| A kick in the right direction |

Like any footwear for sport, buying fins for scuba diving can be an overwhelming business. There’s a great variety of scuba fins for sale. If you’ve started perusing products, you’ll have seen terms like split fins, full foot fins, open heel fins, travel fins, and you’ve maybe even come across high heel fins too. Further research may lead you to information debating rocket fins vs. jet fins, split fins vs. paddle fins, and snorkeling fins vs. scuba fins. Throw in terminologies like channels, side rails, and vents, and you could be left confused and paralyzed by indecision. How do you choose the best fins? We’re here to help. We’ve put together a summary of the best scuba diving fins along with a guide to help you choose the best diving fins for your purpose.

Enjoy the read because we sure did!

Keep diving blue,

Nate & Bill

scuba diving flippers

Overall Rating – 4.9  /5
Design – 4.9
Functionality – 4.9
Comfort – 4.8
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Mares are renowned for producing great fins, and these Mares Super Channels are a good value full foot option. They employ tried and tested technology from Mares to deliver power and efficiency for both snorkeling and diving. The foot pocket has an open toe to provide for drainage and to reduce drag and while they are designed to be worn barefoot a scuba sock could be worn for extra protection and warmth. These Mares fins are durable and come in a range of colors.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Great value
  • Good for diving and snorkeling
  • Range of colors

Foot pocket type: Closed Foot

Blade type: Paddle with channels

Size: 19 inches

Weight: 3.8 lbs

swim fins reviews

Overall Rating – 4.9  /5
Design – 4.8
Functionality – 4.9
Comfort – 4.9
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These Cressi scuba fins are great for scuba and work well for free diving where a stiffer blade is desirable. They have a closed heel making them a choice for warm water diving. Cressi dive fins use a soft and comfortable material for their foot pocket, and the sole has a tread which offers traction that you’ll be glad of on a rocking boat. The blade starts along the side of the foot pocket which increases the length of the blade without increasing the length of the fin; this design offers an increase in the surface area and therefore power. The blade itself features channels made with flexible silicone between the rigid panels. The blade is thicker at the foot end and thinner at the tip which makes for an optimal flex along the whole length ensuring the best performance. These Cressi Reaction fins come in the choice of blue, black, or yellow.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Great all-around fin
  • Comfortable foot pocket
  • Blade starts alongside the foot offering 20% more surface area

Foot pocket type: Full foot

Blade type: Paddle with channels

Size: 25 inches

Weight: 4.85lbs

swim paddles amazon

Overall Rating – 4.6  /5
Design – 4.6
Functionality – 4.7
Comfort – 4.5
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If you want a pair of travel scuba fins, and by that, I mean very lightweight and easy to pack then the ScubaPro Go Travel Fins are a great choice. Weighing in at just over 2lbs they have been designed to fit into carry-on luggage and have a unique piggyback system which allows them to pack neatly on top of each other saving as much space as is possible.  These fins are new to the market, but I would expect them to be up there in the choice of best travel fins. As a fin, even though they are lightweight ScubaPro claim they’re virtually indestructible: they are made with 100% Monoprene without joins or hinges and power bars on the underside strengthen the blade which is designed to propel water to the tip. All that said, they are still lightweight, and if you’re used to a heavier stronger fin, you might not feel that these deliver particularly in a current. Even though these are open heel they are designed to be worn barefooted, the foot pocket and bungee strap are comfortable without but you can wear a scuba sock with them for some additional warmth. There’s a hanging hole at the tip of the blade for easy storage.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to pack with ‘stackable’ design
  • Open heel but designed to be worn without bootie

Foot pocket type: Open Heel but designed to be used without boots

Blade type: Paddle with channels

Size : 22 inches

Weight: 2.2lbs

best scuba boots

Overall Rating – 4.6  /5
Design – 4.5
Functionality – 4.6
Comfort – 4.6
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Hollis F2? Well, if you like military style fins but wince at their size and weight for travel these fins could be what you are looking for. As travel fins go, they’re not light, but they are a lot lighter than standard military style fins. They’re tough, but their weight reduction does mean you’ll see a reduction in power versus a heavier fin of this style. If you’re a tech diver using a dry suit and hung with multiple tanks, you might not find them adequate. The fin itself has a double blade design which has increased the surface area and allowed for the reduction in length. The lower blade of the two is vented which reduces stress on the ankle and accelerates the water. The fin comes with adjustable spring straps fitted with an easy to use thumb loop. The foot pocket does tend to run larger; if you’re on the cusp of sizes, go for the smaller option.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Lightweight for military-style fins
  • Adjustable spring strap with thumb loop
  • Dual-bladed design

