Scuba diving is an immensely popular sport, among young and old alike. One of the most addictive factors of diving is the sense of tranquility one experiences in the water.
But having the best scuba diving fins is very important for helping you achieve this serenity. If your equipment isn’t optimal for your diving style and water conditions, it can make for an unpleasant dive. Which nobody ever wants. Scuba diving fins are without a doubt one of the most essential pieces of the puzzle.
Fins allow us to enter and interact with the marine world by providing ease of propulsion. Your legs do almost all of the hard work in keeping yourself moving when you’re submerged.
What fins do is extend your legs and increase the surface area, optimizing your kicks so that you can travel more efficiently without having to expend too much energy. Needless to say, some fins do this better than others.
But with the increase in diving’s popularity has come a wide range of available fin models. Being spoiled for choice can be confusing sometimes, especially when you have to wade through reviews when you’d much rather be wading into the water!
To help get you started (and get you away from the computer and into the water), we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
Here’s our list of what we, and the majority of the diving community, believe are the best scuba diving fins available in 2018.
|Model||Comfort||Full or Open Heel||Ease of Movement|
|ScubaPro Seawing Nova||Open Heel |
(full foot model also available)
|Oceanic Manta Ray Open Heel||Open Heel|
|Tusa Hyflex Switch|
|Mares Avanti Quattro Plus||Open Heel|
|Atomic Aquatics X1 Open Heel Blade Fin||Open Heel|
|Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split||Full Foot|
|ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel||Open Heel |
(full foot variant also available)
|ScubaPro Go||Full Foot|
|Cressi Reaction Pro||Full Foot|
Gone are the days where a simple fin was considered satisfactory. Divers today are looking for cutting edge technology for every piece of their equipment, and the ScubaPro Seawing Nova provides exactly that. Here you get the security of ScubaPro’s authoritative name and reputation in the industry, as well as the unique ScubaPro thrill of innovation.
The classic ScubaPro fin technology is still apparent, but it’s effortlessly blended with a modern, hydrodynamic design and innovative use of materials. As one user put it, “There’s no such thing as a fin that suits all diving types and water conditions. That said, ScubaPro managed to prove me wrong.” After all, with the Seawing Nova, you get the comfort, efficiency, and effortless speed characteristic of split fins combined with the superior power, acceleration, and maneuverability offered by paddle fins.
The design boasts an articulated joint to improve propulsion, affording you an easy speed, agility, and comfort. This is another great example of biomimicry in scuba diving fin design, taking its cue from dolphins. The natural structure of a dolphin’s tail bends as it speeds through the water, almost as if it were on a hinge, which provides the remarkable power that allows dolphins to breach the surface. This same biological science has been applied in the design development of the articulated joint.
Another way in which the Seawing Nova nods appreciatively toward the dolphin is in its variable blade geometry. The tips of a dolphin’s tail curve inward with its upstroke, creating a more streamlined surface for reduced drag. With the downward stroke, the tips flatten out, generating a huge amount of power and thrust. The variable blade geometry mimics this occurrence to create a relatively comparable thrust force without expending extra energy or having to combat unwanted resistance.
With the two features combined, the articulated joint allows the entire blade to contribute to this thrust by pivoting it. This pivot control technology, in the form of ribbing, ensures that your downward stroke is made with the blades at the most efficient angle, regardless of how soft or hard your kick.
To get the most out of this already impressive innovation in design, ScubaPro has elected to use high-tech Elastomer Monoprene construction in developing the Seawing Nova. This makes the fins more flexible and stronger than what you’re ever likely to need them to be. Is it overkill? From a certain perspective perhaps, but the results speak for themselves!
The bungee heel strap negates the use of clumsy clasps, which are a source of great frustration for divers with thick neoprene diving gloves on (and just about impossible to use with the even thicker dive mitts). You’ll also never have to cinch down your fins’ heel straps either! Slip the strap over your heel, and get into the water—it’s really as simple as that.
And the ERGO2 Super Ergonomic Foot Pocket doesn’t only help reduce drag, they’re super comfortable as well!
- Innovative hydrodynamic design with high-tech Elastomer Monoprene construction for maximum strength, maximum flexibility, and minimal resistance
- Variable Blade Technology bio-mimics the action of a dolphin’s tail for both the upstroke and downstroke, further reducing drag and improving thrust power
- Articulated mid-point joint further bio-mimics the action of a dolphin’s tail to achieve the sturdy flexibility required for generating increased kicking power conversion
- Variable pivot control ribbing to ensure the most efficient angle is achieved by the variable blade technology
- ERGO2 Super Ergonomic Foot Pocket for reduced resistance and maximized comfort
- Easy to use bungee heel strap for quick and efficient donning and doffing
- Five size variants, ranging from XS to XL
- Six solid color options, including the stealthy black favored by technical divers and spear fishermen
If, like us, you’ve got a soft spot and professional interest in true design innovation, then the ScubaPro Seawing Nova is sure to satisfy your needs. With its dolphin inspired bio-mimicry design that incorporates Variable Blade Technology, and articulated mid-point joint, and variable pivot control ribbing, you can be sure you’ll never have difficulty achieving maximum thrust potential – no matter how hard or soft your kicking power.
