Updated on February 7, 2020

At first glance, fins might not feel like an important equipment purchase, but they are! The right pair will help you maintain positive buoyancy on the surface before and after your dive. Plus, they’ll give you the power to glide effortlessly through the water, even in a strong current. In this article, we’ll share our pro picks for the best SCUBA diving fins on the market, and all the essential features and considerations to look for while you shop.  

What type of fins work best for you will depend on how often you dive, what conditions you’re taking the plunge in, and the underwater environments that you plan to explore. With hundreds of high-quality options available, we understand that it can be hard to know where to start shopping. But don’t worry. The Adventure Junkies team has already done the homework for you. Keep reading to find your perfect pair.

For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out the Best Fins for Travel.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Scuba Diving Fins

  1. Oceanic Viper
  2. Mares Volo Race
  3. Cressi Frog Plus
  4. Tusa Solla
  5. ScubaPro Go
  6. Atomic Split Fin
  7. Tusa X-Pert
  8. Mares Avanti Quattro Plus
  9. ScubaPro Seawing Nova

 

Comparison Table - Best Scuba Diving Fins

PictureNameHeel StyleBladeFin LengthPriceRating
Oceanic ViperClosedNon-VentedMedium$4.4
Mares Volo RaceClosedVentedLong$4.8
Cressi Frog PlusOpenNon-VentedMedium$4.7
Tusa SollaOpenVentedMedium$$4.5
ScubaPro GoOpenVentedShort$$4.4
Atomic Split FinClosedSplitLong$$4.6
Tusa X-PertOpenSplitLong$$4.7
Mares Avanti Quattro PlusOpenNon-VentedMedium$$$5.0
Apeks RK3OpenVentedShort$$$4.8
ScubaPro Seawing NovaOpenVentedMedium$$$4.7
PictureNameHeel StyleBladeFin LengthPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Fins for Scuba Diving

Oceanic Viper

Specs
  • Blade: Non-Vented
  • Weight: 1.98 to 3.72 lbs (0.89 to 1.69 kg)
  • Material: Thermal Plastic Rubber, Polypropylene
  • Heel Style: Closed
  • Fin Length: Medium
Features
  • Pull Tab For Easy On/Off
  • Flexible Channels And Panels For Power While Kicking Underwater
  • Non-Slip Sole
  • Self Draining Foot Pocket For Faster Drying
  • Available In Multiple Colors

BEST FOR: DIVERS ON A BUDGET

The Oceanic Viper is one of the most affordable fins on the market, and it’s a top pick for warm water diving and snorkeling. These fins are lightweight and bendable, making them easy to pack in a gear bag or luggage. They dry super fast after diving thanks to a self-draining foot pocket. And, their flexible channels and panels offer plenty of power for divers in calm conditions. The Oceanic Viper is lightweight enough to use on the surface too, so it’s easy to go from diving to snorkeling without changing fins. Keep in mind that this fin type is not suitable for cold water diving, strong currents, or rough surface conditions.

Mares Volo Race

Specs
  • Blade: Vented
  • Weight: 2.2 to 3.8 lbs (1.02 to 1.74 kg)
  • Material: Thermoplastic Rubber-Techno-Polymers
  • Heel Style: Closed
  • Fin Length: Long
Features
  • Pull Tab For Easy On/Off
  • Flexible Channels And Panels For Powerful Kicks Underwater
  • Non-Slip Sole
  • Extra-long Blade For Added Power Underwater

BEST FOR: SLOW SWIMMERS

If you aren’t a strong swimmer, you might struggle to keep up with the rest of your dive group at times. The Mares Volo Race was designed with you in mind! This is not the most convenient model for dive travel, as the extra-long blades won’t fit in every gear bag. But, those extra inches add power to every kick underwater. And, the combination of flexible channels and vents make this one of the fastest fins on the market. Keep in mind that full foot fins are best used in warm, calm water with little to no current or for snorkeling.

