With just a simple purchase of your own scuba gear, you can improve your diving experience significantly. Rather than needing to rent out a gear every time, it is better to have your own fins and scuba kit that fits you and your diving needs perfectly.
Everyone has their own features that they like when choosing diving fins. Of course, there are some things that most people will want. To get the best experience, though, you’ll need to find the best scuba fins that fits your needs and preferences exactly.
Our short buyer’s guide within today’s article will help you to identify which features you care most about, and that knowledge will simplify your choice about which scuba fins are best for your style of diving.
Let’s get started on the reviews of the top-of-the-market scuba fins that are available to you. By the end of today’s piece, you’ll find the perfect pair of fins to take to your next trip!
Best Scuba Fins
To Get You Deep Underwater
Best Scuba Fins Reviews
1. Mares X-Stream Open-Heel Fins
The first pair of scuba fins that we will be covering today is the Mares X-Stream Open-Heel Fins. Mares offers a mid-range line of scuba fins, and the X-Stream is just one of those options.
The blade channels on these fins are one of the most unique channel designs that have been seen in scuba fins in years. The way that the channels are set up means you will not have as much turbulence while swimming. What’s more, the overall motion creates less fatigue for your body. This means fewer body cramps and an even smoother swim!
Overall, these fins help to create very low resistance so your legs don’t tire very quickly, but you are still offered adequate speed and movement. The fins are just a little bit flexible so you can use them in calm conditions or in stronger ones. If the currents are very strong, however, the slight flexibility can make you feel like you’re fighting the waves.
Another bonus of these X-Stream fins is the unique design of the foot pocket. The foot pocket has more of an open design that prevents any type of parachuting from happening when you are kicking. This means that your kicks will be more efficient and have better overall thrust propulsion.
This is an open-heel set of fins, and the heel strap itself is very easy to adjust. You won’t have to try three, four, or more times to get the right fit; they lock in place with ease and accuracy. That being said, the strap fastens so securely that they can be difficult to remove while in the water.
The X-Stream Open-Heel Fins from Mares is an excellent choice if you’re looking for long and strong fins that will help to give you the highest amount of efficiency without wearing your body too rapidly. These fins make the most of new technologies, and that development really shows.
2. SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Fins
The SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Fins are mid-range scuba diving fins that are best known for their separate foot pocket and fin design. Does this design make sense for your needs in the water?
Let’s start by breaking down the features and what this separated foot pocket accomplishes when it comes to diving.
As mentioned, the foot pocket has a bit of a separation from the rest of the fin. This is a very unique design, and the goal was to create a fin that could work in any type of condition. Because of the flexibility and the separation, this fin was meant to accomplish that task.
Ultimately, the separation works for making the fins feel much lighter and easier to use. It even helps you to propel yourself more quickly along the surface of the water, but only if there are not any strong currents. Due to the flexible design of these fins, it gets very difficult to move if the currents are strong. So, these fins are best for low current areas.
That being said, these are still an amazing, powerful fin that can offer you a lot on your dive. The modified layout of these fins makes it so that you can actually use smaller kicks to get better propulsion. This is because of how the fin moves separately from the foot. More, smaller kicks will move you farther, which is different than the design of most fins.
When you have to kick less, you will also breathe less. Ultimately, that will save you air and keep you in the water for longer periods. The fins give you a lot of power, and that power brings some great benefits.
- The articulated joint allows the blade to pivot and the entire blade is able to generate thrust. Pivot control technology ensures the most efficient angle of attack is maintained no matter how hard or softly you kick, generating thrust without drag or wasted energy
- Clean water blade geometry for optimum propulsion. Water is free to flow onto the working section of the blade, drag is reduced and thrust increased
- Variable pivot control ribs insures that the most efficient angle of attack is maintained across all strengths of kick. | Ergonomic foot pocket with extended heel plate insuring ultimate power transmission with less leg strain
- Durable Monprene construction making SeaWing virtually indestructible. | Wing tips arc upwards, increasing high-speed stability.
- Marine quality bungee heel strap with custom adjustment system for total comfort and convenience
The SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova fins are a super unique design. These were created with the idea that you could use one fin in every environment. While they don’t quite accomplish that impressive dream, the style does create a lot of power with smaller, less frequent kicks.
3. TUSA SF-22 Solla Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins
The TUSA SF-22 Solla Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins is a set of diving fins with perfect pockets and channeling that help to create high power kicks. Do these specific style choices make sense for your dives?
These open heel fins are known as some of the fins that have the highest bang for your buck. Why is that? Let’s look at its features to find out.