The innovative hydrodynamic use of Elastomer Monoprene affords the Seawing Nova a superior strength and flexibility. Resistance and drag are further reduced by the ERGO2 Super Ergonomic Foot Pocket, which also affords you as a diver the maximum comfort levels you deserve. This also includes the bungee heel strap, which makes for quick and easy donning and doffing.
We’ve reviewed the open heel model specifically, but ScubaPro has also released a full foot version that includes a Power Plate footplate with a Co-molded Thermo Plastic Vulcanizate for a slip-free walk on wet surfaces.
No matter what you’re looking for in your diving fins, the ScubaPro Seawing Nova won’t disappoint you!
Oceanic is yet another big name in the scuba diving fin industry, and they’ve wowed us with yet another remarkable design. The Manta Ray fins boast a revolutionary design, based on true biomimicry—the incorporation of nature’s designs and human technology. In this case, it’s (somewhat obviously) the simulation of the shape and biomechanics of marine animals.
Three advanced materials are used to achieve this effect to the minutest detail.
An advanced Techno-Polymer Blade mimics the strength of bone, maximizing power, speed, and efficiency. There isn’t the unwanted weight of true bone, of course. The Techno-Polymer allows for a lightweight yet durable blade.
A revolutionary Power-X System material optimizes the diver’s propulsion during the down stroke by flexing, and prior to the upstroke released the stored energy. In this way, the system acts as both a tendon and a joint. Due to the unique positioning, maximum power is delivered to the blade. Fatigue is vastly reduced by distributing pressure evenly over the foot.
The final touch is the flexible center Power Channel, which provides the elasticity of the skin. In this way, your thrust is improved by directing water flow off the blade’s back.
But there’s one more feature the Oceanic Manta Ray fin blades boast: Winglets. These are inspired by technology used by aircraft designs and can be found along the length of the blade. In this way, efficiency and maneuverability are increased further.
Of course, not everything in the Manta Ray design is based entirely on nature: the soft-pad heel straps, for example. These are marvelously ergonomic, and incorporate a large finger loop to allow you to easily don and doff the fins, even with thick neoprene diving gloves on.
The spring feature improves comfort levels dramatically by automatically compensating for different foot sizes, and (by extension) the size of your diving boots. This is best appreciated when diving through varying pressure levels (based on your depth). As the thickness of your boots alters in reaction, the springs compensate by compressing accordingly.
Oceanic have also replaced the standard buckle attachment points with their new Easy Buckle Adjustment system. This allows for over two inches of precise adjustments, giving you a custom fit without the need for any tools.
Whether you’re expecting rough surf and demanding currents, a long surface swim, or a lengthy dive, the Oceanic Manta Ray promises to deliver quality performance.
- Advanced Techno-Polymer blades that mimic the strength of marine animal tail bones, for maximized power and improved speed, efficiency, and durability, without compromising on the lightweight design
- Power-X System mimics tendons and joints, optimizing your propulsion by flexing on the down stroke and releasing stored energy immediately before the upstroke. This allows for maximized power to be delivered to and channeled through the blade, and reduces fatigue by evenly distributing pressure over the foot
- Power Channels, the final piece of marine biomimicry, acting as an elasticized skin to direct water flow off the blade’s back for an improved thrust
- Winglets along the length of the blade, which are inspired by aircraft technology to enhance efficiency and maneuverability
- Soft-pad heel spring straps, which include a large finger loop for easy donning and doffing, even with thick neoprene diving gloves on
- Spring strap design automatically adjusts based on the size of your foot and diving boots, as well as compressing to compensate for the effect of your depth on the thickness of your boots
- Easy Buckle System allows for more than two inches of precise adjustments, for customizing your fit without any tools
- Wide, non-vented blade design
- Four sizes available (XS, S, Regular, and XL)
- Four color variants
Noticeably inspired by nature, this 23.5-inch beauty promises optimal performance no matter what your diving style or water conditions. The impressive incorporation of biomimicry makes the Oceanic Manta Ray Open Heel a cut above the rest for many divers, thanks to the innovative Techno-Polymer blades, Power-X System, and elastic Power Channels.
Packing a lot of punch in terms of power as well as maneuverability, whether you love this fin or not is largely up to your preference in terms of flexibility.
Divers with a preference for fins with a stiffer blade have given the Manta Ray glowing reports. This is well-balanced by lower ratings from those who favor a more flexible design.
