The BEST Scuba Diving fins [2021] – Pro Adventure guide

This is a review of the best scuba diving fins for 2021

Scuba fins are an integral part of your dive gear, but there are so many different kinds on the market it can be tough to choose the right pair if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

For most divers, we recommend the Mares Avanti Quattro Plus as the best dive fins.

But many divers needs can be completely different from one another, so we’ve reviewed the best scuba fins in every category.

Mares Avanti Quattro +

Best overall

The most sold diving fin in the world! 

The Mares Avanti Quattro + suit all dive conditions, provide amazing propulsion and efficiency, and they are built to last a long time.

The Best Scuba Fins Of [2021]

The Best Scuba Diving Fins Reviewed

Mares Avanti Quattro PlusBest Overall

mares avanti quattro

Specs

Blade Style: Paddle blade/Non Vented
Weight: 0.9kg / 2lb
Blade Length: 38cm / 15in
Heel: Open Heel/Bungee Strap
Best For: Best All Rounder

The Mares Avanti Quattro’s are one of the most popular fins on the market.

The Avanti Plus would make a great dive fin to invest in as a beginner. So rather than investing in a budget pair of dive fins that won’t last, these will be able to accompany you from beginner to advanced diver.

Another reason they are so popular is that they are great for all dive conditions. So whether you dive in warm water or cold water or if diving against extreme current. The Avanti’s will outperform many other fins.

The Avanti’s are meant to give better thrusting power than a lot of other fins but with the same amount of effort, which is due to the blade design which features four channels.

The dual material of the channels is designed to maximise how much water is channeled away from the blade with each kick, in order to help to reduce drag in the water and aid propulsion.

That means you can enjoy the benefits of a ton of thrust, but with reduced leg fatigue. Especially handy on long dives, diving in currents, or when diving multiple times per day!

They work well with all kicking styles so whether you like to frog kick, flutter kick or if finning on your back – these will do the job well.

The material is super comfy and durable though too – As long as you take proper care of them then these fins are going to last you a really long time.

The bungee heel strap has a large finger loop on them for quickly and easily donning and doffing with one hand, and the loop is handy to hold the fins even with thick gloves on (less chance of dropping them!),

All in all they’re a fantastic all rounder which is why I am recommending them as the overall best scuba diving fins.

Potentially the only downside of these fins is that they’re quite long/bulky and therefore some divers may find them too big for travel use.

Pros

  • Bungee heel for easy donning and doffing
  • Versatile! Great for all dive conditions & abilities
  • Good manoeuvrability
  • Great power and less effort per kick

Cons

  • Some divers find them too big for dive travel

Oceanic ViperBest Scuba Fins For Beginners

oceanic viper scuba fins

Specs

Blade Style: Paddle blade/Vented
Weight: 3.15 – 4.0 lbs | 1.43 – 1.81 kg
Length: 62.8cm
Heel: Open/Buckle heel strap
Best For: New Scuba Divers

A “beginner” fin is for you newbie divers out there who are looking to buy your first set of scuba gear, but as you may have a few bits of gear to invest in you’re potentially looking for the best pair of fins on a budget.

If you’re a newbie recreational diver then when it comes to purchasing your first set of gear it does make sense to invest more money into a regulator or BCD, and opt for some dive fins on more of a budget

The Oceanic Vipers really fit the bill well. Beginner scuba divers will appreciate the lightweight and flexible blade design requiring less effort to kick, (as you may still be working on perfecting kicking power and technique)

They’re good for recreational diving in warmer more tropical waters, and their flexibility lends to them being good for use as snorkel fins too.

The channels and side rails along the fin work to direct water off the tip of the blade to help increase kicking power and efficiency, and they’re pretty lightweight making them a good option for dive travel.

The quick release buckle system on the oceanic vipers is sturdy, but it is also their main downside as buckle straps are not as easy to don and doff as bungee straps.

But sacrifices have to be made somewhere, and that’s where it is on these fins. Bungee/Spring straps are designs which tend to come at a higher price point.

