OtterAquatics is reader-supported. When you purchase something through an outgoing link, we might earn an affiliate commission.

10 Best Scuba Diving Fins (Updated 2022)

Table of Contents

Fins are a vital part of all divers’ gear, and having your own pair of scuba diving fins can make a big difference to your overall experience underwater.

No more renting and using the old, flimsy fins on offer at the dive shops, we will make it easy to find the best fins for you.

That’s what this guide is for. There are a lot of dive fins out there, and this guide is meant to make it easy to find your best possible match, based on budget, fit, preference, and more.

AT A GLANCE: OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST SCUBA DIVING FINS

Here is our list of the best scuba diving fins, from some of the top dive gear brands in the world. We’ve included both open heel and full foot fins, as well as a few freediving fins too.

If you can’t find something perfect for you here, we don’t know where else you will!

Why Get Your Own Fins?

Having scuba diving fins that are comfortable yet effective is one of the best ways to enhance your scuba diving experience. They can even help with reducing air consumption. After a mask and computer, fins are also one of the easiest pieces of equipment to pack, making them great for travel.

Best Scuba Diving Fins

Open Heel

Open heel fins are considered the best fins for scuba diving. Often worn with dive boots, these fins offer excellent comfort and power.In our opinion, open-heel fins are the best option for scuba diving. They’re more comfortable, powerful and add a little extra warmth and protection for your feet when worn with dive boots.

  • Type: Open Heel
  • Material: Heavy duty rubber
  • Strap: Spring heel straps
  • Comfort: High
  • Price: High-end
  • Best for: Drysuit / Tech / Cave Diving

Sometimes called bat fins due to their interesting shape, the Hollis F-1s, are some of the most prolific heavyweight fins out there.

They’re a very heavy and negatively buoyant fin that is best used with a drysuit or thick wetsuit. However, they can work with a low amount of exposure gear if geared properly.

Made out of solid material, these fins are fairly stiff and near indestructible.

We’ve tested these on thousands of dives in caves, wrecks, and everywhere in between. Once, we had heavy steel doubles set on top of them and even dropped them onto concrete time and time again.

What we love

  • They look great
  • Vented blades reduce stress
  • Generous foot pocket
  • Easy-grip heel tab
  • Angled strap mounts for comfort
  • Multiple strap mounting positions
  • Extremely robust and durable

Downsides

  • They are pretty heavy

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Open Heel
  • Material: New composite hi-flex materials
  • Strap: Bungee
  • Comfort: Very High
  • Price: Mid-range
  • Best for: Allrounder

This fin is less stiff than many of the others on the list, but it still is a good consistent performer all around.

Favored mainly by warmer water divers, it is longer than others and comes in a wide variety of colors.

Uses Mares version of spring straps called bungee straps that work very similarly.

Lightweight, it travels easily within luggage. A big benefit to this fin is that many places around the world will rent them, so it’s easy to try them out.

What we love

  • One of the most popular diving fins
  • Greater Responsiveness and Thrusting Power
  • Good manoeuvrability
  • Very attractive look
  • Increased efficiency with the use of new hi-flex material
  • Four channels – four times the thrusting power
  • Versatile! Great for all dive conditions & abilities

Downsides

  • Some divers find them a little on the large side
  • They tale up a lot of room in the suitcase

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Open Heel
  • Material: Heavy duty rubber
  • Strap: Stainless steel spring heel straps
  • Comfort: High
  • Price: High-end
  • Best for: Drysuit / Tech / Cave Diving / Wrecks

These are the fins I use, as well as tons of tec divers and professionals. The only downside is the weight for traveling, but underwater they are perfect.

Along with the aforementioned F-1, these fins have been a staple of many divers for over 50 years, and for good reason. A stiff, heavy fin with great maneuverability and power.

Massively negative, they have been used mainly in colder water with thicker suits, but have also been used extensively in warm water.

There is a reason that so many other fins have a very similar design, and that’s because it WORKS.

It comes in several visible colors and spring straps. As with the bat fins, they will probably survive the nuclear apocalypse before breaking.

What we love

  • Really great looking fin
  • High quality construction
  • Probably the most durable fin on the market
  • Great for frog kicking in cave or wreck diving
  • The vented design decreases drag and enhances thrust
  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • 50 years proven track record

Downsides

  • On the heavy side
  • Not the best for travel

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

Apeks RK3 HD
  • Type: Open Heel
  • Material: Military grade rubber
  • Strap: Standard Spring Straps
  • Comfort: Extremely
  • Price: High-end
  • Best for: Drysuit / Tech / Cave Diving / Wrecks

We have grouped these two together as they are two versions of the same fin. The RK3 regular comes in lots of vibrant colors and is a very lightweight fin. Slightly less stiff than others on this list, it is still enough for most people.