Tusa Hyflex Switch – Editor’s Choice
When a group of divers was asked to test the Tusa Hyflux Switch, all of them initially thought that it was too flexible at first. We were inclined to agree. But once we got them in the water, everyone changed their minds.
The speed results alone were highly impressive. A surprisingly small amount of effort is required to cut through the water fast with the Hyflex technology, which utilizes top quality PuRiMax polyurethane.
At just 23.5 inches, it’s a compact design, but thanks not only to the highly supple Hyflex design but also the 20-degree angle to the foot pocket it packs a hefty punch. A series of six Vortex Generator ripples placed along the bottom of the blade also assist in building speed by reducing drag significantly.
The Comfort Foot Pocket is also well-designed to be as supportive as possible and has a high comfort level too (hence the feature’s name). In fact, most test divers voted it the most comfortable fit of 2017!
This is, in part, due to the bungee strap system, which also includes five adjustment points. Without any need for tools or additional parts, you’ll be able to optimize the strap’s fit to suit your needs.
The foot pocket also assists in improving your experience in the water by optimizing the transfer of kicking power from your legs and feet to the fin blade, thanks to the multi-compound build.
Another notable feature regarding the foot pocket is that it can be removed by unbolting the blade.
This allows for easy storage, cutting the length down to 16 inches – which we’ve found can be invaluable when packing for your travels to exotic new scuba diving spots.
Furthermore, the heel pad and finger loop make for easy donning and doffing. Test divers voted this feature at far above average, and the word “excellent” was oft heard.
Overall, it’s a consumer-rated favorite, and we agree.
- Top quality PuRiMax polyurethane based Hyflex blade design, which optimizes speed capabilities
- Six Vortex Generator ridges found at the bottom of the blade to reduce drag and further increase speed
- Short blade design set at a 20-degree angle to the foot pocket
- Highly supportive, multi-compound Comfort Foot Pocket with a high comfort level and optimized kick power transfer from the diver’s legs and feet to the fin blades
- Blades can be unbolted from the foot pocket, cutting the 23.5-inch length down to just 16 inches for convenient storage and travel package
- Highly adjustable bungee strap system, which includes five adjustment placements for customizing your fit to suit your needs
- Heel pad design with finger loop allows for better than average ease in donning and doffing your Tusa Hyflex Switch
- Four sizes available, including an L-XL option
- Three color variants
As we stated in our introduction, when a lot of professional and respected members of the diving community give favorable reviews for a piece of scuba equipment, you can rest assured that it’s definitely one of the best. The Tusa Hyflex Switch proves this beyond a doubt.
Not only were the reviews overwhelmingly favorable (without bordering on the “too good to be true” side of things), they were very nearly unanimous. Many professional divers have found a new favorite in the Hyflex Switch thanks to its innovative polyurethane based design, remarkable speed, and comfort levels.
Who knows – maybe we’ve helped you find a new favorite too?
When it comes to big names in the scuba diving fin production industry, Mares is one of the best – no doubt about it! They have a reputation for durability, and quality is second nature to the brand. This is especially true of their Avanti Quattro Plus open heel/paddle fin.
The original design (minus the “Plus”) is well-known and still much loved for its stiff blades, which are favored by many divers for its speed and maneuverability. The good news for these divers is that the newer Plus model retains its rigidity.
So what has changed?
Well, Mares has included a more flexible material to the blade’s composition, primarily at the tip. This shaves some of the edges off in terms of stiffness, but you’ll appreciate the difference when comparing the two models. This new flexibility is felt markedly when kicking especially, as it affords the fin an extra propulsive snap.
If speed is what you’re looking for primarily, then look no further than the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus. It beats every other fin design in speed tests, without compromising on stability.
The visual differences between the older and newer versions are very minimal. One noticeable change is the lack of strengthening bars from the front of the foot pocket, which was necessary for the stiffer Quattro. The more flexible Avanti Quattro Plus allows for the same strength without these, so Mares dispensed with the now less necessary feature.
This removal also makes the fins far more responsive.
But the first difference you’ll notice is the heel strap, which now features a rubber bungee cord and large rubber suction. This also allowed for the inclusion of a large thumb loop, making donning and doffing the fins as quick and easy as one could hope for.
It’s a marked improvement on the original design, which featured a buckle system that many divers found to be too fragile, with the locking mechanism breaking far too easily. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about that anymore.
And if you find the strap a little too tight, don’t despair—Mares have included some spacers for easy adjustment in the strap length.
The softer rubber foot pocket, with a little more elasticity, that the older version, is also a vast improvement in terms of comfort.
Thanks to this speed and maneuverability, the Avanti Quattro Plus is a highly versatile fin suitable (and highly effective) no matter what your kicking style.