This fin also comes in a non vented full foot design (which are also a lot cheaper than the open heel fins).

pros

  • Lightweight and great for dive travel
  • Could also be used for snorkeling
  • Comes in full foot or open heel depending on preference
  • Very good value at this price point
  • Flexible blade is good for new divers as they require less effort to kick

cons

  • Their flexible design is not ideal for strong current
  • Buckle heel straps are not as convenient for donning & doffing

Scubapro Go SportBest Scuba Fins For Travel

scubapro go sport fins

Specs

Blade Style: Paddle Fin/Short Blade
Weight: 2.447 lb | 1.11 kg
Fin Length: Short
Heel: Open/Boot Fit
Best For: Dive Travel

The Go Sport are the upgraded version of the Scubapro Go. The foot pockets on these fins have gone through a re-design and have been re-profiled from the original Go Travel fins.

The main difference between the Go Sport and their original counterpart is that the foot pockets of the Go Sport are able to better accommodate boots, whereas the regular Go travel fins could be used barefoot or with thinner socks/booties

The new fin design also have a more comfortable ergonomic fit able to provide better power transfer, and they have little ‘skegs’ on which are there to maximise stability.

The Go Sports and their originals have been the best scuba diving fins for dive travel for a while. They’re super lightweight and compact, but still give they actually give a decent amount of power for a travel fin.

They may be quite pricey for a travel fin, but they will without a doubt last you a very long time and will be able to withstand some real heavy duty use as well .

The ultra durable 100% monoprene construction is more durable than other thermoplastic constructed fins, and the bungee heel strap is easily replaceable if needed.

They are a very compact diving fin which will fit into your carry on luggage, and they interlock with each other as well to allow you to pair them together snugly in your luggage to take up the minimum amount of room possible.

If you really like the Scubapro fins but don’t need the additional boot space – Go for the earlier original version which is much cheaper.

Pros

  • Fits IATA Carry-On Compliant Luggage
  • Give excellent propulsion for a travel fin
  • Ultra tough and durable – These will surely last a long time
  • Also good for use as a snorkel fin
  • Angled blade helps channel water & provide thrust

Cons

  • Quite pricey for a travel fin
  • Not as good in current as a longer fin blade

Mares Volo RaceBest full foot scuba fins

mares volo race fins

Specs

Blade Style: Vented/Paddle Fin
Weight: 1.5 lbs. (680 g)
Blade Length: 14.6″ (37cm)
Heel: closed heel
Best For: Speed/Warm water

The Mares Volo Race are a powerful diving fin and they’ll give you some real speed in the water without requiring a ton of leg effort in order to do it.

Divers who scuba in warmer waters and prefer full foot fins will appreciate the comfortable foot pockets of the Volo’s, which are soft and orthopedically designed meaning you can dive and snorkel comfortably in these for as long as you like!

They’re versatile too as they do also double up as good snorkel fins too as they’re pretty lightweight and have a decent amount of flex in the blade.

With these being a full foot pocket fin you could size up slightly to accommodate a dive sock, but as you can imagine these won’t be usable for divers in cold water (although they do make the Mares Volo Power with an open heel).

The blade fin on the Volo race is pretty long – Some may find them a little too long to travel with, but they are pretty light so this does help compensate for that a little, and they also feature the same channeling technology as the Avanti’s to help propel water off the edge of the blade for extra thrust.

Pros

  • Very good power, and with minimal effort
  • Anatomical/orthopaedic foot pocket is very comfortable
  • Work well for snorkeling too
  • Very reasonably priced for a high performing versatile set of fins

cons

  • Not suitable for cold water

Scubapro Seawing NovaBest Open Heel Scuba Fins

scubapro seawing nova fins

Specs

Blade Style: Hinged/Paddle Fin
Weight: 3.45 lb | 1.567 kg
Fin Length: Long
Heel: Open Heel Fin
Best For: Power/Versatility

The Seawing Nova is actually an award winning diving fin and has won multiple awards for it’s innovative and unique product design.

It was a toss up for me between the Avanti’s and the Nova’s as the best all round fin. I really like the Nova’s but I went with the Avanti’s in the end as they are much cheaper and more universally popular.

Scubapro Seawing Nova’s are meant to provide the power and acceleration of a paddle fin, but also with the benefits of the ease, comfort and efficiency of a split fin.

Basically they give really good thrust in the water, but they don’t cost a ton of effort in order to do it, and are nice and easy going on the joints as well.

The Nova’s accommodate all kicking styles very well, so whether you like to flutter kick, frog kick, or when reverse kicking, the Nova performs great. This is obviously very good if you like switching to different kicking styles throughout your dive.

