Which diving fin is best?
There’s no better feeling than navigating the waters with a pair of high-quality diving fins. This expertly crafted footwear can offer increased agility, speed and control with much less effort, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the underwater experience.
Regardless of whether you snorkel or scuba dive, choosing the perfect pair of diving fins can be challenging. Cressi Long-Blade Diving Fins are a great choice for any underwater activity or skill level.
What to know before you buy diving fins
Open-heel vs. full-foot fins
There are two types of diving fins to consider when making your decision: open-heel and full-foot fins. Both types have benefits depending on your preferred underwater activity.
- Open-heel: Usually worn with a pair of diving boots, these fins offer increased flexibility and are better suited for scuba diving and cold water diving. These fins are usually available in sizes small, medium and large.
- Full-foot: These fins fit over bare feet and are usually used for diving or snorkeling in warm water. Sizes typically correspond with your shoe size.
The blade is the wide, flat end of the fin that generates power when swimming. While a larger blade is capable of greater propulsion, it also requires more energy on the swimmer’s part. Look for a blade type that balances flexibility with size, and remember to consider your skill level when choosing a blade.
- Paddle: Generally used for snorkeling, these blades are short and highly maneuverable, but not ideal for speed or covering long distances. Paddle blades are most fitting for beginners.
- Channel: These blades feature a combination of hard plastic and soft rubber strips, which is a design that allows the blades to reshape as the swimmer kicks. While not suited for beginners, these blades require less energy and are preferred for long-distance dives.
- Split: Named for the separation that divides the fin in two, split fins can generate impressive speeds but require a rapid kick that could wear out beginners.
- Hinged: One of the more expensive blade types, hinged fins incorporate a spring into their design, allowing the diver to generate additional propulsion with very little effort.
- Force: With their easily recognizable fishtail design, force fins are very fast and maneuverable, but the high cost and steep learning curve make them a poor choice for beginners.
What to look for in a quality diving fin
If you’re new to diving, look for a pair of fins with vents. These are holes that let a small amount of water pass through the fins while swimming. This design reduces water resistance and increases the diver’s speed.
Stiff fins provide much more speed and propulsion, but can be tiring for beginners due to the increased water resistance. Look for a pair that balances flexibility and stiffness relative to your skill level.
Material and durability
Most manufacturers of diving fins don’t emphasize material because it typically matters less than the product’s overall performance. That said, depending on where you intend to dive or snorkel, you should consider durability. Polypropylene, polyurethane and natural rubber are all flexible materials that are tough enough to withstand the occasional rocky surface or coral reef.
How much you can expect to spend on a diving fin
Basic fins for the casual dive or snorkel are available for around $25, while high-tech, hinged fins can exceed $200. Most consumers can expect to spend $50 to $100 for a high-quality pair of diving fins.
Diving fin FAQ
Why do I need diving fins?
A. Human feet aren’t meant for swimming long distances. Diving fins allow you to move swiftly and efficiently under water with significantly less effort.
What is a dive plan?
A. A dive plan is a mental list of objectives, travel distance and a timeline that you should adhere to once you enter the water. Diving can be disorienting and an underwater situation can become dangerous quickly, so it’s important to be prepared.
What’s the best diving fin to buy?
Top diving fin
What you need to know: These free-diving fins are perfect for long-distance dives.
What you’ll love: Suited for beginners and experts alike, these versatile diving fins use long blades to increase speed and reduce swimmer fatigue. The soft blade material stays flexible even during long cold-water dives. Fins also fit true to size.
What you should consider: Some users feel the fins are uncomfortable and recommend neoprene socks for extended use.
Top diving fin for the money
What you need to know: These affordable diving fins are ideal for beginners or casual snorkeling trips.
What you’ll love: The open-heel design can accommodate a wide range of foot sizes, so family members can take turns using them in the water. The compact size is optimal for traveling, and the fins come with a mesh bag and two replacement straps for added convenience.
What you should consider: These fins have a relatively short fin length, making them less versatile than other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This kit comes with everything you need to start snorkeling right away.
What you’ll love: The kit includes a pair of adjustable diving fins, a tempered glass lens mask and a dry-top silicone snorkel. There’s also a mesh bag with a shoulder strap for convenient travel. The lightweight fins fit true to size and feature vents for reduced water resistance.
What you should consider: Some users report that the mask leaks and the fin blades are too small for proper maneuverability.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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