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Best Scuba Diving Fins – Editor’s Picks for 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Fins for Scuba Diving

Fins are an essential part of your scuba gear. They propel you underwater and make or break your dive experience.

If you don’t own your own set of scuba fins you will rely on the dive shop to have some to rent. In many cases, you’ll end up with lower quality fins that kind of fit but are not comfortable. It can seriously put a damper on your dive experience!

Best Scuba Diving Fins

Having your own gear and having it fit perfectly is important in scuba diving. The familiarity you gain with your gear improves your precision during dives and builds your trust in your gear.

Scuba fins should be comfortable and provide you with the ability to transform the power from your kicks into forward motion. Along with that, they should be easy to put on and off, to transport and certainly sturdy enough to last a long time.

Finally, they have to fit your dive style. Our guide to the best scuba diving fins will provide you with the information you need to get the best fins that match your diving style.

The 10 Best Scuba Diving Fins

If you’re in a hurry, then here’s the shortlist of the top 10 scuba diving fins.

Below you can find the details on each of these best 10 scuba dive fins. Please also check out our Buyer’s Guide for Dive Fins as well as our short overview of important things to consider when buying new fins.

Finding the best flippers for scuba diving

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 – Best Full Foot Scuba Fins for Warm Waters

The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is a full foot dive fin that is durable and affordable. It’s comfortable and easy to put on and off. The inside of the foot pocket is finished with a special material that makes sure that you get in and out easily while not slipping out during a dive.

Aqua Lung Stratos 3 Full Foot Fins

The bending point is close to the front of your foot. This way the entire fin is used for a powerful kick with the least amount of effort.

The Stratos 3 comes in six different sizes and you shouldn’t have an issue finding the best fit for your size. The toe area offers a lot of space which makes it very comfortable to wear. The overall design and build quality is impeccable.

The Aqua Lung Stratos 3 is best used for dives in warm tropical waters. It’s our best choice for a full foot scuba diving fin for warm waters.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus – Best Overall Open Heel Scuba Fins

The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus are open heel scuba fins. They have a bungee strap so you’re able to quickly get in and out of them. The huge advantage is also that you won’t have to adjust any straps. Simply slide in and let the bungee strap do the rest.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Bungee Strap Fin, White, Regular

This fin is made from somewhat stiffer material which is combined with four soft channels to provide the most possible thrust when kicking. The blade is overall a little stiffer than other dive fins. However, it creates a lot of thrust with each kick!

These scuba fins come in four different sizes and a large variety of colors. You’ll find the perfect fit amongst those four sizes as the bungee strap makes sure that you’re securely in the fin once you put it on.

The Mares Avanti Quattro Plus is a great all-around choice for diving. It works well in warm and cold environments. It’s our overall best choice for a dive fin.

DiveRite XT – Best Open Heel Scuba Fins for Technical Diving

The first thing you’ll see when you look at the DiveRite XT is that it’s surprisingly non-flashy looking. Most newer fins have shapes and designs and color schemes that make them look ‘cool’. These fins are just what you see – excellent scuba diving fins.

Dive Rite XT Fins w/Spring Heels, Large - All Black

They are specifically designed for strong and ripping currents and tougher conditions. They are made from a Monoprene blend which is used by DiveRite since the 1990s in some of their best performing fins. The XT fins are designed as open heel fins with spring heel straps made from reinforced steel springs. This design provides a tight fit while being able to get in and out quickly.

The blades are designed to maximize the thrust with every kick while making sure that they stay stable in rough conditions. The DiveRite XT fins are a great choice for technical divers in varying conditions.

ScubaPro Seawing Nova – Best High Thrust Split Fins

The ScubaPro Seawing Nova offers a unique design. They combine the advantages of paddle fins and split fins. The design provides the thrust of a paddle fin with the comfort and efficiency of a split fin.

SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova Diving Fins (Extra Small, Pink)

The design is unique in that it offers a joint in the blade that maximizes thrust while reducing drag through a pivoting motion. The fins offer tapered edges which make it useable for different kicking styles. The bungee strap makes it easy to get in and out of the fins and have the perfect fit.

The fins come in five different sizes and a variety of color choices. The well designed and sturdy bungee strap ensures a perfect fit.

