The ocean remains one of the least explored frontiers yet one of the most exciting places on this planet. That might sound strange because people go swimming, surfing, fishing, and pretty much travel across the Atlantic (and the other oceans) almost every day. But the simple truth is that more than 80% of our oceans remain unmapped, unexplored, and unobserved. While getting yourself a pair of the best scuba fins might not help you to explore the Mariana Trench extensively, it will help you get so much more out of your next beach visit.
To be honest, despite all those waves and strong winds, the ocean offers an unparalleled level of tranquility. Well, at least mostly when you are in the water. One of the best ways to experience this serenity is to use the right type of scuba gear so you can go exploring underwater caves, coral reefs, and the widely varied ecosystems therein with ease and as safely as possible.
The best scuba fins are designed to offer you maximum efficiency as far as underwater propulsion is concerned. Since your legs do most of the work, wearing the right scuba diving fins is very much like bringing a Ferrari to a drag race; it’s just the right tool for the job.
In this piece, we are going to look at some of the best scuba fins, what you need to know about these swimming apparatus and how to go about deciding which ones are a good fit for your specific needs.
That being said, here are some of the best scuba fins in the market today:
1. Tusa Hyflex Switch - The Best Polyurethane Blade System Scuba Fins on the List
The Tusa Hyflex Switch Diving Fins are a surprisingly flexible pair of scuba diving fins that are deceptively efficient and comfortable. You might think that they are too flexible at first, but once you get them in the water, you will see that they are just perfect for speed.
Designed using top quality PuRiMax polyurethane, these fins are just 23.5 inches long, making them quite compact. What makes these so powerful is the fact that it has a 20-degree angle to the foot pocket, and it features the highly supple Hyflex design.
Couple that with six Vortex Generator ripples at the bottom of the blades, and you have a pair of fins that do a lot to reduce drag and increase your speed while in the water.
The Comfort Foot Pocket has a bungee strap system that has an impressive five adjustment points, which means that you can easily optimize these straps to fit your feet.
The foot pocket also features a multi-compound build, which goes a long way in optimizing the transfer of power from your legs to the blades of the fins, which improves efficiency.
As far as convenience is concerned, this pair of scuba fins feature a heel pad and finger loop, which makes them very easy to don and doff. Furthermore, the foot pocket can easily be removed by simply unbolting the blades. That means that you can effectively cut down the size of these fins to about 16 inches, which allows for easy storage and transportation.
• Features flexible PuRiMax polyurethane, which gives them high-speed capabilities
• Six Vortex Generator ripples at the bottom greatly reduce drag
• Short and compact (can be made more portable by detaching foot pocket)
• Foot pocket features Multi-compound build for comfort, support, and efficiency
• Bungee straps for easy fit adjustment
• Excellent color variants
• It has an L-XL size option only, which means that divers with smaller feet might not find these very ideal
Best Premium Choice
2. ScubaPro Seawing Nova - The Best Articulated Scuba Fins on the List
The first thing that will pique the interest of most experienced divers is the fact that this is a ScubaPro fin. The brand is synonymous with excellence as far as unique innovation and high-quality productions are concerned in this specific industry. Thankfully, this pair of ScubaPro Seawing Nova follows in that great tradition.
What you will notice is that this pair of scuba fins isn’t like most you see in the market today. While the classic “webbed feet” design is still apparent, there is a uniquely modern and hydrodynamic feel that simply sets this pair apart.
The manufacturer went to great lengths to provide you with a pair of scuba fins that bring the comfort, effortless, and efficiency characteristics of a split fin while combining those qualities with the superior power, maneuverability, and acceleration that is typically reserved for a paddle fin.
Designed with an articulated joint that greatly improves propulsion, these fins give you speed, comfort, and agility without even trying. Couple that with the variable blade geometry applied here, and you have a pair of fins that mimic the anatomy of a dolphin, thus affording you the same kind of efficiency and grace that these wonderful creatures have in the water.
ScubaPro, as is in their nature, went above and beyond to make the fins even better by using high-tech Elastomer Monoprene construction, which allows for better flexibility and strength. They finished it off with bungee heel straps that make these fins easy to don and doff. Finally, the ERGO2 Super Ergonomic Foot Pocket helps to reduce drag as well as provide you with exceptional comfort.