- Improved flexibility with a softer rubber incorporated into the blade composition, allowing for enhanced speed and maneuverability compared to the older Avanti Quattro design
- Increased comfort levels, thanks to the softer rubber also being used for the foot pocket
- Rubber bungee and suction heel strap, which also includes a large thumb loop for easy donning and doffing
- Spacers are provided to lengthen the strap for improved comfort and fit
- Three available sizes (small, regular, and extra-large)
- Six color variants
Whether you’re looking for power or maneuverability, the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus is an attractive option. The older model was renowned as top-of-the-range about fifteen years ago and held that position for longer than most.
But with the vast improvements in scuba diving fin technology and design since then, the model has backslid near to the bottom of the range. This made many divers who held the original Avanti Quattro as a dear favorite rather disappointed, as there was no true alternative.
Until now, that is. The Avanti Quattro Plus is a roaring success, catering for those divers who favored and miss the original design while keeping pace with more modern developments.
If we had to use one word to describe the Avanti Quattro Plus, it would be speed. As mentioned earlier, it’s consistently beaten every competitor in every speed test—and it manages to do so without compromising on comfort or maneuverability.
Atomic has boldly displayed the words, ‘Before Atomic Aquatics, there was no “best” in scuba diving’. And although they’re not always our first choice, we do feel that any true “best scuba diving fins” list would be incomplete without featuring at least one Atomic Aquatics product. It’s their X1 Open Heel Blade Fin that has us excited today, and I think you’ll agree with us on this one.
The X1 Blade Fin is fully capable of maneuvering in tight spaces. You’ll certainly appreciate its ease of control, which makes it perfect for alternate kicking styles, such as frog, flutter, backward, helicopter, and scissors.
The asymmetrical design attribute of the fin improves your alternate kick style form even further, as it contributes to the control and maneuverability. You’ll never have to worry about your fins folding on you under heavy load with an Atomic Aquatics X1 Open Heel Blade Fin.
It’s aesthetically pleasing but most importantly functional. Fins traditionally have taller side rails, which contribute to tracking and bending strength. But with the X1 Blade Fin, Atomic Aquatics have opted for a shorter, stiffer blade with rigid-low profile side rails. This contributes greatly to the fin’s maneuverability, making turning as well as pivoting a lot easier. Because there’s less resistance, you’ll also be able to rotate and even spin more efficiently.
The X1 Blade Fin also features a unique monocoque structural engineering design and power plate. This allows the power exerted by your legs and feet during your kicks to be transferred to the rails better than ever before, meaning you can go for longer.
The last thing we want to point out about the design is the vertical stabilizers, or “strakes”. These add further stability and help keep your fin tracking straight as a Roman road by lowering drag. This method of straightening the fin doesn’t add any significant side drag, which tall side rails have a tendency to do.
You can expect an all-around smoother dive with the X1 Blade Fin on your feet.
- Rigid low-profile side rails, which reduce side drag and overall resistance, making the X1 Blade Fin more maneuverable
- Asymmetrical design for improved control using alternate kicking styles
- Unique monocoque structural engineering design and power plate, which transfers your kicking power to the rails better than other designs and increase duration/distance you can travel
- Vertical stabilizers, or “strakes”, improving stability further and acting as a fin straightening method in lieu of taller side rails
- Four size options, ranging from small to extra large
- Six color variants
No matter what your kicking style, or the water conditions you dive in, the Atomic Aquatics X1 Open Heel Blade Fin is a very appealing choice.
With its innovative design for improved functionality all-around, the X1 Blade Fin is sure to please every diver. It’s very difficult to think of anything to complain about here. Dive further, faster, smoother, and never worry about your fins folding under heavy load again.
There’s a lot of innovation, bio-mimicry, and versatility to be had in the scuba diving fin product range. In general, the most common fin style today is the split fin. If you spend some time taking a look at the other divers around you when you go for a shallow dive at the beach, or hop on the charter boat, you’ll quickly realize that more and more divers are making the switch.
You probably have noticed this already, and you’ve probably questioned it a dozen times (but maybe just the once out loud). The reason for the booming popularity of the split fin design is simple: they work well without requiring that you work hard.
The bio-mimicry is still there, if not to the same extreme extent as with the ScubaPro Seawing Nova. Split fin designs are an effective combination of a whale’s tail and a boat’s propeller.
With each kick, your blades twist to create a propeller-like surface. This, in turn, increases your propulsion as well as your life. It takes some getting used to, as it often feels as if the fin lacks the necessary power to keep you moving as quickly as what your full bladed fin did. But if you were to do a proper comparison, you’d realize that you’re actually covering the same amount of distance in the same amount of time. The major benefit? You’re expending less energy to achieve the same results.