There’s no question that these are some of the best fins you can buy. However, the complex design results in one of the highest prices you can find for any scuba diving fins.

Atomic Aquatics – Best Split Fins

Atomic Aquatics is known for its high-end design of scuba gear and the Atomic Aquatics full foot split fins make no exception when it comes to quality. However, compared to other scuba gear from this manufacturer, they are actually affordable.

Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fin for Scuba & Snorkeling

These fins have a full foot split design. During a kick, the split blade changes shape into a pair of wings. These wings reduce drag when slicing through the water while creating thrust to propel you forward. This works great in calm waters but does not provide enough thrust in strong currents.

Overall these fins allow you to move through the water with less effort. They can help to reduce air consumption during a dive.

They come in six different sizes and two color combinations. Make sure to study the sizing information with your shoe size to find the best fit.

The Atomic Aquatics Full Foot Split Fins are a great choice for diving in calm warm waters. The split fin design reduces drag and helps you to conserve energy and air.

Tusa Solla – Best Affordable Scuba Fins

The Tusa Solla is an open heel paddle fin that has some very interesting features. It uses a thermoplastic elastomer mixing hard and soft materials within the blade. The same combination of different stiffness levels is used in the side rails and the foot pocket. This improves the thrust while reducing the energy required to generate that thrust.

TUSA SF-22 Solla Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins, Medium, Siesta Green/White

The fins use an anatomically formed strap to secure your foot to the fin. While it’s not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to use and fits the back of your heel perfectly and comfortably.

The paddles are medium in size which provides a good compromise between maneuverability and thrust. The Tusa Solla is affordable and definitely worth a look.

Mares X-Stream – Best Fins for Reduced Turbulence

The Mares X-Stream is one of the newer dive fins on the market. It is an open heel paddle scuba fin that has a comfortable foot pocket. The shape of the blade is rather unique, and it is designed for less turbulence while you’re diving.

Mares X-Stream Open Heel Fins, Blue, Small

The X-Stream works on a similar split mechanism as the ScubaPro Seawing Nova in that it has a flex area right in front of the foot pocket that allows the blade to act similar to a split blade. This way the fin provides the thrust of a paddle fin with the reduced effort and drag from split fins.

The strap is designed to provide a secure closure while your foot is in the fin. It’s comfortable to close and initially needs adjustment. A bungee strap would be a good change, but the standard strap works fine.

The blade transfers your kick and transforms it into a powerful thrust forward. It features a center channel that is designed to force the water down the blade instead of allowing it to spill over the sides. This reduces the energy needed to propel yourself through the water.

The Mares X-Stream comes in four different sizes and a variety of different colors. They are not the cheapest pair of fins on the market, but you get high-tech fins for a good price. They are certainly not more expensive compared to other high-quality fins on the market!

Cressi FROG Plus – Best Overall Paddle Fins

The Cressi FROG Plus fins are open-heel paddle fins. Coming from Cressi you can trust to get the highest quality and latest technology.

That’s not different for these fins. They are combining several materials into one fin to optimize the flow of water during a kick and reduce the drag.

They are designed to require the lowest amount of energy for each powerful thrust. The combination of the different materials provides strength and flexibility as needed during each kick.

The strap is adjustable and allows you to get in and out of the fins quick and easy. While not a bungee strap, it’s still easy to initially adjust and use.

The Cressi FROG Plus comes in four different sizes and a few different colors. They are very affordable in price and made of the highest quality products.

Sherwood Triton – Best ‘Old Style’ Dive Fins

The Sherwood Triton looks at first glance like a pretty old-fashioned scuba fin. However, it is anything than that. These are open-heel paddle fins with an adjustable strap.

SHERWOOD SCUBA Adult Powerful Open Heel Scuba Diving Fin: Triton Fin Proven Performance Design, Black, Small

It features three vents in front of the foot pocket that are designed to increase the thrust on the downward motion of the kick. They also decrease the drag on the upward motion of the kick. This increases the thrust while reducing the energy needed to both kick and recover.

The strap is adjustable and offers quick-release buckles. The large heel pull tab makes it easy to put the fins on or take them off. A great feature of these fins is that they float. They are positively buoyant so they won’t sink to the bottom should you ever lose one in the water.

