Best Scuba Diving Fins for Amateur and Seasoned Divers: Buyer’s Guide & Product Reviews

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Whether you free drive, spear dive, or you’re a technical or sport diver, you need the best scuba diving fins in order to propel yourself through the water smoothly and quickly. Without the right set of fins, you’ll find yourself immobile in the water. But finding a good set of fins isn’t as easy as it sounds.

That’s where I come in. I’ve created an in-depth buyer’s guide that will teach you everything you need to know about fins, how to determine whether a set will work for you, and the features to look for. I’ve also included six pairs of fins that made it onto my must-have list. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each pair, what standout features they have to offer, and how they rated.

Scuba Diving Fins Comparison Chart

ProductStyleBladeSizesRating
CAPAS Diving Fins
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Open HeelAction3
Cressi Adult Fins

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FullChannel10
U.S. Divers Proflex II
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FullVented5
Cressi Open Heel Fins

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Open HeelPaddle
BPS Short-Blade Fins
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Open HeelAction3
Mares Avanti Quattro Fin

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Open HeelVented3

CAPAS Diving and Snorkel Fins


Our Rating: (5/5)

These are open-heel fins that are designed to accommodate a wide range of shoe sizes. Inside the fins, you’ll find filter pads that are designed to retain the shape of the fins when stored. The comfortable fit and soft foot pocket provide a flexible fit that allows you to wear diving boots or neoprene booties to protect your feet from colder water temperatures. These fins are also highly adjustable and a great choice for any diver in need of fins that are lightweight, compact, and come equipped with a short blade design. The large thumb loops on the fins allow for fast and easy adjustments, while also making it easy to take the fins off or put them on.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Highly adjustable
  • Soft foot pocket
  • Perfect for colder water temperatures
  • Low price

Cons

  • Not designed for deep diving

Conclusion

If you’re looking for beginner-friendly fins that feature the popular open heel design, then you’ll appreciate the comfortable and highly adjustable fit that this set has to offer. Keep in mind, the shorter fin design makes them a poor choice for deep diving and free diving, however, in most cases, the fins will be a great fit for snorkeling and action sport dives.

Cressi Adult Snorkeling Full Foot Pocket Fins


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These fins are perfect for scuba diving, free diving, and snorkeling. The molding technology used resulted in a responsive, lightweight blade that allows you to easily and smoothly slice through the water. The full-foot pocket is made out of computer-designed soft thermo-rubber that provides the perfect combination of comfort and functionality. The pocket will extend along the bottom of the blade in order to improve protection even in shallow water conditions. The blade is made out of reactive polypropylene and offers a very responsive, snappy rebound.

The design consists of three different materials that are used to create fins that are extremely light, offer less resistance in the water, and are incredibly comfortable. The ribbing located at the bottom of the blade and the two side supporting grooves provides controlled and progressive bending, which results in a fluid, powerful kicking force. The non-slip sole inserts are solid, for improved foot protection and top of the line energy transmission.

Pros

  • Covered by a two-year warranty
  • Durable
  • Lightweight, responsive blade design
  • Blades offer snappy rebound

Cons

  • Fins run a size large

Conclusion

These feature-packed diving fins are perfect for beginners and seasoned divers alike and come loaded with all the right features that you need out in the water, whether you’re freediving, snorkeling, or deep diving. These are clearly the best full foot fins on the market and ones that are designed to last and withstand heavy-duty use, in a variety of underwater environments.

U.S. Divers Proflex II Snorkel Fins


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These fins are designed for both snorkeling and diving. The soft full foot pocket and vented blades improve breathability and kicking efficiency. The length of the fins and slim profile of the blade allows you to take longer strokes to reduce wearer fatigue. These fins are perfect for the beginner since you don’t need to use a stronger kicking force. However, the seasoned diver will appreciate the fin’s lightweight design, ease of use, and the breathability that allows the feet to remain comfortable throughout the duration of a dive.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Improves kicking efficiency
  • Vented blade design

Cons

  • Narrow fit makes the fins a poor choice for people with wide feet
  • Only five size options

Conclusion

The narrow design and five size options are very limiting. Divers with wider feet will want to look elsewhere, for fins with a more forgiving design. Aside from the narrow fit, these fins are comfortable for most wearers and offer the type of lightweight design that allows you to get the most out of every movement underwater.

Cressi Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These open heeled fins feature a three material injection molding process that improves durability and comfort. The foot pocket rubber will conform to your neoprene booties or diving shoes, for a more secure fit. The blades are made out of technopolymer combined with a material that’s silicone-based and create a channeling effect. This effect provides improved energy transfer for down and up strokes, allowing you to efficiently slice through the water, using minimal effort. This manufacturer is known for its patented foot pocket design that’s positioned directly below the blade. The design does an excellent job of increasing the surface of the fin blade by as much as twenty percent. The blades themselves are very durable and virtually indestructible. The overall fin design makes them a great choice for beginners and advanced divers alike.

