Don’t underestimate the importance of your scuba diving fins. If you have been diving before you probably already know this. I think everyone knows that most rental fins are cheap and usually uncomfortable.
By getting your own diving fins you know they are going to fit right and will give you more a comfortable diving experience. A good fitting pair of fins will eliminate blisters and reduce leg cramps.
However with so many types of fins available, how do you know which ones to buy?
There are open and closed heel, split fin and single blade and many newer fins have even more features. This buyers guide will help you choose the right pair. We separated our top picks by whether they were open or closed heel.
First lets take a look at the best diving fins, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right pair for you in our guide.
Best Scuba Diving Fins
- Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins
- Aqua Lung Slingshot Fins
- Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Fin
- Mares X-Stream Open Heel Fins
- ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel Fins
- Cressi Frog Plus Adult Open Heel Fins
- Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split Fin
- Aqua Lung Stratos 3 Full Foot Fins
- Oceanic Vortex V-6 Full Foot Scuba Diving Fins
- Cressi Gara 3000 LD Long Blade Diving Fin
Best Open Heel Scuba Fins
The Scubapro Seawing Nova fins are my favorite pair of open heel fins. What makes the Scubapro Seawing fins so unique is the articulated joint that allows the blade to pivot and the entire blade is able to generate thrust. This helps to propel you through the water with ease, speed and agility while reducing fatigue.
They also have a “clean water blade geometry” which allows water to freely flow onto the working section of the blade thus reducing drag and increasing thrust.
I think the best feature of the Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins is the variable pivot control ribs. This insures that the most efficient angle of attack is maintained no matter how hard or soft you kick. The marine quality bungee heel strap is adjustable and holds the fin securely on your foot.
These fins also come in white instead of just your traditional black and offered in 4 sizes so you can get a good fit. In my opinion, the Scubapro Seawing Nova fins are the best fins for scuba diving.
If your swimming any distance, especially against a current you know how exhausting it can be, not too mention the extra air you will be using. For the frequent scuba diver who wants the best dive fin available, you need to consider the Aqua Lung Slingshot Fins.
To do this, Aqua Lung created what they call “Sling Shot” technology. In a nutshell, the pure silicone Power Bands are loaded with energy on the power stroke and when its released it provides extra thrust to help propel you faster and further with less energy needed from you.
The result of this, is you conserve energy and maybe more importantly, reduce air consumption to help you stay down longer.
People like me who seem to go through air faster than most, this can help out quite a bit. The mid-foot flex joint is an added feature that also assists in adding power to your kicks.
It’s hard to find anything to dislike about these diving fins.
For a mid-range price you are getting state of the art technology that will help you conserve energy and air increasing your bottom time.
Finding a great diving fin at a good price can be difficult to come by, however the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus fins are just that. These are open heel fins that feature four channels in the fins that give you greater efficiency in your kicks. This is feature you will come to appreciate because it allows you to preserve energy and reduce fatigue.
They have a bungee strap that locks your foot into the fin and is very comfortable while keeping your foot securely locked into the fin. The “Proven Channel Thrust Technology” of the Mares fins is what sets these fins apart from the competition.
They incorporate stabilizers into the fins which help to reduce ankle twisting when you are kicking hard. The “Hi-flex” rubber that they are constructed of has good flex at all water temperatures.
If your looking for a bit of style, the fins are available in black, blue, flamingo, lime, white & yellow colors. The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus fins are a good quality open foot fin at a very reasonable price.
The Mares X-Stream Open Heel fins are the result of more than 2 years of rigorous testing under a wide variety of conditions before they final design was completed. All of that hard work and effort has produced one of the finest open heel fins available at any price.
The newly redesigned blade channels the water with less turbulence, helping to propel you through the water in a smoother motion with less fatigue, while helping to reduce leg cramps. The open heel of the Mares X-Stream is easy to adjust and locks your foot in securely.
The foot pocket on the X-Stream has been improved to fit your foot better and increase thrust while reducing the “parachute effect” when kicking.
The Mares X-Stream are well designed scuba fin that is a good choice for the beginner to expert diver. The X-Stream fins tend to run a bit large, so consider wear a fin sock.