The Sherwood Triton comes in three different sizes and is only available in black. They are not any of those futuristic looking fins but rather look like fins from old times. Yet, when it comes to the power they produce, they are top of the line. Due to their light weight, they offer great flexibility when it comes to diving, snorkeling or even surface swimming with fins.

Pricing of the Sherwood Triton is what you would expect of a high-quality pair of fins. They won’t break the bank but are also not the cheapest fins you can find.

Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 – Best New Split Fins

The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 are open-heel split blade fins with a patented fin design. The blades are angled at 27 degrees. In combination with the three-material design, this creates a powerful thrust during a kick.

TUSA SF-15 X-Pert Zoom Z3 Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins, Small, Flash Yellow

The blades are designed to provide a powerful thrust while using the least amount of energy. They combine three different materials to provide the stiffness where needed while offering flexibility at other places. This allows providing a quick response to any movement.

The foot pocket is developed to increase the power transfer to the blades for improved performance. The multi-compound design of the pocket increases the comfort as well as improves the transfer of power to the fins.

The Tusa SF-15 X-PERT ZOOM Z3 comes in three sizes and four colors. Pricing for these fins is great for the quality you will get.

Things to Consider when Buying New Scuba Diving Fins

Without repeating the information you can find in the Scuba Fin Buying Guide, let’s have a quick look at the important factors you should consider when buying a new pair of scuba fins.

Full Foot or Open Heel Fins?

Full foot dive fins are usually better for snorkeling and for warm waters. You will have a harder time to get a tight fit compared to open heel fins.

Check out our Buying Guide for Scuba Fins for more information on those two kinds of foot pockets.

Split of Paddle Fins?

Split fins are a relatively new invention and innovation. They work like a propeller when you kick, and the advantages are that you need less energy for a kick. However, in rough currents, the power is simply not transferred as well, and you won’t be able to maneuver quite as good as with a paddle fin.

You can find more information on split fins vs. regular fins to help you make the best choice!

Best fins for scuba diving


The overall size of the fins can become an issue when you want to bring them for traveling. Most fins are ok to bring but some, specifically fins for freediving, are simply too large to pack. The ones reviewed above will all somehow fit into a suitcase but none of them are specifically designed for travel.

You can get travel fins that are either shorter or can be disassembled. This can be an important factor for you, but you might consider trying to find a way to pack our preferred fins instead of compromising on either the quality or performance of your fins.

Other Considerations

There’s not much else to consider except that you need to make sure that you get fins that fit comfortable while keeping your foot secure in the foot pocket. Nothing’s worse than losing a fin during a dive!

Make sure that you get the right size of fins for your size of feet. If you wear booties during diving, then take the additional size of those into consideration.

Lastly, and the least important consideration, is whether you want to get fins in a specific color. Color or patterns on the fins have no impact at all on the quality of the fin. However, if you have a specific color scheme going then you might not want to disrupt the colors of your wet suit, etc. with fins that don’t match at all.


​There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scuba fins. All the fins we highlighted above are great fins.

In the end, you will have to find out for yourself what style of diving you perform, in what surroundings you dive and how often you dive. It makes sense to have your own gear no matter what. If you don’t specialize in specific types of diving, you might simply go for fins that work in a variety of conditions.

How do you find the best scuba diving fins

Commonly Asked Questions

How do I choose a scuba fin?

First, figure out in what environments you usually dive. If it’s warm waters then open heel fins are the obvious choice. Otherwise, you might want to consider a pair of full foot fins.

Next, get fins that are the right size. When you order them online then make sure that you get them from a retailer where you can return them in case the size is wrong. You want to try them with booties if you use open heeled fins. You definitely want to see a few inches coming out from the foot pocket. A closed heel fin is worn barefoot and should sit snug and comfortably.

Make sure the fins sit tight and you can move and tilt your feet. Do not pull the strap on an open heel fin tight. The fins should stay in place with the strap just tightened a little.

Raise your foot and pretend to kick as if you’re underwater. Flex the fin to see that it sits securely and doesn’t come off. If it slips off then you need fins with a smaller foot pocket. Go a size smaller if your heel comes out when you kick.

Can I use scuba fins for snorkeling?

Well, there’s no law that says you can’t. However, snorkeling fins are usually shorter and softer. They don’t have to withstand high pressure you experience during diving.