Pros

  • Paddle blade design
  • Improved energy transfer
  • Larger surface area
  • Durable

Cons

  • Extra rigid design can cause discomfort

Conclusion

This best-selling pair by Cressi features many of the characteristics of traditional paddle fins, with the addition of high-tech blade material that significantly improves its durability. If you’re new to diving then you need fins that are specifically designed to improve kicking efficiency and energy transfer, which will minimize wearer fatigue and that’s exactly what these fins deliver. A great buy for divers of all skill levels, but a must-have for the beginner who’s just learning the ropes.

BPS Short-Blade Adjustable Swim Fins


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These fins are made out of top of the line polypropylene, combined with thermoplastic rubber, both of which offer a more flexible, comfortable fit. The highly adjustable heel design allows you to simply click and pull to achieve the perfect fit. Because of the highly adjustable click and pull system, putting the fins on or taking them off is also fast and simple. If you want a pair of fins that other members in the family can use as well, then you’ll appreciate the adjustable design that can accommodate three consecutive shoe sizes. The shorter blade design is very responsive, which minimizes user fatigue and improves energy transfer, making each and every kick count. Padding is also included, which should be used when the fins are stored in order to help them to retain their shape.

Pros

  • Improves kicking efficiency
  • Lightweight design
  • Shorter blades
  • Highly adjustable

Cons

  • Only three size options available

Conclusion

These are the latest fins by BPS and they’re creating quite the buzz in the diving community, due to the highly adjustable lightweight design that improves energy transfer and kicking efficiency. These fins are beginner-friendly, allowing even new divers who have not developed a strong kick to easily and quickly slice through the water. However, even the experienced diver will appreciate the fin’s durability, comfortable uppers that conform to the wearer’s feet, the highly adjustable design, and the click and pull system that makes putting the fins on and taking them off a cinch.

Mares Avanti Quattro Fin


Our Rating: (4/5)

If you’re looking for budget-friendly fins, then you’ll want to pass this pair on by. However, the experienced diver will immediately notice these fins are quality all the way. If you’re looking for fins that are highly flexible and designed to increase kicking efficiency, then take a closer look at these best-selling fins by Mares. These fins offer excellent thrusting power and responsiveness. They also come complete with a bungee strap for improved security and comfort. The channel thrust technology allows you to get the most out of each movement underwater, while the open foot pocket design provides the blade with more power per kick.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Flexible
  • Blades are very responsive
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Price
  • Only three size options available

Conclusion

While the price may be steep, these fins offer the type of performance you need underwater, whether you’re new to diving or looking for more responsive fins that offer better than average responsiveness. The highly adjustable design allows you to achieve a tighter fit, without compromising comfort. The flexible design earned these fins a high user rating, however, the beginner or casual diver may want to opt for a pair of fins that are budget-friendly.

Scuba Diving Fins Buyer’s Guide

Those who are new to scuba diving may feel a little overwhelmed by how much gear is needed and must determine what gear will work the best for them based on many factors such as their fitness level, water temperatures, underwater environment and more. Fins may seem like a pretty basic piece of gear, but there are many characteristics to consider before you hit that buy now button such as blade type, blade rigidity, size, and overall design. If you’re not sure what type of fin will work the best for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, I’ll go over what style options are available, how to choose the perfect pair based on your needs, what features to look for, and what type of design options are available.

Since there are so many different types and styles of fins to choose from, finding the perfect pair will take a little research on your part. Now, let’s go over the different style options available and what each type has to offer in terms of ease of use and efficiency.

What is Propulsion?

This term refers to the diver’s ability to thrust and kick when they’re swimming underwater. Many new styles of fins offer features such as split fin designs and channels.

Sports Fins

Sports fins can have a major impact on your performance during your time in the water. These fins are often smaller compared to traditional diving fins.

Swimming

Recreational fins are often worn by snorkelers. These fins are pretty basic in design and the length is usually shorter than what you’ll get with scuba diver fins or freediving fins.

Scuba Diving

Your standard scuba diving fins are longer and larger than fins used by snorkelers and swimmers. Seasoned divers are usually more aware of the propulsion in power that these fins have to offer. This type of fin design tends to be slightly longer than snorkeling fins, which means they require more leg power and strength in order to effectively kick when you wear them.

