One of the most important pieces of equipment a scuba diver can own, other than their diving regulator or cylinder, is their scuba fins. Flippers can either allow you to gently propel yourself through the water or they can make diving very difficult indeed – all depending, of course, on whether you’ve purchased a good pair or not.
Finding the proper flippers is a hard enough proposition but finding the best scuba fins may at times seem like it’s an impossible task. Fortunately, that’s not the case and to prove it, we’ve assembled ten of the best ones currently available – along with some advice on what to look for in a great pair of flippers.
Best Scuba Fins – Reviews
10Cressi Open Heel Short Adjustable Fins
Designed for the true snorkeling enthusiast, these short adjustable fins have a lightweight blade that’s very responsive and allows the wearer to easily kick through the water. It’s made with an open heel design and is made from an elastomer material that’s comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. These Italian made fins come in a variety of sizes, from small to large, and will fit just about any divers or snorkelers feet. And since it has a short blade design, it’s not only easy to slip on and off but is also quite easy to pack away for traveling.
9U.S Divers Proflex FX Fins
Available in three distinct sizes that should fit the majority of diver’s feet, it’s no wonder these flippers make it on so many scuba enthusiasts feet. These flippers feature a full blade fin that’s designed with comfortable foot pockets and an easy-to-use adjustable strap that makes it a pleasure to wear while swimming. They also are beautifully designed in a way that not only makes them look good but gives them the function that snorkelers and divers need. These unique flippers are sure to be a welcome addition to any divers list of scuba gear.
8Cressi Open Heel Adjustable Long Flippers
These Italian made long adjustable fins are just the right combination of weight and length which allows the swimmer to have unprecedented power and control while in the water. Their open heel design allows them to stay in place firmly against the foot even when hydro-static pressure increases and these responsive blades make it easier for the swimmer to kick in the water. All of this translates into more speed and power for the swimmer and that makes these fins great for long swims or for snorkeling. And since they are made from a soft material that is easy on the feet, they can also be worn for long periods of time.
7U.S Divers Proflex II Diving Flippers
Available in sizes from small to extra-large, these modern fins are sure to fit just about anyone’s feet. They have a unique, contemporary design that combines form and function, and a long dual-composite fin that gives the swimmer extra thrust when they are in the water. These flippers also have an enclosed heel that fits snugly against the foot, yet remains comfortable – even on long-distance swims. All of these features make for a fin that will please almost any diver or snorkeler and is designed to offer the swimmer performance at a pretty reasonable price.
6Cressi Reaction Pro Flippers
Manufactured using a unique three-material blade design that’s designed to have twenty percent more surface area of conventional fins of the same length. Since extra surface area equates to more thrust, this makes these flippers the preferred choice of swimmers who need to get every bit of power out of their kicks. These fins have a foot pocket that’s made from a thermo-rubber elastomer and feature a non-vented fin design. All of these features combine in these flippers to make a lightweight, easy-to-use and powerful flipper that will make itself quite useful for most dives or long distance swims.
5Anggo Short Dive Snorkeling Fins
These short flippers are designed to be light, comfortable and to provide the necessary power for diving or snorkeling. These flippers feature a unique design that makes them extremely reactive and ensures that each of the diver’s kicks delivers the necessary snap to propel the diver forward. They are also designed to have a comfortable foot pocket which makes them useful for swim training or long dives by professional or amateur swimmers. And since they have an innovative blade design, they are sure to provide the necessary thrust without needlessly tiring out the legs of the swimmer. This is a fin that’s available in three colors and is small enough to pack in a bag for traveling as well.
4Scuba Pro Jet Fins
Manufactured in a number of exciting colors and with a unique design that combines style and function in one, these flippers can be worn anywhere and under any circumstances. However, what really makes these flippers stand out is their vented design which allows the swimmer to get more thrust on their down strokes and makes it a great set of flippers for cave diving because it increases the control and power of frog kick. Another great feature of this flipper is that it has a stainless steel spring heel strap that gives it a snug yet comfortable fit and makes it easy to put the slipper on before a dive.
3Cressi Pluma Flippers
These fins are designed not only for performance but for comfort as well. They have a non-slip foot pocket that’s comfortable on long dives and is perfect for free diving or for long swims. These flippers have a blade that extends from the top of the foot and this provides an increase in surface area of up to twenty percent over conventional fins. More surface area means more power, so divers wearing these flippers can rest assured that they will get every ounce of power out of their kicks. And since these fins come in one of three exciting colors, swimmers can also rest assured there’s a pair of flippers which will fit their personality.