The material on scuba fins is specifically designed for those deep depths and the strong currents that you have to swim through underwater. In short, you can use scuba fins for snorkeling but don’t use snorkel fins when you go diving!

Are there differences between scuba diving and snorkeling fins

Is there a difference between scuba and snorkel fins?

There are some differences that are very obvious. First, scuba fins are longer. Some snorkel fins are designed so it’s easy to walk with them on land. That makes sense as you usually enter the water from a beach when you snorkel.

Scuba fins are technically more complex. They are built to propel you underwater when you’re in deep depths and strong currents. Snorkel fins don’t face such extreme conditions and are not built for it.

You can find more information on the differences in our post at

Update 2020

There have been a number of new fins that hit the market during 2019. However, none of them was so outstanding that we would have felt the need to change the list above.

Therefore, our best diving fins for 2020 are the same as for 2019. Well, at least for the beginning of the year. If we come across some great new fins in 2020 then we will certainly change our picks and provide you with the latest and greatest!

Update 2019

When we reviewed our picks that we made in the latter half of 2017 we concluded that since then really nothing much has changed. There were no new fins that would have been better than the ones we have picked above so we decided that we leave the list the same and keep an eye out for new introductions. When and if we find new noteworthy scuba diving fins that make the list then we’ll update the post, so you know for sure to have the up-to-date selection available!

Choosing the Best Scuba Travel Fins

Have you ever been awestruck at how effortlessly fish float through the water? The only real movement is the delicate fluttering of their fins.

Best Scuba Travel Fins

If you’ve ever experienced the pleasure of being a part of their blue world, you know that the fins you use are what help you push around through the water as well. Your scuba fins have to fit you perfectly. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to glide through the water.

A great fitting pair of fins will make your scuba diving experience to be as effortless as the casual flitting of sea creatures around you.

Why Do You Need Special Fins for Travel?

It’s easy to find great fins if you’re going for a dive close to home. Yet, if you’re traveling and have another scuba adventure planned, you need a pair of fins that don’t take up 80% of the space in your suitcase.

It’s also a good idea to have fins that can be worn on their own without requiring other footwear or scuba gear.

Travel fins for Scuba Diving

What Your Ideal Scuba Fins Should Have

Different sea creatures have different fins or other mechanisms best suited for their body to allow for easy movement underwater. When you make the dive, you’ll want the fins that work best for you. Here are some things that you should consider before making your purchase:


You’re used to walking easily on land without thinking about the thrust of your feet, but underwater, you need to make sure you have the right fins to deal with the pressure. When you’re selecting your scuba travel fins, you need to consider how they’ll help you glide through the water.

Fins that are stiff and flat can help you swim through with greater speed and strength. However, the stiffer the fin, the harder it will become for you to turn or change your position in the water.

The ideal fins should have a bit of flexibility to allow for free movement.


When you’re packing for a scuba trip, you want to make sure you have all the essentials. Now with most scuba gear, weight can be an issue and you have to choose the right tanks, computers and so on to make sure they don’t exceed the weight limit.

With fins, its best to focus more on the ease of movement they offer, not how much they weigh.


There may have been times in your life where you opted for a size 0 dress, even if you’re a size 12. Don’t make the same mistake with your travel fins.

Scuba fins need to be of the right size for you to prevent you from getting blisters or feeling irritated throughout your dive. When you’re buying your fins, try them on with scuba booties to make sure there’s enough room for them.

Don’t just go for fins that are the same size as your regular shoes. Different fin styles have different sizes, so make sure you try them on to find the right fit for you.

Coral reef scuba diving


If you’re a regular scuba diver, you know already that it’s a costly sport. You may have seen fins that can be as low as USD 40, and you may have seen some that can cost a whopping USD 200.

But when you’re on the lookout for scuba fins, don’t go with the price. The type of fin (also mentioned in the next section) and the quality is important.

Choose the fins that you are most comfortable in. There’s no point buying fins that will later leave blisters on your feet or restrict your movement underwater, just because they were the cheaper option.

Good quality fins are an investment, which will last you a good few years.

Type of Fin

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect set of fins, you don’t just consider the price and the fit – you also look at the function.

Different fins offer different features, such as speed, balance, freedom of motion. Before you make your purchase, make sure you know which type of fin you’re in search of.