Freediving

Freediving is a type of sport in which the diver submerges to a certain depth without the use of an air tank. In order to help the diver to submerge and surface on the amount of air in their lungs, these fins are specifically designed to make the most out of each type of kick.

These fins are much longer than recreation and snorkeling fins. Usually, longer fins tend to offer more resistance, resulting in improved efficiency with each kick.

Fin Design

The type of diving gear you use, the wetsuit you wear, and where you swim, can also factor into what type of fins you buy.

Open Heel

Freediver

If you’re diving in cold water temperatures, then you’ll need to wear more protective gear including booties or boots. If you usually wear diving boots, then you’ll definitely want to go with open heel fins. The open heel pocket will accommodate diving shoes since the heel strap will wrap around the back of the boots and can easily be adjusted for a more comfortable fit.

If you usually wear rigid sole boots, then the open heel pocket can also accommodate that type of stiff sole, while providing extra heel support.

Full Foot

If you’re diving in warm water temperatures then you won’t need to wear any extra gear to protect you from the cold. If you’re diving without boots, then a full foot fin is a great option. These fins will compress the entire foot, just like a slip-on shoe. When you’re trying fins on, if it rubs against your ankle, then you’ll need to go with a size smaller. However, if the fin makes your foot tingle and causes the toes to feel cramped, then you’ll need to go a size up.

In some cases, the diver will still prefer to wear these full foot fins, even if they’re diving in colder water. Divers will usually wear thick neoprene socks on their feet, which can provide some level of thermal protection. They will also purchase a fin size that will work with these socks and not cause the feet to feel restricted. However, if your exit or entry is over sharp or rocky terrain, then neoprene socks cannot provide the type of protection you need, in which case you’d need to wear open heel fins and boots for ultimate protection.

Flippable

Flippable fins are considered the most versatile type of fins on the market, and they’re also the newest. These fins can be folded or flipped, in order to allow the diver to walk around onshore freely, without having to remove the fins. The unique design makes these fins convenient to use for divers who need to climb a ladder to get out of the water. What makes these fins so amazing is that the blades flip down and lock into place automatically once the wearer begins to kick in the water.

Open Heel Versus Full

Full foot models are significantly lighter than open heels. They also tend to generate less drag since they don’t come equipped with any straps that dangle. They also come with blades that are shorter and more flexible, which will make it much easier when you’re kicking underwater. The full fins are designed to slip over a barefoot, so you also won’t have to use neoprene booties. This will allow the foot pocket to more firmly grip the foot, which results in a more energy-efficient transfer. Like with any type of fin, getting the right fit for the full fin is crucial to efficiency and comfort since the foot pocket isn’t adjustable.

If the fins are too small then the foot pocket will crush your toes. If it’s too big then it’ll fly off your foot when you kick. Since you won’t be wearing booties with this type of fin, this means that your foot will not be as well protected as it will when you’re wearing open heel fins. This can be an issue when you remove the fin in order to climb a ladder or if you have to walk back across the beach. In warm water temperatures, full models tend to be a more popular option, while open heel fins are often a better choice for cold water temperatures.

Paddle Versus Split

The classic split fin design allows you to easily slice through the water without much resistance. Instead of pushing against the water using up all of your leg power, the split fin’s flexible blade design helps to generate more lift, in addition to a type of jet propulsion effect that shares a similarity with how a boat propeller moves through the water. More propulsion is generated the faster a propeller turns. Basically, with the split fin design, the power will come from the speed of the wearer’s kick instead of the amount of force they use. Considering the split fin is narrow, you’ll want to use a rapid flutter kick when wearing them.

Paddle fins tend to have stiffer blades that will require the wearer to use more leg muscle, in order to move smoothly and quickly move through the water. These blades are designed for the diver who needs more feedback when they kick through the water. Paddle fins that are modified provide a more innovative approach to connecting the foot pocket to the blade, which consists of soft center panels and cutaways located in the upper portions of the blades. This results in a design that’s more flexible compared to a traditional paddle fin design. This makes it much easier on the ankles and legs.

Blades

snorkeler

Standard blade fins are made out of plastic. This is the most affordable option and they offer a decent performance. Most beginners will choose this style since they’re reasonably light, affordable, and highly durable.

Top Blade

These blades have a reputation as being incredibly flexible and allow the wearer to use less effort when they kick. A couple of flaps located on the end of the blade and the side stringers that extend along the duration of the blade make this a very directional fin.

Channel

This type of fin blade is made out of rubber and features channels that have been inserted directly into the blade, allowing the fin to effectively funnel the water behind the diver as the kick down, which would allow them to move through the water faster. The channels work to move the water through or across the fin. This increases the wearer’s speed since they offer less resistance in the water. Channels will also offer more fin flexibility, so the wearer can move more water per kick and bend further.