The RK3 HD is a higher density material which results in a heavier and thicker fin. Both are incredibly durable and come with spring straps.

What we love

  • Looks really professional
  • Popular among military and professional divers
  • Good propulsion & manoeuvrability
  • Wider blade for improved forward thrust
  • Ultra-rugged & compact
  • Stand up to the toughest environments
  • Can Withstand the Toughest Abuse, Environments & Temperatures
  • Very comfortable

Downsides

  • Recreational divers may find them heavy

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Open Heel
  • Material: Tri-Material Construction for maximum elasticity & high durability
  • Strap: Standard Rubber strap
  • Comfort: Very
  • Price: Premium
  • Best for: Another great allrounder

For you Mares lovers out there, the X-Stream fins are an awesome choice. They are high-quality fins with adjustable straps and come in many different colors.

These innovative scuba fins have a ton of features that make them more powerful and comfortable than most other fins on the market. The perforations on the foot pockets prevent stagnating water flow from slowing you down. The pivoting blade and channels help maintain the optimal angle and shape throughout the kicking cycle producing fluid movement and more thrust for less effort, reducing fatigue and helping you glide easily in all conditions.

Made from 3 different materials to maximize durability, elasticity, and longeviety, these scuba fins will last you a really long time.

What we love

  • Futuristic look
  •  Unique design
  • Comes in a variety of colours
  • Increased fining efficiency & Propulsion
  • Powerful hinged blade
  • Comfortable and lightweight design
  • Great for travelling
  • Great performance in all diving conditions

Downsides

  • Cannot be worn bare foot
  • Narrow areas of fin may be prone to snapping

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

Closed Heel and Freediving Fins

Closed heel fins are generally thought of as a snorkeling or indeed a freediving fin. Although some scuba divers may enjoy the easy of putting them on and off.

We’ve only included one closed heel short blade fin here, but for more full foot fins check out our guide to the top fins for snorkeling as we’ve reviewed several closed heel options that are also great for scuba diving too. Any of the scuba brands such as Cressi, Mares, and ScubaPro produce some excellent full-foot fins for scuba and snorkeling.

The other options we have included are long blade freediving fins. Freediving fins are much longer than scuba fins, which makes them hard to maneuver in tight spaces and navigate around the reef so we don’t recommend them for scuba diving. That being said, some scuba divers prefer to use freediving fins for scuba so we’ve included a few of the best options here.

  • Type: Closed Heel
  • Material: Thermoplastic rubber-Technopolymers
  • Comfort: Very good
  • Price: Cheaper option
  • Best for: Recreational diving or snorkeling

The only full-foot scuba fin we mention in this guide, the Mares Volo Race fins feature one of the smallest blades on the market. This ultimately causes the fins to be extremely lightweight making them the ultimate choice for travel.

Mares claims these fins are the easiest fin to kick with on the market, although this typically sacrifices thrust.

What we love

  • Great looking affordable fin
  • high performing versatile set of fins
  • Very good power, and with less effort
  • Soft anatomical foot pocket
  • Rubber covered stabilizers provide improved performance.
  • Also a great choice for snorkelers
  • Another good travel fin

Downsides

  • Not really suitable for cold water diving

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Closed Heel
  • Material: High-modulus propylene
  • Comfort: Good (with socks)
  • Price: Mid-Range
  • Best for: Freediving, Spearfishing & Snorkelling

In my opinion, these fins are too long for scuba, but they are a huge favorite for freedivers and spearfishers. These long fins are high quality, as Cressi specializes in this sort of thing.

These fins come with an interchangeable blade so when you are ready for an upgrade you can slip in some carbon blades with ease.

The pocket is slightly wider on these fins, so we suggest wearing neoprene socks to fill them out a little.

Overall these are really good fins and well worth the money.

What we love

  • Attractive long fins
  • Good value for money
  • Light weight and very reactive
  • Increased performance and manoeuvrability
  • Long blades maximize thrust, minimizing work
  • Used by many world-class free diving competitors

Downsides

  • Not really suitable for scuba diving

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Closed Heel
  • Material: Technopolymers
  • Comfort: Very comfortable
  • Price: High-End
  • Best for: Freediving, Spearfishing & Snorkelling

Here is Mares version of the long, full-foot fins.

The innovative Razor fins deliver the best performance among all technopolymer fins currently on the market. They are a benchmark for the most demanding freedivers and spearfishermen.

These great fins have been designed in collaboration with a top foot clinic in Italy and they have come up with an innovative ultra-comfortable pocket that provides support for your arch, while the blade converts the energy you exert into powerful forward propulsion.

