How to Choose the Best Fins
Whether you’re preparing to hop on a plane to paradise or you’re getting scuba certified to have some local fun on the weekends, choosing the right fins for you can be incredibly overwhelming. Water conditions, physical ability and simple personal preference all affect what type of gear you’ll need — so how do you choose? This breakdown will help you pick the perfect pair of fins for your next trip.
If you’re a newbie to buying fins, it’s easy to skip over the most obvious and important factor in choosing equipment: what you’ll be using the fins for. Scuba diving, freediving, snorkeling — these all require totally different types of fins. If you’re simply snorkeling, there’s no need to fork out tons of cash. Short, broad fins like these are enough to give that extra boost in the water without weighing you down.
For scuba diving, you’ll need a slightly longer fin to give a little extra thrust in deeper waters, especially with the additional weight that your equipment will add. Within this category, there’s a lot of room for personal preference, so getting to know the types of fins listed below is really important.
Spearfishing and freediving fins are totally unique from standard scuba diving gear. To reduce drag and boost speed, the best types of fins for these sports are going to be very long and usually ribbed to channel more water. While these take a little more effort, they also give more resistance for speed and performance.
The second factor to consider when choosing fins is the foot pocket. This is a minor aspect, but something that is still worth considering when shopping. Open foot pockets, which are more common, have adjustable straps at the heel that make fitting easier. They’re a little bit wider because they are designed to wear with dive booties, but this feature is also worth considering if you have wider feet.
While full foot pockets are less common and a little less versatile, they have their benefits. Full-foot pocket fins are designed to wear without booties, so they’re awesome for warm-water locations where you don’t want that extra layer.
The last thing to consider is the shape of the fin blade. By far, the most common fin is a paddle fin, which has a standard flat blade with no split down the middle. All snorkeling fins will look like this, but scuba diving and spearfishing fins have a couple more options.
Split fins, as their name suggests, have blades that are split right down the middle. This really helps with maneuverability and gives a little less resistance while still providing more speed.
Force fins, which imitate the shape of whales and tuna, are smaller than usual but give way more speed with their unique shape. Lastly, flip fins can conveniently be flipped up while you walk, making them a great choice for climbing down a ladder to get in the water.
When selecting the best types of fins for you, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. If you’re still unsure about your options, speak to your dive instructor, local dive shop or fellow divers for recommendations.
- Watersports Staff