If your home break is a spot shared by surfers and bodyboarders alike, you’ve probably heard side comments about the unspoken rivalry. Nobody knows who declared this psychological war between wave riders and their differing weapons of choice, but it looks like the silent tug-o-war is here to stay. On less fortunate days or drunken nights, you’ll catch a surfer and a sponger in a heated debate.
When choosing the best bodyboarding fins to buy it comes down to personal preference but there are better quality fins than others and also different style fins. Narrowing down by style, quality and price can help you make a much faster and better decision and ultimately get you to the swim fins that are right for you.
At Fin Bin, our goal with this site is to provide the recourses and information about these products to help you find the fin that is perfect for you in as little as time as possible. If you're wondering what fins are right for you and not sure which ones to get then this site will help.
If you are bodyboarding or swimming around in the surf and bodysurfing you are going to want to certain type of fin. There are many different fins out there for specific activities like for pools or diving. Likewise, there are specific fins made just for bodyboarding. These fins are typically wider, shorter and stiffer than other types of fins. This helps for quick bursts of acceleration to catch a wave and be able to maneuver without them getting in the way, imagine trying to do this with scuba-diving fins!
The chart below lists the top ten brands on the market today. Click each fin to see its individual review with further details and click on the "Power, Comfort, Price" columns to sort. All the fins listed are great, it just depends which one is perfect for you.
Our Top Recommended Bodyboarding Fins
Our #1 Pick - Churchill Makapuu
Optimized for power and acceleration
Original Dolphin Inspired Shape
Soft Foot Pocket with Strategic Drainage
Natural Gum Rubber for firm but Gentle Fit
#2 - Viper V5
Less blade allows for short, quick kicks
Patented Blade Shape
Narrow foot pocket with bottom drainage
Original Rubber Material
#3 Hydro Tech 2
Symmetrical design eradicates leg twist motion
Patented V Rail Design
Wide and Comfortable Foot Pocket with Front Drain Hole
Ultra-Soft Silicone Material
Best Bodyboard Fins
Our #1 Pick – Churchill Makapuu
Having been in production since 1936, the Churchill Makapuu fins have been established as some of the best swim fins around. Not only are they made with a 100% natural gum rubber that is incredibly comfortable and form fitting, they’re also very buoyant! The stiff Makapuu blades and patented dolphin shape give you the utmost thrust and performance, while the stiff side rails help to enhance your kicks.
The thicker heel strap is tough and durable and locks your foot in so that you can make sure your fins stay secure no matter the conditions. Thanks to the drainage holes built in to the bottom of each fin, you also don’t have to worry about water or rocks getting caught inside and weighing you down.
For a deeper look at the Churchill Makapuu Fins, make sure to check out our in-depth Churchill Fins review.
Patented Dolphin Shape
100% Natural Gum Rubber
Built-In Drainage Holes
Yellow and Blue Design
Wide Body Catches Water Better
Stiff Blade For Thrust
Don’t Actually Float Like They Say
#2 – Viper V5
While not as versatile as the Churchill Makapuu Fins, the Viper V5s are excellent bodyboard fins in their own right. More than anything, the V5s are known for their extremely flexible blades. They come with their patented, straight 5-inch blades that have slanted rails and narrow tips, far more than your average bodyboard fin.
This fin shape makes them easier to kick at high speeds, as well as helps to squeeze out tight spins and turns. Because of the shape and profile, they are completely ambidextrous.
For a deeper look at the Viper Fins, make sure to check out our in-depth Viper Fins review.
Patented Straight Blade Design
Flexible Rubber Build
Yellow Splash Dot Art
Flexible and Comfortable Design
Perfect for Quick Kicks and Tight Turns
Not Great For Bigger Waves
#3 Hydro Tech 2
The Hydro Tech 2 Fins are made of a patented T-Form material, an incredibly soft, silicon-based compound that is not only very snug, but extremely flexible as well. They have a unique foot pocket that suctions to your foot, which does not allow water to come in, though they come with a front drain hole to make sure nothing gets stuck inside that shouldn’t be.
