While on the surface many fins may look the same, there is actually a few things to consider when purchasing new fins such as the sport they will be used for, open or closed heel and the water temperature they will be used in.
But don't worry...whether you want to use them for swimming, snorkelling, freediving or scuba diving there’s a dive fin out there specifically designed to suit you.
- Fin Type – There are two different types of fins; Open Heel or Full Foot. Choosing one or the other is generally down to personal preference.
- Blade size – Different water sports will require different sized blades. If snorkelling is your thing then a shorter blade can be used whereas free diving requires a long streamlined fin to gain distance quickly.
- Blade Flexibility – There are many different grades of flexibility in fin blades. The more flexible the blade, the less drag it has in the water so fin kicks will not be too strenuous. This is ideal when snorkelling or lightweight scuba diving but note that these type of fins are not good when up against strong currents or require you to cover long distances. The Firmer the blade, the more drag it has in the water so fin kicks are slightly harder but great distances can be covered.
What do you need your fins for?
It’s a good question and definitely worth asking yourself because there are many different types of fins from scuba to free diving so it’s important to get the right type.
For snorkelling you will be skimming on the surface of the water so it is better to choose a shorter length and lighter weight fin otherwise you will find it difficult to kick and tire easily.
Scuba diving fins are slightly longer and heavier than snorkel fins. This means they have more weight to push through the water giving you better control. The Split Fin is a design of blade which has become more popular in recent years. The idea of the Split Fin is by creating a split down the middle of the blade it reduces water resistance generating easier fin kicks whilst maintaining distance power.
Freediving fins are much longer than any other type of fin, this is because the diver has to rely on holding their breath for every dive. By designing a fin that can reduce the number of fin kicks and provide maximum propulsion, the freediver can spend less energy on kicking and cover great distances quickly.
Open heel or full foot that is the question?
Open Heel fins are the most popular for scuba divers, these types of fins require you to wear wetsuit boots as they have adjustable heel straps securing your foot into the fin - ideal for shore dives.
Full Foot fins are not adjustable and do not require you to wear wetsuit boots, they simply slip onto your foot. Easy to take on or off, this type of fin is ideal for snorkelling.
How to choose the correct size fins?
It is worth noting that sizes do vary depending on manufacturer however, there are some general rules with fitting.
Open Heel fins – you will be wearing wetsuit boots so it’s recommended to always go one size up from your normal shoe size. The top of the fin ideally should sit on the ridge of your foot; if it is further up towards your shin, the fin is too small so try the size up. If the top of the fin is sitting further down towards your toes, then the fin is too big so try the size down. Adjustable straps allow you to tighten the fin around your foot giving an added secure fit.
Full Foot fins - They do not require wetsuit boots so it’s recommended to choose a size as close as possible to your own shoe size. The fin should fit snugly onto your foot not too tight or too loose.