These blades are long, lightweight, and slightly on the stiffer side meaning that they are a great option for both novice and experienced freedivers.

Again you might want to size down or use neoprene socks to get a perfect fit.

What we love

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Loved by both spearfishermen and freedivers alike
  • Foot Pocket Incorporates Comfort and Efficiency
  • Design Consulted by Leading Italian Podologist
  • Interchangeable Blades
  • 5 Sizes of Foot Pocket to Choose
  • Wide foot pocket

Downsides

  • You need to size down or wear neoprene socks for a good fit

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Closed Heel
  • Material: Technopolymers
  • Comfort: Very comfortable
  • Price: Low-end
  • Best for: Freediving & Snorkelling

Long fins are better suited for freediving as they tend to lose efficiency when kicking on the surface. However, the Beuchat Mundial One fins are versatile enough for both snorkeling and freediving, with the stiff fishtail blades offering efficient and powerful propulsion both on and below the surface.

For experienced snorkelers who like to duck dive, these are the best fins for snorkeling. Although the blades can lose some rigidity over time which means these fins become less powerful with heavy use.

What we love

  • They look great
  • Great propulsion & maneuverability
  • Highly efficient blades
  • Comfortable & reactive foot pocket
  • Rugged & durable material
  • Great value for long fins
  • Suitable for snorkelers at the surface

Downsides

  • Foot pocket is quite wide so better with socks
  • Not ideal for beginners – requires proper kicking technique
  • Not great for travel

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

  • Type: Closed Heel
  • Material:Thermoplastic Rubber
  • Comfort: Very Good
  • Price: Low to Mid-Range
  • Best for: Freediving, Spearfishing & Snorkelling

Last but not least, we once again have to throw some free diving fins from Seac in the mix. As I said before, Seac makes some of the best freedive and spearfishing gear averrable, so if you want free diving fins, these are great options.

The Seac Sub Shout Fin model is a long-blade fin designed to deliver optimal propulsion under all conditions.

It’s again ideally suited to freedives and spearfishers but some experienced snorkelers might want to give them a try.

The blade has edge rails help focus water down the length of the blade for maximum propulsion on every fin kick

So, all in all a really nicely designed piece of equipment

What we love

  • Great budget option
  • Great propulsion with minimal effort
  • Well designed foot pocket
  • Rugged & durable material
  • Light weight
  • Very reactive

Downsides

  • Again. Not the best to fit in the suitcase

with Worldwide Shipping

with Free US Shipping (Over $50)

Scuba Fins Buying Guide

Depending on your needs, dive plan, and preferences, certain fins are going to be better than others.

After reading this guide, you’ll know which ones to go with!

  • Fitting Style
  • Blade Style
  • Fashion
  • Budget
  • Recommended Experience Level
  • Weight and Buoyancy

Fitting Style

Open Heel

For open heel fins, you will use a boot or sock with a strap of some sort around the ankle to keep the fin on.

These are adjustable and allow the use of various exposure protection for warmth or physical barriers like rocky shores.

WHY CHOOSE OPEN HEEL FINS?

  • You’ll be shore diving
  • Often more comfortable

FULL FOOT FINS

Full foot fins, on the other hand, will be used with bare feet or a thin neoprene sock.

They are mostly only for warm water boat diving. You can use open heel fins anywhere from warm water boat diving to drysuit diving in Alaska as long as you get the right size.

WHY CHOOSE FULL FOOT FINS?

  • You want a tight fit
  • Often lighter

Weight & Buoyancy

Weight and buoyancy are arguably the most important aspects of fins. Choosing fins with the right buoyancy can greatly help your trim in the water, and will assist in getting you fully horizontal.

For more info about getting your weight right, check out our weight buoyancy calculator.

While it’s not impossible to get into trim with too heavy or too light fins, it’s certainly much harder.

Too heavy of a fin and your feet will be pulled down.

Too light of a fin and your feet may go up.

As a very general rule:

  • Less exposure protection = lightweight fin
  • Thicker exposure protection = heavier fin

Again, this is a general rule.

Drysuit divers who use very lightweight fins and warm water divers who use heavy ones. You’ll have to find what works best for you. Different configurations, such as side mount will change your needs.

Fins also range in their stiffness. The stiffer the fin is the more control and thrust you’ll get.

Straps

A minor option that I will always recommend is spring straps. While not required, most major fins these days will come with a spring strap or bungee strap option, and it makes life far easier. Gearing up is much less of a fuss, and you won’t have to adjust them each time.

Blade Style

VENTED FINS

Example of Vented Fins

Vented fins contain a hole/vent near the foot’s entrance.