As we mentioned earlier in conjunction with their X1 Open Heel Blade Fin, Atomic Aquatics have a penchant for boldly proclaiming their superior quality. Their Full Foot Split Fin most certainly lives up to this claim (which is why it’s the only one we’ve included in our definitive guide to discovering the best scuba diving fin available in 2018).
We’re not saying that Atomic Aquatics invented the split fin design. But we have to admit that they seem to have perfected it.
The Atomic Aquatics Split Fin offers reduced drag, increased thrust, and as a result (and as mentioned) requires less effort to achieve the same results a full bladed fin affords you as a diver. Their split fin isn’t only a unique design, though.
The latest Composite Plastic Polymer Materials technology used has been specially formulated to allow the Split Fin all of its benefits while remaining remarkably lightweight. This also makes it a great fin to pack in when traveling, as it won’t weigh you down.
Extensive research and development, as well as rigorous testing, have yielded this perfect formula, which gives the Split Fin its characteristic combination of flexibility and rigidity. Highly resilient power rails act as a backbone, storing energy with every upstroke and releasing this power with every down stroke.
The soft Elastomeric blade is set with Semi-Ridged Flex Battens, further optimizing thrust and reducing drag by controlling the precise wing shape. Pivoting, turning, and alternate kicking styles are also vastly improved by the larger surface area.
Between these Semi-Ridged Flex Battens, you’ll find strong, highly flexible Hinge Points. These allow the Split Fin to react quickly and efficiently to every kick, no matter how slight or strong.
The Anatomically Contoured Full Foot Pocket boasts a comfortable fit devoid of stress points. It also features a large heel pull-tab, which makes for an easy don and doff action (although not as optimal as the finger loop).
- Split fin design that combines bio-mimicry of the whale’s tail with the engineering design of a propeller for reduced drag, increased thrust, and reduced energy expenditure
- Composite Plastic Polymer Materials technology aids in optimizing the above benefits while keeping the weight down, making for an ideal travel fin
- Characteristic combination of flexibility and rigidity
- Highly resilient power rails store energy with every upstroke and release this power with every down stroke
- Soft Elastomeric blade set with Semi-Ridged Flex Battens, further optimizing thrust and reducing drag by controlling the precise wing shape
- Highly flexible Hinge Points for improved reaction time, even with softer kicks
- Anatomically Contoured Full Foot Pocket without any stress points, boosting comfort levels and reducing fatigue
- A large heel pull-tab allows for an easy don and doff action
- Six size options, ranging from US size 4.5 to 14, making them ideal for everyone from young divers to those with larger feet
- Two color variants: stealthy black and vibrant yellow
Whether you’re on a tight budget for financial reasons or because you’re just getting started and don’t want to spend too much, the Atomic Aquatics Split Fin allows you to get the best features at a bargain price. And as split fins become ever increasingly popular, you can be sure to attract some appreciative glances from professionals and casual divers alike.
With the whale bio-mimicry and propeller-like propulsion, you can enjoy increased thrust, reduced resistance. If you’re still building your kick strength as a beginner or recovering from an injury, you’ll certainly appreciate being able to keep up with stronger divers without having to expend as much energy. The Elastomeric blade, set with Semi-Ridged Flex Battens, aid in this greatly. Thanks to this, you’ll enjoy less fatigue and a notable reduction in your air consumption, which will increase your diving time exponentially.
Weighing in at less than half the weight of many open heel scuba diving fins, you’ll notice a huge difference after spending just half an hour in the water compared to full blade fin designs.
The Composite Plastic Polymer Materials technology optimizes the fin’s performance while helping to keep the weight down as well. Coupled with the Anatomically Contoured Full Foot Pocket (which also negates stress points for improved comfort), this reduction in fatigue will further cement the Atomic Aquatic Split Fin as a fast favorite no matter your skill level, kicking style, or diving conditions!
Some divers look for maneuverability, and others seek after power, depending on the water conditions they’re used to diving in. If you tend to favor choppy conditions and currents (or find yourself in those conditions more often than not), the power is going to be a very important factor when you choose a fin.
And if it’s power you’re looking for, then the ScubaPro Unisex Jet Sport Open Heel is one of our top recommendations. The maneuverability is pretty impressive too!
If you’re impressed by dual material designs, then you’ll certainly approve just as much of the Jet Sport’s tri-material makeup.
The large, slightly stiff blade includes soft rubber panels, which are framed in semi-stiff plastics. Thin side rails flank the blades, making the fins sturdy without losing out on flexibility. Resistance is further reduced, for both the up and down strokes of your kick, thanks to the drag reducing vents.
The combination of these factors is what gives the Jet Sport such a high propulsive kicking power generation. Additionally, it also provides improved stability. Frog and dolphin kicks are noticeably more efficient as a result.
