Scuba diving is an adventure that many people want to experience. If you’ve done it multiple times in the past, you may want to purchase the right gear. One thing you cannot do without is a pair of scuba fins, as it propels you farther in the water and helps you reach lower depths.
While many people go with the rentable versions with the touring company, you may not want to do this. A variety of people have used these fins, and they may not be as sturdy and snug as you’d like. Plus, novices aren’t likely to know if they’re still suitable for the water and may have a difficult time, which makes your scuba diving session less enjoyable.
Professionals or those who have been scuba diving many times are likely to desire their own equipment, as well. You’re sure to enjoy the pride factor of pulling out your own set of fins, slipping them on, and heading to the water while everyone else stands in line for rentals.
Finding the best scuba fins is a challenge, but we have reviewed five of the most popular ones. We’re going to look at the features and give a short list of pros and cons to help you make an informed buying decision. We’ll also tell you which product we think is best and why.
Best Scuba Fins: Our Top Picks
1. Mares X-Stream Open Heel Fins
So many diving fins require you to make adjustments to use them or spend hours upon hours searching for the perfect design for your needs. You don’t have to do all that work.
The Mares X-Stream Open Heel Fins offer innovations and tried-and-true technologies, ensuring that the fin is light to wear, easy to put on, and powerful while gliding through the water.
The straps are easily adjustable with a folding two-button clip that opens to either side. You get a perfect fit and can set them at that same adjustment each time you dive.
However, it’s essential that you don’t over-tighten your straps. If you notice instep cramps, consider loosening the straps slightly, and the cramps should go away.
On that note, the factory straps are suitable, and we found no issues with them, but you can exchange them for the Mares bungees straps if you’d like. Regardless, they are designed to fit snugly and won’t move about on the feet.
- Foot Pocket
You’ll notice perforated foot pockets, which cuts the resistance as you glide through the water while the rigid bottom pocket gives your foot a solid surface from which to push against while finning.
The center of the blade uses soft silicone to provide the maximum thrust with each kick, ensuring that the user doesn’t work so hard to create that forward momentum. This can be particularly helpful when you’re doing multiple dives in a short period, especially since you can minimize fatigue.
The blade is rimmed in your color choice, though the silicone blade and hard plastic cut are frosted clear to give you a streamlined fin that looks cut to the bare essentials.
One of the key aspects we wanted was a lightweight fin because we wanted it to be suitable for traveling. If you are planning to purchase scuba fins, your goal is to travel the world and snorkel or scuba dive in a variety of exotic places. Therefore, they should be easy to pack and light enough not to bog down your suitcase.
That said, these fins weigh about six pounds total (both of them together), which means you aren’t going to have tired arms from lugging them to the diving location. They are 32 inches long, which means they are likely to fit snugly in your luggage, depending on the type of suitcase you own.
- Color and Aesthetics
You’ll find that the Mares X-Stream fins are available in a multitude of colors, including white, pink, black, red, yellow, and blue. The sharp aesthetic feature of a black "x" is centered over the feet pockets. The lower part of the "x" curves around to act as reinforcement struts between the blade and pocket.
While the price is comparable to many other top brands, it isn’t on the low side. That said, you’re looking for something made of high-quality, lightweight materials that are designed to last. We feel that these fins do their job, especially for short-legged divers who may want to keep up with their diving buddies.
- Durability and Functionality
They can outlast other top brands if cared for properly, even if you travel to a variety of countries for scuba diving and perform in all types of conditions. They’re sure to give you years of enjoyment, and you may decide to purchase a new set as a replacement when yours finally do give out.
Whether you dive occasionally when you go on vacation or regularly near your home, these fins can help you deal with any conditions and provide optimum maneuverability and speed. They can handle extreme currents, or long surface swims without issue, and they’re compact enough to get you through any swim-throughs.
These fins are suitable for snorkeling as well as scuba diving. Therefore, you can purchase one set of fins and use them for both watersports.
We did worry about the construction of the fins. While they look streamlined and modern, the fin part (past where your toes end) is open. While water can freely flow through and around the open areas, we believe it might take away some of the power and speed that you may desire.
- Easy to use
- Effortless diving
- The heel strap is helpful
- Prevents legs and/or hips from getting tired
- Sizes run large
- Bungee fin straps sold separately
2. SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Fins
Scuba divers who crave cutting-edge technology to make scuba diving more fun and easier might want to try the Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins. These fins combine all of the Scubapro technology, innovations, hydrodynamic designs, and cutting-edge materials to create one fin that is nearly perfect in every regard and look or feel nothing like a conventional pair of diving fins.