Scuba travel fins lined up on a dive boat

Open vs. Closed Heel Fins

Open heeled fins are generally more spacious and have more room to fit your feet. They are usually meant to be worn with booties, which not only protect your feet from getting blisters and bruises, but also keep them warm. They’re ideal for diving in colder climates and for beginners still getting accustomed to the elements.

The closed heel fin is what divers initially started out with. While they’re generally lighter on the pocket, these fins present the risk of causing blisters, or even slipping off your feet since they’re basically just slip-ons.

Paddle vs. Split Fins

Paddle fins have no cuts or openings and allow for simple up and down motion. If you like a challenge and have greater body strength, then go for these.

As the name suggests, split fins are split down the middle, which helps you move around with greater speed. Unlike the paddle fins, they offer more flexibility in terms of movements and change in direction.

Force vs. Flippable Fins

Force fins resemble the fins of whales and other fast moving sea creatures to give you greater speed underwater. Flappable fins offer one main advantage where they can be flipped or folded to allow easy movement on land, but don’t let that be the only thing that guides your decision!

The Best 3 Scuba Fins for Traveling

A quick search on the internet will show you endless lists of endless different types of fins. We’ve picked out the top 3 fins of which any one can become your favorite companion on your next scuba vacation.

Aqua Lung Hot Shot Fins

This diverse fin offers everything you’re looking for in the ideal scuba travel fins. They’re slightly rigid, allowing for control and ease of movement underwater.

Aqua Lung Hotshot Comb-Strap Diving Fin (Blue, Regular)

It’s an advantage that they are lightweight. You can easily carry them across the globe if you want, and they’re open heeled!

The Aqua Lung Hot Shot fins are a little more on the expensive side. They act as a solid investment because of the long-lasting silicon material and the diversity of use.

ScubaPro Go Travel Fins

This fin could become your ultimate travel companion. With its super lightweight and durable material, you can stuff it into any of your bags and get going!

SCUBAPRO Go Travel Diving and Snorkeling Fins (Medium/Large, Black)

The ScubaPro Go Travel fins have an adjustable strap so that it can fit your foot perfectly. You have the option to wear them barefoot, or with socks.

Pricing is middle of the road and they don’t completely break bank. Their great construction and material choice can make it so they last you forever.

Cressi Pro Light Fins

These fins are famous for the balance they offer. With a little effort, these fins take you a long way in the water. Again, they’re also lightweight and easy to carry.

Cressi Pro Light

They’re also super comfortable as they have a greater area of foot space. They are on the lower end of the price spectrum. The price point together with the travel-ready features make the Cressi Pro Light fins perfect for your next scuba vacation.

Why a Travel Fin is not the same as a Standard Scuba Fin

Standard scuba fins are designed to give you maximum thrust underwater so you can go with the flow. Since travel fins are lighter, the thrust they offer is not as great and you’ll need to make a greater effort to keep moving.

Scuba travel fins are generally more flexible, they don’t offer the type of rigidity regular fins have. This, to some extent, reduces the amount of control you have over your motion under the surface. The ease of transporting them means you have to compromise on some of the more technical aspects of the fins.

With your standard fins, you can choose from different features like speed, ease of changing direction, the material, the look. With travel fins, the choices are somewhat limited.

When Do You Really Need Travel Scuba Fins?

If you’ve gone scuba diving before, you already know that you can rent scuba gear. However, not only is this going to add to your already huge travel budget, you might also face problems if you don’t find fins of the right fit.

If scuba vacations are something that you enjoy, then invest in a pair of scuba travel fins and make every diving experience a memorable one. Once you have the right fins, just throw them into your bag, zip it up and head out on your next adventure!

No more standing in rental lines or getting out of the water early because your fins fell off. Take your favorite fins out for a walk on the ocean floor.

Scuba Fin Buying Guide

Scuba dive fins are an essential piece in the puzzle of getting all your dive gear. They are essential pieces of equipment whether you scuba dive, snorkel or free dive. For all three sports you need fins to propel yourself through the water.

Fins make it easier and reduce the effort that is required to have your body being propelled through the water. Whether it’s on the surface when you snorkel or deep down into the depths when you scuba dive or free dive.

Scuba Fin Buying Guide

What Fins are Best to Buy?

Under water your legs do nearly all of the work to get you moving forward or down. The fins support the legs in being an extension that is optimized to need the least amount of muscle for the most amount of propulsion.

