Best Scuba Fins Reviewed
Summer is coming up and it will soon be scuba diving season. To really enjoy your dive, you need good diving equipment. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the right fit for you and your personal needs. What is possibly the most important piece of equipment you can invest in for your scuba diving adventure is the scuba fin.
There are hundreds of scuba fin models out there, which makes it quite difficult to make a decision. It can be tempting to just grab the first pair you see that has a fun pattern, is a color you really like, or is the cheapest. To get the most out of your trip, though, you need to take the time to find the best scuba fins at the best price for you.
We are here to help demystify your search. We have curated a list of the ten best scuba fins complete with individual reviews highlighting the best features and the pros and cons of each entry. Our list includes scuba fins for adults as well as for children. By the end of this guide, you will be able to find a stylish and effective scuba diving fin in plenty of time for summer.
10 Best Scuba Fins
1. U.S. Divers Proflex II
There are three vents on these fins. The toe vent allows breathability and comfort for your forefoot. The vents on either side of the foot pocket make each kick easier.
Silicone Full-Foot Pocket
The soft silicone pocket encases your entire foot for a snug but comfortable fit. This makes your dive more comfortable. It is also flexible, so it’s easier to put on.
Cost and Value
These fins are available in the low price range, making them an affordable investment for your next dive. These fins are also versatile and good for scuba diving and snorkeling.
- Vented Blades
- Silicone Full-Foot Pocket
- Dual-Composite Blades
- Long and Slim
- Sizing runs narrow
- Very firm
2. Cressi Palau
The heel strap on these fins is adjustable and can be loosened or tightened to provide the best fit. The more secure the fit, the most comfortable you will be.
The short blades on these Cressi brand fins are sturdy and durable. These scuba diving fins are also easier to transport and to put on than longer scuba diving fins.
Cost and Value
These short fins are available in the low price range. They are easy to transport and easy to adjust, which makes them a great beginner’s snorkeling and scuba diving fin.
- Adjustable Heel Strap
- Short Blades
- Open Heel Foot Pocket
- Durable Ring Strap
- Not for turbulent waters
- Can be stiff
3. U.S. Divers Sea Lion Jr.
These U.S. Divers junior scuba fins are short and compact, which makes them easy to transport. They are also the perfect size for children and people with small feet.
The full-foot pockets on these fins conform to your foot to allow for the most secure fit. They also protect your feet so you don’t have to wear diving booties.
Cost and Value
These junior scuba fins are quite affordable, as they have the lowest price points on this list. They’re perfect for novice swimmers and children looking to try out scuba diving.
- Full-Foot Pockets
- Sturdy and Buoyant
- Designed for kids
- Sizing runs small
- Material scratches easily
4. Seavenger Swim
To make it easier for the wearer to swim with these fins, Seavenger used their patented Easy Kick Technology. This technology incorporates ribbing and a dynamic shape in the fins.
To give you a better fit, Seavenger’s Swim Fins come with an adjustable strap. The adjustable rubber strap also has buckles on both sides for easier use and further customizability.
Cost and Value
These short, effective fins by Seavenger are available in the low price range, which makes them an affordable investment for scuba fins that are easy to transport, customize, and wear.
- Easy Kick Technology
- Adjustable Straps
- Sturdy, Flexible Material
- Easy-Click Buckles
- Open Heel
- Supple Foot Pockets
- Not buoyant
- Strap may snap
5. Cressi PRO LIGHT
These Cressi brand fins are made with thermoplastic rubber and polypropylene technopolymers. These materials make the fins more durable and more flexible, which gives you more thrust as you swim.
Under-Fin Foot Pocket
The under-fin foot pocket in these Cressi fins gives the fins more surface area. The pocket itself has soft expansion sides and a ribbed insole. It is also anatomically designed.
Cost and Value
These high-quality scuba fins by Cressi can be found in the middle-to-upper price range. They are a costlier investment, but they also come with more features to improve your dive.
