You don’t always need to go diving to explore the underwater world, but you do need a good pair of snorkeling fins.
With the right snorkeling fins, you’ll be able to glide through the water almost effortlessly. Without them, you’ll end up exhausted and probably frustrated.
But with a seemingly endless number of different options available, it can be difficult to find the best fins for snorkeling.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the hard work.
- Type: Full Foot
- Blade: Short
- Comfort level: High
- Price: Mid – High
- Ideal for walking on rocks & snorkelling
These might look a little strange, but these hybrid snorkeling fins are ideal if you have to walk on rocky shores or hot sand to enter the water. They are made so that you will not get blisters when you are swimming, snorkeling, or doing any other water activity. Combining a short fin with a neoprene bootie, they’re incredibly comfortable both on land and in the water.
Although with short blades, these snorkeling fins aren’t the best for power or speed. The thrust is good and will make a big difference, but will take some getting used to. You can choose a blade length and if you are going to be out there for a while a longer blade length will be better. They fit in a bookbag or carry-on as well to make packing for your trips easier.
Since it is made from neoprene they fit almost all different size feet and the rubber will protect you from hitting rocks or other objects. The closed toe and heel will help to stop you from cramping during longer snorkeling sessions. We really love the fact that they never slip off due to the velcro adjustable strap and that also gives you good support. They’re great options for all levels and will make your snorkeling sessions easy and comfortable.
What we love
- Adjustable velcro strap
- Easy to use & versatile
- Can be worn on land & sea
- No rubbing or chaffing
- Lightweight & compact for travel
- Neoprene provides some warmth & buoyancy
- Minimal propulsion
- Not suitable for scuba diving or freediving
- Type: Full foot
- Blade: Short
- Comfort level: High
- Price: Low
- Extremely Durable
A classic snorkeling fin from one of the most trusted diving and snorkeling brands. The Cressi Clio Everlasting fins have been on the market for over 20 years, yet they’re still one of the best snorkeling fins on the market. The blade is a great composite material that will make these fins last for a very long time while still making sure that you get a good kick.
Despite their simple appearance, these fins feature responsive composite blades and special, computer-designed foot pockets that make them both comfortable and powerful. These fins are designed to be very light and perfect for traveling, they will even fit in your carry-on.
If that’s not enough, they’re quite affordable for a pair of fins. They also come in a variety of sizes from x-small to x-extra large. The rubber material allows you to slip them off and on with ease as well. As the name suggests, they last forever.
What we love
- Long-lasting & durable
- Very lightweight – ideal for traveling
- Easy to slip on & off
- Super soft foot computer-designed foot pocket
- Wide variety of sizes available
- Responsive blades for quick maneuvering
- Not suitable for scuba diving or freediving
- Not the most powerful blades
- Type: Closed Heel
- Material: High-modulus propylene
- Comfort: Good (with socks)
- Price: Mid-Range
- Best for: Freediving, Spearfishing & Snorkelling
These fins are not optimal for normal snorkeling unless you are good at kicking. They are a huge favorite for freedivers, spearfishers, or those that just want some more power. So if you plan on doing that type of snorkeling, go for these.
These fins have a stiffer plastic blade that will take some getting used to. The fins blade is able to be interchangeable so when you are ready for an upgrade you can slip in some carbon blades with ease. The plastics also make the very durable so you will not have to worry about them getting damaged.
The pocket is slightly wider on these fins, which is good for those in cooler waters and we suggest wearing neoprene socks to fill them out a little. I would make sure you try them on before you buy them as these do fit snugly. They will also loosen up after a handful of dives and may rub a bit at first. Overall these are really good fins and well worth the money.
What we love
- Attractive long fins
- Good value for moneys
- Light weight and very reactive
- Increased performance and maneuverability
- Long blades maximize thrust, minimizing work
- Foot pocket is quite wide so better with socks
- Not ideal for beginners, require proper kicking technique
- Not great for travel
How To Choose The Best Snorkeling Fins
When you’re choosing the best fins for snorkeling there are a few things you want to consider before purchasing
Full Foot Or Open Heel Snorkeling Fins
The first choice you’ll need to make is what kind of foot pocket you want, a full foot pocket or an open heel pocket with a strap.
What’s best for you will depend mostly on personal preference and the temperature of the water you’re snorkeling in.
Full foot, or closed heel, fins are easy to slip on and off, less bulky, and more streamlined in the water. Plus you won’t need to buy additional boots. They tend to be more comfortable and are significantly more responsive to your movements than open-heel fins.
If you’re snorkeling in warmer water then full-foot snorkeling fins are a perfect choice. You can also pair them with lycra or neoprene socks for added warmth and comfort.
Open-heel fins have an adjustable strap around the heel and are usually worn with neoprene boots. They’re heavier and bulkier than full-foot fins which makes them less effective for swimming at the surface and less ideal for traveling.
However, wearing booties will keep your feet warm if you’re snorkeling in cold water. Plus they provide much more flexibility when it comes to size. So they’re great if you’ll be sharing the fins or for kids who are still growing. They can also be worn barefoot or with neoprene socks, although it’s usually less comfortable than with boots.
For snorkeling, we prefer full-foot fins as they’re lighter to travel with and significantly more responsive to your movement and finning power than open-heel fins.
Snorkeling Fin Blades
Once you start comparing snorkeling fins it seems as though there’s an endless array of different blades to choose from.
