In most cases snorkel fins and scuba fins are quite similar but there are some big differences when you are scuba diving compared to snorkeling. I will go over the best open heel fins, best dive fins, scuba fins, diving flippers, jet fins and of course specific brands like: Cressi, Aqualung, Atomic, Mares and Scubapro. Believe it or not these are all very different fins when you get down to it but of course if you are just starting out there you just need something that is comfortable but if you have a feeling that this is a lifelong adventure, invest a few extra dollars because it is well worth it!
Starting with the basics when you are snorkeling you have fins, a mask and a snorkel. Pretty straight forward. You are lightweight versatile and you can do it anytime and anywhere. With diving you need to be a little more prepared in having tanks (with air), if you are somewhere tropical you may not need a wetsuit but if you are heading to Vancouver Island or Alaska you may need a wetsuit or even a dry suit, a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), knife, etc… you get the point you need a lot more gear.
When it comes to fins though there are open heeled fins, closed heel, short and long fins, and split fins or paddle fins. Just to name a few different types but it depends on what kind of diving you are doing and your skill level.
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Cressi Pro Light open heeled fins are our #1 pick for diving fins. Since 1946 Cressi has led the way. Great with out with out boots or socks and the length makes it effortlessly.
Aqualung Slingshot heel strap diving fins are the best bang for your buck. Built in power bands for an easy kick and more efficient a great fin!
Mares Super Channel full foot Scuba fins are closed heel but still great with scuba socks and three channels for power and efficiency.
Atomic Aquatics Split fins have an open heel that adjusts just to you, split fin for performance and ease. Lots of colors to choose from and worth the price as they are very durable and strong.
Mares X-Stream Open Heeled fins have new blade technology and provide optimal performance that will allow boots or socks for a great fit!
Scuba Pro Jet fins have spring straps for easy on off and vented system that decreases drag and optimal for cave diving, wreck diving and frog kicking so you are very nimble.
IST Deep Sea Scuba Jet Fins are vented for speed and an easy kick that is used by the military with the highest grade material. Lightweight and versatile.
ScubaPro open heeled fins have that extra length for optimal power and easy on and off with a three blade material and construction that gives a great spring for your kick.
U.S. Divers diving fins and the best diving flippers you can get. Quality made with a dual composite fin and closed heel it is great for anyone starting or a pro!
U.S. Divers Proflex FX Fin has a 2 year manufactures warranty so there is no problem with breaking and solid material for optimal kicking
Best Open Heeled Fins
Open heeled fins are fins that have an adjustable strap at the back of the heel, hence “open heeled.” This allows for easy access putting on and off your fin. There is usually and adjustable clip of some kind on either side to tighten and loosen the fin. It can be clasp, button or clips depending on the fin. The material on the back of the fin will be some sort of rubber, nylon or vinyl with a cover sometimes but usually you will wear a snorkel/dive sock or a wet suit boot.
Having a snorkel/dive sock or wetsuit boot (on the right) is very common unless you are usually somewhere very tropical when you are diving and the water temperature does not dip below a certain point where your feet will get cold or freeze. Also wearing a sock/boot will give you extra protection from your heel so it does no blister or get scratched up. This can happen when you have bad fins. Most good fins you don’t have to worry because the material is specially designed especially for that.
Top 3 Open Heeled Fins
Our top 3 open heeled diving fins are the Cressi Pro Light Open Heeled Fins, AquaLung Slingshot Opened Heeled Fins and the Mares X-stream Open Heeled Fins. Just click on the link to learn more about the products
Best Dive Fins
When you are looking for the best dive fins they can be open or closed heeled it just depends on where you will be diving primarily. You always need to ask yourself where you will be doing the most of your diving. If you are in a tropical environment and it is rare that you will need booties or socks you may not need open heeled fins, they can be a little bigger and bulkier in where a closed heel fin is a little more sleek and streamlined. However, if you are diving somewhere that may get cold or you know your feet get cold I would recommend getting open heeled fins so you can wear booties or snorkel/dive socks.
The best fins that are closed heeled are:
Mares Super Channel Closed Heel
The Mares Super Channel Closed heel fin is the most comfortable fin that you may ever try in your life that is a closed heel. The closed heel design has an orthopedic foot pocket and has three channels for the Superchannel efftect. This allows for more speed and mobility.