Their construction is of an monprene elastomer which is meant to be ‘virtually indestructible’, which along with their marine grade bungee heel straps, you will have a set of highly durable fins on your hands.

The bungee heels trap itself is very elastic, and the big finger loop on the back of the heel strap makes them really easy to don and doff.

They’re positively buoyant so you aren’t going to lose them (which would truly be upsetting given their price!). If you accidentally drop one in the water then it will float and you can easily grab it.

And this leads me to what I find is really their only ‘downfall’. The price. These are very expensive fins indeed!

(They are also available in a full footed version)

pros

  • Bungee strap is really easy to use (even with gloves or dive mitts)
  • Excellent power and acceleration
  • Ergonomic foot pocket is really comfortable for long wear/multiple dive use
  • Also available as full foot fins & in a wide variety of colors
  • Good manoeuvrability

Cons

  • Expensive!

Atomic Aquatics Split FinBest Split Fins

atomic aquatics split fins

Specs

Blade Style: Split Fin
Weight 3lbs
Fin Length: Long
Heel: Open or Closed
Best For: Speed & reduced effort on joints

Split fins are designed to suit divers who prefer a relaxed, small range of motion flutter kicking style.

This type of fin quite is popular with people who have knee/ankle problems, as they have less drag and require less power to kick, but they can still propel you pretty fast!

The Atomic are available in both a full and an open heel version, depending on your preference.

The open heel version of this fin comes with quick release buckles as standard. Whereas the version with the special spring straps is even more expensive, but these can be purchased separately if desired.

A split style fin blade isn’t for everyone. If you use the fin correctly then you will probably love it, but if you prefer frog kicking or are someone who really likes big powerful strokes through the legs then you may not enjoy using these.

Their efficiency and reduced effort is there biggest selling point – If you’re using less energy to swim through the water, then you’ll be using less air.

My biggest issue with these fins is that a bungee or spring heel isn’t included as standard. It’s such shame that given the Atomics already very steep price, you have to pay even more to get the spring heel straps!

Pros

  • Reduced effort required, but they still give excellent propulsion
  • Good in currents
  • Comfortable foot pocket, with semi open toe for added comfort
  • Lightweight & good for travel

cons

  • Expensive!
  • They don’t suit every kicking style – Some divers may just not get on with them

Hollis F-1Best Tech Diving Fins

hollis f1 tech fins

Specs

Blade Style: Paddle/Vented
Weight: 3.85lbs / 1.75kg
Fin Length: Short
Heel: Open
Best For: Technical Divers/Cave diving/Drysuit diving

The Hollis F1 are for divers looking for a pair of fins that are great for tech diving, diving in confined spaces (wreck/cave diving), and that are also on the heavier side.

The F1’s are a short paddle fin which are designed to give great manoeuvrability in tight spaces which is why they’re so good for wreck/cave divers.

The blade is vented to help reduce drag and increase thrust, and also features channels along it in order to further channel the water and aid thrust. So although the blade is shorter, it’s width and its design still translates into it being a powerful fin.

They’re good for pretty much all kicking styles especially frog kicking and back kicking. You’ll probably get some tired legs if you attempt to a continuous flutter kick with these the same way you would a pair of split fins for example.

Their high grade very heavy duty rubber construction makes them extremely durable, and the foot pocket is very generous to easily allow larger dive boots or drysuit boots to fit.

The Hollis F1 are a heavy fin (they’re supposed to be heavy), and are some of the heaviest on the market – You wouldn’t want to use these fins for warm water recreational dives (there are far more suitable fins for that than these).

But if a heavy fin is what you’re in the market for, these along with the Apeks are some of the best that you can buy.

The heel strap on the Hollis F-1 are adjustable spring straps. Their multiple mounting positions for the straps allow you to really be able to fine tune the fit of these fins, and the loop holes make them extremely easy to don and doff, even in very turbulent waters

The F1 do also come in a slightly more travel friendly version (F1 – LT), which weigh in at 3.46lbs and with a slightly shorter fin length.

pros

  • Adjustable spring straps
  • Extremely robust and durable
  • Powerful and great manoeuvrability
  • Great for tec/wreck/cave and drysuit diving

cons

  • None if you want a heavy fin

Apeks RK3Best Fins For Drysuit Diving

apeks rk3 drysuit fins

Specs

Blade Style: Paddle fin
Weight: 1.19kg per fin (Medium)
Fin Length: Short (Medium is 49cm)
Heel: Open Heel/Spring Straps
Best For: Cold Water/Drysuit diving/Wreck Diving

The RK3 were designed in collaboration with the US military and are probably the most popular fins on the market for cold water diving and profession divers.