The main things you want to worry about are the fin shape and the fin size. Shorter fins are easier to travel and with poor technique will offer less propulsion.
Longer fins take more energy to use but will give way more thrust per kick depending on the stiffness and your tech quite. The issues may arise though that you will have an issue fitting them in your suitcase. If they are carbon fiber I would carry them on if you do not have a special case for them. If they are plastic pack them at the last minute and they will be fine.
The shape and design of the blade are important too. A curved or vented fin will be easier to kick, but you guessed it, offer less power.
Flexibility And Stiffness Of Snorkeling Fins
The flexibility and stiffness of the blade will depend on your leg strength and experience level.
If you’re relatively new to snorkeling, it’s best to choose a more flexible blade as this will make it easier to kick at the surface.
A stiffer blade requires more power but is better if you want to explore underwater as well as on the surface. These are usually the shorter fins as well and will take some time to get used to if you are used to a longer fin.
Weight And Size
Lastly, if you’re planning on traveling with your snorkeling fins then it’s important to consider the weight and size.
You’ll want to make sure that they’re light and small enough to easily pack into your luggage. But remember, the smaller the blade the less propulsion you’ll get out of them.
It’s also useful to have positively buoyant fins for snorkeling. So if you accidentally drop one it’ll float and you lose it to the bottom of the ocean.
Frequently Asked Questions
While there is no best snorkel fin for everyone, depending on how you’re planning to use the fins certain products will work better than others.
For most use cases, the Wildhorn Topside Fins are going to be a great option, combining quality with functionality.
You want your snorkeling fins to fit snug, but not too tight. Remember as you spend time in the water your feet will cool and shrink a little. So your fins will loosen slightly.
It’s better for snorkeling fins to fit a little tight rather than loose. With loose fins, you’ll lose power from your kick and there’s nothing more frustrating than fins that fall off every time you try to kick hard.
However, if the fins are so tight that they dig in or pinch your foot then it’ll only get worse when you’re in the water. So go up a size or try a different style to find the best fit.
Alternatively, if you can’t quite find the right fit or you find snorkeling fins always rub your feet then we recommend wearing neoprene socks underneath.
Not only will these keep your toes warmer, but they also make your fins way more comfortable. Especially if you want to stay in the water for as long as possible!
Overall short to medium fins are better for snorkeling. They’re much easier to use and travel with than long fins. Plus you’re less likely to accidentally kick coral, wildlife, or even other snorkelers!
Although long fins generate more thrust, and therefore more speed, they also require more power and proper kicking technique to use effectively. Long fins are better for freediving and spearfishing where speed and correct form is more of a priority.
Short fins require much less power so they’re easier on your leg muscles. This means you won’t get as tired when snorkeling. Plus they’re easier to maneuver in so you can quickly change direction if necessary.
What’s more, if your kick is weak or your technique isn’t correct, then you won’t receive any of the benefits of long fins.
However, if your snorkeling fins are too short then you won’t get much propulsion either. This means if you want to pick up speed you’ll have to kick quite furiously and you’ll generate a ton of excess noise and whitewash which will scare off most wildlife.
Because of their length, freediving fins aren’t the best for precise movements and are a little trickier to maneuver in. As such, they’re not ideal for shallow water or navigating around coral reefs, especially for beginners.
That being said, if you’re confident using freediving fins and have a little experience with them, then freediving fins can be good for snorkeling. Just be mindful of the long blades if you’re swimming over very shallow reefs.
Technically yes, you can use scuba fins for snorkeling. But not all scuba diving fins are suitable for snorkeling. And here’s why
Snorkeling fins are uniquely designed specifically for swimming at the surface, whereas scuba fins are made specifically for swimming efficiently at depth whilst wearing a full set of dive gear.
This means that scuba fins tend to be heavier, longer, and stiffer to give each kick more power underwater. However, when on the surface this design can make snorkeling very tiring. And with some scuba fins being negatively buoyant, they can even be unsafe to snorkel in.
Snorkeling fins are usually lighter, shorter, and more flexible than scuba fins, making it much easier for you to swim and maneuver on the surface.
That being said, there are plenty of fins that are suitable for both scuba diving and snorkeling.
If you’re looking for a pair of fins that you can use for both, we recommend either the Mares Avanti Quattro Power Fins or the ScubaPro SeaWing Nova Fins. Both these durable fins offer the perfect balance between flexibility and power for both snorkeling and scuba diving.
The short answer is yes. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from snorkeling without fins. But if you want to be safe, comfortable, and efficient when snorkeling then you need to wear fins.
Because a fin provides a larger surface area, you are able to exert more force on the water with each kick. Which means you can swim for an extended period of time without overexerting yourself.
You’ll also be able to swim against currents and waves with far less effort.
Plus they’ll help you to safely maneuver over and around rocks, coral formations, and marine life.
What’s more, most snorkeling fins provide you with some flotation. This helps you stay horizontal and allows you to rest easily at the surface.
And lastly, when you’re snorkeling with fins you don’t need to use your arms for swimming. This means your hands will be free to capture all the action on your underwater camera!
Ultimately, we recommend going for the snorkeling fins you feel most comfortable in. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t kick effectively and you definitely won’t enjoy the experience.
Of course, size, durability, and price also play a factor. But at the end of the day, enjoying your time in the water is the most important thing!
Do you have a favorite pair of snorkeling fins?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.