TUSA has been doing a lot of research over the years, which has helped them to create better channel designs and fin plastics to ensure that they get the best performance possible. In many ways, the SF-22 Solla Fins are the culmination of their research.
The compound that the fins are made of is known as ForcElast. This is a thermoplastic compound that makes up the fin blade and the foot pocket. When you kick your feet, a very high amount of that energy powers ultimate propulsion. Simply put, your kicks do more in these fins.
The fin blades have TUSA’s 20° ABD (Angled Blade Design) as well as appropriately placed vents and rails that ensure that the blade uses the water tension as efficiently as possible. These fins focus on creating a lot of water displacement so that you can get the most out of every single kick.
The heel strap on these has what is known by TUSA as an EZ buckle. This buckle is easy to lock into place with a snap, but it is also easy to release by pushing down in the middle of the buckle. This design keeps things secure while also being comfortable and simple to remove.
- Powered by ForcElast Technology
- TUSA patented 20° Angled Blade Design (A.B.D.)
- Multi-compound foot pocket increases power transfer to the fin blade
- Newly designed anatomic foot pocket enhances comfort
- Three channel blade with crescent tip maximizes propulsion
The TUSA SF-22 Solla Open-Heel Fins are a great choice for experienced divers with good leg power and control. This is thanks to their larger foot pocket and stiffer blades. Still, the channeling and rails on the blades ensure that all of your kicks count, and that efficiency can help any diver move like a pro!
4. Cressi Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins
Next up, let’s take a look at the Cressi Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins. Cressi is one of the most well-known diving brands around. How do their lightweight, open-heel fins stack up against the competition?
The Cressi Open-Heel Fins are low-range scuba fins perfect for those who want something that can work in low current situations without causing unnecessary amounts of fatigue.
Among the key features of these fins is that the foot pocket is placed in such a way that your foot will rest slightly below the fin. In many fin designs, your foot will be in line with the fin. Since your foot is lower than the fin, more of your range of motion and momentum will work to displace water and propel you than in a more traditional design.
Another huge bonus of these particular fins is that they are super lightweight. They weight in at just under six pounds, making them a great choice for tourists, beginners, and travelers. They can be easily carried around anywhere, and their weight won’t add to your leg fatigue more than necessary.
The design of these fins is very simple, but sometimes, simplicity is the best thing you could ask for when diving. There aren’t any windows, but the fins do have blades and a rounded edge to ensure the basic efficiency of using these. Since there isn’t a lot behind the fins, they adjust to every kick and motion you make.
- The Pro Light is a generous fin that provides exuberant performance without too much physical effort.
- These fins are perfect both for beginners and for professionals and are very common among instructors and technical divers.
- Blade made in dual material: strong polypropylene and soft elastomer for ensure lightness and well-balancing.
- Full length side-rails help direct waterflow for improved thrust.
- Elastomer foot pocket improves comfort.
The Cressi Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins take you back to the basics when you head out into the water. The very simple design might feel like it’s not enough for some divers, but others will find that simplicity helps them focus on nothing but the dive itself.
5. Oceanic Viper Scuba Diving Fins
Finally, we’re down to the last option for the best scuba fins. The Oceanic Viper Scuba Diving Fins is a low-end set of fins that make a lot of sense for those who are just building up their scuba gear. Do they make sense for you?
These fins are made from a composite material that is a mix of thermal plastic rubber and polypropylene. This composition allows for semi-rigid fins and fin ridges that keep their shape well but are also a little bit flexible. This makes these fins great for beginners and calm waters, but less effective in very strong currents.
Moreover, the composite material used to create these fins is also lightweight and easy to fit into your luggage when traveling (up to a certain size). Those who wear the largest sizes, though, may find them to be a bit more tiresome to deal with. The Oceanic Viper Fins are ideal for warm water areas. While they are effective in cold waters too, they are a bit too thin and too flexible to be as effective as some other fin types.
The design of the fins provides good efficiency and power while you’re paddling. The blade itself is a bit flexible, and you can make it through the kick cycle without any fatigue because of that. It bends all the way up to form a U shape, so these fins are best for those who appreciate the flexibility.
Finally, these fins have power vents. In addition to helping great additional water disturbance, which increases propulsion, the vents also help to relieve the amount of stress put on the ankles and the knees while you are diving. This can be great for helping to prevent any cramps or pain that you might have otherwise experienced.