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Dual paddle with vents

Size: 19.8 inches

Weight: 3.9 lbs

diving fins for sale

Overall Rating – 4.8  /5
Design – 4.9
Functionality – 4.7
Comfort – 4.8
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This Mares scuba fin has a space-age look about it and the technology employed does sound a lot like rocket science.  OPB or optimized pivoting blade ensures that the blade produces a constant thrust throughout the stroke by maintaining the optimal angle for the duration of the kick. Soft inserts provide water channeling and ribs and stabilizers complete the propulsion delivery. Some say that this is the most efficient full foot fin there is. Compared to others of its size it’s light, but the length can preclude some from traveling with it, it makes a great snorkeling fin though. The only downside to this model is its durability; if you love them, you will be replacing them quicker than most. Note that these Mares scuba fins do come as an open heel fin too but their lightness combined with booties makes the open heel version quite buoyant.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Powerful full foot design
  • Efficient
  • Lightweight

Foot pocket type: Full Foot

Blade type: Vented with channels

Size: 27 inches

Weight: 3.5 lbs

swim fins reviews

Overall Rating – 4.7  /5
Design – 4.6
Functionality – 4.7
Comfort – 4.8
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The Oceanic Viper full foot fin is a good basic fin. These fins are light and feature a channel for thrust which is bolstered by side rails which also help to stop spillage of water off the blade. A nice touch on this fin is the toe vents which not only reduce drag but help alleviate the vacuum effect closed foot fins can exhibit when you try to take them off.  There are an array of colors available in this fin so expect to be able to choose one that suits your style. This fin performs well both snorkeling and diving.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Good basic fin
  • Many colors
  • Foot pocket drain holes

Foot pocket type: Closed Foot

Blade type: Paddle with channels

Size: 22 inches

Weight: 4 lbs

OUR TOP PICK

mares avanti quattro plus

Overall Rating – 5  /5
Design – 5
Functionality – 4.9
Comfort – 5
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The original Avanti Quattro Mares Fin has been billed as the ‘instructors’ choice’ since its inception and while today’s model has been tweaked and updated its popularity has not lessened. Tried and tested, this is the fin you will see the most while diving and always makes it into top fin selections. Today’s version of this very popular Mares dive fin has increased efficiency due to improved materials but, best of all, this fin now has bungee heel straps as standard. This Mares scuba fin has four channels for thrust, offers great stability and has been designed so the foot pocket transfers the most power to the blade. This Mares fin comes in a range of colors and, although our recommendation would lie with the open heel version, they have produced a closed foot version too.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Long-standing industry favorite
  • Open heel with four channels within the blade
  • Comes with spring heel straps as standard

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Paddle with channels

Length: 25.6 inches

Weight: 4.4lbs

foot dive

Overall Rating – 4.9  /5
Design – 4.8
Functionality – 4.9
Comfort – 4.9
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The Apeks RK3 are what is termed ‘military-style’ as they were designed for public service divers. They’re made from durable thermoplastic rubber without joints which makes them extremely hard wearing. The blade is short but heavy and powerful, and while their size lends them to easy packing, you might want to keep an eye on the weight of your bag. The blade features vents that reduce the strain on the ankle and improve thrust by channeling the water flow. This type of fin was designed to meet the toughest demands of special ops and coast guard activities, and they’re popular with advanced divers who favor frog kicking, helicopter kicking and have the need to reverse. A nice feature of this fin is the hanging loops provided in both fin tip and heel. These holes mean that these fins can be easily stored on a peg or attached to anywhere via the use of a carabiner which is a very handy feature when diving from a boat in choppy seas.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Tough and durable
  • Short vented blade
  • Spring heel straps
  • Hanging holes

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: ‘Military-style’ paddle with vents

