Choosing Scuba Fins
It doesn't matter if you are a seasoned diver or just starting; buying your own set of scuba gear is a great way to improve the scuba diving experience. When you have your own scuba gear, you learn that gear, it fits better and you will ultimately feel more comfortable using it.
When you purchase your own set of high quality scuba diving fins, you never have to worry about crappy rental fins again! Yay! Say goodbye to leg cramps and blisters. Investing in a quality pair of fins may be expensive up front but if you are serious about scuba diving, it'll be worth it. If you are ready to find the best scuba fins then continue reading!
The Short List
No time to actually read up and want to take our word for it? That's okay! You probably have some diving to do anyway.
The following scuba fins were good enough to make our list. We can assure you they all have their pros and cons, but are ultimately great options for beginners and seasoned divers. However, if you’d like to learn more, simply continue reading and we will go into detail about each scuba fin.
Mares Avanti Quattro
Lightweight paddle fins. They are very popular in the industry due to their reasonable price and quality construction. A fairly basic fin, good for beginners.
Full foot paddle fin that provides a snappy rebound which is good for power. Great if you will be walking in shallow water.
Tusa SF-15 X-Pert
Split-fin, open heal design. Great for bursts of speed, but struggle to maintain it over long distances. Good for short dives or as snorkeling fins.
Dive Rite XT Fins
Open heel, paddle design that is very popular with professional divers. Its a classic fin that provides good power, but can strain during long dives. Great for freediving.
Aqua Lung Stratos
Full foot paddle fin design that provide a lot of stability and just the right amount of flex. Best as entry level fins or for shorter dives. Good for all types of divers.
Atomic Aquatics Split Fins
Full foot, split fin design. They are easy to kick, great power output and are arguably the most comfortable fins you can buy. Make great spearfishing fins.
Cressi Reaction Pro Fins
Full foot paddle fin design. Lightweight and strong, great for efficient kicking but can strain your ankles if you go on a long dive.
Open heel paddle design. Generates a ton of speed without much effort. Best for long distance dives. They're very comfortable even for extended periods.
Apollo Bio-fin XT
Open Heel, split fin design. Often called "The most efficient fin". They are angled to compensate for the divers bend at the ankles and knee.
How Much Should You Plan On Spending?
While this list is designed to show you the best of the best on the current market, there are still some affordable options included. Most quality scuba fins will range in price from $50 - $200. If you are a frequent diver, you'll get your money's worth in no time.
Remember: many large companies spend MILLIONS of dollars on marketing each year, so going with the most popular option doesn't always mean you're choosing the best option for your money!
While we may get commission if you decide to buy any of the scuba fins mentioned in this post, we are not paid to include any specific items on this list. All scuba fins that made their way into this list earned it by being a step above the rest.
Things to Consider When Buying Diving Fins
1. Open Heel or Full Foot?
The first choice you need to make when considering buying scuba diving fins is your preference for open heel or full foot fins.
Open heel is the most popular option and are designed to be worn with booties and be strapped to your foot. These are great for diving in colder water or if you know you will be walking on rockier shore on your way to your dive.
Full foot fins are designed to be worn without booties. They are more popular for snorkeling in warm water. Generally, they are lighter and shorter.
2. Paddle or Split Fins?
The second thing to consider is the type of fin blade you need. There are two styles you can go with - split or paddle.
Split fins are a more modern, energy efficient design. They offer the same or more forward propulsion with the same effort and can help reduce drag.
Paddle fins are a more traditional design. They have stiffer blades and generally require more effort to get moving.
If you plan on traveling to dive, you may want to take fin size into consideration. If you live in an area with a ton of great dive spots and traveling isn't a factor, this won't be as important. Also note, fin size can impact power output.
Style! But hey it's more than that. Sure, certain fin colors can appeal to your personal preferences, but there's more to take into consideration. If you are planning on swimming with a group as a guide, bright colors can help you stand out. On the contrary, if you will be diving in areas with sharks, black fins are a better choice as they have been proven to attract less unwanted attention.
5. Comfort Comfort Comfort
Your fins are one of the most important pieces of dive gear, apart from your diving mask/respirator. They are nothing less than underwater shoes. Just like buying shoes, you want to consider how different fin sizes and shapes fit your foot. You want to be comfortable when you dive, not counting the minutes until you return to the surface.