- Ideal for all diving and snorkeling skill levels
- Flexible Power Thrust Channel directs water off the tip of the blade for improved power and efficiency
- Power Vents reduce stress while accelerating water over the blade
- Oversized blade produces increased thrust and propulsion
- Generous yet streamlined foot pocket fits a wide range of boot styles while significantly reducing drag
The Oceanic Viper Scuba Diving Fins are a great choice for those with a limited budget, little experience, or those that will be satisfied with a very flexible fin that performs best in warm water. These fins do channel power well and come with great efficiency in the right conditions, but they are not rigid enough for more extreme scuba diving conditions.
Buying scuba gear can be very costly. In fact, scuba diving tends to be a relatively pricy hobby, so it’s always important that you take the time that you need to choose the best possible equipment before you invest. With proper research, you can be sure to get something that will last you for a very long time.
Of course, not everyone knows where to begin when they’re researching scuba equipment! That’s why we’ve put together this brief buyer’s guide today. With the included information, we feel confident that you will be able to find the scuba fins that you need for your next excursion!
Be sure that you choose a pair of scuba fins that have a truly snug fit, but not ones that are so tight that your toes feel like they are being pinched. You want the fins to be tight enough not to move around unnecessarily, but you also want to make sure that they are loose enough not to cause blisters or cramping.
Try to wiggle your toes once you find a pair that offers a nice, snug fit. If you can move them with ease, but nothing moves around when you do, you’ve found a great fit. If you can’t wiggle your toes, you need to get a larger size of fins to prevent cramping or other similar problems.
Another important factor when you’re choosing fins specifically for scuba diving is to consider their overall efficiency. Efficiency when diving is very important. If your fins are not efficient, you will waste a lot of energy moving about, and wasting energy is a major no-no when you’re doing something as energy-draining as scuba diving.
Stiffness and size are the two main factors that you should think about when considering efficiency. Generally speaking, the longer and stiffer a pair of fins are, the more efficient they will be.
If you have strong legs, this simple fact remains true. If, however, you have a smaller frame or your legs aren’t yet very strong, you may need to go with something smaller and more flexible to be able to use them as efficiently as possible.
Just like you want your shoes to be comfortable when you’re on dry land, you also want your scuba fins to be comfortable when you’re underwater! After all, if you get a model of fins that you are not comfortable wearing, you won’t have as much fun while you are diving.
Consider the fins that you try on and ask yourself these questions:
- Do they feel loose?
- Do they feel tight?
- Are they narrow?
- Do they match your feet appropriately?
Being comfortable with your fins is a must while you are scuba diving, so keep that in mind when you make your final selection.
Size may not seem like the most important factor if you usually just carry your gear down to the boat from a rental shop, but the same feelings won’t apply if you’re going to have to start bringing your gear with you when you travel to your next scuba locations.
Consider how much available space you have to pack your scuba fins, and make sure you choose a set that will fit into your usual travel routine.
Split vs. Paddle Fins
There are two main types of scuba fins that you will likely come across while considering what you want to buy: split fins and paddle fins.
Paddle fins are also known as single-blade fins because they usually have one single blade across the whole fin, which is what moves through the water. While these take a little bit more effort to use, they offer the most propulsion through the water if you can create enough momentum.
Split fins, on the other hand, have some type of break within the blade. This split makes it easier to propel yourself through the water, which is a great trade-off for most divers. Still, remember that you’ll get slightly less propulsion.
Thought split and paddle fins are the two main categories of fin design, there are actually many different types of modified versions that you might find. In fact, we’ve even covered some modified versions on our list. Understanding the terminology, however, will help you know what the difference makes.
Full Foot vs. Open Heel Fins
Full-foot and open-heel fins are two types of fins that have different kinds of foot pockets. The foot pocket is where your foot goes into the fin.
Full-foot fins are worn barefoot because they completely encapsulate your foot. Generally, this type of fin style is used more for snorkeling and warm water conditions. They also tend to be lighter and shorter, thus making them easier to pack in many situations.
On the other hand, open-heel fins need to be worn with some type of bootie to protect your foot. Because of this added bootie, cold water diving and more treacherous conditions can be handled easier as your foot is going to be more insulated and protected from the outside elements. For scuba diving, this is the most popular foot pocket style.
Best Scuba Fins FAQs
1. How should scuba fins fit?
The sizing for scuba fins is done in a very similar way to sizing your shoes! In fact, you may even be able to simply convert your regular shoe size to your fin size. For men, this usually works. For women, though, going one size smaller is generally advised to get the right type of snug fit that is needed with fins.
If you are buying open-heel fins, remember that you should buy or try on a bootie before you try on the fins as the fins will need to fit properly on top of the booties. Estimating this aspect of the fit isn’t a good idea, so try to do this in order if possible. If you get a thick bootie, you may need to go one size larger in fin size than expected.