- Dual Material Blade
- Under-Fin Foot Pocket
- Open Heel
- Ribbed Insole
- Full-Length Side Rails
- Channel Thrust Technology
- Anatomical Foot Pocket
- Adjustable Binding System
- Sizing runs small
- Very buoyant
6. Mares Superchannel
Mares uses Channel Thrust Technology to ensure your Scuba fin gives you the most power through the thrusting phase. This helps ensure your legs feel great for long-lasting Scuba enjoyment. When looking at these fins, you will find better water movement due to the superior water channeling.
These Scuba fins are exceptionally flexible. This allows the water to travel down the blade without spilling over the sides. When your fin allows side spillage it causes more effort on the wearer. Keeping the water moving smoothly will also keep you gliding through it with ease.
Cost and Value
Excellent water movement, fit, and durability will cost you more than many in our guide. While the Mares Superchannel may cost a bit more, you are sure to love them on those long scuba trips. They will keep your legs feeling excellent therefore allowing you to go farther and enjoy more.
- Stable Fit
- Advanced Technology
- Great for Long Use
- Durable Construction
- Higher Price
7. U.S. Divers Proflex FX Fin
The ribbing on these fins helps the diver to cut through the water more effortlessly, which reduces foot and leg fatigue and helps the diver spend more time enjoying themselves.
Easy Adjust Strap
The easy adjust strap on this U.S. Divers Proflex FX is designed to make it easier for you to customize the fit in order to maximize your overall comfort.
Cost and Value
These dynamic fins can be found in the low-to-middle price range, which is quite affordable given the unique design and structure of these scuba fins and their great comfort features.
- Easy Adjust Strap
- 3 Vents
- Dual Composite Material
- Soft Foot Pocket
- Open Heel
- Two Year Limited Warranty
- Strap may snap
- Buckle may break
8. Cressi AGUA SHORT
The Cressi AGUA SHORT comes with a soft self-adjusting foot pocket which effortlessly conforms to your foot to provide you with the very best fit possible without squeezing your feet.
The hydrodynamic railing on the Cressi AGUA SHORT is designed to support your feet so it takes less effort for each kick and helps you propel yourself through the water.
Cost and Value
These dynamic, self-adjusting Cressi brand scuba fins can be found in the low-to-middle price range. Given Cressi’s revolutionary self-adjusting foot pocket technology, these flexible short fins are a great buy.
- Self-Adjusting Foot Pocket
- Hydrodynamic Rails
- Durable Blade
- Soft Rubber Foot Pocket
- Short Blade
- Flexible Blade
- Fins may warp
- Very short
9. Wildhorn Topside
To provide you a better, more customizable fit, Wildhorn incorporated a Velcro strap across the ankle. This Velcro strap on the Topside also provides the wearer with more ankle support.
The neoprene boot on this fin provides support for your foot and a comfortable, secure fit. The boot reaches up to your ankle, which provides a layer of supportive protection.
Cost and Value
These fins are available in the middle price range. While they are costlier than some options on this list, these fins provide more foot and ankle protection for the price.
- Adjustable Ankle Strap
- Neoprene Boot
- Rubber Sole
- Closed Toe
- Closed Heel
- Polyurethane Fin
- Hard to put on
- Stiff Ankle Support
10. Zionor F1
This fully detachable strap is convenient when you are storing or moving your fins. More importantly, this strap has the ability to be set at any angle making it's fit feel completely customized. In addition, this strap helps keep your fin in place with or without booties.
Not Too Tough, Not Too Soft
The material used in these Scuba fins is the perfect combination of flexible and durable. The foot pocket is comfortable and the angle is perfect for efficient flow during your kick cycle. Your foot fatigue will be decreased and you will find a great adventure everytime you wear these fins.
Cost and Value
Advanced features that will keep you swimming for hours does not have to come at a cost that breaks your bank account. These fins are very affordable and will fit into most budgets easily. Whether you are new to the world of scuba or a long time lover these fins are sure to lengthen your enjoyment of the water.