Cressi Frog Plus

Specs
  • Blade: Non-Vented
  • Weight: 1.50 to 2.2 lbs (0.68 to 0.99 kg)
  • Material: Rubber, Techno-Polymer, Silicone
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Medium
Features
  • Buckled Heel Strap So It Stays In Place
  • Flexible Channels And Panels For Kicking Power Underwater
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Lightweight Construction Designed For Dive Travel

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

If you’re new to diving, you’ll want a fin that is lightweight, powerful, and easy to use in a variety of aquatic environments. The Cressi Frog Plus is strong enough to help you keep up with your dive group, even in a strong current, yet light enough to use on the surface and for snorkeling and swimming. This model is more flexible and weighs less than similar designs, so it’s perfect for dive travel. But, keep in mind that lighter fins perform better in warm water. If worn with a thick dive boot, these fins may allow your feet to float up, making it hard to maintain proper trim.

Tusa Solla

Specs
  • Blade: Vented
  • Weight: 3.48 to 4.45 lbs (1.58 to 2.02 kg)
  • Material: Thermoplastic Elastomer
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Medium
Features
  • Buckled Heel Strap So It Stays In Place On Your Foot
  • Flexible Channels and Panels For Kicking Power Underwater
  • Self Draining Foot Pocket For Faster Drying
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: CHALLENGING DIVE CONDITIONS

The TUSA Solla is a hard wearing model that can stand up to the challenge of regular use and abuse, no matter where in the world you dive. These fins feature flexible panels and vents for extra power underwater. And, they are heavy enough to balance the buoyancy of thick dive boots, making them ideal for cold climates. This added weight also comes in handy for exploring challenging environments with surge, current, and rough surface conditions. The Solla is available in a variety of vibrant colors like white and yellow, making them easy to spot in the water, even in low visibility.

ScubaPro Go

Specs
  • Blade: Vented
  • Weight: 2.20 to 2.60 lbs (1.00 to 1.20 kg)
  • Material: Monprene Rubber
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Short
Features
  • Bungee Strap On The Heel For Easy On/Off
  • Solid Construction
  • Carrying Loops
  • Lightweight Construction Designed For Dive Travel
  • Designed To Be Worn Barefoot

BEST FOR: DIVE TRAVEL   

The ScubaPro Go is unlike any other fin on the market. This model, designed specifically for dive travel, weighs less than any other design in its class. It features solid Monprene construction, which gives it unprecedented power for its weight and fin length. A bungee style heel strap makes this fin super easy to slip on and off, even on the surface in between dives. The Go has a small foot pocket designed to be worn barefoot or with diving socks, so it’s perfect for switching between diving and snorkeling. And, you’ll be able to scratch dive boots off your gear list.

Atomic Split Fin

Specs
  • Blade: Split
  • Weight: 2.10 to 3.35 lbs (0.95 to 1.51 kg)
  • Material: Composite Plastic Polymer
  • Heel Style: Closed
  • Fin Length: Long
Features
  • Pull Tab For Easy On/Off
  • Non-Slip Sole
  • Self Draining Foot Pocket For Faster Drying
  • Extra-Long Blade For Added Power Underwater

BEST FOR: DIVING AND SNORKELING 

If you’re planning to go SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the same trip, you probably won’t want to pack two sets of fins. The Atomic Split Fin is lightweight enough to use on the surface, but powerful enough for diving, too. This model features a split blade design for added thrust and reduced pressure on the knees and ankles, making it a top pick for divers who experience joint pain. While this fin’s extra-long blade won’t fit in every gear bag, the extra inches pay off in added thrust while diving. Plus, diver-friendly features like pull tabs and self-draining foot pockets add value to this already well-priced option.