Make sure that your fins fit snugly without causing any pinching anywhere. If you’re wearing open-heel fins, follow these steps:
- Loosen the strap as much as possible.
- Slide your foot in.
- Tighten the strap until the fin fits snugly but not too tight!
Open-heel fins should not cover your whole heel. Instead, the foot pocket should end around your instep. Regardless of which type of fin you are getting, do a shake test before you settle on any fin! Shake your foot around as much as possible. If it shakes a lot, go down a size. If it doesn’t budge at all, go up a size. This is a great test to see whether or not you have the right fit.
2. Can you use scuba fins for snorkeling?
Technically, yes. You can use scuba fins for snorkeling, and many fins are made to be able to be used for either type of activity. Keep in mind, however, that scuba fins are usually longer and heavier than what is necessary for snorkeling.
With that said, you may be slowing yourself down or working harder than you need to when you choose fins that are designed for scuba when you head out snorkeling. Still, they can be a great choice if you will be snorkeling in challenging conditions.
Remember that not one set of fins can work for every diving situation. When you change from cold to warm water, from deep to shallow water, or from calm to rough currents, there is going to be a different set of fins that will work best. Consider where you dive most frequently, and then choose the fins that work for those situations, whether they are scuba or snorkeling experiences.
3. How do scuba fins work?
If you’ve ever used scuba fins before, you might be wondering how it is that they make it so effective for moving yourself through the water! When you push against the water, the tension and resistance of the water itself push back at you. The push is what helps to propel you when you use fins.
If you’ve ever swum without fins, you’ve found that kicking your feet creates propulsion that can move you through the water. When you add fins, you add to your surface area. The added surface area gives more room for the tension of the water to push back, so you are propelled ever more than if you were not wearing any fins.
Additionally, the movement of pushing your fins up and down will add to how much you are propelled as well. That is why some manufacturers have made sure to add channels to the fins so that the water is directed in the most efficient way possible as you paddle. This reduces fatigue and increases control.
4. How to clean scuba fins?
Once you’ve chosen your favored pair of scuba fins, it is also important for you to learn how to take care of them properly. Fin care isn’t very difficult, but it is incredibly important. If you don’t care for the fins properly, you may find that they wear out more quickly than you expect them to.
After using your scuba fins, make sure that you rinse them thoroughly. You want to remove all salt so that the fins don’t start eroding.
Once you’re done rinsing them, let the fins dry thoroughly. Let them air dry laying flat if possible, or hang them in a mesh bag so that they can dry completely. Also, try not to let them dry in direct sunlight. While they will dry faster, the light can cause unnecessary damage to them.
Until your next dive, store the fins somewhere safe. Don’t put them in the trunk of your car as that could cause excess damage because of too much heat exposure. Once fins warp, it is nearly impossible to get them back into their original shape because of the memory nature that the materials used to make fins have.
5. How to store scuba fins?
Storing scuba fins properly is just as important as cleaning them the right way. After you’ve rinsed and air dried the fins, you’ll want to keep them stored flat in a safe, cool, and dry location. Never put the fins into storage until they are completely dry or risk the buildup of mildew.
Again, storing fins somewhere that they will be affected by excess heat can cause the fins to warp over time. Additionally, sunlight can cause unnecessary damage.
If possible, you should place the foot bracers that came with the fins back inside of the fins. This support will help to prevent the foot pocket from collapsing over time, so you will be able to use the fins effectively for a longer amount of time.
And, finally, never store your fins on their tips. This will cause the shape of the fins to warp. As mentioned, that change will be irreversible, so be very careful to avoid this at all costs.
That’s it for today’s list of the best scuba fin options on the market! As you can see, there are a lot of good options out there. When it comes to scuba fin designs, we have favored open-heel designs over closed ones because they are more efficient and comfortable on the whole.
Out of these fantastic choices, we have found that the Mares X-Stream Open-Heel Fins are the best option for most scuba divers. The advanced foot pocket, vent, and channel lineup on these fins make them one of the most efficient sets on the market. Every single kick that you put into the water will effectively create propulsion, and that’s what you need from great fins!
If the X-Stream’s channel designs don’t appeal to you, try the TUSA SF-22 Solla Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins. This is our second favorite option because of their lightweight design and simplicity. They don’t overcomplicate the fin situation, but they do provide enough channels and pockets to ensure that your energy won’t go to waste while you are diving.
No matter which type of fin you decide to go with, you can be confident that your scuba fins will ensure that you have the best experience that you possibly can while exploring the wonderful world that exists underwater!