2Mares Superchannel Full Foot Scuba Flippers
Designed to be both efficient and powerful, these flippers feature three channels that help to increase thrust without tiring out the legs of the swimmer. These short fins are perfect for warm water dives and feature an orthopedic foot pocket that provides comfort, even if the flippers are used for long periods of time. They are also constructed out of Tecralene and Thermoplastic rubber that makes them extra durable as well. With these precise features, swimmers can be assured that they are getting a flipper that features excellent performance and will last a long time with proper use and care.
1Cressi Agua Short Adult Fins
These short bladed fins are compact enough to be stuffed into a handbag or suitcase but offer enough surface area to deliver an impressive amount of thrust for its size. This makes this a great fin for snorkelers or swimmers who swim in warmer waters or like to take a few laps around the pool for swim training. These flippers have a durable blade that’s designed to hold up to punishment and a self-adjusting foot pocket that’s comfortable to wear even during extended swims. For swimmers looking for a fin that features the perfect combination of kick speed and propulsion speed, these fins are adequate enough to get the job completed.
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What to Look for in the Best Scuba Fins
First-time divers are often overwhelmed by the number of fins that are on the market today. There are different lengths, different design features and even different options for how they strap on the diver’s foot. How is anyone supposed to determine the difference between a mediocre pair of flippers and the best swim fins available? By taking into consideration each feature individually and compare it against the diver’s needs—that’s how. Below are some of the things that need to be considered when choosing the flippers that will deliver the perfect fit, both literally and figuratively.
Short Vs. Long Blades
The first thing to think about before purchasing fins is whether you need short bladed ones or long bladed ones. Short Blades improve flutter kick speed and are good for swimming and for freestyle diving. Shorter fins allow for a more rapid kicking action than longer fins and therefore allows more of a natural kick. Long Blades provide easy propulsion with the bare minimum of effort and is therefore good for beginners or divers who are swimming for long periods of time.
Channel Fins Vs. Split Fins
Two popular options for fins nowadays are Channel Fins and Split Fins. Both types are designed to increase propulsion power for the swimmer but they do so in different ways and are therefore better suited for different swimming styles. Channel Fins, also know as Jet Fins, really increase propulsion over traditional flippers but they also tend to be heavier, which makes them more popular with professional divers and not so popular with beginners. Split Fins are designed to reduce drag but some people complain of their floppy nature. However, they are suited for long kicks and that’s why many divers tend to prefer these types of fins.
What About the Paddle Fin?
Yes, paddle blades are another option and they’ve been around for like half a century. Basically, they are stiff fins that are just one solid piece that connects to the foot pocket. This means that they require quite a bit of muscle to kick with them on but they also provide a decent amount of power. They weren’t included in blade styles because they are becoming harder and harder to find nowadays. Especially when many of them have been fitted with Jet channels, thereby placing them into that category. However, they still do exist, although I think one of the other options is a better choice.
Open Heel Vs. Full-Foot
Another option to consider is whether the diver wants full-foot or open-heel type flippers. Full-foot Fins cost less and are lighter, therefore they are easier to take on trips but they also need to be used with special socks to keep the feet warm. Open Heel Fins provide more propulsion and are more durable, but they usually cost more.
Straps Vs. Buckles Vs. Spring Tension
The traditional way to attach fins to a diver’s feet are straps, but this type of fin attachment is beginning to lose popularity. That’s because they can be hard to adjust and may begin to loosen after a day of swimming. Buckles are a better option, especially the ones with push button releases, but they still leave a lot to be desired. Many professionals are beginning to move to spring tension models because they allow the diver to quickly put on their fins and they stay secure for longer periods of time.
Stiff Fins Vs. Soft Fins
Another question that’s frequently asked is whether a firm blade or a soft blade is better. Of course, it all really depends on how the fins are being used. Soft fins offer less resistance, so it’s easier to kick. However, they also don’t offer a lot of power, so they are mainly used for pleasure diving or snorkeling. Rigid fins are mainly used by deep sea divers because they provide the power to fight back from the bottom of the ocean. However, as can be probably imagined, they are also harder to kick and tend to fatigue the diver’s legs quicker.
As it can be clearly seen, there are a lot of things to consider when buying fins for diving. However, if the proper research and thought are placed into it, the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Sure, there are a lot of different types of flippers but the selection can really be narrowed down when the diver considers what he or she really needs. In this instance, a little bit of thought and care really goes a long way and ensures that the diver gets exactly the type of fin they need.