Tusa X-Pert

Specs
  • Blade: Split
  • Weight: 4.10 to 4.70 lbs (1.85 to 2.13 kg)
  • Material: Composite Plastic, Rubber
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Long
Features
  • Buckled Heel Strap So Fins Stay In Place While Diving
  • Flexible Channels And Panels For Extra Kicking Power Underwater
  • Self Draining Foot Pocket For Faster Drying
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: LOW IMPACT POWER

SCUBA diving can be a bit of a workout, especially if you’re taking the plunge in challenging conditions. The TUSA X-Pert was designed to offer plenty of power in the water while reducing the impact on your hips, knees, and ankles. So, it’s an excellent option for divers who sometimes feel joint pain or fatigue after diving. This fin features extra long blades and weighs more than similar models, so it isn’t ideal for dive travel, but those extra pounds and inches add strength to every kick. Keep in mind that split fins work best for divers who use the flutter kick. And, a model this heavy isn’t ideal for use on the surface or snorkeling.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus

Specs
  • Blade: Non-Vented
  • Weight: 3.30 to 4.40 lbs (1.52 to 1.98 kg)
  • Material: Tecralene, Thermoplastic Rubber
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Medium
Features
  • Buckled Heel Strap So Fins Stay In Place While Diving
  • Flexible Channels And Panels For Underwater Kicking Power
  • Carrying Loops
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: PRO PICK

If you take a look around any busy dive center, you’re sure to spot divemasters and instructors wearing this fin. The Mares Avanti Quattro is one of the best selling models of all time and a favorite among working dive pros. This is a practical option that offers plenty of speed and power without unnecessary bells and whistles. The Quattro’s flexible buckled ankle straps are easy to open and close in between dives. Built-in carrying loops make it easy to carry your fins to and from the dive site. Plus, this fin is available in a wide variety of eye-catching colors, so it’s easy for your dive group to spot you underwater, even in low visibility.

Apeks RK3

Specs
  • Blade: Vented
  • Weight: 2.25 to 2.75 lbs (1.02 to 1.24 kg)
  • Material: Thermal Plastic Rubber
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Short
Features
  • Bungee Strap For Easy On/Off
  • Solid Construction
  • Carrying Loops
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: OVERHEAD ENVIRONMENTS

Divers who plan to explore caverns, caves, shipwrecks, and technical depths typically prefer a solid fin with a short blade. The Apeks RK3 gives you plenty of power in the water without stirring up silt and sediment as you kick, even in the muckiest of dive environments. This model’s extra-wide foot pocket can accommodate thick dive boots or rock boots for use with a drysuit. Its flexible bungee ankle straps are easy to pull on and off, even if a thick wetsuit limits your range of motion. And, it’s short and lightweight enough for dive travel. Unlike similar models, the RK3 is available in a variety of colors and small sizes, making it one of the only “tech” options suitable for women and kids.

ScubaPro Seawing Nova

Specs
  • Blade: Vented
  • Weight: 2.51 to 3.43 lbs (1.14 to 1.56 kg)
  • Material: Elastomer Monprene
  • Heel Style: Open
  • Fin Length: Medium
Features
  • Bungee Strap For Easy On/Off
  • Solid Construction
  • Carrying Loops
  • Available In Multiple Colors
  • Lightweight Construction Designed for Dive Travel
  • Cold Water Compatible

BEST FOR: OVERALL VALUE

No matter what kind of diving you plan to do, the Seawing Nova won’t disappoint. This fin features solid construction with a flexible midsection and vents for unsurpassed power and range of motion underwater. So, it’s appropriate for a wide variety of dive environments and conditions, including cold water, strong surge, current, and enclosed spaces. The Seawing Nova is negatively buoyant enough to use with thick dive boots but won’t weigh your gear bag down, making it perfect for dive travel. And, thanks to its unique shape, this fin works for divers who use both the frog and flutter kick.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SCUBA DIVING FINS 

 

FIT

When you’re shopping for SCUBA diving equipment, fit should always be your top concern. Fins that fit well should be snug but not tight, and your foot shouldn’t slide around inside of them. You should never feel friction between your foot and the fin, as this can cause painful blisters. 