And, as we mentioned earlier, it’s remarkably maneuverable too, which is what you’d expect from a short fin. Turns, as well as backing out of tight, rocky crevices, are wonderfully easy. It’s somewhat surprising that ScubaPro managed to incorporate both maneuverability and power into one design.
Usually, when a product really excels in one factor, the others suffer somewhat. But having mastered the blend of power and maneuverability has not caused ScubaPro to compromise on comfort in the least! Your feet will be held comfortably and securely in the rubber foot mold.
- Tri-material blades, with soft rubber panels, semi-stiff frame, and thin side rails to optimize flexibility and kicking power
- Drag reducing vents, substantially decreasing your resistance on up and down strokes alike
- Large blade further improves kicking power, as well as improving stability and maneuverability
- Ergonomic foot mold for increased comfort
- Five sizes, ranging from XS (ideal for younger divers) to XL
- Three color variants
Scuba diving is an incredibly tranquil sport, but the ocean can also be unpredictable. Unexpected eddies are exactly that – unexpected. When they hit, or you get caught in a strong current, then it’s propulsion power that will get through to the other side safely.
On the other hand, when you’re diving around coral reefs, shipwrecks, and rocky crevices, maneuverability is far more important than kicking power.
While most designs favor either kicking power or maneuverability, ScubaPro has succeeded in developing a fin that caters for both. This places the Jet Sports model very high in our books!
Oh, and did we mention that there’s also a full foot variant for the Jet Sports fin? Whether you prefer open or covered, there’s an option for you.
As an avid diver, you probably live close to the sea, so you don’t have to travel very far for a dive. Except maybe you don’t live that close to the shore, and you have to sit in an hour’s worth of traffic. Or, if you’re anything like us, you like to dive in different locations rather than just one spot every time.
And needless to say, you want to go diving on your vacation, right? ScubaPro understands the diver’s need to travel. The ScubaPro Go is designed especially for easy transport, weighing in at just a little more than 1.25 pounds each. They’re also remarkably compact, with the medium-large measuring at 20.5 inches long. To help take up even less space when you’re packing, you can also bungee the fins together with the nifty clip on the blades!
The ScubaPro Go isn’t just great for traveling with, though; they’re even better in the water. Although the full footed fin has a short blade, the design allows it to work the same way a larger fin would. The blade is wider than most short fins and has deep rails and ridges. Angled at a steep 25-degrees to the foot pocket, the ScubaPro Go allows for great kicking (whether you use flutter, frog, or alternative kicking styles), as well as acceleration.
Comfort levels are satisfactory as well, and there are five sizes available ranging from 3XS to XL. There’s also a convenient self-adjusting strap (bungee heel), which allows you to easily don and doff the fins in addition to increasing comfort levels.
- Short, full foot design (length 20.5 inches on medium-large)
- Lightweight (combined weight 2.6 pounds for the medium-large)
- Nifty clip to bungee the fins together
- Wide blade design
- Deeps rails and ridges in the fins
- Self-adjusting strap (bungee heel) to easily doff and don
- Steep 25-degree angle to the foot pocket
Five sizes, ranging from 3XS to XLCombining the easy-fitting benefits of the open heel fin with the barefoot imitation freedom found on full foot designs, the ScubaPro Go is a versatile model.
Thanks to the wide blades, with their deep rails and ridges and a 25-degree angle to the foot pocket, this short blade fin mimics the kick of longer fins. In fact, most divers have remarked that they forget it’s a short fin when in the water!
Designed for travel convenience, our only disappointment is that the sizing seems a little small. Divers with large feet might struggle to find the ideal fit, with the XL, sized somewhere between an L and true XL.
Cressi is a scuba diving fin company known for their quality, and the Reaction Pro lives up to this reputation. The Cressi Reaction Pro is a very versatile full foot fin design and can be used effectively no matter what diving style you prefer. Boasting an additional 20% of surface area, the increased length makes it an incomparable asset in boosting your propulsion capabilities in the water.
Because of the variable thickness in the blade design, the fins are highly responsive. This allows you to expend less effort in cutting through water and shows us exactly why Cressi decided to name it the Reaction Pro. You’ll be especially grateful if you tend to spend a lot of time submerged, as you’ll be able to travel further while using the same amount of energy.
The control level of the Reaction Pro is highly commendable as well. Cressi has achieved this with the use of a dual material design for the blade. The bulk of the blade is made of Techno-Polymer Polypropylene, while the channels are silicone based.
If you’re concerned that all this functionality compromises on comfort, then rest easy! The Thermo-Rubber Elastomer foot pockets allow your feet to sit securely, and make for an incredibly comfortable fit.
