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7 Best Scuba Diving Fins (Updated 2022)

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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’ll make it easy to find the best scuba fins for based on budget, fit, preference, and more.

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.

When chosen correctly, they can even help with reducing air consumption when combined with proper finning techniques. Another benefit when owning your own fins is that you can actually practice your finning and trim.

This will allow you to be more agile in the water and in turn, allows you to be able to see more without disturbing the environment.

Most SCUBA shops have very durable fins that can take punishment and are not meant for efficiency. This is not a knock on them, they are good fins, just not the best.

Open Heeled Fins

Open heel fins are considered the best fins for scuba diving. Often worn with dive boots, these fins offer excellent comfort and power.

Since they are usually designed to work with dive boots the pockets will be a lot larger than the closed heal fins.

You can wear these without booties but since the material is normally a harder plastic, you will probably want to wear booties.

Open heel fins are often chosen for the reason that you wear booties with them.

For shore diving with a lot of sharp rocks and/ or sea urchins, it is nice to have booties on to walk out and the open heel fins can easily slip/ clip on and off.

Lastly, with these booties, your feet will stay warmer for extended periods of time underwater. This is is especially relevant when diving in colder water.

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

Our top pick for this list is the Apeks RK3s. 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

  • 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

Closed Heel Fin

Closed heel fins are full rubber pockets that completely cover the whole heel of the diver. They are generally thought of as snorkeling fin or freediving fins.

They are great for warm waters where you do not need a boot as they are a snug fit. While a boot may be too big, scuba socks do work well with these if the fin pocket is too big and/ or it is in colder water. Some divers enjoy the ease of getting them on and off (it takes a bit of practice).

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.

  • 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

Freediving Fins

Freediving fins are much longer than scuba fins. They come in plastic, fiberglass, and carbon fiber with different stiffness for each material.

With this type of variability, it can make them harder to maneuver in tight spaces and navigate around the reef (if you are not very familiar with them) so we don’t recommend them for scuba diving unless you are used to them.

The price range also goes from 500 USD for a top-end carbon fiber (which is more delicate) to 100USD for a solid pair of plastic fins. The lower range ones are more durable and would be a better pair for scuba.

Some scuba divers even prefer to use freediving fins for scuba since you can get a lot more propulsion and long as you are not getting into a wreck they can be a good option. We’ve included a few of the best options here.

  • 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

  • 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

Scuba Fins Buying Guide

Still not sure what one to go with, with all these great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect fins for you.

First of all, when you buy your own gear you will save on renting gear. You will also get accustomed to them and become more efficient so you will use less air and your dives will be longer.

These are just two of the benefits below I will go through some things to consider, and then I will just give my recommendations and all-time favorites, that you can’t go wrong with.

Are You Traveling?

If you are staying in one place and diving you can often opt for the heavier or larger fin. You have to think about this when traveling as some fins weigh up to 8 pounds for a pair.

This is a lot of weight and size for your luggage. If you dive a lot it is common to have a travel pair and an at-home pair.

Budget

Obviously, you should think about your budget, and check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor.

Since there are a lot of options around the same price, think about what can you afford now that meets your needs while still being within your budget. Look at it as an investment, not a purchase. A good pair of fins will last you years.

How Often Do You Dive?

If you are diving frequently, and are a Divemaster or instructor, you are going to want a good pair of fins that will last. A pair of fins that easily propel you, so that you can help customers and save energy go a long way.

If you are diving a few times a year, you don’t need the most expensive and top-of-the-line fins. Again though, if you get the nicer pair even if you dive less, they often will last longer and save you energy.

Type of Diving

Some people want to go into wrecks and use the frog kick, their different fins are better at this than others. If you are freediving and scuba, it may be wise to get a pair of freediving fins as they will work for scuba as well but scuba won’t work for freediving.

If you have the budget I would say to have a pair for smaller spaces/ more technical diving and a different one for the open water.

Maintenance & Storage

Do you have the space for these fins? This may sound silly but if you live in a small apartment or travel a lot this is something to think about. You also have to make sure these are not always in direct sun or a wet and humid place. You have spent the money to buy these, make sure that they are taken care of.

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 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.

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!

Austin Tuwiner Administrator

My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to help readers become better divers, help them buy their first gear, and plan their next dive vacation!

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    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

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