Full foot fins should be easy to slide on and off, and shouldn’t squeeze or bind anywhere along your foot. To try on full foot fins, stand normally and lift your heels off the ground one by one while keeping your toes planted. If you feel the fins sliding up and down on your heel during this “lift” test, you need a smaller size. Be sure that you don’t feel any rubbing or chafing on the tops of your toes or in the bunion area. 

Open heel fins are worn over dive boots and fasten with a heel strap. To try this style on, stand normally and kick one foot at a time to imitate swimming. You shouldn’t feel pressure, rubbing, or your foot moving around in the fin “pocket.” The strap should be snug enough to hold your fin in place, but shouldn’t feel too tight or painful. 

Some fin types, intended for tech divers, are only available in large sizes. If you have a small foot, make sure to choose a style that is sold in a full range of sizes. 

 

USE

Some fins are appropriate for multiple sports, but most are not. Snorkeling fins may not be powerful enough for SCUBA because they are designed for use on the surface. This is especially true if you’re diving in a strong surge or current. Freediving fins are often too long and may disrupt sand during your dives. If you plan to dive in overhead environments like shipwrecks, caverns, and caves, you’ll want a fin with a very short and rigid blade. 

 

HEEL STYLE

Closed heel fins have a flexible “pocket” that slips on over your foot like a regular shoe. These models are lightweight and flexible, so they are best for snorkeling. But, they are also convenient for dive travel because they weigh less and are easier to pack than open heel alternatives. Keep in mind that closed heel fins may work well for divers in warm water with little to no current, but are not intended for challenging dive conditions. 

Open heel styles use a strap or bungee over a dive boot to stay in place. Many divers prefer open heeled fins because they offer more power underwater. But, they are heavier and require dive boots, so they take up more room in luggage and gear bags. They may also feel heavy or overly bulky on the surface and while snorkeling. If you have an unusually shaped foot, sensitive skin, or are prone to blisters, an open heel fin is your best bet.

Sport Diver has a helpful article that has a lot more information on the difference between open and closed heel fins in case you want to learn more!

 

BLADE LENGTH

The length of your fins will determine how they perform in the water. Longer fins are best for diving in open ocean conditions and work well for divers who use the flutter kick. Shorter fins are ideal for diving in overhead environments and offer more power for divers who prefer the frog kick. Keep in mind that longer fins may be more difficult to fit inside your dive bag or luggage, but shorter fins generally weigh more. Extra-long fins and styles designed for freediving are not intended for SCUBA. They provide little power while swimming horizontally, especially when diving in a current. 

 

BLADE TYPE

Vents are holes in the fin blade that let water pass through, adding propulsion to your kicks. This flow of water increases each kick’s efficiency, so it reduces your effort underwater. Vented fins make a big difference for divers swimming against a current or strong surge. Plus, they offer extra power for those who aren’t the strongest of swimmers. 

Non-vented blades don’t allow water to pass through them, so they typically feature highly flexible panels or channels to increase thrust. This classic style works well in a variety of environments, and for divers using both the frog and flutter kick. Solid blade SCUBA diving fins often weigh more than their vented counterparts, so they may not be ideal for dive travel. 

Split fins feature no vents but instead use a two-panel design to provide extra power in the water. This style is ideal for divers who suffer from joint pain and inflammation after their dives because it allows for a wide range of motion without putting pressure on the hips, knees, and ankles. However, the split fin does not work well for divers who use a frog kick. 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

 

BUNGEE STRAP

Open heel fins are worn over dive boots and secure around your heel with a strap. Some straps close with clips or buckles that snap in place, but many divers prefer a fixed and flexible “bungee.” This feature may come in handy during travel because bungee straps have no moving parts or clips that can break in transit. Many divers prefer bungee straps over traditional designs because they are easy to don and doff on the boat or the water’s surface. And, there’s no need to tighten them because the bungee automatically conforms to fit your foot’s shape and size.