If you are looking to generate more power in the water, the ScubaPro Jet Sport fins are should be at the top of your list. They feature a large blade for more power and propulsion. This is especially important if you will be swimming in a current or choppy conditions.
ScubaPro designed the fin blades with drag reducing vents that decrease resistance on both the up and down strokes of your kick.
The fins are constructed with three different materials sandwiched together to optimize flex at all water temperatures. The Jet Sport’s are available in both an open and closed foot so no matter what your preference you can use the Jet Sport’s.
The foot pocket of both models have been ergonomically designed to give a better fit, however they tend to run wider than most fins and as a result are probably the best dive fins for people with wide feet.
Since they are available in both open and closed foot, double check when you order them to make sure you are getting the model you want.
Finding a company that has been in the business of making scuba gear longer then Cressi is something that is difficult to do. They have over 60 years of experience in designing fins to fit scuba divers needs.
The Cressi Frog Plus open heel fins show the quality that Cressi puts into each and every pair they design.
The Cressi Frog Plus fins are an open heel design made up of an exclusive and patented molding technology with three different materials sandwiched together. This combination of materials keeps the fins flexible over a wider range of temperatures.
The scuba fins are specifically designed for beginning divers to be easy to use and provide maximum thrust for each kick while reducing fatigue. They manage to do it at a price that won’t break the bank either. In my opinion these are the best diving fins for beginners under $100.
The foot pocket is comfortable and the heel strap is easy to use and locks your foot into place securely. Its hard to go wrong with Cressi and the Frog Plus fins do not disappoint!
Best Closed Heel Scuba Fins
Are you on a budget because your not sure how much use you will get out of your equipment? With the Atomic Aquatics Split Fin you won’t have to compromise on features to get a bargain price. They have a “split” fin design that is becoming the standard design for diving fins.
The split in the fin allows each side of the fin to twist that creates more thrust with less resistance and drag of a traditional scuba fin. These will allow you to keep up with stronger divers with less effort and fatigue. It can also help reduce your air consumption and increasing bottom time.
These fins weigh in at less than half the weight of most open heel scuba diving fins. While this is only a matter of ounces, you will notice a huge difference after 30 minutes of kicking.
This makes them not only easier to kick with but is nice when you are traveling with them. They feature a comfortable open toe soft full foot pocket and the design is streamlined for maximum power and speed.
Overall the Atomic Aquatics are a great option if you want split fin technology and may be the best scuba diving fins under $100.
The Aqua Lung Stratos are a budget pair of full foot scuba fins that provide surprising performance and features for the price. The fins were designed with the beginner in mind, with its side wings to give you extra stability and performance while kicking.
The foot pocket of the fins has been ergonomically designed with a soft, flexible rubber which is very comfortable. The flex point of the Aqua Lung Stratos has been moved farther back on the fin toward your foot to give a bit more thrust.
The fins have an anti-slip rubber pad on the underside which improves grip on slippery surfaces like you will encounter on a dive boat.
The Aqua Lung Stratos have been redesigned to feature four channels along the blade to channel the water along the fin for more efficiency and reducing fatigue.
These are an excellent choice of fins for someone new to scuba diving but doesn’t want to compromise on features and performance. The Aqua Lung Stratos are probably the best scuba fins for beginners.
If you are new to scuba diving, you are probably looking for a quality yet affordable pair of full foot fins. The Oceanic Vortex V-6 can fit both of those needs for you. These are smaller than most diving fins so they are easier to pack up and take with you on your dive trips.
That is especially handy if you are packing them in your luggage space and space is tight. The foot pocket on these is made of a comfortable silicone based rubber so wearing them for extended periods of time doesn’t become irritating.
These fins are made from Oceanic’s proprietary “Evaprene” which is a composite material which allows for increased performance and a longer life.
Because they are full foot fins, you will get more speed and power than a comparable open-heel fin because you get a more efficient transfer of the energy of your kick. Even at a bargain price, they have split fin technology that gives you more thrust than your traditional single bladed fin.
You can also get these fins in black, yellow and blue if you are looking to match all of your gear. The Oceanic Vortex V-6’s are probably the best inexpensive diving fins.
