins, with full foot fins generally being reserved for snorkeling.
That said, scuba diving is a very particular sport with different diving styles and custom kit outfits and for this reason a small minority of scuba divers do prefer full foot fins.
An advantage of full foot fins is that they do not need to be worn with dive boots and are often cheaper than their open heel fin counterparts.
If you’re unsure which kind of fins to go for, we recommend open heel fins – but if you know you like diving with full foot fins, than the Mares Volvo Race are the most popular choice of full foot fins for scuba diving with.
Sleek, stylish and available in several colours and sizes, they combine lateral channels with a super channel in the centre to provide decent thrust with minimal effort, which is further enhanced by rubber stabilizers.
They also feature an optimised pivoting blade system which results in their providing fluid movement and agility through the water.
The foot pocket is spacious and comfortable and provides a snug fit, whilst the fins themselves are extremely tough and durable.
XS Scuba Turtle Fins keep things simple with a wide paddle design featuring vents for extra thrust power.
Water flows through the vents of each blade during the down stroke to reduce pressure and provide less strain on the leg.
Then, during the up stroke, the vent’s angle ensures that the fin reacts as a solid blade resulting in maximum power and propulsion through the water.
These immensely durable, highly efficient tech fins are a popular choice among many combat and tactical units worldwide.
Similar to the Apeks RK3 fins in many ways, the Turtle fins are also quite short which makes them great for confined spaces such as shipwrecks and caves.
The unique rubber compound provides wearers with greater kicking efficiency by reducing the overall weight, whilst also adding a snap back quality for additional acceleration power.
Because they’re only available in the sizes: X-Large, XX-Large and 3X-Large, these fins are ideal for anyone who wants a huge foot pocket, although divers with smaller feet may find the XS Scuba Turtle Fins too big.
They come equipped with adjustable rubber straps, with large pull tabs and eyelets to hang fins on for drying. Unfortunately, these straps are not spring heel, so won’t adjust to changes in pressure!
Ultimately these are high quality, nice tech fins, but we prefer the Apeks RK3 Fins; which are extremely similar except that they also feature grommet holes, spring heel straps and smaller size options.
Still, the XS turtle fins offer just about the biggest foot pocket of any scuba fin out there, which may be a dealbreaker for some!
The ScubaPro Go Sport fins are one of the very few fins to come in an extra small size for adults.
But besides this extra size option, they’re also great dive fins; being exceptionally light and compact – yet also durable due to a monomer construction, which makes them awesome for travel.
They feature an adjustable bungee strap for max comfort and a pre-angled blade with power bars which provide moderate power.
You can get these fins in a range of colours and they’re also available in small, medium, large and extra large!
First of, let’s quickly talk about Scuba Diving Fins vs Snorkeling Fins:
Diving fins tend to be stiffer than snorkel fins, which means they generate more thrust but require a bit extra effort to use.
That said, there are many highly efficient makes of dive fin which require minimal physical exertion and yet still generate a lot of power, making them perfect for weaker swimmers.
Whereas snorkeling fins tend to be quite basic, scuba fins often have features such as channels and vents to improve their efficiency.
Dive fins may also come in special designs such as split fins and tech fins.
Generally, dive fins tend to be open heel which makes them easier to don and doff as well as able to accommodate dive boots, which provide insulation; useful for when you’re diving down deep.
Snorkel fins on the other hand, are usually full foot design.
Take our word for it; if you’re planning to use fins for scuba diving, then go for a pair of open heel fins made especially for scuba divers!
This is a Diving Squad article, so you can rest assured that all of the fins reviewed on this page have been designed especially for scuba divers!
Study the two images above. The fin on the left is an open heel design – it is open at the back. Because of this, the foot pocket is larger and can accommodate dive boots, which provide insulation. This is extremely handy for diving, because water temperature quickly drops as you dive down deeper.
Open heel fins are held in place by an adjustable strap or a bungee heel strap- or in the case of the very highest quality makes, a spring heel strap, which adjusts to pressure changes with depth, by compressing and relaxing with the boots neoprene, to ensure a consistent fit throughout all parts of the dive.
Open heel fins are a lot easier to take on and off than full foot fins, which comes in seriously handy when already wearing heavy scuba diving gear and maybe being in the water.
For these reasons, the vast majority of scuba divers prefer fins that are of open heel design. Because of this and the fact that we review the most popular gear with scuba divers, all but one of the fins reviewed on this page are of open heel design.
Take our word for it – open heel fins are the way to go for scuba divers!
The fin on the right is a full foot fin because the foot pocket encompasses the entire foot. Full foot fins are generally used for snorkeling as they don’t need to be so powerful if only being used at the surface.
That said, some makes of scuba diving fins come in a full foot option, which is preferred by a very small minority of divers as it’s cheaper and a bit lighter.
However, full foot fins are much more tricky to get on and off and they can’t accommodate dive boots. So, unless you know for a certain fact that you love diving with full foot fins, we strongly suggest you opt for a pair of open heel dive fins instead!
Fins: 3 Main Parts:
Located at the back of the fin, this is the area you slip your foot into. Most fins are available in a selection of foot pockets sizes – we’ve provided a detailed guide on how to choose the right size fins.
Perhaps the scuba fins with the most unique foot pocket design are the Mares X-Stream which used a revolutionary design with internal ribbing for maximum comfort. There’s also the Aqua Shot FX which features a foot pocket moulded especially for the proportions of a women’s foot (all other scuba fins foot pockets are unisex!).
Traditionally, fin straps have been made of rubber or silicone and have required manual adjustment using buckles.
