Ever wondered why you get so tired from a dive, even though your buddy may seem totally unphased? Waking up the next day with your legs feeling like you just ran an Olympic race? Then you, my friend, are working too hard!
Scuba fins are supposed to grant you easy power at depth, not slow you down.
They are an extension of your leg, with each kick bringing you one step closer to that feeling of peace and calm we all search for in the big blue.
But if you have never thought about buying your own fins before, then you may be wondering: “But what are the best fins out there??” Well fear no more and keep on reading to check out what we here are finbin.net have deemed the “Best Scuba Diving Fins” that money can buy.
The Top 9
#1 Best Overall Scuba Fins: Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel
Boasting a simple, classic design recognized around the world, the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel are truly the best of the best when it comes to kicking around.
Flexible enough to make kicking a dream, but stiff enough to provide thrust when you need it, these bomb-proof fins will instantly be the cherry on top of any dive kit. Offering a variety of colors to suit anyone’s style, they will fit right in to any existing kit. Toss in a comes-with-every model, tried-and-true Mares spring strap, and donning and doffing these fins becomes the easiest part of your day!
While other models may appear to have more bells and whistles, the simplistic, functional beauty of the Avanti has cemented it as one of the all time greats.
#2 Best Overall Scuba Fins: Cressi Lightweight Well-Balanced Open Heel
Lightweight and efficient the “Cressi Lightweight Well-balanced Open Heel Fin” has glided into the number 2 spot on our list.
Easy to use and powerful to boot, the unique placement of the foot pocket translates to increased thrust from each and every kick cycle. Extension of the pocket all the way to the heel of the diver results in an extremely efficient transfer of power from foot to fin.
Available in a variety of colors and sizes to suit every diver, this fin will be a great addition to any scuba kit.
#3 Best Overall Scuba Fins: IST Deep Sea Scuba Fins
You know what they say: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” That’s the tagline behind IST’s Deep Sea Scuba Fins. Taking inspiration from classic military designs, the Deep Sea has been dubbed the “rubber rocket” by divers worldwide.
Instantly iconic and easily recognizable, the first vented fins on our list pack a big punch in a small package. Hydrodynamic thrusting channels, a sturdy rubber design, and three perfectly placed vents result in extra power and thrust on each and every kick.
Thanks to their compact design the Deep Seas also happen to be the best scuba fins for travel on our list.
#4 TUSA SF-22 Diving Fins
A unique, patented design sets the TUSA SF-22 Diving Fins apart from the other models on our list, securely landing it at the number four spot.
Combining a rich history of performance with an updated, modern day design, the Solla delivers premium speed, thrust, and maneuverability. Seeing fantastic performance for a blade style fin, the SF-22 is a great choice for beginning and veteran divers alike.
#5 Scubapro Jet Sport
Classic brand Scubapro makes a splash on our list with their high performance Jet Sport fin!
Great for travel and able to meet the demands of new and seasoned divers, the Jet Sport makes a great travel option for the roving diver. Durable construction allows maximum flexibility and comfort on each and every dive, resulting in increased performance time and time again.
#6 Cressi Adult Snorkel and Scuba Fins
The first full foot fin on our list, the Cressi Adult snorkel fins are great for beginning divers, snorkelers, and recreational swimmers alike.
An innovative design results in fantastic performance from such a generalist fin. A non-vented fin with a long blade increases the useful surface area by 20%, allowing remarkable propulsion from a lightweight package. While not the fanciest fin we’ve reviewed, it is still a respectable entry in the pantheon of water sports gear, especially for those looking for a lightweight, no hassle travel fin.
#7 ScubaPro Jet Fins
Branded as the “most durable fin on the market,” the ScubaPro Jet fins certainly don’t disappoint. Crafted from durable rubber, these are one of the few fins guaranteed to last you a lifetime of use.
Fantastic for tight quarters or frog kicking off silty bottoms, the Jet fin has been a top choice of tec divers and instructors for ages. Having set the standard for design and durability when it hit the market 50 years ago, these fins are still going strong!
Plenty of industry professionals live and die by their Jet Fins, using the same pair for decades. Get your soon and start racking up the stories!
#8 Mares Avanti Superchannel Open Heel Dive Fins
Featuring an anatomical, open-heel foot pocket, the Avanti Superchannel has blasted it’s way onto our list of best scuba fins.