The patented V-shaped rails give extra thrust to your kick because of the added surface area, while also making them responsive to different kinds of kicks. This means they’re pretty much great for any kind of swimmer. Both foot pockets are totally asymmetrical, providing you with both a comfortable and secure fit.
Not only are Kicks made for high-performance bodyboarding conditions; they’re also great for regular water activities as well. Their drive and power is due to their rounded blade and sloping rails, works best for drop knee riding. That being said, even prone riders will enjoy the amount of flex they get from the natural rubber construction.
The foot pocket design is both comfortable and form fitting. They also work as ambidextrous fins so that you never have to worry about putting on the wrong one. Out of all the fins on the market, Kicks are probably the most comfortable out there.
For a deeper look at the Kick f
ins, make sure to check out our in-depth Kick Fins.
High Grade Malaysian Rubber Construction
Most Comfortable Fins Out There
Great For Drop Knee Riding
Not the Most Versatile
Factors To Consider When Buying
When you’re wondering what the best bodyboard swim fins to buy are, there are several criteria that you want to look for and consider:
One of the biggest factors in a fins quality is the materials they are made out of. You want 100% natural gum rubber when picking out a pair.
Fortunately, most top fins on the market today have just that, 100% natural gum rubber. Always go with a top brand name instead of saving a few bucks and going with unknown brand that probably cuts corners with materials. Also, this material is best for the environment.
It is a plus to have a floating fins as opposed to one that is not. Fins that have floating rubber will be labels and the company will tell you in its packaging. Floating fins are helpful in finding them if they fall off your feet in the ocean instead of sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
But the truth is that none of these “floating” fins actually bob at the top and above the surface of the water like a buoy. They float near the top of the water. Usually upright with the heel strap closest to the water, at maybe an inch or two away from the surface. So it depends on the waters conditions for how easy it will be to locate and find your lost fin. The more waves crashing, turbulent and currents there are, the harder it will be to find your fin. But floating fins are still better that ones that will sink to the bottom.
Having floating swim fins are better than not having your fins float, but for the reason above, this should not be a make or break criteria when you are selecting your. Luckily many of the top fins today do in fact float!
There are several criteria and factors when it comes but ultimately it comes to your personal preference. If your fins are not comfortable and work well for what you are doing, no 5 star rating or professional using the fin should change your mind. At the same time, what works for someone may not work for you.
Everyones feet are different and fins are going to feel different to each person so select the fin you thing is best for you based on your criteria and you can always try a few different types to see which is ideal for you. That is what usually happens over time. Over time when fins get old, brake or lost, people try different types and through just trying different ones, they see first hand which ones they like the best.
Foot Shape Vs. Fin
“Foot Shape vs Fin” is referring to the fact that people have different shaped feet and that plays a role when selecting a fin. Most are typical and will fit all fins so don’t let this scare you. But fins have certain foot pockets. So if you have wide or sensitive foot, Viper fins would not be your best bet. They have a narrower foot pocket that may rub you the wrong way. You may want to look at Churchill or similar fins. If you have a very narrow foot, Vipers would be perfect for you. Unless you have a wider or narrower foot, you should be fine with any fin.
This is a big one. One of the biggest factors is that your fins need to be comfortable. When you find a fin that works will with your foot, you will be happy out in the water for many year. Not having a comfortable fin can be very unpleasant because the rubber will rub against your feet, causing cuts and pain. Some fins have softer blades and rubber than others. We recommend trying an all-around fin that is well-balanced with all fin selecting criteria.
Fins that are well balanced when it comes to comfort, blade length and strength, affordable and stylish are going to be your Churchill, Mike Stewart Deltas, Hubbard Airs and Stealths.
Fins that can be less comfortable yet make up for it in power are Viper Vectors. The harder blade that is going to be rougher on your feet, yet more powerful.