• Amazing drag reduction
• The high-tech Elastomer Monoprene makes these fins very durable
• Extremely flexible
• ERGO2 Super Ergonomic Foot Pocket for maximum comfort
• Bungee straps make these easy to don and doff
• A bit pricey
Best Overall Choice
3. Mares Avanti Quattro Plus - The Best Non-Vented Fins on the List
Thankfully, this newer, more advanced model retains its rigidity and high quality. The biggest difference is that Mares has added on a more flexible material at the tip end of the blades, thus shaving off some of the edges as far as stiffness is concerned. This small but vital change can be felt almost immediately when you kick – the fin now has more propulsive power.
As a seasoned diver, you will be glad to hear that the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus just so happens to be one of the fastest fins in the market today. It beat off most of, if not all, of its competitors in speed tests, making it an excellent fin for those who want astounding propulsion speed without compromising on the stability of their scuba fins.
There are also a few other noticeable changes, with one of them being the heel strap. This now has a large rubber suction as well as a rubber bungee cord. Furthermore, there is a large thumb loop which goes a long way in making these fins so much easier to don and doff. The straps even have spacers so that you can easily adjust them to give you the perfect fit.
As far as comfort is concerned, the softer rubber foot pocket offers you loads of this thanks to its high levels of elasticity. This is a highly versatile, very comfortable, and efficient pair of scuba fins that even the most seasoned diver will come to appreciate.
• Designed for speed
• Very comfortable
• Adjustable straps for a comfortable fit
• Available thumb loop easy donning and doffing
• Excellent color variants
• The company offers a limited size range, which puts divers with large feet (not extra-large or small) at a disadvantage as they will have to rely more on the straps
4. Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split - The Best Split Scuba Fins on the List
What some of the best scuba diving fin manufacturers in the industry do to stay ahead of the game is to design their fins with not only a lot of innovation but also heavy bio-mimicry.
This not only makes their fins stylishly unique but also replicates some of the efficiency that evolution and nature have bestowed upon some of the oceans’ greatest swimmers and natural divers. This Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split design borrows heavily from one of the best: the whale.
Atomic Aquatics has done an excellent job of combining a whale’s tail with a boat’s propeller to bring you a pair of scuba fins that are just simply efficient, stunning to look at, and quite effective.
When using a pair of scuba fins that feature split blades as these do, every kick of your feet makes the blades twist to create what looks and acts like a propeller-like surface. That action goes a long way in increasing your propulsion.
While it might take some getting used, and for the most part, you might think that these fins aren’t as efficient as some stiff full blade fin alternatives, but the truth is that these fins actually help you cover the same distance at pretty much the same speed but with one huge difference: with less energy expended.
That’s why these fins are so cutting edge. They help you conserve energy as you get the same amount of work done with fewer leg pushes. This thanks to the reduced drag and increased thrust offered by these fins.
Furthermore, the company has made good use of the latest Composite Plastic Polymer Materials technology to bring you incredibly lightweight fins.
• Reduced drag and increased thrust
• Amazing efficiency
• Stylish look
• Six size options from 4.5 to 14 US
• Doesn’t offer you much choice when it comes to color
5. ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel - The Best Unisex Scuba Fins on the List
For the most part, many divers look for maneuverability when shopping for scuba fins. However, depending on the kind of waters you dive more often than not, power could be what you need. This is especially true if you tend to find yourself in choppy waters more often than not. If that is the case, then you should definitely give this pair of ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel a second look.
However, it’s not all power with this pair of fins. They also offer excellent maneuverability to boot. Meaning that you get the best of both worlds. What stands out the most about this pair of scuba fins is the fact that the blades are made up of several different materials.
For starters, these large and slightly stiff blades have soft rubber panels that are framed in semi-stiff plastics then flanked with thin side rails that make them sturdy but flexible. Finally, these blades work to reduce resistance and thus increase efficiency through drag-reducing vents.
Being that it’s a shortfin, this pair is remarkably maneuverable, which makes them excellent for when you need to back out of tight fits such as rock crevices when underwater.
• Offers you extreme power
• High maneuverable as well
• Features the use of several materials combining to make them both sturdy and flexible at the same time
• Offers significant efficiency through drag-reducing vents
• Has an ergonomic foot mold for increased comfort
• Comes in five sizes from XS to XL
• Several color variants
• The foot straps, as well as the foot pocket on the full foot option, are rather wide, making them unsuitable for people with narrower feet
Best Budget Choice
6. Cressi Reaction Pro - The Best Versatile Full Foot Scuba Fin on the List
You can always count on getting good quality products from companies that have been around for a while and developed a reputation for excellent products. Cressi is one of those companies, and the Cressi Reaction Pro is an equally amazing pair of scuba diving fins.