The vents are there to channel for the flow of water during a thrust which translates into forward thrust. This reduces friction with water allowing you to get the most out of your kicks. Without this feature, fins tend to slip sideways sacrificing thrust.

Overall, the goal of vented fins is to reduce water resistance as much as possible.

The biggest thing to note about these fins is their heavy weight compared to their counterparts.

CHANNEL FINS

Channel fins feature mechanisms to propel water out to create a jet effect. These are typically found with more advanced divers.

The material of channel fins is often softer/more flexible allowing for it to flex with the thrust on water.

Channel fins contain water the best compared to other fin types.

SPLIT FINS

Oh split fins…

At one point in my life, I owned split fins… and used maybe a half dozen current models. I’ve even worked at a shop that sold some.

Here’s what you need to do with them:

Throw them out and don’t look back.

There’s a huge amount of BS marketing, yet they provide no benefit whatsoever. In fact, the only time they help is if you aren’t kicking properly.

The only time they favor you is if you do not kick correctly…

Some claim they’re easier to kick yet provide more power. They’re easier to kick because they move virtually no water, and have almost zero force. Horrific for any sort of maneuvering or thrust.

Another popular argument is that a diver doesn’t plan on going fast, so they decide to use split fins. If you don’t need to go fast with blade fins, there is a very simple solution. Kick slower.

There is absolutely zero reasons to sacrifice everything that a fin is supposed to do in favor of a gimmicky design that doesn’t help.

FINS WITH HINGES

Fins with hinges are in a similar boat. These would be fins such as Scubapro Seawing Novas, or Aqualung Slingshots.

Scubaotter’s tested both.

Hinges are prone to failure (We’ve personally seen this happen more than once on both) and again provide little to no real benefit if you are kicking correctly.

We’ve seen the marketing that says they make your kicks more powerful or send you further but the energy comes from the exact same place either way.

Some marketing even says it makes it easier to kick while providing more force.

Again, it’s all BS.

Freediving Fins

Freediving fins are too long and are optimized for straight-line power.

While diving, you generally traverse in more than a straight line. Freediving fins are nearly impossible to frog kick or helicopter turn efficiently in. Not great underwater, and due to their length, they don’t pack well.

So What Fins Should You Choose?

Still not sure what one to go with, with all these great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect computer for you, so let’s go through those, and then I will just give my recommendations and all-time favorites, that you can’t go wrong with.

YOUR BUDGET

Obviously, you should think about your budget, check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor. But obviously, since there are a lot of options around the same prices, there will be more factors to think about.

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU DIVE? 

If you are diving frequently, are a Divemaster or instructor, you are going to want a good pair of fins that will last, and that easily propel you and save energy. If you are diving a few times a year, you don’t need the most expensive and top-of-the-line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fins are an extremely important when it comes to scuba diving. With all the extra equipment we carry there is an increase in weight and drag and therefore it would be almost be impossible to swim without fins. The fins increase the surface area around the foot which means we can push more water away from us propelling us forward. With fins we can cover large areas with minimal effort. 

When it comes to free diving. The idea is to go underwater in the most efficient way possible, saving energy and of course oxygen. Freediving fins are designed with a much larger surface area and when used correctly means that we can create maximum propulsion whist using minimal energy. This will ensure that we can dive deeper and stay underwater for longer periods of time.

To be honest this is a tricky question to answer. It really depends on your preference, budget and of course comfort.

If you are a complete beginner then it’s probably best to start with a more traditional model. Something like the standard paddle fin or a fin with channels like the Mares Avanti Quattro.

In the end the best way to find out is by trying them out. If they feel good and suit your budget then they are probably the fins for you.

If you have a strong kick then you will find the stiffer blades provide an effective thrust that will propel you quickly through the water.  However if you do not have such a strong kick then the stiffer fins can be very tiring.  You will find a softer, more flexible fin much easier to use and more effective.

This again is all about personal preference but there are a few things you might want to consider before you choose a color. 

Most Tech divers will choose black fins but as a recreational diver you may want to think about a brighter color. That way other divers will be able to spot you with ease. Also a bright color will be easier to spot if you drop a fin accidentally.

You may also want to consider a less common color so that you are more recognisable to your buddy and dive guide underwater. 

Freedivers also have a choice when it comes to color and design but spearfishes will often go for a camouflage fin to blend in with the surrounding area making the hunt a little easier.

Due to the differences in needs, desire, body structure, and other obvious factors, the best fins for one person might not be the best for another. After reading this guide, we hope that you are able to make a more educated decision on the best fins for you.

For more information on closed foot fins, why not take a look at our reviews on the best snorkeling fins available.

Do you have a favorite pair of fins for scuba diving? Let us know in the comments!

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to teach aquarists of all skill levels on how to succeed in the hobby.