Size: 19 inches

Weight: 6.6lbs

rocket fins vs jet fins

Overall Rating – 4.8  /5
Design – 4.9
Functionality – 4.7
Comfort – 4.8
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The Aqua Lung Shot FX fins are part of the Aqua Lung Women’s Collection but offer more than simple color matching of the range. Using technology and learnings from other Aqua Lung fins the Aqua Lung Shot FX have been designed specifically for women. A combination of ‘v boosters,’ flexible blade inserts, and ribs mean efficient energy store and release and channeling of water which results in an efficient kick. The foot pocket has a grip on the inside ensuring both security and the best power transfer. The underneath is also gripped for stability, and the spring straps and thumb loop make them easy to get on and off. The foot pocket was created with a slender foot in mind so for ladies with wider feet they may not be comfortable. The technology behind this fin is aimed at producing a powerful fin for ladies and will be welcomed by those who struggle with the more unisex heavier, stiffer, or longer fins.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Specially designed for women
  • Spring strap with thumb loop
  • Supported by Aqua Lung technology

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Paddle with channel

Size : 24 inches

Weight: 3.5 lbs

scuba split fins

Overall Rating – 4.7  /5
Design – 4.8
Functionality – 4.7
Comfort – 4.6
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Scuba Pro split fins employ different technology versus a standard paddle fin; their split hydrofoil design allows water to flow between and around each of the four blades. The four blades also flex independently and produce an effect like a propeller. The blades are re-enforced on the outer edges by semi-rigid rails. The large vents reduce drag, and the foot pocket has been extended to increase the power transfer to the blade. The scuba split fin debate is always polarizing but what is undeniable is their reduction in stress to the knees and ankles. Those who love them site their power efficiency and increased maneuverability and those that don’t say they’re awkward to dive with and can’t deliver powerful enough propulsion when you need it.  This ScubaPro split fin is heavy and long and quite bulky so not ideal for travel.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Reduces stress on ankle and knee joints
  • Extended foot pock provides greater power transfer
  • Large, heavy fin

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Split and vented

Size: 30 inches

Weight: 4.6 lbs

atomic fins

Overall Rating – 4.7  /5
Design – 4.8
Functionality – 4.6
Comfort – 4.7
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Atomic Aquatics Split Fins are designed to need less power to cause propulsion. The outer rails give each blade strength and stability while the blade material flexes like wings which reduces drag and blade reaction. This technology provides an efficient kick with reduced stress on the joints and, because you need less power, they’re said to reduce air consumption. That said scuba split fins have a reputation for not performing well in current. Atomic Aquatics fins work best with a tight or smaller range flutter kick. The Atomic Aquatics Split Fin is the only Atomic split fin to come with their spring strap as standard. These Atomic split fins are available in nine different colors.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Spring strap as standard
  • Easy on the knee and ankle joints
  • Many colors available

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Split

Size : 24.4 inches

Weight: 5 lbs

scuba pro fins

Overall Rating – 4.6  /5
Design – 4.7
Functionality – 4.5
Comfort – 4.6
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The ScubaPro Seawing Nova is a very unusual looking fin and, while it is not a split fin, if you are looking for the best split fins I would advise that you consider these too. These ScubaPro fins are popular with those replacing split fins due to their light weight and the reduced effort required to power them. The articulated joint allows the winged paddle to pivot which both reduces drag but maximizes the scooping effect in the water to provide propulsion. The foot pocket is longer which allows for greater power transfer and comes with bungee straps and a thumb loop. These fins are easy to get on an off, but the under-sole grip is what lets this fin down; don’t rely on it for traction. There are a range of colors to choose from.

STANDOUT FEATURES:

  • Unusual looking fin
  • Innovative design
  • Lightweight

Foot pocket type: Open Heel

Blade type: Articulated pivot

Size: 24 inches

Weight: 3.4 lbs

BUYERS GUIDE AND TIPS

There are a number of choices to be made when selecting a fin. The key thing to remember when reading a scuba fin review is that the product must meet your requirements. The top fin selection for your buddy might not be the best scuba fin for you. Think about how you dive, where, and how often you will use them. Do you flutter kick or frog kick, dive in cold water or warm water, only on holiday or mostly at home, from the shore or boat? Your diving lifestyle will help determine your choice. Keep this in mind when reading about the key features below.

FLIPPERS vs FINS:

Scuba diving flippers and scuba diving fins are the same things, and the description is interchangeable, it’s just that flipper is an older term for the more modern term fin. Although you can use either; don’t be surprised if you’re told, “Flipper is a dolphin, we use fins!’’ if you stick to the old school rules.