- Easy to Transport
- Great for Wide Feet
- Easy to Walk In
- Sizing is Off
While you are searching for the best scuba fin for your needs, it’s important to consider the following details: how much and how often you will be diving, where you will be diving, and what the largest size fin is that you can transport to go on vacation easily.
There’s no point in spending a lot of money on a professional-level scuba fin if you’re going to go scuba diving once or twice a year. If you will be diving in cold temperature waters, you need a different type of fin than if you are diving in warm waters, because you will be wearing different diving gear. If you’re traveling by plane or boat to get where you’re going, you will need fins that will fit in your suitcase or carry-on bags and while longer fins may be more effective for deeper dives, you still have to be able to get your fins from your home to the diving site.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Scuba Fins
Scuba fins, if they are the right length, material, and size for you and your needs, can reduce foot and leg fatigue as you dive. This helps to maximize your overall enjoyment of your diving experience, as you will be able to relax and take in the sights without worrying about your fins or getting too tired to continue.
There are so many variables and options out there for diving and other swimming fin gear from the fin’s blade to the foot pocket. The most important factors that determine the quality of a scuba fin include:
- Fin length
- Blade Shape
- Blade Length
- Blade Material
- Blade Ribbing
- Blade Venting
- Location of Foot Pocket
- Shape of Foot Pocket
Fins are available in a number of lengths, but the most effective fins are longer. The longer the fin blade, the more thrust each of your kicks will generate, which allows you to swim deeper more easily.
Short fins can be very effective, as well. Short fins whose blades start near the top of the foot pocket combine the convenience of short fins with the surface area of long fins. Short fins are easier to carry, to put on, to transport, and to store than longer fins, which makes them more popular. Manufacturers use a number of methods to improve the effectiveness of short fins to make up for their length.
The shape of the fin can make it more or less effective at cutting through the water and propelling you through it. The most basic blade shape is a fanned out or tapered rectangular shape as seen in the U.S. Divers Sea Lion and Sea Lion Junior in the list above. Some fins come with a wavy blade, as seen in most of the Cressi brand fins listed above.
The wavy blades are more effective at cutting through the water, but if you don’t intend to dive often or are a novice, then you don’t need to worry about paying more for a wavy or curved blade. Even higher quality blades come in whale tail shapes and other more advanced shapes, but they aren’t necessary unless you’re going to be doing a lot of diving. Less fancy blades can be just as effective and cost less.
Scuba fin manufacturers use thermoplastic rubbers and technopolymers in their fins. These materials are firm and durable. These are also materials commonly used in the outsoles of shoes, for example. To get the best of more than one compound or material, some manufacturers opt to use more than one material in the blades of their scuba fins. These materials are extra effective at cutting through the water while the wearer experiences less fatigue than when wearing other fins, as they help to create an optimal level of firmness and flexibility.
Ribbing on scuba fins helps the wearer cut through the water more effectively. Fins are designed to be similar to fish fins, which is why they tend to be thicker near the foot area and thinnest at the very end of the blade. Just as fish have fins that stick out to their sides, they have fins that stick out from their bellies and their backs. To replicate fish fins, some manufacturers include ribbing which can be found on the top and bottom of the fin blade.
Some scuba fin blades have vents in them. These vary in shape, size, and location. Ultimately, however, there are only two types of vents on a scuba fin: a foot pocket vent and the general blade vents.
- Foot Pocket Vent – This type of vent will allow the foot pocket to breathe, or allow air and water to pass through and around the foot. Which helps to keep your foot cool above and underwater. As far as performance goes, the foot pocket vent doesn’t really improve the efficiency of the fin and is mainly included for comfort and is not essential to a fin blade.
- Fin Blade Venting – Unlike foot pocket vents, the fin blade venting does make a major difference in the effectiveness of the fin. You don’t want vents which make up the entire blade, but moderately sized vents allow water to pass through. This is important because the water passing through the vents reduces the amount of resistance your foot and leg experience with each kicking motion. As such, venting reduces your foot and leg fatigue, which allows you to enjoy your dive longer with less exhaustion.