Scubapro says that these fins give the power and thrust you’d expect from a paddle fin while still being as efficient and as comfortable as the split fin.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Scubapro Seawing Fins is the hinged blade design. The fin blade is connected using two flexible hinges or arms, which allow the blades to flex more than a traditional paddle fin would.
Remember, your ankles can only bend to a certain degree. Since there is a more significant angle of attack, the power from your kick is focused more on pushing the water backward instead of pulling it through the water in a flat plate. This feature can significantly increase efficiency while reducing strain on the ankles and legs.
You’ll also notice that the Scubapro Seawing Nova Fins have a wing-shaped blade. The blade has up-curved edges to help give the fin a steady feel while you kick underwater. This can also reduce drag from the downstroke and upstroke.
This pair of fins also comes with self-adjusting Bungee straps, which are marine-grade and heavy-duty. The system is designed to get you in them and ready to go quickly. Whether you’re already in the water or on the deck, you can easily get the fins on your feet.
They are designed for self-adjustment as you increase depth and pressure. As your diving boots compress with the depth, the elastic strap on the fin keeps your foot snug in your foot pocket.
- Foot Pocket, Grip Pad, and Heel Plate
The foot pockets have recently been redesigned to add comfort. The grip pad is also present to prevent slipping while on wet surfaces. You’ll also notice an extended heel plate, which can enhance the transmission of power from the legs to the fins while reducing fatigue and lower leg strain.
We like the idea of the extended heel plate, but we worried that it would allow the foot to slip inside it. Customers haven’t complained about this issue, so it isn’t likely to affect you, and we had no problems with it personally.
Of course, you’ll be pleased that these fins are so lightweight, making them suitable for travel. They are 6.5 pounds altogether, which makes each one about 3.25 pounds. That is slightly heavier than other brands, but the difference is minuscule, and you’re not likely to notice that extra quarter pound.
They’re 30 inches long, which makes them a little shorter than other brands. That can make it easier to fit in a suitcase, but it can also affect your kick and power slightly.
As far as looks or style, we really like that these look so innovative. Most scuba fins have a small foot area with a significantly flared fin at the end, but these don’t.
While they do flare at the ends, it’s not as much as you may think. However, it doesn’t affect how they perform. We also liked the opening between the foot pocket and the fin; it’s wide but not wide enough to promote waterlogging.
We also liked the fact that the wing tips arched upward. Many fins have an arc, but it points slightly downward. We felt that the upward arc was an innovative design that made them more stable for higher speeds.
These fins can take some getting used to because they do deliver more power with such little effort. Nonetheless, it’s best to work through the strangeness and continue using them until they feel like part of your feet.
The one thing we noted was that, because they are so lightweight and offer buoyancy, you may find them to be a little too buoyant on the dive. However, you can learn to make the right adjustment to your diving style for these to work well.
In the past, there were reports that hinges could break under a heavy load, but Scubapro has recently upgraded the fins and claims to have fixed the problem. We didn’t notice any issues, but we didn’t use heavy loads and didn’t use them for extended periods.
We believe that these scuba fins would be perfect for a technical or recreational diver. If you prefer fins that are easy on the legs and ankles and offers efficiency, we think these fins could be right for you. On the contrary, divers who prefer stiffer fins with less flex and more power may find that these fins aren’t right for them.
It’s also important to note that you can frog kick using these fins, but many divers are going to see the best performance if they do the flutter kick.
Those who want fins that offer good maneuverability, power, and are comfortable to wear on the feet are sure to like these fins.
- Many color choices
- More high-speed stability
- Marine-quality bungee strap
- Ergonomic foot pocket
- Better for people who like efficiency with more flexibility
- Can make it tough to get through currents
- Sizing can be tricky to get right
3. TUSA SF-22 Solla Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins
The TUSA SF-22 Solla Open-Heel Scuba Diving Fins uses ForcElast technology, which can deliver better efficiency, speed, and propulsion, even if you don’t put in a lot of power.
The fin works by using a proprietary TPE compound that is positioned in the right place of the foot pocket and blade structure. The brand also has a variety of other technology that is included in the SF-22.
Its propeller-fin technology delivers higher performances with fewer rapid-flutter kicks. As the fins move through the water, the two, wing-shaped surfaces are designed to propel you forward like a propeller and create lift. You will also see more efficiency without the effort and drag.
- Blade and Buckle Systems
The Hybrid Blade System (HBS) offers better power transfer for more efficiency using a multi-compound design. The system is comprised of stiff side rails with an ultra-responsive membrane for the blade, which gives you unlimited potential for kicking.
If that weren’t enough, the buckle system is easy to use. You can quickly adjust the fins to fit your feet with little effort. You can even adjust the fins while wearing them, which ensures you get the best fit for that particular dive. Along with such, the heavy-duty bungee strap offers five adjustable positions.