In recent times however, the majority of high quality scuba fins have switched to using spring heel straps, which are superior because they ensure a constant fit on all parts of the dive by compensating for depth compression.
Even on dives of only ten or so meters, dive boots experience some compression as water pressure increases, which both decreases the thickness of the boot’s neoprene as well as encourages one’s feet to slide deeper into their fin’s foot pockets.
Spring straps are more tensile than traditional straps and because of this they naturally compensate for the compression and re-expansion of your dive boot over the course of a deep dive, ensuring a consistent fit.
Spring heel straps are also easier to take on and off as you don’t have to fiddle with any buckles – instead simply pull back on the finger tab of the spring strap to remove it from your heel! More affordable scuba fins tend to have bungee spring straps whereas the pricier options use marine grade stainless steel spring straps.
We strongly recommend opting for scuba fins that come with this incredibly useful modern feature which is why just about every pair of scuba fins we’ve reviewed on this page have spring heel straps – but you can rest assured that if they don’t, we’ve pointed it out in the review!
The stars of the show, the blades are the main part of the fin and are used to create the power and thrust to propel you through the water when you kick.
As we’ll discuss a little further below, there’s a few different types of blades – e.g. split blades, tech blades and paddle blades. But first, let’s look at the many performance enhancing features that blades may or may not have:
Thin, long in-grooves that run the length of each blade, channels collect water and align it for an efficient kick cycle. Generally blades with channels sport one or two symmetrical pairs, but sometimes they may also have a central “super channel” for even more added efficiency.
Narrow ridges that run the length of each blade on either side. The frame rail design on each side of the fin mimics a backbone and in doing so adds more kicking power by storing and releasing energy with every stroke.
Some fins have grommet holes at one or both ends for attachment of clips and carabiners, to make transporting them easy.
Fin vents are a very efficient means of maximising propulsion and power. They’re instantly recognisable as the grids of slits crossing horizontally over the length of a blade.
So, how do they work? Water flows through the vents on the down stroke of fining, which reduces pressure on the leg. When fining on the up stroke, the vent’s angle means the fin acts as a solid blade for maximum thrust.
What this means is that you get maximum propulsion with minimal physical exertion or leg ache. Nice! Many consider vents to increase scuba fin efficiency more greatly than channels and power rails combined.
The standard blade design is that of a paddle blade aka blade fin. This is the classic, instantly recognisable style of fin, where each fin looks a little like a frog foot or flipper.
This is a broad term that encompasses most fins, including different designs.
For example tech fins and articulated joint fins are different designs, but they’re both paddle fins.
Paddle fins work well especially well with the flutter kick, but shorter models can also work with the frog kick.
Our Top Pick Fin’s for Beginners are Paddle fins!
Split fins are instantly recognisable thanks to the large split running between each blade, splitting it into two independent blades.
In the early 2000’s, split fins became popular for a short while, before being dismissed as gimmicks that didn’t perform well in currents.
However, this was largely due to misunderstanding as back then hardly anyone knew how to use them properly.
Wielded correctly, split fins can provide awesome manoeuvrability and power, whilst reducing resistance on joints, making them an excellent choice for those with sore hips or knees.
Split fins to take a little getting used to, which is why they’re most suited for experienced scuba divers. Generally they work better with narrow flutter kicks and not so well with frog kicking.
After you’ve bought your first pair of split fins, try them out in a pool or shallow water and get used to them that way before you take them diving.
Our favourite Split Fins are the Atomic Smoke on Waters!
Tech fins (which are blade / paddle fin in design), tend to be short and wide, with large foot pockets.
Highly durable, simple in design and particularly good for enclosed spaces like wrecks (due to their relative shortness) they are favoured among technical divers and other diving professionals.
However, tech fin’s simplicity, power and ease of use also makes them a great option for recreational divers.
They work especially well with frog kicks, but can also be used with standard flutter kick cycles.
Although they’re a little heavy, tech fins often feature vents which gives them exceptional power as well as spring heel straps meaning they adjust to changing pressure depth.
Our favourite tech fins and also number one fins for advanced divers are the Apeks RK3 Fins.
That’s because in today’s tech driven world, new technologies and styles have led to some revolutionary and entirely unique design concepts for diving fins.
Such models offer exceptional comfort as well as awesome performance although their whacky appearance may not appeal to everyone.
They’re also a little bulkier, which makes packing them a tad bit more difficult, though by no means impossible.
If you dig cutting edge technology and consider yourself a diver of the future, they’re worth checking out.
Scuba fins are not usually sized by shoe size, but instead by bands – e.g. XS (extra small), S (small), M (medium), L (large) and XL (extra large).
What does make things a little complicated is that the actual shoe size that each band correlates to varies between different scuba gear brands. For example, the medium size band of Tusa fins may not correlate to the exact same shoe size that the medium size band for Scubapro fins does.
Fortunately, once you’ve decided on which scuba diving fins you want to purchase, you can easily go onto the manufacturer’s website and check out which size bands correlate to which shoe size.
Also, a general rule of thumb when buying adjustable open heel fins is that if you’re planning to wear them with dive booties, to add one size up to leave room for said wee’ dive boots.
Squad! At ease. You’ve just completed this mega article on the very best scuba diving fins with reviews of the 20 top quality dive fins on the market as well as handy info on fin parts, types, features and sizing.
Being colossal scuba nerds, we’re constantly on the hunt for the latest information regarding scuba diving gear updates and new releases so you can rest easy knowing that what you’ve read here today reflects the very latest and up to date information re the exciting world of scuba fins.
All that remains now is for you to choose and buy your dream pair of dive fins. Good luck…you’ve got this – we believe in you!
Diving Squad signing off.
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