Find the Best Fins for Snorkeling
If you’re looking for a great recreational activity for the whole family, then snorkeling should be pretty high on your list. You’ll get a nice workout while being able to see the amazing underwater sights that are usually hidden from your view.
You do need a few pieces of gear for your snorkeling trips. Masks and snorkels are pretty obvious. A snorkeling vest is optional but very helpful when you’ll be out on the water for a long time.
- 1 The Contenders
- 2 Best Fins for Snorkeling
- 2.1 Cressi Palau Snorkel Fins – Best Overall
- 2.2 Wildhorn Topside Snorkel Fins – Best Shoe-like Fins
- 2.3 Seavenger Torpedo Snorkel and Swim Fins – Most Versatile Fins
- 2.4 Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport Fins – Most comfortable foot pocket
- 2.5 Oceanic Vortex V-16 Split Fins – Best Long Split Fins
- 2.6 US Divers Trek Travel Fin – Best for Travel
- 2.7 Cressi Agua Snorkel and Swim Fins – Best Closed Heel Short Fins
- 2.8 Mares/Head Volo One Snorkel Fins – Most Technical Advanced
- 2.9 Cressi Kids Snorkel Fins – Best for Children and Youths
- 3 Conclusion
The main advantage of using a set of snorkel fins is that they provide you with forwarding thrust and maneuverability that you don’t have without them. The push allows you to minimize the effort you need to move around in the water even if you experience oncoming currents.
If you’re in a rush, then here’s our list of the Best Snorkel Fins.
- Cressi Palau Snorkel Fins – Best Overall
- Wildhorn Topside Snorkel Fins – Best Shoe-like Fins
- Seavenger Torpedo Snorkel and Swim Fins – Best Versatility
- Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport Fins – Most comfortable foot pocket
- Oceanic Vortex V-16 Split Fins – Best Long Split Fins
- US Divers Trek Travel Fin – Best for Travel
- Cressi Agua Snorkel and Swim Fins – Best Closed Heel Short Fins
- Mares/Head Volo One Snorkel Fins – Best Technical Advanced
- Cressi Kids Snorkel Fins – Best for Children and Youths
Before we look at the different fins in detail, have a look first at what you need to know so you can find the best pair for you. We compiled an exhaustive buying guide for snorkel fins that will equip you with the knowledge to pick the best snorkeling fins!
Best Fins for Snorkeling
You’ll find a lot of fins for snorkeling and scuba diving everywhere. If you stick with the usual suspects (brand names), then you will usually not be disappointed. To make it easier for you we picked the best fins for different uses and styles for you.
Cressi Palau Snorkel Fins – Best Overall
Cressi is one of the best-known brands in scuba diving and snorkeling. Some of the best gear comes from them and that is the case for decades. The company is located in Italy and was founded in 1946!
The Palau fins are no exception. They are some of the overall best snorkel fins you can find. They come with short blades, so it’s easy to travel with them. You’ll be able to put them in your standard-sized suitcase and not worry about how to get them to your vacation location.
Short fins, as mentioned above, produce less propulsion than long fins. Cressi certainly knows that, so they also offer the Palau fins in a long version. These long fins produce more thrust but are not as easy to handle.
Both flippers are open-heel fins with adjustable straps. The only downside on the straps is that they don’t have rings at the end where you can easily pull your finger through to adjust them. Usually, this is not a big deal, but when you snorkel, you should not forget to put sunscreen on your skin. After you do that your fingers are greasy and you can slip off the straps when you try to tighten them. Having a ring for your finger eliminates that issue as you slide your finger through and pull.
In our opinion, you’ll be happy with the short fins for snorkeling. They provide enough thrust to get you where you want to be in reasonably calm waters. Snorkeling isn’t that enjoyable in rough seas anyway.
The fins come in four different sizes. You can also pick some different colors if you’re not convinced that the blue variant is the right for you. You can choose from six different colors to match your snorkeling outfit.
If you also need a mask and snorkel then check out Cressi’s Palau snorkel set. It combines these great fins with a sturdy mask and an excellent snorkel.
Wildhorn Topside Snorkel Fins – Best Shoe-like Fins
The Wildhorn Topside fins are indeed a fascinating type of snorkel fins. We wouldn’t expect anything else from the makers of one of the best full face snorkel masks.
These flippers do fit like a shoe. They have a neoprene boot into which you slide like into a shoe. This boot is the foot pocket of the fins and your feet will feel like they do in comfortable shoes.
Wildhorn realized that many snorkelers only go occasionally to swim and want a very comfortable and easy to use a pair of fins. The result is that these fins have a real sole as you have it with shoes, so they are quite comfortable to walk in on land.
In the water, they fit like a glove. The strap keeps your foot in place securely and you get a reasonably good thrust when in water.
The fins are pretty short so don’t expect as much thrust as you’d get from long fins. The design that makes them most comfortable to walk in also makes them pretty hard to use in the water. You need more strength compared to other fins as they are pretty stiff and don’t bend very well. The advantage of that is that they are excellent for strengthening and conditioning your leg muscles.