What makes them so good is that they are designed for versatility, which means that they can suit pretty much any diving style. This installation boasts an additional 20% of the propulsive surface area, which makes this pair one of the most efficient and effective options for agile divers.
As the name “Reaction Pro” would suggest, this pair of scuba fins is designed to be highly responsive thanks to the variable thickness design of the blades. This means that you won’t need much kicking to get an incredible amount of propulsion, thus allowing you to explore more of the ocean using less of your kicking energy.
Cressi went above and beyond to give you more control of your scuba diving fins by using dual material design for their blades. While the bulk of it is made out of Techno-Polymer Polypropylene, the rest (meaning the channels) are made out of a silicone-based material.
To finish it off, Cressi made these fins super comfortable by including Thermo-Rubber Elastomer foot pockets that ensure your feet sit comfortably and securely when diving.
• Highly versatile full foot scuba fins
• Increased surface area (20%) allows for better propulsion
• Improved responsiveness thanks to the variable thickness in the blade design
• Extremely comfortable fit
• Excellent for choppy waters
• Since this pair features a long-fin design, they aren’t exactly the best for diving around coral reefs
The Best Scuba Fins Buyer’s Guide
As is the case with almost every piece of equipment you buy in all facets of your life, they are tools that are meant to make living easier, enjoyable, and more efficient. That is exactly what the right set of scuba fins can do for you.
When you go under the water, you will be surprised to find that there are a host of unknowns that can interfere with what you previously considered “stellar swimming skills” at your local pool.
Underwater currents, eddies, coral reefs, and sea life are all things to take into consideration when exploring the big blue oceans of this planet. If you don’t have on the right pair of scuba fins, not only will you tire faster, but you will also:
Lack the optimal level of maneuverability to swim around in caves
Get stuck in strong underwater currents without the right degree of propulsion to get yourself out
End up with damage blades from the substandard fins you wore
Before you go scuba diving, you need some level of training and a license. In this case, your instructor will most likely point you in the right direction when it comes to the best scuba fins for your specific needs (skill level) and the type of diving that you are going to do.
However, as you get better at it or even when you decide to do some light diving in the shallows the next time you are at the beach, you will find that you need a pair of your own.
To get the right ones, here are some considerations that you must bear in mind.
Comfort and Efficiency
Let’s just be honest. It almost always comes down to the shallowest of reasons. If the clothes you own aren’t comfortable, it really doesn’t matter how “fashion-forward” they are, you just won’t enjoy wearing them and as such, won’t wear them as much.
The same goes for the pair of scuba fins you choose. It’s all about your comfort first and the efficiency they bring to the table.
This means that when you try on the pair of fins:
They shouldn’t be too tight or too loose,
they shouldn’t pinch your toes, and
they shouldn’t be too small or too big
The idea is to try them on and see if you can wiggle your toes. If you can’t, then the fins in question are too small, and you should opt for a size bigger. However, if you can freely wiggle your toes, then the fins might be too big. The ideal size should give your toes some breathing space but not too much.
When it comes to efficiency, it all depends on your physique. Divers with strong leg muscles are best suited for larger and stiffer fins while smaller, less muscular divers would find smaller, more flexible fins to be ideal.
Open Heel or Full Footed?
There are two main types of fins: open heel and full footed. The following points will help you decide which type is ideal for you:
If you are someone who swims in warm waters and doesn’t feel like spending more money on dive boots, then you will find full footed fins quite handy.
Open heel fins are more adjustable. This is because they come with straps since they have to fit over all kinds of dive boots. This, in turn, means that open heel fins are the kind of fins that you can comfortably share with a family member or even pass them down to your kids. It’s this flexibility that makes them quite ideal.
Open heel fins are much easier to don and doff when compared to full footed fins. So there is that convenience to consider.
It might sound that open heel fins are a bit more advantageous to own than full footed fins but remember that with open heel fins, you will have to make an extra purchase of dive boots. On the other hand, these do offer you an additional layer of protection, so maybe they aren’t such a bad idea.
Then, of course, there are trivial things to consider, such as color, quality of material, and so on. However, if you buy your scuba diving fins from a reputable brand, you can rest assured that the quality of the material used to make them is top-notch and that your fins won’t get torn on your first outing unless you run into some really jagged corals out there.
The products listed in this review happen to be some of the best scuba fins in the market today. They are made of the best quality material and are designed to be both comfortable and efficient. All you have to do now is pick one, buy it, and explore more of that ocean.