With a flexible, mid-channel design, this great fin from Mares features the latest in thrust technology to reduce leg fatigue and increase overall dive comfort. Featuring premium ABS buckles as well as as updated, oversized blade design, these compact fins really know how to pack a punch.
Another solid entry in the Avanti line, these fins are sure to outperform and outlast.
#9 Cressi Long Free-Diving Fins
Designed for free divers but versatile enough for a variety of water sports, the Cressi Gara 3000 LD long free-diving fins are a great option for the all around waterman or woman.
An update on the iconic Gara 3000 design, free-divers will notice this updated design features softer materials than ever before. Working to reduce leg fatigue and resisting the stiffening effects of cold water, these fins will make your next underwater adventure one for the books!
Scuba Fin Sizing
While fins are generally sized similarly to shoes, manufacturers use different materials and stylings that can often result in a unique fit from one model to the next. While most product listing will have specific sizing instructions, plenty of resources are available online to help you select the perfect size!
If it’s an open heel fin, be sure to try them on with your neoprene boots or socks, and vice versa for closed heel. You want to check to see if there is any extra space between the foot pocket and your foot. Take your foot through a full range of motion to see if this changes as you “kick”. It may seem ridiculous, but you’ll be glad you did! Excess space in the foot pocket of your fin reduces the efficiency of your kick by trapping water and breaking up hydrodynamic flow. When that flow is interrupted, the transfer of thrust is diminished as well. You’ll have to work harder to achieve the same force as you could with a well fitting fin.
It may take a few tries to find the right fit, but once you do, you’ll never look back!
What To Consider When Buying Scuba Fins
Full-Foot Vs. Open Heel
Although the difference between open-heel and full-foot scuba fins is fairly self explanatory, the results of that difference may not be. Many divers are unaware that their choice between the two can have a huge impact on dive comfort.
With full-foot fins, your foot is fully encompassed by the foot pocket of the fin. Generally, no boot is required, but we recommend wearing a neoprene sock to improve comfort and reduce the chance of blistering. While generally providing a snug fit, the usefulness of this fin is essentially restricted to short, infrequent warm water diving. At colder temperatures or lengthy bottom times, your boot-less feet will become cold and numb, another good reason to add in a neoprene sock! If warm, tropical diving is your bread and butter, than a full foot fin may be a good choice for you.
In open-heeled fin models, you size the fin to fit your booted foot, which often adds bulk, but also comfort and warmth. Because of the extra neoprene between your foot and the fin’s material, rubbing and discomfort is much less noticeable and easier to mitigate. Additionally, many divers are thankful for the added thermal protection, as even repetitive dives in the bath tub temperature waters of the tropics can begin to take their toll on your body’s ability to stay warm. It is often easier to find a proper fit with open heeled fins, as they all come with adjustable straps.
All in all, it’s a personal choice. As long as it fits well and suits your needs, it’s hard to go astray.
Split Vs. Paddle Blades
The classic paddle blade scuba fin has been a staple of professionals, military divers, and enthusiast for years. Often made from stiff, durable materials, the solid blade grants an efficient transfer of power for every kick. Because of this, paddle blades work well when divers are battling current, surge, and other unruly conditions. They function in a similarly efficient manner through a variety of kick styles and are to provide thrust on short notice, making them great for maneuvering in confined spaces. Some designs are also vented, increasing thrust by forcing additional water backwards on every kick. For divers with strong legs, paddle fins are often the superior choice.
In contrast,the blades of a split fin are, well, split. Because of this, split fins face far less resistance, essentially slicing through the water instead of forcing it backwards. This in turn means that thrust generated by the speed of the diver’s kick, not the force. The faster the kicks, the more force generated. For divers who like to flutter or bicycle kick, this may be a good thing, but for those of you who prefer a traditional straight legged kick, it may be a bit underwhelming. While easier on the legs than traditional paddle fins, they are less than ideal for maneuvering in tight spaces, kicking against current, and accelerating quickly.
Be sure to assess your preferred kick style and take into consideration the sort of locations you would like to dive in before choosing one style over the other.
A good pair of fins will reduce leg fatigue and work for you. They will fit well to your boots (or feet!) and feel like a natural extension of the leg. A great sign of a good fitting fin is the realization that you forgot it was even there!