Fins that are extremely comfortable yet are the least powerful are Kicks or DaKine. They have a very soft rubber and blade that is going to be the most forgiving on your feet. These are great if you have sensitive feet.
Fin companies have size charts that help to determine what fin size you are based off of your shoe size. Instead of a shoe size, fin sized usually consist of XS, S, M, ML, L, XL type of size listings. We have posted the companies size charts for your connivence. Typically without fail, these charts are accurate in transferring your shoe size to the right fin size.
Fins should fit comfortably snug. There should not be too much wiggle room or slack, this would be too lose and a good chance of them falling off or rubbing too much and hurting your feet.
They should not be too tight that they are hard to get on and off and are bending your toes. You should not have to struggle or pull to rubber heel excessively just to put the them on. This will be very uncomfortable for long periods of time out in the water and less enjoyable.
The right fit should feel snug like your shoes fit you. Enough room in the toes to not be too cramped but not have excessive wiggle room. Firm on the heel so you don’t loose your fins out in the water but comfortable and not super tight.
Price is important with any product you are looking into buying and it can definitely sway your opinion one way or the other. These types of Swim fins are roughly around the same price.
The price range is about $45- $65 US dollars. Because there is really only around a $20 difference between most fins, we would recommend not letting the price be a very big factor is choosing your fin. It is much more important to get the best fin for you that is going to be comfortable, look good and functional. Choosing solely based on price may not end up being the best fin for your needs, which takes away from enjoying your sport.
Always look for the best deal but more importantly, make sure you are picking the best fin that you are going to be the most happy with so you can enjoy your sport out in the water the most.
An important factor is how well for fin will function for what you are doing out in the water. Are you drop Kneeing? Prone bodyboarding? Bodysurfing? Any fin will work but you want to consider the blade stiffness, length and width. When in doubt or new, look at what most of that type of rider is using.
If your bodysurfing, Viper Vectors and Duck fins work great because they are long and narrow. Sort of like mini diving fins. When your bodysurfing, you are swimming without a board and riding the wave with your body and not doing as many tricks (where those long fins could get in the way). So those type of fins work great.
If your are drop knee bodyboarding, a lot of different fins will work great, but those Viper Vector and Duck fins will not. This is because you have to lift one of your fins on top of your board and do tricks and maneuvers, making a long fin difficult. Shorter, wider fins work great like Kicks/DaKine, Custom X, Toobs Blunt Cut or Hydro Tech fins.
If you are prone bodyboarding, you have the widest selection that will work well. Most go with a well rounded fin like a Churchill or Stealth. They have ha medium blade length, power, comfort and are stylish. Yet many others prefer a stronger harder one like Viper.
Just like a pair of Air Jordan’s, people are going to want what the pro’s wear. “If the pro’s where them, they must be the best” is the though that most people have in their head, either on a conscious or subconscious level.
Ryan Hardy, pro bodyboarder, hacking a reverse with his Churchills
With bodyboarding, that is actually not far from the truth, you can’t really go wrong with a popular fin that a lot of pro’s are riding. Some of the most popular fins that pro’s like Jeff Hubbard, Ryan Hardy, Mitch Rawlins, Mike Stewart, Ben Player, Pierre Louis Costes, Dave Winchester and Amaury Lavernhe are Churchill, Stealth, and Viper fins. There are of course others, but these top three fins are some of the best.
Similar to “What The Pro’s Wear” is style. Comfort, function all of the stuff is important but at the same time you don’t want to look like a kook out in the water! You have to look good and you have to have style. Some of the most stylish fins, considered by many, are Churchill and Stealth fins. Of course there are other very stylish swim fins out there and it comes down to your opinion at the end of the day about what is cool and the best style in the first place.