These fins, due to their short length, are easy to transport and to travel with. As they have an integrated bootie, they end up requiring more space than other short fins for travel. They do easily make up for that with their fit and comfort level though.
As they have a closed foot pocket by using a bootie you can’t easily adjust the fit. They come in three different colors and some different sizes for men and women which allow you to find the right size for nearly every foot.
Seavenger Torpedo Snorkel and Swim Fins – Most Versatile Fins
The Seavenger Torpedo snorkeling fins are usable for a range of purposes. Not only are they good for snorkeling but you can use them for bodyboarding as well as swimming.
Being so versatile has its roots in being very flexible fins. They are short fins with open heels made from flexible yet sturdy material.
The strap on the heel, similar to the Cressi flippers above, does not have a ring at the end which means that you might end up having to work a little harder to fasten the strap around your heel when you have greasy fingers from applying sunscreen.
The straps also are not giving the impression that they are made to last. The most negative feedback that can be found about these fins is that the straps break and don’t last for a long time. They are replaceable and as such it’s not a complete waste, but it can be annoying to have to replace straps regularly.
The fins, as mentioned, are short fins. They have a wide paddle and produce a reasonable amount of thrust. However, if you are in calm waters, it is enough propulsion, but in stronger currents, you might end up having to work quite a bit harder to produce enough thrust to get going at an excellent speed.
The blades are designed to provide agility over speed in the water. This makes sense as you don’t necessarily want to be the fastest snorkeler around but you do want to be able to make effortless turns and control your propulsion.
The fins come in nine different color combinations and three different sizes. Compared to the Cressi above you don’t get as many different sizes which means that if you either have very little or very large feet, you might end up having a hard time fitting comfortably in them.
The foot pocket on these fins is comfortable and you should have no problem using them with bare feet. On the other hand, the pockets are large enough so you can wear booties when snorkeling if you prefer that.
In addition to the fins, you also get a mesh bag to carry them. This is specifically useful when you want to rinse your flippers after use. You can pack them into the mesh bag and then rinse everything out and leave them in the bag to dry.
Seavenger also has a number of different masks as well as a quite highly rated snorkel set with bag, fins, snorkel, and mask.
Phantom Aquatics Speed Sport Fins – Most comfortable foot pocket
Phantom Aquatics is one of the most renowned brands when it comes to snorkel and scuba gear. Their fins are excellent and the Speed Sport fins are great short fins for snorkeling.
They are somewhat stiffer and less flexible than many of the fins you find. This does lead to less thrust and propulsion with each kick and when you’re swimming against stronger currents, you have to work harder. Not necessarily a deal-breaker but something you should keep in mind as other fins do perform better in such conditions.
Even though the fins themselves are pretty stiff, the foot pocket is quite comfortable. That is if you can find a size that fits as they only come in two different sizes. An interesting design feature is the extended footplate where the bottom part of the foot pocket is prolonged and reaches farther back towards your heel. This does provide less stress on your ankles and feet when you’re using these open heel pockets.
The foot pocket is contoured which makes it fit like a glove around your foot. You shouldn’t run into any issues using these fins with booties though.
What Phantom Aquatics got right with these fins is the hinge point. The blades have a specific area that allows them to bend in the best overall position for the most amount of thrust. This does compensate for the overall stiffer blades.
The straps don’t offer a finger loop and, like many others, can provide some issues when you want to tighten them with sunscreen on your hands. They are otherwise made from high-quality materials and offer a good adjustment range.
The flippers come with a nice mesh bag so you can rinse the fins while they are in the bag. If you intend to swim and snorkel in stronger currents, then you might want to look for different fins that offer more propulsion. The stiffness in combination with being short fins can make it somewhat hard to use them in strong currents and rougher seas.
Oceanic Vortex V-16 Split Fins – Best Long Split Fins
The Oceanic Vortex V-16 are split fins with long blades to provide excellent propulsion. These are not your cheap snorkel fins that you get for your occasional swim trip. They are quite expensive and they are made for extensive use in varying conditions.
The fins are equally as good for snorkeling as they are for diving. They are open-heel fins with a spring strap that makes it easy to get in and out of the fins while holding them reliably in place.
The fins are made from a variety of different materials to make them softer around your feet and provide differing stiffness along the blade. The channels in the blades funnel the water during your kicks to maximize the thrust you can produce.
As with all split fins, the downside is that they aren’t as agile and maneuverable as paddle fins. They do produce continuous thrust with minimized energy. If you prefer to take long snorkel swims, then these are great fins for that purpose.
The quick-release straps even make it easy to go or jump into the water without wearing your fins and them being able to put them on in the water without problems. With many other fins, you feel like you’re risking to drown if you try to put them on in the water.
The Vortex fins come in four different colors. There are not that many different sizes to be had, but due to the open heel concept with spring straps, you should find a match for nearly all different shoe sizes.
The blades on these fins are long and you’ll have a hard time traveling with them without specific bags to transport them. If you are a serious snorkeler and scuba diver, then these fins can be a great piece of equipment for both activities.