Cressi is owned by PADI Master scuba divers has been making quality diving equipment since the 1930’s and the Gara 3000 are typical of Cressi quality.
They are longer than your typical fin giving you more thrust for the same amount of effort and made of a softer blade material which gives them more flex and requires less effort for kicking which lessens leg fatigue. You will especially notice the additional flex in colder water.
The Gara 3000 Fins are your best bet if you do any type of long distance swimming. If you are primarily a drift diver you will not need these fins because they are designed for the diver who will be covering some distance, like when spearfishing. In fact, I would say the Cressi Gara 3000 are the best diving fins for spearfishing.
How To Choose Scuba Diving Fins
How To Size Your Fins
When purchasing new fins, making sure you have the right size is the most important thing to get correct. Imagine if you are normally a size 9 shoe but you decide to wear a size 13. You will not be as comfortable and not as efficient. The same goes for scuba fins.
As a basic rule of thumb, men should start with a pair of fins that are the same size as their shoes. For women, they should start with 1-2 sizes smaller then their shoe size off. If you are planning on wear booties with your fins, make sure to have those on when you are trying on your new fins or take into consider when ordering online.
I’m a fan of the open heel design because of the flexibility you have. You have the option of wear a bootie, or not plus you choose to wear a bootie you can get a different thickness if the water temperature warrants.
Types Of Scuba Diving Fins
Open foot fins are an excellent choice because you can change the booty thickness or not wear one at all and still get a good fit. This is an especially good choice for those who want dive deeper and reach colder temperatures. With these you can choose a booty type that is more comfortable for you and change it out as often as need be depending on your current diving situation.
Closed foot is what you find in your more traditional scuba fins. These are where you slide your foot right in. The down side to these is they have no adjustability. You also have less protection in a closed foot fin.
Another downside is that they are more difficult to put on and harder to get off than the open heel types of fins. These are good though for beginners because they are usually less expensive due to the simpler design.
The foot pocket as you probably guessed is where you put your foot inside of the fin. There are many different styles and fits just like a traditional sneaker.
They can be made of different materials and everyone has there own personal preference on what they prefer. We recommend trying some on if possible to see what you like the feel of the best. If you have an especially wide foot, you will be better off with an open foot design. Some fins are specifically designed for a wider foot like the ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel Fins.
Propulsion is what sends you through the water while you are kicking. Newer fins have designs that pivot that provides a better angle providing more thrust. If you want the optimal amount of propulsion in the water with the least amount of work, then look at split fin designed fins.
The split fin design helps propel you faster through the water with less stress on your legs. This design is great for those who want to move at a good pace through the water and be able to accelerate at a rapid speed.
Channel fins are another type of design that is popular in the scuba and snorkeling world. Rubber channels are inserted into the blade so the fin can effectively funnel the water behind you as you are kicking.
These channels help the water move across the fin which allow you to move through the water more rapidly. It may look like a small feature but it is actually very important.
Split Fin Design
Split fins are just what their name says, fins that are split. The best way to describe them would be like the tail of some fish. The split blade which act like a type of propeller, twist independently during each and every stroke to help create thrust.
The split fin design also helps you to operate more efficiently than traditional fins thus saving you energy in the water. Split fins are better used where there is a current or choppy conditions.
Fin straps are an overlooked piece of equipment that actually should have a lot of attention. This is what secures the fin to your foot. Having improper fin straps can cause several issues. If they are too tight this can cause foot cramps and that’s something you don’t want in the water.
Caring For Your Fins
Your scuba fins can be an expensive investment so you want to make sure that you are taking the best care possible of them.
Avoid leaving your fins out in the sun for any long period of time, the UV rays will damage them. When your storing them, don’t keep them in your attic or garage if its not temperature controlled. Also don’t leave them in your car trunk if its hot out. Those few things can damage your fins to the point where they can become so brittle as to become unusable.
The best way to store your fins is inside a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight. After you exit the water, give them a good rinse of with fresh water and towel dry them before putting them away.
Don’t try to rub any type of oils or other chemicals on your fins as these can damage them also. Fins can be an expensive piece of scuba or snorkeling equipment, so its worth the extra effort to take care of them.