As any scuba diver knows, scuba diving fins are an essential part of any diver’s gear. A pair of good quality diving fins allows divers to move quickly and efficiently while under water. They function by providing a wider surface area than your bare feet to help push your body through the water. This also frees up your hands for other things. However, choosing the right scuba diving fins for your purposes isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide so you can find the fins that are right for your needs!
Open-Heeled or Full-Footed Fins?
Open-heeled and full-footed fins make up the two main types of fins available.
Bare-Footed or Booties?
Full-footed fins can simply be put on over bare feet. Whereas, you need to wear neoprene booties with open-heeled fins. Because of this, you need to make sure the fin fits you perfectly because the foot pocket cannot be adjusted.The full-foots usually have a closer fit. This means that they need to fit perfectly. You don’t want them to be too small and tight because they’ll squash your toes. And if they’re too big, they will easily fall off under water.
However, the full-footed fins allow you to get a better grip on your foot. This provides greater control and effectiveness under water. Whereas, open-heel fins are best when you’re starting the dive from outboard, and also when you need to walk on rocks and pebbles in the water. Because of this, full-footed fins usually weigh a lot less than open-heel fins as well. Plus, the absence of any straps that dangle down and the shorter blade means that they can allow you to cut more swiftly through the water.
Warm or Cold Water?
In warm water, you don’t need to wear as much gear and it’s usually recommended to wear full-footed fins. Whereas in cold water, open-heel fins are most appropriate because they provide greater warmth. It all depends on where you are going diving. If you are diving cold water, then using boots is the obvious option.
Split Fins or Paddles?
The second important choice when deciding on the right scuba diving fins to buy is between splits or paddles. Split fins cut function in a similar way to a propeller on a boat. They slice through the water by generating lift from water. Therefore, with split fins, it is the speed – not the force – of your kick that determines the power you generate under water. Despite this, many divers prefer a paddle fin. Rather than a quick flutter kicking motion, paddles are better suited to stronger and infrequent kicks. However, they definitely require some serious leg muscles.
Try Scuba Diving Fins Before You Buy
Before you invest in quality fins, it makes sense to rent your equipment from a dive school first. This gives you the chance to test out the different type of fins before you buy. And don’t just try walking around on land. You need to get into the water and start kicking to discover if they fit well. Unless you do this, you won’t know if they are the right fit for you.
Get in touch for all the scuba diving advice you need or see our handy guide on choosing the right scuba gear for you.