Scuba Diving Fin Care
If you are serious about scuba diving, you need to be serious about your gear maintenance as well. If you found this article, it's already clear you're in it to win it.
Keeping your scuba fins in good shape isn’t that hard. Thankfully, diving fins don't require much maintenance. After each use just get into the habit of rinsing your fins. Let your fins completely dry before putting them away and make sure to store them in an area where they won't get direct sunlight. The sunlight may eventually weaken the materials and make them less springy.
Be sure to store your fins on a flat surface. Hanging your fins or letting them lean against a wall or shelf could permanently alter their shape which can impact performance.
Top 10 Scuba Fins of 2018
The following are the details for our picks for the top scuba fins currently on the market.
The Mares Avanti Quattro is one of the most popular fins available (and not just because of a big marketing budget). These are great lightweight fins that offer top performance. They have a bungee strap that adds to the quality and overall comfort. The Avanti Quattro has a reputation for being a fairly maneuverable paddle-style fin. The newest model has a new material composition to make the previously stiff paddles a bit more flexible. This will be a very stable, reliable set of fins that will appeal to a variety of dive styles.
The Pluma is an excellent overall fin. It is a full foot fin design that is made of light/reactive polypropylene. This gives the fin a snappy rebound which is great for putting out power. The foot pocket continues along to bottom of the fin which provides your foot with extra protection. This will be a great choice if you are going to be frequently walking around shallow, rocky waters. The Pluma is available in multiple colors, making it a great choice for instructors.
This split-fin, open heel fin offers a long blade made of monoprene and TPE. The blade scoops are designed to optimize water channeling and increase stability. You can easily get great bursts of acceleration with the SF-15, but their ability to maintain speed left things to be desired. This fin behaves will with just about any kicking style, and you can be sure you'll get decent power with minimum effort. These are extremely comfortable. The shape of the foot pocket tends to lessen the strain.
The XT has a familiar feel that appeals to experienced divers simply looking for an updated, but still classic-feeling fin. These are a very stable fin that provides a great deal of power. However, this incredible power output comes with strain on long swims. This particular set of fins are on the firm side and may not be springy enough for some divers. This is a popular fin and is a great choice for the vast majority of divers.
This is another set of fins that will appeal to those going after and an improved, classic fin. These fins are stiff enough to provide a good deal of stability with just the right amount of flex to minimize stress on your legs and ankles. These are not the fastest, but not the slowest. They are a great relaxed, stable fins that will be great for those who won't be swimming long distances. These fins are marketed as an entry-level fin, but have performance stats that'll make seasoned divers happy.
Not all split-fins are the same. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and stiffness. All of these factors contribute to the overall quality of the fin. The Atomic Aquatics Split fins were specially designed to be the best in all these aspects. They are easy-kick fins that offer an excellent power output that can be achieved in an efficient matter. They are also one of the most comfortable fins you'll find, making them great for long dives.
These are the most recent full-foot fins to come from Cressi. They offer an innovative look and performance. The foot pocket completely encases the foot which helps ensure the transfer of power from your legs to the fin is efficient. The Cressi Reaction Pro fins feature a snap blade for high efficiency kicking while still remaining lightweight and strong. This is a non-vented design which means they cannot be worn with booties and will be best for warm water snorkeling.
The X-Stream is a lightweight, full size diving fin. These will generate a good amount of speed for not much effort. You get good kicking power and top of the line comfort. The combination of power and comfort make these a great choice for distance scuba divers. The X-Stream doesn’t offer much in terms of nonskid, but otherwise this is a great choice for a handful of divers.
The Apollo Bio-fin XT has been called “the most efficient fin available” by theleisurepro.com. Their unique design lends itself to a highly efficient, highly stable and highly versatile overall fin. They are open heel with an adjustable rubber strap making them secure, but easy to get on and off. The unique feature that really makes the Apollo Bio-fins stand out is their 20-degree angle. This allows the fins to compensate for the diver’s natural tendency to bend at the ankles and knee.
Deciding on Scuba Fins
It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned scuba expert, or just starting to dip your toe into the water (pun intended). Choosing a pair of scuba fins that fits your needs is crucial. Scuba fins come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors. It is important to take these factors into consideration when ultimately deciding on a pair.
Think we missed something? Let us know your take on the best scuba fins in the comments below.