There are some minor and some major differences between the different fins you can buy. Some of them are due to the different sports they target while others are regarding to a completely different design of the fins.

This guide explains all the different fin options to you. The goal is for you to be able to decide on the best fins for your kind of dive or snorkel sport. We’re looking at the overall differences by sport, by foot pocket design and by fin design.

Different Types of Fins for Different Sports

You want to look at different kinds of fins depending on your kind of sport, whether it’s snorkeling, scuba or free diving. These different sports have small but distinctive different requirements for the fins you want to use.

Snorkel Fins

During snorkeling you will not or not often submerge. As you don’t need the added energy to go deep down under water, you will also not need a set of long fins. Fins for snorkeling are shorter and somewhat simpler than scuba or free-dive fins.

HEAD Mares Volo One Adjustable Snorkeling Fins, Yellow, Small

Not going under water requires less energy. Having long (or simply wrong) fins will make you feel like you are fighting your fins. If that is the case then try to go for shorter and lighter fins. They will be more comfortable and precise when aiding you during your snorkel excursions.

Scuba Diving Fins

When you scuba dive you need more power coming from your scuba fins. You need the additional power to be able to get down under water quick and with the least amount of effort.

Cressi Pro Light, blue, XS

Fins for scuba diving are usually around the same length as snorkel fins. They might be stiffer or have a slightly different design. Some scuba fins are a little longer than fins for snorkeling. Scuba fins do overall require more leg strength to effectively produce a powerful kick under water.

Free Diving Fins

Free diving requires a lot more propulsion than scuba diving or snorkeling. During free diving you try to dive very deep without using any air supply except for the air in your lungs.

This requires to get down and back up as fast as possible. Therefore, free diving fins are usually longer to provide the strongest possible propulsion for each kick.

Cressi Men's Gara 3000 LD Long Distane Long Blade Diving Fins, 7-8 (with Bag)

This significantly reduces the amount of kicks required during descent or ascent and therefore conserves oxygen. Longer fins help achieve this goal but also do require that your legs are strong enough to generate such powerful kicks.

Foot Pocket Types

You can find two different types of foot pockets when looking at fins for snorkeling or diving. First, there’s the full-foot design. The other type is the open heel fin. Both are very different in their design and in their use for specific environments and conditions.

Full-Foot Fins

Looking at full foot fins you will see that they are basically shoes with an attached fin. You slide into them like you slide into a shoe.

The problem is that if you’re not having a great fit then there’s nothing else you could adjust to make them fit better. When they fit correctly then they are the most comfortable type you can get.

They are best used in warm waters and for snorkeling. You will have an easy time to put them on or to get out of them. You also won’t need to wear booties.

Open Heel Fins

These kinds are the most used for scuba diving. Instead of a heel like in a shoe you have a strap around the heel to keep your foot in place.

Even if not diving in really cold water you will usually wear open heel fins with booties. That means that you have to measure for fit while wearing your booties!

U.S. Divers Proflex FX Fin with Mesh Carrying Bag, Red, Small

Open heel fins have the great advantage that you usually can replace the straps if they break. Full foot fins have to be thrown away if the heel breaks as there’s nothing that can be replaced. Being able to replace the straps is important when you consider that many of these scuba fins end up being quite expensive.

Most open heel fins have larger blades compared to full foot fins. The blade is often also stiffer. The combination of these two factors results in more thrust with each kick.

The larger blade and with that the larger fin makes it harder to travel though. They don’t fit as easily into your suitcase anymore and they usually also weigh more. If you travel a lot you want to consider both weight and length and possibly get a shorter and also lighter fin.

Styles of Fins

There are typically two different styles of blades to consider. You can either get split fins or paddle fins. Paddle fins are the most common ones and were the first type of fins used for scuba diving. Split fins are a relatively new invention and are seen more and more often.

Paddle fins are usually the most affordable kind of fin. They’ve been around for decades and are a proven design. The stiffness of the blade depends on the manufacturer but mostly all of these kinds of fins are easy to use and provide a controllable kick.

Mares Avanti Quattro Plus Open Heel Bungee Strap Fin, Lime, Small

Split fins are designed to require less effort when kicking while producing the same thrust as a paddle fin. They are a great choice if you have ankle problems or you can’t generate a powerful kick. They are best used in calm waters. In heavy currents they get harder to use. Otherwise they can reduce your air consumption due to less effort to produce a kick.