In fact, they’re standard issue amongst Military, Special Ops, Coast Guard and Public Safety Divers!

Not surprising then that a lot of divers regard the RK3 as being best scuba divings fins for drysuit diving. Their large foot pocket is very generous to easily accommodate any dry suit boot, they are incredibly strong and durable

The spring heel strap makes donning and doffing with cold hands or thick gloves super easy, and the straps can be easily replaced if needed

They have two large grommet holes which provide easy storage, and you can clip the fins to your BCD when entering/exiting water.

They’re great for frog kicking but they’re very versatile and work well with all kicking styles.

With regards to the RK3 vs the RK3 HD – The HD is made from a higher density material which adds more weight to them making them even more negatively buoyant, and they are also stiffer than the RK3.

The RK3 are quite expensive but they’re well worth the money, and are by far some some of the best fins for diving in cold water.

pros

  • Military grade fins that stand up to the toughest environments
  • Quick/easy donning & doffing even with thick gloves or cold hands
  • Good propulsion & manoeuvrability
  • Very comfortable

cons

  • None

The Best Scuba Diving Fins – Buyers Guide

There’s a lot to think about when trying to select the best dive fins, and there are many options to consider.

Factors such as kicking technique, experience level, conditions of where you’ll be diving, budget (and more) all need to be considered in selecting the best scuba diving fins for you.

In this section we’ll go into the different options in detail, so you can establish the right type of fin for your needs.

Full Foot Fins vs Open Heel Fins

full foot vs open heel scuba fins

When it comes to the foot enclosure of your scuba fins, you’ve got two different types – Full foot scuba fins, or open heel scuba fins.

The type of diving that you do will heavily influence which type of fin you need or prefer.

Full Foot

Full foot fins slip onto your foot like a shoe, and will enclose your around your heel.

Because of its enclosed foot pocket, this type of fin is typically worn barefoot, or with a thin dive sock at most.

Because of this they are best suited for warm water diving.

So if you plan on diving in cold or even temperate water (remember, even the nicest tropical waters can get chilly at times!), then this probably wouldn’t be the fin style for you.

It’s very important to get the sizing correct with this style of fin, as too tight and they will be very uncomfortable – Too big and they can potentially come off as you’re kicking. (Two scenarios equally as frustrating!)

Full foot fins tend to be lighter than open heel fins therefore making these a good option for dive travel.

So, if you will be warm water diving, need something lighter for travel and don’t plan on doing much in the way of shore diving, then a full foot fin would be a fine option.

Open Heel Fins

I personally prefer an open heel dive fin, and this is probably the more popular style of fin for most divers due to their versatility.

Open heel fins have a strap which wraps around the back of the heel, and they allow the use of dive boots to be worn.

They are typically super easy to don and doff (especially the bungee or spring strap kind), which is another reason as to why they are heavily favored.

Being able to wear dive boots makes this fin favourable to most divers for two reasons:

  • You can use them in warm and cold water due to the added thermal protection of a dive boot
  • Dive boots also offer fantastic protection to your feet against things like hot sand, wet/sharp rocks etc

Open heel fins are much more forgiving when it comes to their sizing thanks to the adjustable or elasticated straps which wrap around the heel, making it usually very simple to get the correct size even if buying online.

Having said that some fins like the Apeks RK3 for example which have a very large foot pocket, (to allow for large dive boots or drysuit boots), are probably best tried on first at your local dive shop prior to purchase.

Obviously if you decide to go with this style of fin then you will need to factor in the added purchase of dive booties as well.

Blade Style

Most will be familiar with the classic paddle style fin.

There are alternative options to this style though, and each design has their own set of benefits and uses.

Your swimming style, where you intend on using your fins and the weight of the fin are all factors which will dictate what type of blade fin/style is best for you.

Paddle Fin

paddle fins

Your classic style of fin is the regular paddle fin – It’s a basic flat blade, usually with side rails along the edges to help channel the flow of water.

A paddle fin will fit with pretty much all kicking styles, and can provide excellent propulsion.

A stiff paddle fin will give you really good propulsion in the water, but a stiffer blade requires more leg strength.