The railing is another important part of the scuba fin. The railing lines the sides of the fin blades and serves to help the blade cut through the water. There are two common types of scuba fin rails: water-channeling rails and tendon rails.
- Water-Channeling Rails – These do exactly what it sounds like they do: they channel water. Specifically, they channel water along the blade’s edges to prevent the fin from “slipping” through the water. Fins that slip in the water don’t cut through the water well enough to maintain an even down or upstroke.
- Foot Pocket Rails – These serve the same purpose as water channeling rails. They channel water during each phase of the kick and in doing so, they provide the wearer with more control. The major difference between these rails and water channeling rails aside from the location is the shape. Foot pocket rails are connected to the foot pocket with T-shaped slots.
Foot Pocket Style and Fit
The foot pocket is the part of the scuba fin that wraps around all or part of your foot. This section is just as important as the fin blade because the foot pocket secures the fin on your foot. There are two types of foot pockets: full-foot pockets and open heel pockets. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Which style is best for you ultimately depends on your personal preference and the environment you will be diving in, as well as the type of suit you will be wearing on your dive.
- Full-Foot Pocket
The foot-foot pocket looks like a shoe or bootie that has been fused with the fin blade. The full-foot pocket combined with the fin blade makes the scuba fin resemble a duck foot, which is the ultimate idea, as ducks are very good swimmers and divers.Full-foot pockets are generally made of a stretchy material that contracts and conforms to your foot. This material is often a soft elastomer or neoprene material. However, full-foot pockets are less customizable, as they generally do not have straps and buckles which can be tightened around their heel to improve the fit and the ability to keep your fin in place.
- Open Heel Pocket
Open heel foot pockets act like slip-on sandals, but they have important straps and buckles to help you secure the fin on your foot. Sometimes, to help your foot grip the fin better, manufacturers include ribbing in the foot pocket, but ultimately these ribs would be worthless without straps and buckles to secure the fin.
- Straps and Buckles
Straps and buckles are generally not essential for full-foot pockets. However, they do provide the wearer with a more customized feel and a more secure fit. Without the strap, your fin may slip off your foot. Some scuba fins have a stretchy spring strap which does not require a buckle because it’s an extension of the fin’s foot pocket itself. The stretchy material flexes so you can pull the strap over your heel and then contracts so that it creates a secure fit.Other scuba fins have buckles and hook-and-loop closures that allow the wearer to put on and remove the fins easily. These features also allow for better customization of the fit and the wearer can tighten the strap as much as they need to for a secure fit. Many scuba fin manufacturers utilize quick-adjusting and quick release buckles. Unfortunately, these buckles and straps may break.Full-foot pockets sometimes have straps across the ankle or over the top of the foot. These straps allow the wearer to tighten the foot pocket around their foot so they won’t lose the fin in the water. This extra layer of security also adds support for your foot and ankle, which can protect them from injuries.
Foot Pocket Location
The location of the foot pocket in relation to the rest of the fin matters more than you may expect. Ideally, the best scuba fins have blades which start as high up on the foot pocket as possible to increase the surface area of the blade. This maximizes the efficiency of each kick and reduces your foot and leg fatigue. However, longer blades that start at the end of the forefoot area of the foot pocket are also just as effective as their shorter counterparts.
- Over Blade Foot Pocket
Foot pockets that are located on top of the fin can reduce the effort required to thrust your foot upwards and can reduce friction which could slow your movement as you swing your foot up in the water. If you find that you generally have to use more effort to kick back, this style of foot pocket would be best for you. Positioning your foot above the blade allows you to put more power behind your upward kick.
- Under Blade Foot Pocket
Foot pockets which are located below the fin can reduce the effort required to thrust your foot downward and can reduce friction that can slow your movement as you swing your foot down.If you find that you have to work harder to push your foot down in the water, then you may benefit from an under blade foot pocket. Positioning your foot below the blade allows you to put more power behind your downward kick.