- Comfort and Colors Available
The SF-22 fins have many other features including the Vortex Generator, which is designed to create a more efficient and smoother kick cycle with the six performance ridges that are located behind the blade vent. You also have the Active Pivoting System, which uses strategically placed holes to reduce drag, all while allowing you to maintain constant propulsion.
The TUSA SF-22 Solla Diving Fins are newly designed within the last year to include anatomically correct foot pockets for more comfort. The fins also come in a variety of colors, including red, black, pink, blue-and-white, green, and yellow.
- Usability and Portability
While being reasonably priced when compared to other fins, they are still full of new and innovative technology that works well for advanced and beginner scuba divers alike.
Something should be said about the rich performance history of the TUSA brand. The latest advancements in materials and hydrodynamic innovations allow for this brand to propel you wherever you need to go without fear.
The blade of the fin is made of high-quality polyurethane material, which ensures a quick response to movement, especially when compared with plastic and rubber fins. The fins are also designed using reflective material.
Therefore, it can reflect a full 180 degrees back to its original light source. That ensures you get excellent visibility, even in low-light conditions.
We really liked that these fins had a streamlined appearance. When you look at them, you instantly think fast and no waterlogging. With some fins, you have odd open areas that don’t seem to make sense, but with these, they look thin and don’t add unnecessary bulk.
Weighing in at only six pounds, they’re lightweight enough to carry long distances, and your feet and legs won’t get tired too soon while in the water.
- Ergonomic foot pocket for comfort
- Increased power transfer to blades from the foot pocket
- Well-made and innovative design
- Affordable and adjustable
- Challenging to find the right size
- Stiff fins; harder to walk
- Should be longer
4. Cressi Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins
Cressi is an Italian company and one of the brand pioneers for scuba diving equipment, as well as swimming equipment.
It was founded back in 1946 as a diving company that boasted innovative design, development, and manufacturing. It is still a family-owned brand and one of the first companies to ever develop innovative options for watersport lovers. With over 70 years of quality under its belt, it is still committed to providing the best fins and other equipment to those who love the sport.
The Cressi Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins is a generous pair of fins that offers excellent performance without a lot of physical effort. The fins are designed to be used by beginners and professionals; in fact, many technical divers and instructors also use them.
The blade uses two different materials, including soft elastomer and strong polypropylene to ensure that they are well-balanced and light. The side rails go the full length of the fin, which helps to improve thrust and direct water flow effectively.
The foot pocket is made of elastomer, which is soft to provide more comfort. You also get an increased surface area because the blade is designed to extend past the top of the foot.
Made by Pro Light, you get a more powerful fin than any other on the market. You’ll note that the unique polypropylene blade offers more variable flex that can be adjusted during the kicking cycles. The blade is flexible but has some snap, which means you don’t have to kick as hard to use them.
You’ll also find side stringers extending down the blade with two flaps on the end of the blade to make the fin more directional.
While all fins have a foot pocket, Cressi is the first brand to recognize that your performance can be heightened when the foot pocket is ergonomic and comfortable. Therefore, this brand’s foot pocket uses elastomer materials and has been computer-designed to provide the best leg-fin thrust; this allows the blade to become an extension of your actual leg.
The quick-release strap buckles make it easy to adjust or remove the buckle and adjust the fins on the feet as needed. Of course, you also get the Adjustable Binding System, which allows you to unbuckle and buckle the fin with one finger.
The insole is ribbed, which improves the fit and gives you a more efficient fin stroke. Plus, it comes with Channel Thrust Technology, which ensures the best water channeling possible.
- Design and Color
While the design for these scuba fins isn’t innovative, they do have a sleek and streamlined appearance. There are no holes along the base, fin, or foot area, which ensures that you get more speed without being waterlogged. We also liked the classic style fin because it gives a feeling of tradition while still looking like something modern.
It also comes in three colors, including black, yellow, and blue. They are reasonably priced, though the price is variable based on the size you require.
If you’re worried about the weight, you should know that the Cressi brand of scuba fins is comparable to other brands. They weight about six pounds, which means each one is three pounds. It’s not that much of a challenge to your feet and having fins of any brand are going to weigh you down slightly.
- Authentic diving brand
- Suitable for beginners, professionals, instructors, technical divers
- Increased efficiency and power
- Offer flex without much effort
- Stiffer than expected
- Sizing can be a challenge
- May need to replace the heel strap for proper fit
- Cumbersome for tight spaces; maneuverability can suffer
5. Oceanic Viper Scuba Diving Open Heel Dive Fins
The Oceanic Viper Scuba Diving Fins blends materials, hydrodynamics, and technology to provide you with the best performance, comfort, and efficiency possible. The diving fins themselves are vented, which makes them more responsive and faster when in the water.