On the other end of the spectrum, a poor-fitting pair of fins will feel bulky, awkward, and, like shoes, cause uncomfortable blistering and fatigue. You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that was too large or too small on a strenuous hike, right? Then why would scuba fins be any different!
Make sure to try on fins before jumping in the water. While they will inevitably feel weird on land, there shouldn’t be any pain or discomfort. If it hurts above water, than it’s not going to magically get better when you jump off the boat! Try a new size or style until you find something that feels right.
One of the awesome benefits of scuba fins is that you can find them in pretty much any color imaginable. The wide variety of colors offered is great for divers looking to coordinate their entire kit, especially since manufacturers generally stick to similar shades for every piece of gear they make.
While plenty of options grants you the power to make a variety of cool customized packages, fin color can also be a practical choice. Instructors and divemasters may opt for a brightly colored set of fins so as to stand out while leading a dive. Some instructors even opt for a different colored fin on each foot, simply so as to stand out! With the vast majority of gear on the market being jet black, it is nice to have a quick and easy identifier when you’re in the water.
Similarly so, if you often find yourself in low vis conditions, a brightly colored set of fins may be right for you. Bright oranges, pinks, whites, yellows, and greens seem to cut through the murk nicely, or at least for greater distances than the standard jet black or storm grey.
Although it is important to consider the type of diving you want to do when looking to buy a new pair of fins, at the end of the day, there is no such thing as a wrong choice. Shoot for those style points and pick a pair that makes you stand out from the crowd!
Scuba fins, along with a mask and snorkel, are one of the few gears items you should bring on every dive vacation. By bringing your own snorkel set up you can go ahead and jump in the water wherever you are without the hassle of going into a shop and renting gear. It also helps you retain a sense of familiarity in the water, even if the rest of what you’re using is new new to you.
Unfortunately, fins are also one of the more difficult items to travel with. They don’t fold down to a compact size like BCD’s and regulators, and they often protrude from whatever bag you try to stuff them in. While not the end of the world, it may be enough to make you think twice before tossing them in your next carry on.
If you plan on travelling with dive gear, it’s best to look at some fin options that will allow you to roam with minimal hassle. Be sure to check the dimensions and weight of each model you look at, the shorter and lighter the better. And if you’re still unsure of which to buy, look around next time you’re out on a boat! There is nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes of others. Take a cue and follow suit!
To get the perfect scuba fins and other scuba gear for your needs, click here to see our top scuba gear choices!
How Do I Care For My Scuba Fins?
Fin care, like most scuba care, is straightforward and simple. After each and every dive, be sure to rinse them with freshwater and let them drip dry. Store them in a cool, dry place, out of the sun. Sunlight can damage rubber and other materials often used in the construction of scuba fins, so this step is integral in ensuring the longevity of your purchase.
Something to keep in mind when storing your fins is blade shape. It is best to store your fins laying flat or blade up. If you continually store fins with the weight of the foot pocket pressing down on the blade, you may start to see the blade warp over time. While a bit of bending is natural with use, too much too often could lead to weak points in the blade, eventually resulting in breakage.
What’s The Difference Between Freediving and Scuba Fins?
In general, scuba fins are over engineered to perform in one of the Earth’s most unforgiving environments. They have a wealth of features, styles, and flexibility that accommodate the range of divers out there today.
Snorkeling fins, on the other hand, are often longer, lighter and more flexible than their scuba counterparts.
Each style of fin serves a specific purpose. Freediving fins are designed for maximum propulsion, with the goal of spending as much time at depth as possible on each and every plunge. By contrast, scuba fins are designed to be easier to maneuver with less bulk. Less effort is required to get you around the reef, but that’s all well and good because you have far more time to spend there!
While you can use freediving fins for scuba diving and scuba fins for freediving, they are separate styles for a good reason. If you have your heart set on one sport or the other, best to opt with the choice that will best work for you, rather than against you.
Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?
At the end of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the options on our list. It’s a list of the best scuba diving fins for a reason: they’re the best!
Yet that doesn’t mean that some stand out more than others. The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heeled fin is truly the best of the best, coming in at the top of our list. Efficient and powerful, but still beautifully simple and a pleasure to use, the Avanti is sure to take you around the world with ease.
By ensuring your next pair of fins is the best money can buy, you’re taking the next step towards reducing fatigue, improving your air consumption, and just straight up enjoying your dives.