The BEST Snorkel Fins [2021] – Pro Adventure Guide

Short on time? Our pick for the best snorkel fins are the Scubapro Seawing Nova

There are many different types of snorkel fin on the market, each serving its own unique purpose and functionality.

The best snorkeling fins for you might be the convenience of a shorter fin to go traveling with, or, it could be the superior propulsion from a longer split fin 

Since snorkeling ability and the application will differ from one person to the next I have chosen the best snorkel fins to accommodate all adventurers! Enjoy!

 

best snorkeling fins

The BEST snorkel fins 2021

What are the advantages/benefits of snorkel fins?

Snorkel fins provide the wearer with so many benefits – And these benefits will be known to you the instant you first put your fins on in the water.

The number one advantage that snorkel fins provide is that you are able to swim much more quickly and efficiently. Not having to over exert yourself whilst exploring a reef or swimming from one location to another will allow you to stay in the water for longer and to focus more on enjoying your surroundings.

Should you also be swimming against any currents, or get caught in one – you will be extremely thankful that you purchased those fins!

Considerations when buying Snorkeling Fins

There are several different factors to consider when purchasing a pair of snorkel fins which we will discuss in depth below. The best snorkel fins for one particular user or situation may not suit another so it’s key to understand what your requirements are before you make a purchase.

Types of Snorkel Fin

long fins

Long paddle fin

Long snorkel fins create more thrust and propel you through the water much quicker than a short fin. 

This type of fin is a great all round option and my preferred option over the short fin. 

 

Long snorkel fins  are much better in open water, deeper water, and where you may be fighting against stronger currents than a short fin – The disadvantage to this type of fin is that being longer and heavier than a short fin can present travel limitations. 

If you only have limited luggage space than this type of fin might not be an option for you – But it is the type of fin that we recommend if travel size isn’t a limiting factor for you.

short fins

Short fins are good in calmer waters where the currents aren’t so strong and where a lot of propulsion isn’t really necessary. 

They’re also better for swimming in shallower waters so you aren’t in danger of kicking the sea bed/coral underneath you.

Short Snorkel Fin

The main benefit of a short fin however is how travel friendly they are due to their smaller size and weight. Short fins tend to be more associated with beginner snorkelers as they are much easier to kick in the water than a longer/heavier fin

split fins VS Paddle fins

split fins

split snorkel fin

Split fins (as the name implies), have a split straight down the middle of them – Splitting the fin into two blades which move freely of each other. 

When used correctly split fins require less physical power output than paddle fins, allowing you to conserve precious energy when on long snorkel trips.

 

Split fins have the ability to propel you faster than a traditional paddle fin, but some find them tougher to manoeuvre in close quarters than paddle fins.

paddle fins

Paddle bladed fins are the most common type of snorkel fin. A traditional paddle style fin is probably the first thing you picture in your mind when you think of snorkel fins. 

Paddle fins provide good maneuverability in close quarters, and ease in changing direction – They also provide you with the option of a wide variety of different leg kicking strokes that split fins do not.

open heel snorkel fins

You should weigh up the pros and cons of both – Paddle fins generally require more muscular exertion than a split fin, which have less resistance. However paddle style fins require larger, stronger kicking strokes, whereas split fins require a short/quick flutter style kick – So your choice of paddle or split fins may come down to which kind of foot stroke you prefer using.

open heel snorkel fins

Open foot snorkel fins utilise a strap type design – 

You slide your foot into place inside the fin and then tighten the strap around the back of your foot to hold it there. 

This open heel design allows for the use of aqua socks with your fins. This type of setup offers the benefit of keeping your feet warm in colder waters, and provides more protection for your feet around rockier terrain as the aqua socks help to protect your feet as you navigate in and around rocky beaches.

Size wise it is much easier to go with an open heel fin as they can be tightened as much as you need – This type of closure also tends to benefit people who have wider feet.

closed heel/full foot snorkel fins

Closed heel fins offer a simple slip on/slip off style design, and are meant to be worn barefoot. This type of fin is ideal for warmer, tropical waters as the added insulation of a water sock isn’t needed.

Choosing the correct size fin is much a much more important detail with this type of fin as too loose and the fin may slip off, but too tight and the fin will be uncomfortable and potentially cause blisters.

Closed heel fins do tend to be the better option if you do not require the added protection and warmth of a water sock, as they tend to weigh less, cause less drag in the water, are cheaper, and they take up less space in your luggage!

how to use snorkel fins

The important thing is to let your fins do the hard work – That’s their purpose and it’s what they are designed for. With a good pair of snorkel fins you won’t need to use your arms to pull you through the water and you can conserve precious energy.

The style of kick that you use with your fins will depend on the type of fin you buy (paddle or split).

 

Paddle fins require a larger stronger kicking style, and you will kick slower/less frequently. This type of kick will require more strength from the thighs.

With split fins the kicking style is more of a flutter kick – the kick is much smaller, and a little faster and more frequent than with paddle fins. 

It’s important to match your kicking style to the type of fin you have as big strong kicks do not work that well with split fins, and short flutter style kicks are not as well suited for paddle fins.

 

how to care for your snorkel fins

As with all of your snorkel gear, if you want your gear to withstand the test of time then it is important that you take care of it.

In order to get the best out of your snorkel fins time and time again then we recommend that you rinse them with warm freshwater after each use, and allow them to air dry away from the sun.

When it comes to storing your gear we also recommend that you keep it out of the sunlight (and not stored anywhere that could get excessively hot – Like the trunk of a car), and do not allow them to rest in an awkward shape that could warp the fin in any way.

the best snorkel fins reviewed

3.5/5
5/5
4.8/5

The Scubapro Nova fins are very highly rated wherever you look – If you’re after an amazing pair of fins that will last a long time and money isn’t an issue then I recommend these fins over all others! The propulsion provided by the Nova is excellent meaning you’re able to conserve precious energy to be able to snorkel for longer.

PROS
CONS
4.5/5
4.5/5
4.5/5

The Cressi Puma fins have a long blade which provides good propulsion (even in stronger currents). The Puma’s are comfortable to wear but check the sizing before purchase – They run slightly large and so you’re probably best going for a size down.

PROS
CONS
4.4/5
4.5/5
4.4/5

The Mares Avanti Superchannel are lightweight and compact enough to travel with – The fin itself is not too stiff therefore you won’t drain too much energy kicking with these on. They provide very good propulsion and are often complimented on their soft/comfortable foot pocket.

PROS
CONS
4/5
4.3/5
4.2/5

Split fins provide a lot of propulsion – If you’re looking for a fin that is going to propel you through the water as fast as possible then a split fin might be right up your alley. The Atomic Aquatics split fins are competitively priced and surprisingly lightweight.

PROS
CONS
5/5
4/5
5/5

If luggage space is an issue for you then you may want to consider a short paddle fin like the Cressi Palau short fin. Very compact and lightweight, the Cressi Palau is ideal if you are limited for room in your suitcase. 

PROS
CONS

conclusion

For propulsion, durability, comfort and performance nothing matches the ScubaPro Seawing Nova Snorkel Fins – They tick every box that you could ask for in a snorkel fin, and they come in either a full foot or a strap version.

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