You may be asking yourself how these fins work. The fins have a thrust channel embedded into them, which improves power and efficiency. It also works to direct the water off the top of the blades, which enhances the water flow as you move your legs.
You may notice that the engineered channels and side rails are designed to work together, as well. As they work together, they won’t allow any water to spill from the edges of your fin blades. Therefore, you see more power and efficiency because of that.
The blade is designed to be oversized, which helps you increase your thrust and propulsion. These fins are made using Thermal Plastic Rubber and polypropylene. Both materials are needed to create the semi-rigid, yet flexible panels that you need to push through water with ease.
The Oceanic Viper Open Heel Dive Fins is quite reasonably priced for what you get, though we did notice that it has fewer technologies and innovations than other pricier options. Therefore, keep that in mind when you’re shopping for these and other fins.
- Weight and Portability
The fins weigh about four pounds, which means each fin is two pounds. It’s best to keep that in mind when you shop for diving fins because the extra weight is going to take its toll on your legs and feet.
However, you need something that is solid to push through deep, heavy water, and we think these fins have the right weight for what they’re designed to do. In fact, this brand weighs less than any other brand we reviewed!
While talking about weight here, you’ll note that four pounds aren’t that heavy, which makes them easy to carry around with you. They’ll fit into those large wheeled suitcase bags, which can help you reduce the amount you carry in your dive bag.
- Colors and Sizes
You’ll find the Oceanic Viper Open Heel Fins in a variety of colors, including blue with black, neon yellow, white with sea blue, and white with pink. The sizes range from extra-small to 2XL with a total of seven sizes available.
This product also comes with a limited warranty for 12 months. If you’re concerned about the warranty and what’s included, it is best to consult the seller or manufacturer directly.
We think the Oceanic Viper Open Heel Fins is perfect for any skill level. While these fins are designed for scuba diving, you can also use them for snorkeling. Therefore, they serve a dual purpose, as you can use them for multiple watersports.
Though the product is geared for novices, anyone can use the product. Experienced divers are going to love that they are easy to put on, making them perfect for when you’re in a rush to get in or out of the water. They can also work well for advanced sea divers, casual divers, and recreational divers.
While the fins work in any condition, they are ideal for warmer water, such as coastal towns that offer many underwater activities and sea diving. If you require more power for your dives, these can be perfect. The blade has the built-in flexibility you need and can form a U-shape when needed.
- Ease of Use
The one caveat we noticed was that you shouldn’t use these barefoot. They can be a little challenging to wear or walk in if you’re not also wearing diving boots. However, if you don’t plan to wear diving boots (sometimes called booties), you may want to purchase a smaller size than you’d normally wear to combat it.
The issue with not wearing booties is that they can be slightly uncomfortable on the bare feet. It’s not to say they can’t be worn, and people without foot problems may not notice an issue. However, they do have the open heel, and the pockets can help to reduce drag.
As such, you can wear a variety of diving boots. That way, you can pick the ones that you like best or those that are the most comfortable on your feet.
While these are available in most locations, there can be restrictions for international purchases. Thus, you’ll need to check that the seller can send the item to you if you live outside the USA.
- Appropriately priced
- Legs don’t get tired as fast
- Kicking’s natural and easy
- Provide powerful thrust
- Runs a bit large
- Can come loose during dives
- Doesn't float
- Keep out of direct sunlight when not in use
We were amazed at how well all of these scuba fins performed, and we have to say that we had a hard time picking a winner! We felt that both the Oceanic Viper Scuba Open Heal Scuba Diving Fins and the Cressi Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins were both top-notch.
Both products come from well-known brands (at least in the scuba diving world), and both had a variety of color options available. In both cases, the price was right, and both had similar fit issues.
While Cressi was a close second, the foot pockets were a little larger, which made it easier for them to slide off while kicking and diving. We also worried about the fin design, which adjusted based on the kick cycle.
While it helped slightly and would allow you to perform a variety of kicks, we felt that the adjustments were too loose. You don’t know when it will come off, so you may worry about the kick and put it off too much.
We did decide that the Oceanic Viper Scuba Open Heel Fins is the winner here. These fins are slightly more expensive than the Cressi brand, but we loved that these fins can do double duty for snorkeling and diving. We also really liked that the oversized blade allowed for more propulsion and thrust.
We did wish that the foot pocket was adjustable so that it could be worn with sans booties, but we liked the fact that you could wear a variety of boot styles with the product. Hence, we believe that the Oceanic fins are the best scuba fins we tested.