Once you start spending more time than usual in the water, you realize there’s so much more to do than simply swimming. Along come new things to do and see in the water, that swimming in your bathing suit is not enough anymore.
Long story short and few months later, you see yourself looking for… scuba diving gear, and particularly fins, as you want to explore more of the underwater world.
You can find fins for swimming, free diving, body surfing or snorkeling. But, as you get to know more, each one of them is different and you’ll definitely want to find fins specially designed for scuba diving, since they give more comfort when you move, minimizing your effort and giving you maximum speed at the same time.
Are all scuba diving fins the same?
Standard scuba fins have an ample blade size to give more impulse and are made from composite plastics with a neoprene upper. The foot pocket is cozy and it’s typically made of neoprene.
If you take a closer look, you will see that you can make a choice between full-foot and open-heel fins. You get to ask yourself which scuba fins are the best and… there’s no easy answer to this one. Each of this type of fins has its pros and cons.
Full-foot fins are lighter than open-heel fins and create less drag as they have no dangling straps. They also have more flexible and shorter blades which helps when kicking the water. The full-foot fins slip over a bare foot so there’s no neoprene bootie that you have to wear. The foot pocket grabs the foot better and completely, helping with the transfer of energy from your foot to the fin blade.
The main downside of a full-foot fin is that the perfect fit is not very cozy or efficient. A foot pocket too small crushes your toes and if it’s too large… it flies off your foot when you kick. Additionally, as you don’t wear any booties with these, you have no protection whatsoever for your foot. You might get some serious problems in some situations (when you trek across a rocky beach or climb a boat ladder, for instance).
For other situations though (when you wear less gear, or are in warm-water), full-foot fins tend to be the best fit scuba fins.
The open-heel fins come with various straps and buckle types. The quick adjust buckles let you unlock the strap and then cinch it tighter by pulling on the strap end. These quick release buckles combine the quick adjust feature with the ability to release the strap on one side so that you can get out of the fin and then simply click it shut when putting it back on.
The spring straps help you slip the fins on and give your foot a snug fit.
The blade shapes on the scuba fins may also vary. Some scuba fins to buy may have a fan-out design, but you may also get rectangular, separated wings and even whale-tails on your scuba diving fins. There are fins with vents, rails, ribs, channels or split fins, giving more speed in the water.
There’s more to it
You also need to consider if you want to get split fins or paddles. Split fins slice through the water with less effort as they have flexible blades. The power comes from the speed of your kick and not from the force of it. The best kick for a split is a narrow, fast flutter kick and not all of us out there are able to do that. It might be that the best scuba fins ever would be split, but if you can’t do it right…don’t get it as it’s not the best for you.
The traditional paddle has stiff blade that need more leg muscle to make them move. These fins are the best scuba fins in the world for the divers that want lot of feedback in their kick. Some new models connect blade to foot pocket, or cutaways in the upper portions of the blades and soft center panels. They are more flexible than the tradition paddles, making them easier on the legs and ankles.
How to choose, anyway?
It’s really important to know where you’ll dive the most. Best scuba fins in the world for the tropics off a boat are the full-foot fins. Go for open heel adjustable scuba fins anywhere else.
The perfect scuba fins should allow your foot to go all the way in, no toes touching, nor pinching, nor uncomfortable areas.
You should also consider the color, style and whatever else you might like on your scuba fins.
Keep in mind to mark your fins (inside the foot pocket) and get some spare fin straps for just in case. Rinse the fins with fresh water after each use and store the fins in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the fin straps from time to time …you don’t want them to loosen up when diving.
Top 5 Scuba Fin Reviews
1. Cressi Rondinella Full Foot Fin with Mesh Bag
When you go looking for the best scuba fins for the money, it’s possible that you run into the Cressi Rondinella Full Foot Fin with Mesh Bag. These fins are great for all kinds of water activities like free diving, snorkeling or taking long swims.
The Cressi Rondinella are a full foot type fins and also feature a mesh bag. Once you put them on they give you a good, snug fit- just as long it’s the right size. You don’t need to put on the “socks” for a good fit.
The fins feature a light, yet powerful polypropylene blade. They are long lasting, lightweight and flexible.
The foot pocket is merged together with the blade, giving a form-as-one with the blade. This brings comfort and easiness when diving.
The Cressi Rondinella are easy to use, give a good performance and aren’t too demanding. They have a cut of 10 seconds.
The fins are good quality and give no blisters or rubbing. They help you put on the power with minimum effort. There is no slipping when wearing them and no problems with chaffing either.
The fins are very well made and come at a great price.
Here are the most important pros:
- The fins are good quality and perform well
- There are no blisters nor rubbing when wearing the fins
- The fins are easy to use and give good power with less effort from you
- The fins are full-foot fins with mesh bag
As for the cons, there are only some minor issues:
- The fins come only in Men’s size
- We need to check the durability of the fins
All in all, for the little money you pay, you get good, reliable, lightweight, yet giving good power with less effort scuba fins.