Atomic Aquatics Split Fins, Royal, Small

You can check out our Split Fins vs. Regular Fins article going into the differences and backgrounds behind both of these fin styles.

There are sub-types for each of these two main types. One of those is the channel blade fin. These fins have very stiff outside rails and the center area is flexible. They are probably not best suited for the beginner as they require a good understanding of your own kick strength. They can also be on the expensive side so you want to make sure you dive a lot in order to get your money’s worth.

Another sub type of fins are the ones with long blades for free diving or spearfishing. The only difference to paddle fins is that the blades are longer and provide more thrust.

Other Factors to Consider

Blade Design

The forward propulsion is generated through the blade of the fin. There are a variety of different designs and shapes of blades that are all having the same goal: provide as much propulsion and thrust under water as possible with the least amount of energy spent.

You can find many designs of blades. Some will have rails on the side for higher stiffness, others will have stiffer and softer areas throughout. You can even find blades with vents to reduce drag. You often also can see ribs on the blades which increase the firmness.

Shapes range from futuristic shapes coming out of computer programs to designs that resemble nature. Split fins have completely different shapes of the blades compared to paddle fins.

While all this can be confusing, be aware that as a beginner or recreational diver, you will not get much benefit out of using the latest and greatest with more or less ribs or rails. Many of these designs work very well in some situations but then on the other hand have disadvantages in other places.

Stiffness of the Blade

The stiffness of the blade is a rather subjective matter. If you are a strong guy with a strong kick then you will definitely prefer and need a stiffer blade.

However, a smaller diver with less strength in the kick will need a less stiff blade. That is not to say that this diver couldn’t deal with a stiff blade. The stiffer blade runs the risk though that it wears a beginner or smaller person out.

In the end for the beginner or recreational diver it comes down to getting a somewhat less stiff blade. Most of the standard fins you can find online will suffice. You won’t run into any issues with fins from any of the best dive gear manufacturers.

Putting on scuba fins

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a scuba fin?

Choosing the right size of scuba fins is a little more complicated than finding a shoe that fits. Sizing does depend on the type of fin (open heel or not) and whether you’re wearing booties and what thickness they are.

Open-heel fins are more forgiving as you can adjust your foot inside the pocket through the heel strap. A full-foot fin is practically like a shoe. In order to not lose it underwater and not end up with blisters, the fin has to fit perfectly!

What are the best scuba diving fins?

There’s not a single ‘best’ scuba diving fin. Check out our comparison and reviews of the best fins that you can get today at!

Do you wear dive boots with fins?

That depends on what kind of fins you use. Open-heel fins are best used with dive boots so they are best for different temperature conditions.

Full-footed fins are usually worn barefoot. Most likely, you won’t fit into them if you were to wear booties.

Why do divers wear flippers?

Fins are a great help to produce thrust underwater and propel yourself forward. It’s the same principle that fish and whales use to swim underwater.

A good pair of fins will allow you to swim faster and more controlled. Turns and corrections in depth and direction are easier with fins.


There are plenty of choices when it comes to fins. If you are a recreational diver or just beginning with the sport then you actually might have the least issues finding fins for yourself. Stick with the readily available and highly rated fins and you will have many enjoyable dives ahead of you!

No matter what kind of fins you get, make sure that you mark them with a waterproof pen. You might be surprised how many divers will have the same fins as you do when you go onto a dive boat. And you definitely want to be able to end up with your fins again.

If you get open heel fins then make sure that you also buy replacement straps. It’s a good idea to have them with you and available when you dive as you never know when your straps might break. As luck has it, they will usually rip at the worst time and you’ll be glad that you can instantly replace them!

Select highly rated brand name fins that you can get online and you should end up being fine. We would suggest that you pick open heeled fins and if you just start with the sport or only dive once in a while then stick to blade fins. Split fins are great but do require some more experience.

Split Fins vs Regular Fins

Split Fins vs Paddle Fins: Which should You use?

There’s an ongoing debate between divers whether split fins or regular fins are better. Regular fins are also usually referred to as paddle fins, blade fins or full fins. Historically, regular fins are what were the only fins available for diving and snorkeling.