- Longer full foot design
- Lightweight build, combined weight 4 pounds
- 20% increased surface area
- Highly responsive variable thickness blade design
- Variable thickness blade design for increased responsiveness
- Dual material blade design, with Techno-Polymer Polypropylene webbing and silicone based channels for improved control
- Thermo-Rubber Elastomer foot pockets for a secure, comfortable fit
Whether you’re a hardcore scuba diver or like to indulge in a snorkel dive from time to time as well, the Cressi Reaction Pro is a desirable option. Enjoy unrivaled control and propulsion thanks to the variable thickness, dual material design, with 20% increased surface area.
If you tend to dive in troublesome waters, with strong currents and surprise eddies, then these are the fins for you. However, their maneuverability around corals and tight rocky spaces will leave you wishing you had a split-fin or short fin design if you favor these conditions.
And thanks to the Thermo-Rubber Elastomer foot pockets, you won’t be limping ashore with chafed ankles either.
Scuba Diving Fins Buyer’s Guide
The best diving fin is paramount to ensuring that you enjoy that addictive tranquility experienced underwater. Along with your mask, fins are arguably among the most important purchase you’ll be making with building up your equipment. Just as getting salt water in your eyes from an ill-fitting, leaky mask is highly unpleasant, having the wrong fins will make you tire a lot quicker and ruin the experience for you.
Not to mention that having the wrong fins for the water conditions of your dive can be dangerous. You don’t want to find yourself stuck in a strong current or unexpected eddy without enough power to get yourself out of there safely.
And let’s be honest – whether you’re spending $75 or $250 on your fins, you don’t want to come out of the water with damaged blades (and possibly a few scrapes and bruises) because you didn’t have the enough maneuverability for the coral reef or tight, rocky crevices. So you’re going to want to put a lot of thought into choosing the right fins.
As is the case with scuba masks, many beginners find this out the hard way. If you’re given the opportunity to rent equipment when starting out, jump at it. This allows you to get a proper feel for the sport before investing a lot of money into the equipment.
It is worth mentioning at this point (and definitely important to do so regardless) that in order to partake in any scuba diving activity, you’re going to require a license. As part of the course, you’ll likely get a feel for the sport and decide whether or not it’s something you want to pursue. Take this opportunity to find a gear you can rent and test in a safe environment.
And if you’re not sure what you personally prefer in terms of design and function, then look for opportunities to test various types before making a decision. If push comes to shove, most retailers have a 30-day returns policy. Just be sure to read up on their terms and conditions first!
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to replace your old fins, the nine models we’ve listed are the best 2017 has to offer. And that’s really not just our humble opinion—it’s the general consensus of the community, conveniently condensed into one review article.
Something else you should always keep in mind when looking to buy scuba diving fin: it doesn’t matter if you have the best money can buy if you don’t know how to use it properly. You’ll receive a lot of instructions when working toward your diving license, but learning is an ongoing process. We’ve set out to help you select your equipment. It’s up to you to invest at least as much time in reading up on how to use your fins properly.
Here’s a bit of extra information for you—just because we enjoy going the extra mile for our readers!
PS – if you’re already an experienced diver, you can skip through some of the following sections. We highly recommend novices give it a full read.
What Do Scuba Diving Fins Do and What Should I Look For?
Water is around 800 times denser than air, and the deeper you go, the greater the pressure. Humans are biologically engineered for traversing through the air, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy being in the water, too.
What fins do is translate the power exerted by our leg muscles into water-specific motion. Fish have fins, so it makes sense that we should don a pair when we join them.
We totally understand that the sheer amount of reviews aren’t the only thing that’s overwhelming when you’re doing the research for your first pair of fins. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few models, each one you read may appear better than the one you’ve checked out before it.
And when you’re in the shop, the wide range and varying specs can be visually overwhelming too. Think about it: have you ever gone to the grocery store without any clear idea of what you want or need to buy?
Eventually, you grab the first couple of things that look appealing to you in the moment, only to arrive back at home and end up realizing you forgot something important, or you got the wrong brands.
So it’s important to know what to look for in a pair of fins, to help you narrow your search down a little more.
Two words: comfort and efficiency. When you’re trying a pair of fins on, you want to make sure they’re a snug fit. Your toes mustn’t be pinched, and if you’re opting for a full foot fin then you don’t want the pocket binding the arches of your feet. A good rule of thumb is to try wiggle your toes: if you can’t, the fins are too small for you. Of course, you shouldn’t be able to wiggle them too much either, because then the fins are too big. Practice in your shoes for a while until you know how much wiggle room is the right amount.
Size, stiffness, and design are the three major factors that determine a fin’s efficiency rating. If you have strong hip and leg muscles, then bigger, stiffer fins can be used efficiently. Divers with a slighter frame will benefit from smaller, more flexible models.
There are exceptions to every rule, based on the water conditions you’ll be exposed to and some of the other specs, and there are some models that give you the best of both worlds. But as a general rule of thumb, the bigger and stiffer the fin blades, the stronger and more conditioned your leg muscles need to be.