Top Channel

These fins come with heel bungee straps that are designed to improve the wearer’s safety and allows for easy and fast doffing and donning. The flexible tip and durable blade allow the diver to shoot through the water.

Split

With this design, as the diver kicks their food downward, the water will channel through the split, creating a type of spring-like action. This action results in a more efficient and powerful kick while minimizing wearer fatigue. This type of fin design is very popular for people who have knee or joint problems. The fin helps to minimize the level of resistance that’s felt by the diver’s joints and provides more efficiency with each kick. However, there are many seasoned divers who don’t recommend this fin option. But many divers can also admit that these fins can easily outperform other fin designs. The split fin requires the wearer to use a flutter kick in order to get the most out of each motion. In most cases, experienced divers tend to fail to adapt their kicking action when making the switch to this fin option and instead tend to stick with traditional fin kick action.

Blade Rigidity

The rigidity of the fin blade will have more to do with the diver’s fitness and leg strength. A larger diver that weighs two hundred pounds or more will require a stiffer bladed fin compared to a smaller diver that’s new to diving and has not had sufficient time to develop a strong kick. If you choose fins with blades that are too stiff for you, they will easily and quickly wear you out.

Fin Accessories

Diving fins tend to be one of the most basic pieces of diving equipment, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t come with some great accessories or extra features.

Buckles

Some fins will come equipped with quick-adjust buckles that will allow you to easily adjust the fit or take them off instantly. These buckles make taking the fins off or putting them on very convenient.

Spring Straps

If you’ve ever been frustrated with the standard rubber fin straps, then spring straps can be a great alternative.

Utility Straps

Experienced divers have a habit of taking off their gear as soon as they’re in waist-deep water. However, juggling all of their gear can result in a lost fin. Utility straps are essentially a safety clip for fins that will prevent you from losing your fins the next time you drop your gear after the end of a shore dive.

Carrying Bag

If you’re highly organized and like to keep your gear separated and easily accessible, then a fin carrying bag can deliver and can also provide your fins with some protection against damage during transport or storage.

Size

Choosing fins that offer the right fit will be crucial to your comfort, mobility underwater, wearer fatigue, and your performance. If you’re shopping for a set of full foot fins, then choose fins that are the same as your shoe size. If you’re looking for the perfect open heel fins that will be worn with diving boots, finding the best fit may be a little complicated. The type and brand of the diving boot or bootie you wear can have an impact on the open heel style fins you purchase. If you have high arches, you may prefer a looser fit, while others may prefer a snug fit.

When you’re trying on fins, make sure you’re sitting down. If you normally wear diving boots, then make sure you’re wearing them when you’re trying on open heeled fins. This will help you ensure that the boots you typically wear will be compatible with the fins you plan on buying. When you’re trying on the open heeled fins make sure there are a few inches of boot protruding from the foot pocket.

Next, you’ll tilt, shake, and move your feet to ensure that the fins are tight enough and not loose. When you’re trying on open heeled fins, avoid pulling on the strap too much. The strap should be adjustable and allow you to secure your foot firmly in place. Now, raise the fin, holding its tip, then flex it as if you were kicking underwater. If your heel pops out or the fin slips off your feet then you’ll need to choose a smaller size.

If you’re not sure what type of fin size to choose, read scuba diving fin reviews to learn more about the general fit, and be sure to check the manufacturer’s website and take a look at their size chart and their recommendations in terms of choosing a set of fins based on your shoe size and foot measurements.

Price

You’ll find a wide range of fins that are designed to work with most budgets. However, the top of the line fins often come with a steep price tag ranging from one hundred up to three hundred dollars. These are the fins that experienced divers will appreciate. However, if you’re a beginner or casual diver who only dives a couple of times a year, you can find high-quality fins that offer many of the features you need, ranging from thirty dollars to one hundred dollars. These may not be top of the line fins, but they can deliver the type of performance you need whether you’re learning the ropes or need a reliable pair you can use on your annual vacation.

Final Thoughts

The best scuba diving fins will work with your style of diving, your fitness level, where you dive, and what type of water temperatures you commonly dive in. As you can see, there are many fin styles to choose from, which can make it difficult to choose the perfect pair, especially if you’re a new diver. This guide is designed to provide you with the tools you need to make an informed decision when it comes time to hit that buy now button. Additionally, the included sets of fins in my best-of list are at the top of their class, so if you’re looking for high-quality fins that won’t break the bank and offer the type of flexibility and durability you need out in the water, then I’m confident that you’ll find a pair in my lineup that will meet all of your diving needs and work with your budget.