Investing in a comfortable set of scuba fins with a good design will make a massive difference in your scuba diving experience. Small changes in the dynamics of the scuba fin can improve propulsion while softening tension on the knee and ankle joints. Quality materials and optimal design is a must!
Unfortunately, to push sales higher, more and more “gimmicks” are making their way into the hands of newbie scuba divers. These oddly shaped fins, with their weird and fragile designs, are nothing more than a novelty designed to lure people into buying the latest diving fin “technology”… A broken fin strap can literally cost you a dive and poorly designed fins will leave you frustrated and annoyed with scuba diving altogether.
With years of diving experience as a PADI Diving Instructor, I have seen diving fin designs come and go, but there are a select group of very solid fins that have been tried and tested by hundreds of my students for comfort, propulsion and durability.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the following 5 fins, whether you’re doing shore dives along the jagged rocks of the Cape of Storms in Southern Africa or a tranquil dive from the comfort of a dive boat in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.
ScubaPro Scuba Diving Twin Jet Fin
These are the sexy younger sibling of the very popular ScubaPro Jet Fins (see #2). The design is outstanding. A simple concept that is perfectly executed… The diving fin has a channel between the outer ribs which creates a turbine effect in the water. The feel is soft and comfortable with a powerful thrust whenever you need it.
The best thing is… when you don’t need the drive, they feel relaxed and fluid. Your air consumption is automatically improved and your legs feel great. Ladies also love the comfort and extra velocity.
There’s a reason you’ll see many Scuba Diving Instructors and Dive Masters with these fins. They are incredibly durable and for someone who has done hundreds and hundreds of dives, durability and comfort are huge factors.
The ScubaPro Twin Jet Fins outperform any other product in every single category, comfort, speed, responsiveness, durability and style! They’ll be at home on a pro and a newbie diver alike, and they’ll be the best scuba fins you’ve ever bought.
Important note: These fins don’t really work as well for divers who “Frog Kick”
A “Frog Kick” is relatively uncommon technique where a diver moves their legs together and apart to propel forward as opposed to the traditional up and down strokes. This style of scuba fin kick is usually done by tech divers to avoid disturbing silt on cave floors.
ScubaPro Jet Fins
OK, let’s get serious, REAL serious… The US Coast Guard doesn’t use these fins because they look good. In fact, they’re ugly as hell. Ugly in the way a Komodo dragon is ugly but moves itself along with powerful grace and intent.
These are toughest, roughest bullies on the block and they don’t stand back for anyone.
Other products claim to have rubber traction ribs below the foot pocket to avoid slipping off rocks… These puppies are entirely rubber!
They grip like hell and they will last you decades. In fact, one day you’ll want to pass these on to your teenage kids but they’ll hate the way they look. (Until they use them!)
The large vents allow for smooth down strokes while the wide surface area and strong rubber compound forces insane propulsion through the water on the up stroke. If you we’re caught in a current or stranded on jagged rocks due to rough swell, you’ll be grateful you bought these titans of the sea. They are also shorter in length than most fins which means they walk easier and there’s less knocking things over on the dive boat.
Despite the tough exterior, these legendary scuba fins are incredibly comfortable. They produce significant thrust with minimal effort. They feel soft on the ankles and do not tire out your legs. For the most durable product on this list, you cannot make a mistake buying these fins.
Cressi Pro Light Open Heel Scuba Fins
Cressi designed the Pro Light based on their freediving fins the Cressi Gara’s. They are best known for the incredible responsiveness with sleek, no-fuss blades that slice the water and propel you in your desired direction. You can feel every impulse of the water from a slight surge created by waves overhead to the finest turbulence created by the blade ribs.
You know when you are wearing these fins that you’re in control. They are a little stiff but for good reason… Imagine a race car that takes a little getting used to but flies like a bat out of hell with a little practice from the right driver. The value for money is spectacular!
I really wish I could say more but they truly are just what they promise… They are durable, simple and very effective. A solid 10 out of 10 (if you can handle the rigidity).
Available in Black, Blue and their legendary Yellow.
For you tropical beach boys out there, the closed heel version is called the Cressi Men’s ProStar
Mares Avanti SuperChannel Open Heal Fins
A seal (the animal kind, not the Navy kind) has a very unique flipper design. The elastic webbed surface “cups” the water while the strong “fingers” keep the flipper’s shape rigid and strong. The Mares Avanti SuperChannel does exactly the same thing…
To explain, imagine pushing your flat hand through water… you can feel the force on your fingers but unfortunately a lot of the water escapes along the sides of your hand and that extra energy is lost. Now imagine doing the same thing with webbed gloves… spread your fingers apart to “catch” the water. The water is forced down your hand and you feel the extra power of the water in your fingers.
These fins are light, affordable, and comfortable. Color options are in Black, Blue, Yellow, Red and Grey.
They’ll suit the recreational scuba diver who simply wants value for money and a good dive. They are quite durable too. I’ve seen guys use the same set for 300 dives. After a few years you might expect the outer ribs to buckle a little, but only after lots and lots of good dives.
For a closed heel option, you can check out the Mares Superchannel Full Foot Fins which is basically the same thing but with a closed heel for barefoot diving.
Aqua Lung SlingShot Heel-strap
Here’s one of those strange gimmicks that actually turned out to be a pretty good idea…
The AquaLung Slingshot has elastic silicone “Power Bands” that stretch out and then snap back on your upstroke with increased power for more propulsion. You’ll swim much faster with less effort resulting in longer bottom times on your dive. You can also adjust the setting on the bands while in the water to best suit your bodyweight and swim strength. The blade is separate, just like the ScubaPro Jet fin, which creates a greater range of motion resulting in greater propulsion. But enough about the technical details… how do these products feel?
Well, they feel great! Amazing in fact… If it wasn’t for the price tag, we’d strongly consider the AquaLung fins as a second place winner.
You definitely get more propulsion for less effort and you do get the added benefit of being able to adjust the tension in the bands, but the price is quite high and the durability is only OK. We’ve seen some take damage and they’re not really meant for rougher conditions or shore entries. Definitely avoid obstructions like swimming through kelp forests or other possible entanglements.
We did love the larger finger loops on the heel straps though! (And with the sleek hydrodynamic lines, they do attract some attention too).
Available in Blue and Black
How to Pick the Best Diving Fins for You
Sure there are many factors to consider but let me start by saying: They are just fins!
I’m about 1400 words into this article and NOW I tell you they’re mostly all the same thing???
Look, if you dive a lot, then we should be discussing the durability of both the ScubaPro fins. If you want to look cool, then we should be discussing the style of the ScubaPro Twin Jets or the Aqualung SlingShots. For a great price, the Cressi and the Mares fins are awesome.
No matter how you look at it, your personal reason for buying a set of fins lies deep in your emotional mind. A lot of new divers will buy the same fins as their instructor and most of the old dogs will go for the pair that has the best reputation for durability and propulsion.
Either way, the differences are not that great. You pay more for quality and you save if you buy the cheaper pair because you don’t dive that often.
Every single set of fins on this list are an absolute legend! You can’t go wrong no matter which ones you pick. They have been around for many years (some even decades) and hundreds of thousands of divers can attest to their quality.
I hope this article serves you well and helps you make an educated decision when buying your fins. Gladly comment below and let me know if I’m “full of it” or if you think my opinions are spot-on.
I look forward to hearing from you!
ScubaPro Jet Fins Video
Mastering the Frog Kick with Scuba Fins
Good Instructional Video on Various Finning Techniques
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