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A good set of fins is one of the first pieces of equipment you’ll want to buy after taking up scuba diving. By investing in your own set instead of renting from the nearest scuba shop, you’ll be able to choose the fit and design that best suits your needs. There are countless options out there, ranging from traditional single blade fins to futuristic designs with in-built hinges or clever splits that help to maximize propulsion and efficiency in the water. In this article, we look at the best diving fins to buy for your next trip under the sea.
Best Overall: Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Dive Fins
A new and improved version of a Mares classic, the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Dive Fins receive excellent reviews on Amazon. Compared to other models on the market, they have relatively few gimmicks - but their performance and reliability justifies their high price-tag. Made from highly flexible thermoplastic rubber-Tecralene®, these medium-length fins optimize the efficiency of every kick. The blade features four soft longitudinal channels, which help the fin to displace a greater amount of water and therefore increase your thrusting power.
Stabilizing trim tabs prevent your ankles from twisting in the open foot pocket, making your underwater experience more comfortable than ever before. Reviewers state that these fins also help to minimize the chance of leg fatigue and cramps; while the favorite feature for many users is the bungee heel strap. The latter stretches to fit over your wetsuit boot or sock and makes removing and replacing the fins a breeze. The fins come in three sizes (small, regular and x-large) and six colors, ranging from classic black to stand-out shades such flamingo or lime.
Best Budget: U.S. Divers Proflex II Diving Fins
Retailing for approximately a fifth of the price of some of the other fins on this list, the U.S. Divers Proflex II Diving Fins are the ideal option for divers on a budget. Their closed heel design also saves you from having to buy wetsuit boots. Reviewers praise the fins’ quality, although some say that they’re better suited to beginner divers and snorkelers than seasoned pros.
However, the fins are less basic than most budget options. The blades feature dual-composite fin rails and two cut-out channels, which together help to optimize the flow of water and increase thrust. The comfortable foot pocket has a grab tab on the back to make donning and removing the fins easier. Available in metallic blue, they come in small, medium or large.
Best Open Heel: ScubaPro Jet Sport Open Heel Dive Fins
Open heel fins allow you to wear your blades over your dive boots, making them a popular choice in cooler countries or for divers who regularly make shore entries over rough terrain. The ScubaPro Jet Sport Fins are an affordable choice from one of the industry’s top brands. They feature a rubber foot pocket that molds to your foot shape; and an adjustable quick-release buckled strap. Non-skid patterning on the underside helps to keep you stable on uneven boat decks.
The large blades feature an innovative tri-material design, with soft rubber panels encased in semi-stiff plastic and edged with thin side rails. This combination affords just the right amount of flex, so that you have power and maneuverability in equal measure. Vents between the blade and the foot pocket help to reduce drag on your upwards and downwards strokes. Available in five sizes, the black fins’ rubber panels come in a range of colors including yellow, blue and pink.
Best Closed Heel: Cressi Pluma Full Foot Pocket Fins
Closed heel fins are a cheaper alternative best suited to tropical climates, snorkeling and those who don’t want to invest in wetsuit boots as well as a set of new fins. The Cressi Pluma Full Foot Pocket Fins are one of the best quality options in this category. The blades are made from lightweight polypropylene, offering an energetic rebound and two power-harnessing channels that together make for powerful, fatigue-free kicking.
Reviewers love the thermo-rubber construction of the foot pocket, saying that it provides good protection and support while also being exceptionally comfortable. The hard sole comes with non-slip inserts so that you can enter the water from the shore without worrying about losing your balance. Choose your fins in one of three unique color combos: blue/azure, clear/pink or black/silver. All three options stand out beautifully on a crowded dive boat.
Best Split Fin: Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fins
Split fins are becoming increasingly popular in diving circles for their ability to provide more propulsion with less effort. The Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fins are a closed heel option renowned for their lightness. As such, they’re particularly well suited to divers who travel frequently to tropical dive destinations; or those in search of a fin that reduces joint strain.
The fins are made from Atomic Aquatics’ signature multi-composite plastic, providing the perfect combination of flex and rigidity. As water passes over the blade, it is funneled into and out of the split, thereby reducing drag and increasing your air consumption as a result. Flexible side rails store and release energy with every kick, while stiff panels in the blade add control and thrust. Available in six different sizes, these fins come in black or yellow.
Best for Kids: Cressi Rocks Kids Fins
Kids can start learning to dive from as early as eight years old. Good quality fins are essential for boosting confidence and the Cressi Rocks Kids Fins are a great option that won’t break the bank. Available in child-friendly colors, including blue and pink, the dual vented blades help to increase kick efficiency, so your child can save energy and stay calm underwater. The open foot pocket features adjustable straps that give plenty of room for growth, while a large thumb loop on the back makes removing and replacing the fins easy even for little fingers.
Best for Freediving: Cressi Gara Professional LD Fins
Available in sleek black or gray, the Cressi Gara Professional LD Fins were specifically designed with freedivers and spearfishermen in mind. The extra-long blades are made from a special elastomer polypropylene for stable blade flexibility, providing a fluid, effective kick that keeps your exertion to a minimum (an essential factor in breath-hold diving).
The foot pocket is positioned underneath the blade, an innovation that helps to markedly increase the fins’ efficiency - allowing you to descend and ascend in record time. The pockets are made from soft, comfortable elastomer, and feature thermo-rubber soles for added grip. Wear your fins barefoot in tropical waters without worrying about blisters or chafing; then add neoprene socks whenever you require a little more insulation.
Best Design: ScubaPro Seawing Nova Open Heel Fins
The ever-popular ScubaPro Seawing Nova Open Heel Fins boast a multi-award-winning design inspired by the shape of a manta ray’s wing. Made from soft Monprene plastic, they combine the power and maneuverability of a traditional blade fin with the comfort and efficiency of a split fin. The design centers around an articulated hinge located between the foot pocket and the blade, which allows the latter to pivot and snap for unparalleled propulsion and control. Meanwhile, the open-heeled foot pocket features molded grip pads and a self-adjusting bungee heel strap. Choose from five sizes and six colors, ranging from black to purple or white.