 

PULL TAB

Full foot fins slide over your entire foot like a shoe and can be worn barefoot or with neoprene socks. To comfortably don this style, you’ll need to grip them firmly as you pull them on and off. A pull tab makes this step easier, especially if you are putting your fins on in the water. The extra rubber gives you something to grab onto without splitting or tearing your fin’s foot pocket. Plus, it ensures that your fin is pulled all the way over your food, to prevent painful blisters and rub spots. 

 

FLEXIBLE CHANNELS AND PANELS 

Some fins are designed with flexible channels or panels to give you more power in the water. These styles are best for divers who use the flutter kick because they allow the fin to bend, adding to your range of motion and giving you more momentum with each kick. These bendable sections also allow your fins to flex and contour to the shape of a gear bag or luggage, making them easier to pack. Flexible fins weigh less than their rigid counterparts too, making them ideal for dive travel.  

 

SOLID CONSTRUCTION

Cave, cavern, and wreck divers often use shorter fins made from solid rubber or Monoprene. These fins are smaller and more compact than other styles, but they weigh more, so they offer plenty of power without the extra length. Some solid fins are even short enough to fit in carry-on luggage, making them convenient for dive travel. Keep in mind that solid fins work best for divers who use the frog kick. 

 

NON-SLIP SOLE

Most fins are made with a rubber sole, to help you grip the ground. But, some models also have a textured bottom, like a dive boot, for extra traction. This feature can prevent accidental slips and falls while entering the water, especially if you are diving from a boat. 

 

CARRYING LOOPS

Some divers carry their fins by the vents, but this can eventually wear them out or even rip the blade. If you’ll be walking with your equipment over long distances or diving from shore, choose a design that includes carrying loops. This feature prevents unnecessary wear and tear, makes it easy to strap your fins to the outside of a gear bag or luggage, and comes in handy for hang drying. 

 

COLD WATER COMPATIBLE

If you’re diving in cold conditions, you should choose an open heel fin that can accommodate thick dive boots or rock boots. This means that you’ll need a foot pocket wide enough to fit the extra layers insulation. And, the fin should weigh enough to keep your feet from floating up. 

 

READ MORE

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4 Responses

  1. Mikel Txopitea

    Dear Magazine,

    I have life guard competition in order to get a job and i have to swim 800m in sea after 600m running in beach. What full foot fins should i buy?

    Aqua Lung Stratos 3, Atomic Aquatics, Oceanic vortex v6 split or Cressi reaction pro

    Some other idea? If you dont know the answer, who could help me?

    Best regards

    • Antonio Cala

      Hi Mikel,

      For swimming, I would go for a big and long blade pair of fins.

      If you are not used to swim with fins, fitting is very important. Also, try to go for a model where the blade is not too hard (like the Cressi Reaction Pro, for example).

      While swimming at the surface, a more flexible blade is also more efficient as it can push more water backwards.

      So, I would recommend either the Cressi Reaction Pro or the Aqualung Stratos 3.

      Good luck with the job!

  2. Daniel Parker

    Hi,

    I’m going to be doing a lot of underwater photography in the coming years, mainly in south east Asia. I’m looking for a pair of lightweight full foot fins because I need to keep the baggage weight down as much as possible but still want something that will perform well. I was thinking the Cressi Reaction Pro or the Aqualung Stratos 3?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Regards

    Dan

    • Amanda Zeisset

      Hi Daniel,

      The Cressi Reaction Pro or the Aqualung Stratos 3 are both great options for lightweight, warm water travel fins. I personally travel with my Mares Avanti Quattro and a pair of dive booties. For me, it’s the most comfortable option but it does weight a bit more.

      Since you are going to be diving a lot, I’d take into the option you think will be most comfortable for you.

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda

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