US Divers Trek Travel Fin – Best for Travel
These fins are made for travel. They are some of the shortest fins you can find that are specifically designed to make it easy to transport them. Due to their compact size, you shouldn’t have any issues finding some space in your suitcase or travel bag to put them in.
They are lightweight and made from dual composite material for the fins. That way they provide a good balance between being stiff and too flexible.
The fins are open-heel fins with adjustable straps that fit over your heel. The straps have a hole at the end where you can slide a finger through to tighten them. This makes it easy to put the fins on as you only need one finger to tighten. Even with greasy fingers, it’s no problem to tighten the strap.
While the straps are easy to use, they do also get lose over time. They start to slip when you wear the fins for a while and that means you have to readjust the straps during your swim.
While the blades are very short, they are also quite wide. This makes up somewhat for the shortness but not completely. You will still need to put in a reasonable amount of energy to produce a solid kick and thrust. You do not want to use them on long swims or snorkeling trips though as they will eventually tire your legs out.
Having such short flippers makes it easy to walk with them. Not quite as easy and comfortable as the Wildhorn fins but pretty good nonetheless. The foot pocket is made from soft material and is easy on your feet.
The fins come in three different colors. You can get them in four sizes making it easy to find a good match for your feet.
Cressi Agua Snorkel and Swim Fins – Best Closed Heel Short Fins
Another contender from Cressi is the Agua fins. They are short fins similar to the Palau fins listed above. The main difference is that the Agua fins are a closed heel.
Closed heel foot pockets can’t easily be adjusted like open heel fins. They don’t have straps, but instead, you slide into the foot pocket like you would in a pair of shoes.
If the fins don’t match your feet, then it’s hard to adjust them and as such, they might end up too loose or too tight. If you fit them correctly, then you have excellent control and your power from your strokes is sent directly to the fins and blades.
These fins are somewhat different though. They do self-adjust underwater and start to mold around your feet. So, even if they feel a little loose on land, they do fit tight underwater.
The blades on these fins are very compact. This makes them great for traveling, but they do not produce as much thrust as many of the other fins we reviewed above. You need to put more effort in to get moving. They are not what we would suggest you use in heavier currents in the open water. If you snorkel in calm lakes or lagoons, then the Agua snorkel fins are a great piece of equipment. They are also a great set of fins if you want to use them in the pool for swimming laps.
Mares/Head Volo One Snorkel Fins – Most Technical Advanced
These are pretty new fins and they are quite impressive. The reason why they are on this list is the simple fact that they have one of the most advanced snorkel blades you can find. The blades have what Mares/Head calls OPB hinge technology which is nothing else than an optimized pivoting blade.
This technology ensures that during the kick cycle the blade is positioned at an angle that produces the most thrust with the lowest amount of energy put into the kick. The fins are extremely flexible and in combination with the pivoting technology they do provide a rather powerful thrust for these rather short blades.
Another interesting part of the fins is the material mixtures and the inserts in the blades. These are along the length of the blade and are called Channel-Thrust by Mares. This technology regulates the distortion of the blade during a kick to optimize the thrust that is produced. This distortion increases the amount of water being thrust behind the fin to increase the power of the kick.
The technologies that went into the design of the fin are based on what Mares have used for their great Volo fins for scuba diving. These are long fins and some of the most regarded fins for scuba diving that you can find. Mares/Head moved the design features to the shorter snorkel fins to make an outstanding pair of blades for swimming and snorkeling.
The Volo fins are open-heel fins that come with a quick-release buckle system. That way you get in and out of the fins quickly. The straps have rings at the end so you can quickly and easily tighten them with one finger.
The fins are available in five different color combinations and four different sizes. They come with a mesh bag that makes rinsing your fins easy after a snorkel trip.
Cressi Kids Snorkel Fins – Best for Children and Youths
Cressi, among their other fins above, has a great set of snorkel and swim flippers for children and youths. Not only are they quite colorful and sized specifically for the feet of young snorkelers, but they are also great overall fins.
They are open heeled fins with adjustable straps. This makes it easy to fit them tightly and securely, yet comfortably on your children’s feet.
The blades are sized for shorter people and allow them to kick with optimized effort. The thrust produced is reasonable for snorkeling and swimming in calm environments. However, you don’t want your children in strong currents anyway as they quickly could overwhelm them and their abilities.
The short fins and lightweight make them great for traveling. Cressi made these fins a great addition to your child’s snorkel gear and they are priced keeping in mind that your kids will eventually grow out of them.
They come in two sizes and two color combinations. Unfortunately, they do not come with a mesh bag, so you have to get a bag for transporting them separately.
If you are serious about snorkeling with friends or family and you’re going to do it regularly, then it makes a lot of sense to get your flippers. You can make sure they fit perfectly.
The short fins allow for easy traveling with them. Most snorkel fins are also reasonably priced so they won’t leave a big hole in your wallet.
Any recreational pastime, snorkeling included, that depends on gear will be more enjoyable with the right equipment. Get a pair of fins based on your needs from the list above and you’ll end up with a great pair of snorkeling fins!