Still, most consider the most stylish fin to generally have the original Churchill shape to it. Churchill fins were the first to have this shape but many followed (giving you more selection on this type of fin) including Stealth, Mike Stewart Delta, Hydro Swimfin Classic, Hubbards Air swim fins, Freedom fins, Limited Edition and US Fin Co. You have many to choose from with this stylish shape.
Some take a different route and can still make a fin look stylish when bodyboarding, namely Viper fins. There are a bit larger, heavier and clunkier (yet more powerful) but many pro’s have made these fins look great and stylish out in the water.
At the end of the day, you have to be a stylish rider yourself to ultimately have style. But having a good looking pair of fins doesn’t hurt!
Ultimately, you need to choose the fin that looks right for you and try it out. If it doesn’t work out well, try another. Try a few different fins and through trial and error you will see which fin you like the best and which one is perfect for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
How should fins fit?
Fits should fit snugly: neither too loose nor too tight. If you are going to a shop to try out fins, start with your standard shoe size. For example, if you are a size 10, then ask for size 10 fins. Try the fins on and see if you can insert two fingers in the space between your skin and the fin. If you can fit in more than two fingers, your fins are too big, so you should get a size smaller. If there is no space between your skin and the fin, the fins are too small, so get a size bigger. If you fall in an in-between size, you can use fin socks to bridge the gap.
Which one should I get?
The longer the fins, the more resistance they produce. If you are training to get more leg strength, you should get fins with slightly longer fins. However, if you won’t be doing any serious training and you just want a trusty pair of fins when you go bodysurfing or bodyboarding, then get fins that are shorter in length. Ultimately, you should get the fins that fit you well and give you more power when you propel and kick.
How do I put them on?
Unless the fins are pre-greased or powdered, you will have a hard time putting them on when they are dry. The best way to put fins on is in the water. However, avoid putting your fins on when the waves are breaking in succession or when the current is too strong. Unless your fins float, or unless you have fin savers, you might not be quick enough to catch a loose fin when it gets washed away. For more information read our article here.
How do I use swim fins?
Swim fins propel you by working opposite of each other, which is commonly called a flutter kick. Maximize your effort by alternating between deep flutter kicks and periods of gliding. Your feet should be extended and only slightly bent. If you bend too much, you will be less efficient and you could end up pulling a muscle or straining your knee. See our article on what to do when you loose a swim fin, here.
Churchill Fins have been one of the most popular (and for good reason) fins over the last several decades that they have been produced and manufactured. They’re so great that they actually made our best bodyboarding fins list (check out the main page to see). To this day, they remain a cult classic and held to high esteem in the bodyboard, bodysurfing, swimming and lifeguard communities.
Although, along the way, this fin has definitely had some changes made to it since the days of Owen Churchill, who started all this. The fin brand has been sold to Wham-O, colors and new models have come out, materials and manufacturing has changed but more into that later… Continue Reading
Getting fin cramps is not a fun thing. If you have not gotten a swim fin cramp out in the water yet and don’t know what it is like yet, just wait, you are in for a treat!
A fin cramp is just like it sounds. Your calf muscle, the gastrocnemius, cramps up out in the water with your fins on. The muscle gets tight and balls up into a tight contracted ball and can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes, even the inside muscles of your feet do the same thing and cramp up. Continue Reading
Here’s one thing you should add to your beach bag: a pair of floating sunglasses.
You probably already own a regular pair of sunglasses to protect your peepers when you’re out on the beach. When you actually get in the water instead of just lounging around the shore, you are going to need more than just your ordinary sunnies. Continue Reading
The Churchill Fins brand is responsible for producing some of the most best quality swim fins for the past several decades. Their flagship, iconic and classical fin is the Makapuu model. Continue Reading
When it comes to serious bodysurfing or bodyboarding, Viper Fins come to mind. These surfing fins were designed to put cutting edge technology into powerful and seamless motion when riding a wave. If you are an intermediate to advanced bodysurfer or bodyboarder looking for the best high performance fins, you’ve come to the right place. Continue Reading
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