This is a great recreational fin if you are diving in tropical environments and it is hot! Light weight and east to travel with makes this one of the better for travel. But if you are stationed somewhere and want a little more stability you will want to go with one of the top 2 recommended above.
So if you have never heard of Jet Fins, now you will know. Jet Fins were designed by the military in the mid 60’s. The purpose for them are durability and strength for when you are in the water. Not only does the military use them but also commercial divers, some snorkelers, and individuals who just like the fins. The IST Jet fins are just below and the ScubaPro are just below and click on the picture for more pricing.
As I mentioned they have quite a few good qualities and the pro’s of them are is the strength and durability of them. They are formed from a solid piece of rubber so there are no seams, or unnecessary extras that you may get with other fins. If you do somehow manage to wreck them it won’t be from just diving… they will last you for years.
While most fins have some sort of streamlined ability like split fins or added vents, the Jet Fins have 3 vents built into the fin in three different channels so on the weaker point of your kick it will make you more efficient due to the contour of the fin.
Having these fins also makes it easier to maneuver in tighter spaces in caves, wrecks and shallow water!
On the negatives the one drawback I found was it has secured adjustable straps for your heels so it can be tough to get off when you are finished your dive or if you have a drysuit on, being less mobile.
Also they are quite heavy (4-6 lbs) so if you are traveling this can make life a little tougher.
Mares has been around since Ludovico Mares started making masks and spearguns in 1949 and has never looked back. Starting in Italy it has grown to a worldwide product for anything to do with water including fins, new dive technologies and so much more. You have a 2 year manufacturer warranty that makes you feel safe buying this product.
Mares Avanti Quattro Plus open heel Bungee Strap Fin.
One of the best on the market that has an open heel design which works great barefoot or with socks or booties and has an easy adjustable strap so when you come out of the water and are tired you don’t have to fight with your fins to be released from your gear. On the heel strap it is larger than just the strap and has a loop for easy put on/off of your heel. Special material is made for comfort for your foot and heel.
The fin is 38 cm for extra kick. The fin is comprised of a hi-flex material that has pop and includes a 4 channel wave power for extra push with less effort.
Another great fin by Mares is the X-Stream Open heeled fins.
Just like Mares, Aqualung has been around since the early 40’s starting small in France and slowly expanding in quality and size. They offer a huge array of dive equipment and fits everyone. Here you can also find the starter aqua lung snorkel sets.
Their newer fin, Aqualung Slingshot is a revolutionary scuba fin that works great. You get what you pay for with this product including silicone power bands which release for the upstroke and give you extra momentum with each kick. What is really neat about these fins is that they actually have a 3 speed tension gear for each individual and different diving conditions. This is what really separates the Slingshot from other models on the market.
The rubber heel and strap makes for a comfortable fin in barefeet, socks or booties. Easy adjustable on/off again so you are not fighting with the fin at the end of the dive. Available in silver/black and silver/blue. I recommend these to anyone who loves diving in any conditions!
If you find the Slingshot Fin may be a little more than you are looking for, they also have Aqualung Short FX, Wave Snorkeling fins (shorter, less expensive) and great free diving fins, the Stratos 3 fins.
Atomic Split Fins
Even though Atomic has only been around since 1995 they stay on the leading edge of scuba fins and scuba equipment. A German company with great persistence has brought them to the level of Mares and Aqualung to be just as good. They have an EZ-Lok buckle system and spring heel straps making on and off a breeze above all else but it is their split fins that stand out the most.
Atomic Split Fins
Split fins differ from regular fins in that they have a slice down the middle of the fins which enables to kick to be stronger and more efficient. When you have a paddle fin you create drag because you are pushing back and forth but with the splice down the center it creates lift and more propulsion like a propeller. The water is funneled through that opening and drag is reduced. This makes it easier for people with bad joints such as backs, knees and hips because it takes less energy to kick and adding less pressure to the body.
Of course mentioned above is the EZ-Lok buckle and spring heel straps make these great fins for any environment.
Cressi Fins Size Chart
Each fin will be specifically designed for the type of snorkeling you will be doing. Determining your fin will rely on 2 factors: your shoe size and fin size. Look at what your shoe size is and then you just need to determine whether you want a short or long fin. Simple as that.
The biggest factor is going to be determining where you are going diving, how you are getting there and comfort. Once you think about those 3 factors picking a diving fin is simple!!