2. Mares Instinct Pro Polytec Spearfishing Fins
If you take the time to go through scuba fin reviews around the ‘Net, you get to see that the Mares Instinct Pro Polytec Spearfishing Fins really make a good impression.
The Mares Instinct Pro Polytec are full foot fins with tapered-section blades and micro-ribs. They are having a Techno-polymer construction which gives them strength and durability also.
The fins have a shape of highly-pronounced “V” blade which protects from slippage.
The foot pocket gives comfort to the foot and ensures more power to the blade. The shoe is cozy, even when bare foot. You don’t have to worry about hot spots or blisters.
The fins go great when free diving, spear fishing. They are a good choice for beginners and experts just as well.
The Mares Instinct Pro give a good push against the current and also a good speed through rough water. They don’t scratch very fast.
The fins have a solid built and the shape is rounded a bit at sides.
Let’s highlight the pros:
- The fins have a solid built and are great for free diving, spearfishing
- The fins give good speed
- The shoe is cozy even for bare foot
- The fins are good quality and give good push against the current
When it comes to the cons, there are only some minor issues to note:
- The shoe runs a bit big
- The fins feel a bit stiff
But, as they give great speed and force when diving or spearfishing, the fins are a good choice for both experts and beginners.
3. Cressi Men’s ProStar Italian Made Closed-Foot Diving Fin
When you take a look at the Cressi Men’s ProStar Italian Made Closed-Foot Diving Fin it’s the low price that strikes you at first, but then you take a closer look and see there’s more to them than that.
The full-foot fins are quite futuristic in design as it comes from the Cressi deep sea skin-diving models, which use more reactive materials. The blade is made from light and reactive polypropylene. The material is combined with cozy thermos-rubber on the foot, the side stringers and inserts. The blade comes from the upper part of the foot pocket, giving 20% more useful surface area than in traditional fins.
The fins have a blade made from a special high-tech polymer with superior features. The fin blade is thicker, but it doesn’t loose on the flexibility. The side stringers are longer, giving a protective seal around the edge of the blade. There are two flaps on the end of the blade, on the sole of the foot that give great direction for the fin when kicking.
The single molded fin blade is extended right along the fin, for better transmission of kicking efforts.
The foot pocket is made in the lower area of the blade with opening for toes. On a plus, the fin foot pocket is enlarged. The foot design is ergonomic, well thought-out and gives great transmission of leg-fin thrust.
The fins are great for diving in open water as they are lightweight and cozy for a long time.
Here are the main pros:
- The fins have contoured foot area
- The full-foot fins go great for diving in open water for long time
- The design is well thought out and the fins are longer
- The quality of the materials is great and make the fins flexible
Let’s put down the cons also:
- Some consider the fins not to be quite durable
- Some feel the fins to be hard
Despite the minor cons, the fins do make it as a good option when diving for long time in open water or even spear fishing in shallow waters.
4. Aqua Lung Rocket II Scuba Diving Fins
In case you are a military or a military-type, then the Aqua Lung Rocket II Scuba Diving Fins might be the right choice for you.
The fins are popular among military and professional divers not only because they are comfortable, but also mostly because they are made for the heavy use.
The fins have an all-rubber construction and a compact built, which makes them rugged and ready for the harsh environments, for long time.
The foot pocket is improved and feels comfortable on the foot, not giving any rubbing or hot spots. The quick-release buckles win you time and make the put on/take off much easier.
You can get the fins either with traditional fin straps and buckles or with quick-release buckles.
The fins are lightweight, despite their rugged built and give power all the way.
You can wear them with or no booties, and they feel just as cozy in both cases. They are vented and reliable.
Let’s sum it all up and highlight the most important pros:
- The fins are rugged enough to take the heavy use in military missions
- They come with buckle straps or quick-release buckles
- The fins are lightweight and give great power
- The fins are cozy to wear
As for the parts we’re not very fond of, there are only some things to mention:
- Some recommend wearing metal buckles over the plastic quick-release ones
- They might seem pricey for some
Rugged, strong and yet lightweight, the fins make a great option for any military or pro diver.
5. Freedive Hunter Freediving Fins
For the beginning diver, a good pair of scuba fins is the Freedive Hunter Freediving Fins. The fins have polypropylene composite blades that are designed for more thrust and stability.
The foot pockets are made of thermoplastic rubber, the same quality used for the high end foot pockets. The foot pockets are soft, cozy right where they should be and stiff where they are supposed to ensure tightness and support. They are efficient on increasing transfer of energy.
The blades are made of highly flexible, yet strong polypropylene composite material. They are also fixed (permanently attached to the foot pockets).
The fins run true to size and go great for the entry level divers on free diving and even spear fishing.
Let’s pinpoint the pros:
- The fins run true to size
- The fins are a great option for the beginners
- The blades are flexible
- The foot is soft in the right places and stiff where it needs
As for the cons, there are only some to mention:
- Some feel the fins to be too stiff
- The fins are a bit too fragile
But, if you’re new at free diving or spear fishing, the fins sure make a natural choice.