Scuba fins which require a lot of maintenance and upkeep are not very cost-effective, but sometimes repairs are unavoidable. In the event of damage to your scuba fins, the less it costs to repair them, the more cost-effective the fins are. For example, if the buckle of an open-heel pocket scuba fin breaks, you can replace the buckle with a new one fairly easily and fairly inexpensively. The same goes for the heel straps if they are buckled or hooked-and-looped into the foot pocket.
With this in mind, full-foot pockets are less cost-effective, as they are more difficult to repair. If you should need to repair a full-foot pocket, you would need a special kind of glue that won’t dry so firm that it snaps when you go diving.
Cleaning and maintaining your scuba fins requires about the same amount of effort as a good pair of running shoes. To clean them, rinse them off with fresh water and leave them to dry out of direct sunlight. Any scuba fin that requires more involved cleaning and maintenance than this would not be a very cost-effective scuba fin, as it would require you to take more time and effort to maintain them. In our busy lives, it’s hard enough to find time to do what we absolutely have to do and what we want to do. No one wants to spend their free time scrubbing scuba fins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who makes the best scuba fins?
A: Most of the fins on this list are from U.S. Divers and Cressi, which make great scuba, snorkeling, and swimming fins. However, there are other notable brands that make great scuba fins, such as Wildhorn and Seavenger.
Q: I have wide feet. Are there scuba fins that won’t squeeze my feet?
A: Yes! Look for fins that have flexible neoprene foot pockets and other stretchy materials. These materials will still fit snugly even though they stretch to accommodate wider and larger feet.d
Q: Which fin materials are the best for scuba fins?
A: Thermoplastic rubber is the most common and most effective blade material for scuba fins, but softer elastomers, such as neoprene, are best for the foot pocket.
Q: Which fin shape is the best?
A: Sometimes simpler is better. Many divers believe that the tapered rectangular fin shape is best. It’s also easier to produce and cheaper.
Q: Which is better for scuba diving: a long or short fin?
A: Longer fins are generally better, but many of the fins on this list have shorter fins. Shorter fins are easier to transport and the fins on this list are of higher quality than some longer fins from other manufacturers. Many short fins are designed so that the blade of the fin actually starts higher up on the foot pocket so it maximizes the surface area of the shorter blade. This more or less makes short and long scuba fins equally effective.
Foot Pocket: the part of the fin that your foot slides into. It can be a full-foot pocket which looks like a boot or it can be an open heel foot pocket that only covers the front of your foot.
Full-Foot Pocket: this foot pocket style encases your entire foot in a flexible material which is also usually soft. It provides more protection and support for your foot, but can sometimes inhibit ankle motion.
Ribbing: raised lines of rubber or polyurethane on the top and/or bottom of the fin blade which aid the wearer in cutting through the water efficiently
Railing: Rubber pieces attached to the sides of the blade and to the sides of the foot pocket to give the wearer more control over their kicks.
Water Channeling Rails: rails that are designed to channel water past the fin blade, which reduces the amount of resistance in the water against each thrust. These are found on the sides of the fin blade.
Tendon Rails: rails found along the foot pocket which give the wearer more support and control over each thrust
Spring Straps: straps which are stretchy and contract to fit securely around your foot.
Quick Release Buckles: buckles which are easy to release. This feature makes it easier and quicker to remove the fins at the end of your dive.
Quick Adjust Buckles: buckle closures that allow you to quickly adjust the fit of the fin
Open Heel Foot Pocket: this foot pocket style encases the front of your foot and this style of fin slides on like a slip-on shoe. To secure this style of fin on your foot, manufacturers add a strap which can usually be adjusted to suit your needs.
Vented Foot Pocket: a foot pocket with a hole in the toe box that allows water and air to pass through the foot pocket.
Venting: holes in the fin blade that allow water to pass through without compromising the fin’s ability to cut through the water. Venting improves the wearer’s ability to propel themselves forward in the water.
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