Once you’ve narrowed it down even further with the suggestions above, it’s time to look at the straps. Bungee cord straps are a lot easier to use, especially with diving gloves on. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid buckles, as long as you’re comfortable with using them!
While pull-tabs are great for donning and doffing your fins with ease, if you opt for a model that features one, make sure it’s big enough to use. As a general rule, large finger loops are easier to use—not to mention quicker. And trust me, once you’ve had a taste of the sport you’ll want to get in the water as quickly as possible!
You’ll find a couple of models that tick all the right boxes for you, so your final deciding factors are going to be personal taste and budget. We can’t speak for your personal taste, but we can guarantee that you’ll find something within the $75 to $250 price range. This is obviously where your budget will come into play!
Typically, you don’t want to opt for the cheapest pair of fins available just because they’re cheap. While you can get great fins like the Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split Fin for really cheap, if your budget allows you to spend $120 dollars on a different pair and you’re only choosing the $89 option because it’s cheaper, then don’t.
Price doesn’t necessarily denote quality, but the most durable and versatile models are going to cost more. Opt for something that’s as close to your budget threshold as possible while sticking to everything else we’ve said.
Full Footed vs. Open Heel
If you’re not sure whether you should opt for a full footed or open heel fin, bear the following four points in mind. They might help you make up your mind.
- If you frequent warm waters and don’t want to spend extra on dive boots, then a full foot fit is what you’re looking for.
- Open heel fins often have highly adjustable straps, which you can set according to the different dive boots you wear. If you’re sharing a pair with a family member or close friend, or want to be able to pass your fins down to your children at some point, this adjustability will count for a lot.
- Open heel fins also tend to be a lot easier to don and doff, as these designs generally favor the finger loop rather than a pull-tab, which are more commonly found on full foot fins.
- If you’re using an open heel fin for scuba diving, then dive boots (or booties as they’re also called) are going to be a requirement. While this does mean you’ll have an additional purchase to budget for, the upside is that they afford great foot protection and comfort, both in the water and when walking.
Shopping for Scuba Diving Fins Online
Shopping online for your scuba diving fin is a sweet temptation. In many ways, it’s more convenient than going to a brick-and-mortar scuba shop. You save time, gas, and don’t have to struggle to find parking either – simply fill out a form online, select “check-out”, and wait for delivery! And sometimes shopping online is cheaper than going into a shop too.
But when it comes to fins (and masks, for that matter—we made this same point in our buyers guide for the Best Scuba Gear 2017 masks review), shopping online has a nasty catch that can absolutely negate all the convenience.
When you’re looking to purchase your first set of fins or want to upgrade to a new model out, we highly recommend that you head to a physical shop. While manufacturers do give a general indication of the fin’s foot pocket size in relation to shoe size, there’s no set standard.
And as you’ve probably noticed, a shoe size 12 might fit you comfortably for one brand, but is hopelessly too big (or small) in another brand! If your fins don’t fit comfortably on your feet, then you’re going to get cramps and fatigue a lot quicker.
Shopping for fins online is best left for when you want to replace your old set with the same model (or something in the brand’s same range at the very least—such as upgrading from the Mares Avantti Quattro to the Quattro Plus). One notable exception — what we feel should be the only exception — is when you find an online retailer that has a truly amazing returns policy.
After all… if your fins don’t fit or aren’t comfortable, then you’ve wasted anywhere between $75 to $250 (and shipping) if you can’t return them.
Our Choice for the Best Scuba Diving Fins in 2018
We’ve reviewed nine amazing fins in our definitive buyer’s guide for the best scuba diving fin. Narrowing it down from a list of hundreds was no mean feat, and narrowing it down even further to just one is no easier.
But of course, it has to be done. We only have two feet each, and even if we had the money to buy one of each model we’ve reviewed we’d still only be able to wear one at a time! It wouldn’t be fair to us to not give you our editor’s pick either, of course.
After a lot of consideration (and some considerable back and forth), we’ve decided to go with the Tusa Hyflex Switch. The top quality PuRiMax polyurethane blade with six Vortex Generator ridges on the underside makes for truly high-speed capabilities with low resistance. Comfort is guaranteed with the Comfort Foot Pocket heel pad and adjustable bungee strap.
Part of what clinched the deal for us is the 23.5-inch length, which already makes for a compact transport size. The ability to unbolt the blades for storage and travel package at the incredibly short length of just 16 inches was the absolute cherry on top.
After all – we all like to visit new diving spots, and a compact fin is a lot easier to take with you on a long car trip or flight!
What to do now?
There are no marine life forms that have a pair of legs unless you want to count the mythological Greco-Roman god Poseidon or Neptune. Even so, some accounts portray the sea god as a merman rather than a biped.