5 of the best
5 of the best fins
A kicking guide to the right fins for you
Cressi Reaction Pro
This a lightweight full-foot fin is perfect for warm waters. It means you don’t have to pack bulky boots and they are reasonably priced too.
Scubapro Seawing Nova
Fins uncomfortable? This wildcard of a choice might suit. The unusual shape, with its articulated joint, claims to mimic the tail of a cetacean. Also available with a full-foot for £30 less.
Mares X Stream
This lightweight, comfortable fin won a prestigious red dot award for design. Clever innovations include riddled foot pockets, which prevent the parachute-like drag that a space between foot and pocket can cause in conventional fins, and avoid suction that can make getting fins off quite tricky. They look good too and come in five colours
Atomic SplitFin Smoke On Water
Claiming to find the perfect balance between a lightweight short split fin (easy to kick, short on power) and long, stiff fins (hard to kick, but lots of thrust) the Atomic SplitFin is speedy and efficient. The Smoke On Water version comes with a spring strap as standard. In terms of price, though, it falls in the ‘blow the budget’ category.
Mares Avanti Quattro
You’ll never feel left out with these fins – DIVE’s kit editor Neil Hope when sitting on a RIB in the Red Sea, looked down, and saw that every single diver was wearing a pair. They’re popular, they’re powerful, they’re hard-wearing (just like Neil, Ed). Just make sure you can tell which pair are yours!
TIPS FOR BUYING Fins
Full foot or open heel?
Lighter, full-foot fins are generally reserved for snorkelling or diving in warm water - or in the pool. Open-heeled fins are heavier duty, engineered to give divers more propulsion. And you can wear a neoprene boot with them to keep your feet warm.
What type of blade?
There are several types out there – and some fins even incorporate a mix of technologies – but the basic aim is to reduce effort while maximising power.
Standard fins use a flat surface to push the water backwards and propel the diver forwards. A slight variation on this design is the addition of channels, such as in the Mares Avanti Quattro fins, which allow the blade to flexed across its width creating a U-shape. This contains the water more efficiently as the fin is moved up and down and improves propulsion.
Split fins aim to reduce the effort of kicking, while maintaining power. The split reduces drag, causing less strain on leg muscles. The principle is to create low and high pressure sides to the fin (like a plane wing or propeller). Finally, hinged fins (such as the ScubaPro Seawing Nova) contain a pivot, allowing the blade to automatically move to the best possible angle to provide the best performance.
Straps or springs?
Most open-heel fins come with adjustable straps, attached to the fin with quick release clips. But some prefer springs to hold the foot in place, which can be pulled away from the heel when you take them off. You can always replace straps with springs if your choice of fin doesn’t come with them as standard.