OPEN HEEL or FULL FOOT:

Most divers believe that open heel fins are the best fins for diving for a number of reasons. As the terminology suggests the foot pocket doesn’t enclose the heel; your forefoot slips into the foot pocket, and the fin is secured to your foot with a strap that goes around your heel much like a pair of sandals. They are designed to be used with a bootie made out of neoprene which will not only keep your feet warm but also protect them on the boat or shore. Sure, you have the extra task and cost of finding the best dive boots, but it will mean that you can use these fins in either cold or warm water. An open heel fin is on the whole larger, heavier, and bulkier than a closed heel fin; it does require more power to use, but you do get better propulsion.

Full foot or closed heel fins – they’re the same thing – have a foot pocket that encloses the heel as a normal shoe does. These are not worn with a boot and for this reason are only really suitable for warm water. Their design makes them less forgiving when it comes to fit; poorly fitting closed heel fins will cut, blister, and rub your feet. The materials used for the foot pocket itself also dictates their comfort; good quality, soft and pliable materials are the best. All that said, it doesn’t mean that full foot fins should not be considered. They’re mostly lighter than open heel fins which does mean you need less power to use them and, because you don’t use a boot, they’re less buoyant too which makes them a good choice for the best snorkeling fins. If you are buying fins to use on holiday in warm water where you might also spend time snorkeling, they could be the best scuba fins for travel.

BLADE TYPE:

There are two types of blade to choose from, and the discussion around whether to use paddle or split fins for diving can be impassioned.

A standard paddle fin has the most resistance in the water which means it does require greater power than a split fin but, in turn, you get greater propulsion. Scuba split fins have less resistance in the water and are a great idea if you have knee or joint problems. A split fin does favor a flutter kick dive style, however, and they can take a little getting used to.

In simple terms, the larger, heavier, and more rigid a fin design is the more power you will need to use to propel yourself. Of course, you get the best propulsion from this, but you need to be able to manage the fin comfortably.

BLADE TECHNOLOGY:

This is where scuba fin reviews can start to get confusing but understand that any design features attributed to a blade are there to increase its efficiency versus effort. Manufacturers have looked at propulsion technology to try and increase the power a fin offers while reducing effort. The most common features you will see are as follows.

Channels are interspersed along the blade most often using a different and more flexible material than the blade. These u-shapes capture the water causing a more efficient kick and improving propulsion due to the focused jet of water they produce.

Side Rails are for stability and control, they bring strength to the blade and make sure the water doesn’t ‘slip off’ the blade and reduce propulsion.

Vents are slits, and these reduce resistance and drag and designed to be placed where there is little water flow thus reducing the drag in an area that doesn’t deliver against propulsion.

When reading a diving fins review bare in mind you don’t need a fin with all of these features, you need a fin that suits your purpose so don’t get dazzled by all the scientific terminology.

BUCKLES and STRAPS:

Open heel fins attach to your foot with a strap that fits around your heel, but they are not all the same. The basic strap is ridged for grip and passes through buckles on either side of your ankle. The gripped strap stops it slipping, and the buckle snaps it in place. To take them off you can either open the buckle or loosen the strap.

There is another option which is essentially a long, tough metal spring or bungee. Once fitted there is no strap to adjust or buckles to deal with. This system is far easier to use with cold or gloved hands and less cumbersome if you have trouble reaching your fin straps. This type does not come as standard on all fins, but you can buy them separately and replace the strap and buckle design as they do tend to fit most fins.

COLOR:

While there is some discussion as to the color of fins liked by sharks; apparently, they are attracted by lighter colors, I would say the more pertinent point to consider is the conditions that you dive in. Brighter fins are more easily seen in low visibility. Otherwise, it’s just personal preference and perhaps a question of style if you like your gear to match.

As a final thought, in a scuba fins review, a lot is made of the speed, and power potential of a fins’ design, however, do remember that you are not speeding around the ocean in any record-breaking attempt. Scuba diving is a slow and minimalist action activity where you see more and enjoy the experience more the slower you take it. Do you need a super-powered fin guarantee to deliver speed and drive? Sure, you need a fin that will deliver you propulsion when you need it but don’t get sidetracked into a quest for the most powerful fin; remember you are looking for the best fin for you so keep this in mind when you read our best scuba fins 2020 selection.

3 Comments

  • Hey there I am so excited I found your blog page, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Google for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous post
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    • Hi mate, Nate here… thanks!! Yeah, Bill and I really took pride in getting the design just right. Just had a look at your site, it has done some very solid reviews: well done. We will be distributing an email newsletter soon, signing up could be easier than RSS. Would also love to chat blogging, I will reach out via email. Cheers!

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