Conversely if you go for a more flexible paddle fin, it’ll require less strength to kick, but you’ll get less power from them as a result.

Split Fin

split fins

Split fins have a long split down the middle of them which closely resembles that of a fish, and this split helps to reduce their drag in the water.

That’s why this style of fin is regularly favoured by people with ankle, knee or hip issues.

Their reduced drag makes them a lot easier on the joints, and you can actually achieve excellent propulsion with them.

Many swear by them being more powerful than paddle fins and being better in current.. but you will hear the exact same argument from those who prefer paddle fins.

Whether a split fin is right for you comes down to personal preference and kicking style.

Split fins heavily favour a flutter kick, and aren’t as efficient for frog kicking and reverse kicking. So if you aren’t going to use the appropriate kick style with these, you’re probably not going to like them!

Travel Fins

Travel fins are going to have shorter blades and be more compact, and are therefore also lighter than regular fins.

They’re great for those who travel for dives a lot and have limited luggage room, or would prefer their weight allowance to perhaps be taken up by other gear, like a BCD and regulator.

When sacrificing blade length you’ll be sacrificing some propulsion too – That’s the trade off.

But for most divers, i.e those who aren’t going to be facing off against crazy currents, their lack of propulsion in comparison to a normal set of fins probably isn’t going to cause much issue.

Some people like to buy two sets of fins, a set for when compact travel is essential, and a regular set for use close to home or when luggage capacity/weight isn’t an issue.

Channels & Jets

channels and jets scuba fins

You will notice some fins are designed with channels and jets. The idea behind this is that they channel the water down and away from the edge of the fin.

This fin design aids them in their efficiency and propulsion through the water, whilst also aiming to reduce the effort needed to kick.

Vented vs Non Vented

vented vs non vented scuba fins

Vented fins are those with holes within the blade.

Letting the water pass through these vents helps to reduce resistance on the upstroke kick (thereby reducing fatigue and increasing efficiency), and they aid thrust in the downstroke portion of the kick.

Hinged

The hinge point on this style of fin is where the foot joins to the blade.

They are supposedly the best of the paddle fin and split fin combined, giving you the power of a paddle fin with the kicking ease of a split fin

There are different types of hinge/pivot fins though. Those like the Seawing Novas where the blade is permanently affixed to the foot pocket (and are highly regarded and widely popular).

And those where the blade actually flips up and out of the way allowing you to be able to walk in them.

I am not a fan of those where the blade flips up like this as this feels like a weak point that is destined to eventually fail!

Snorkel Fins vs Scuba Fins

snorkel fins vs scuba fins

You may also be wondering whether that pair of snorkel fins you’ve got stashed away in your closet will do the trick?

To most people, snorkel fins and scuba fins look like the exact same thing.

But there are some key differences between the two which make snorkel fins a far from ideal choice as a scuba fin (and vice versa!)

Length

To start, snorkel fins are typically shorter in length than scuba fins, ranging from a travel fin size of around 15 inches, to about 25 inches at their longest.

Their shorter length makes them easier to manoeuvre with, easier to travel with, and you have less chance of kicking and damaging the reef with them.. but they offer less kicking power

The additional length of scuba fins helps offer divers more kicking power than snorkel fins.

But as snorkelers often stick to calm beaches and bays, and are only used at the surface or shallow depths, substantial kicking power is rarely needed.

Conversely, scuba divers may often battle against strong currents. Plus add in the fact that you are weighted down with a ton of dive gear – and that additional power needed becomes much more important!

Weight

Scuba fins are generally stiffer, thicker, longer.. and therefore can be much heavier than snorkel fins.

It’s these features that aid scuba fins in providing much more propulsion and a more powerful leg kick.

Fin Technology

snorkel fins are generally full foot fins, as the need for a dive boot is much less when snorkeling

Features that are usually found in scuba fins like vents, channels and splits are not really needed in snorkel fins.

To sum it all up, most people are going to find that snorkeling with a pair of scuba fins is tiresome, and that snorkel fins will fail to meet the power needs of deep diving and strong currents.

Our Verdict

Whether you’re looking to build your first set of scuba gear, or are just in the market for an upgrade then I recommend the Mares Avanti Quattro + as the best scuba diving fins for most people.

They’re built to last and versatile enough to accompany you from beginner to advanced and through all diving conditions.

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