No matter whether you get regular fins or split fins, you can either get them with an open heel or a full foot. The Cressi PLUMA Full Foot Paddle Fins below are full foot paddle fins while the Atomic Aquatics Open Heel Split Fins are open heeled split fins.​

The usual argument you will hear about split fins is that they great in calm waters where they offer good propulsion. In currents they are not working that well for many divers.

Paddle fins overall can offer better propulsion and allows better control. Some also say that they have a better feel when using regular fins.

What is the Difference?

When you’re diving anywhere you will see that divers use either split fins or blade fins. The visual difference between the two is very obvious. The regular fin consists of one solid blade while the split fin, as the name suggests, is split down the middle.

Blade fins have been around since the 1940’s. Split fins are a relatively new invention. The differences for the diver are experienced when it comes to propulsion efficiency and power and conservation of air during a dive.

The propulsion power of regular fins is directly dependent on the strength of the kick. It’s pretty straightforward. The harder the diver kicks, the more propulsion power is generated. This also allows an experienced diver to adjust the strokes to achieve a high level of control.

Split fins are somewhat more sophisticated. The split is designed to create a vortex which assists with the propulsion. Ultimately, it also should result in more speed. The second advantage with regards to the split fin is that on the upward stroke the water can pass through the split. The upward stroke does provide the least propulsion power so the upward stroke with a blade fin mostly requires energy that is not resulting in a lot of movement. The split fin allows to preserve energy which can result in less air consumption!

Let’s have a closer look at the two types so you can make a decision which kind to get for yourself.

Regular/Paddle Fins

Since the blade fins were invented, not much has changed in their overall design. The materials have changed and been replaced with stiffer and lighter materials. Originally, thick black rubber was used while today lightweight plastics are what make a regular fin.

U.S. Divers Proflex FX Paddle Fin

U.S. Divers Proflex FX Paddle Fin


  • Experienced divers get more propulsion power and with that higher acceleration rates out of them
  • Better precision movements as you’re able to control all aspects of the stroke like pitch, direction and angle
  • Maneuverability is higher as they allow for movements in any direction
  • The large cross-section of the edge allows for easy pivots


  • The large size of the blade can cause cramps in the calves due to the strength needed for the strokes
  • Recreational divers might need to specifically train their calf muscles to produce a good level of propulsion power

Split Fins

Split fins have a split down the center of the blade. You somewhat end up having two blades instead of one. They are designed to act like two separate fins that twist independently with each stroke. This creates a vortex and results in more propulsion power with less energy.

Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fin

Atomic Aquatics High Performance Full Foot Split Fin


  • On upward strokes the water can flow through the split reducing the energy needed and conserving air
  • The reduced power required to achieve propulsion reduces the stress on the calves, ankles and knees - you won’t cramp up as fast
  • The two blades twist during each kick/stroke and basically act like a little propeller which results in more speed with less energy consumed


  • The lack of stiffness can make it harder to maneuver quickly under water
  • Divers often don’t get good feedback from split fins – it’s hard to control and put in the proper strength
  • They are harder to use when you’re trying to make quick turns or spins as they are best for straight propulsion

Which is the better choice?

There’s simply no straightforward answer. Split fins are easier to handle for the casual or inexperienced diver. They require less energy and also need less technique. Many divers that regularly dive and have more experience prefer the regular fins as they provide more power and are better for maneuvering.

Make sure you pick a specifically designed pair of travel fins when you travel. They are designed to fit easily into your suitcase. The fins are shorter but wider. Have a look at the ​US Divers Trek Travel Paddle Fin below!

US Divers Trek Travel Paddle Fin

Overall split fins will be better if you’re just starting to dive or if you don’t go very often. You will enjoy the benefits of requiring less strength and the reduced strain on your calves, knees and ankles. It also will help you with oxygen conservation during your dives.

Overall, you would want to match your fins to the type of dive you’re intending to have. If you’re going to dive in an environment with only little currents then split fins are a great choice.

In environments with stronger currents on for technical dives you want to consider using blade fins. They provide a more powerful kick and propulsion and you’ll need the additional maneuverability and precision.

Both kinds of fins will get the average diver to where you want to be. It ultimately will depend on your comfort level with your fins and on what kind of dives you plan to take.