Whether you’re a casual holiday snorkeler or a seasoned deep sea diver, you’re going to need a pair of good quality fins.
After a good quality snorkel and mask, they’re the most essential piece of your kit.
A great pair of fins will add immensely to your snorkelling experience, propelling you to harder to reach spots and allowing you to explore more of the magical underwater world.
They also add a level of safety for any swimmer unlucky enough to get caught in a rip or other current.
A poor pair of fins however, can result in cramp and muscle fatigue, and even nasty blisters.
In this article we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision and the confidence to buy a pair of fins that will serve you well for many years come.
Our top pick: Cressi Pluma Full Foot Fins
Utilising Cressi’s technology previously reserved only for their high-end diving and free-dive fins, the Pluma is one of the highest performing snorkelling fins on the market.
One of Cressi’s most popular models, these fins are super light-weight, comfortable, and responsive.
The Pluma is a safe bet for anyone looking for a high-end fin at a budget price point.
Depending on your foot size, they range between 56cm – 63cm in length and weigh around 1kg.
- Comfortable full foot fin design
- Light polypropylene construction
- Snappy rebound
- Designed for less leg fatigue
- Don’t float
Also great: Wildhorn Topside Hydro Fins
From the brand that turned the snorkelling world on its head with their full face snorkel mask, comes the Topside Hydro Fin.
Half reef shoe half fin, this offering from Wildhorn is revolutionising the fin market around the world.
Wildhorn have focused on hitting the “sweet-spot” in terms of providing fins that are comfortable, walkable, and portable, but still perform well in the water.
- Unique walkable fin design
- Premium comfort neoprene upper
- Rugged adjustable strap system
- Heat weld and stitch construction
- Free-float technology means they don’t sink
- Smaller than usual fins means less power generation
- Some users find their buoyancy an issue when swimming
Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins
Another great option from Cressi, the Palau Short Fins are designed for a wide range of uses and given their compact size (41-46cm in length), are perfect for travel.
The back strap on these fins are comfortable, with or without thin footwear.
Further, the option to adjust allows you to get the perfect fit, or for them to be shared amongst several people in a group with varying sizes of feet.
A super-versatile option for those that want a comfortable, reliable pair of fins for a range of scenarios.
- Soft short blade and foot pocket means they are able to be put on quickly and easily
- Accommodates 3-4 consecutive sizes and can be worn over thin footwear
- Adjustable fin for pool or beach use
- Great for travel
- Less power than larger designs
- Some people may find back strap less comfortable than full foot design
Deep Blue Gear Latitude 2 Fins
A slightly longer and more rigid alternative to Deep Blue’s Aquanaut II, these fins provide a comfortable yet high performance option for multipurpose use.
The latest addition to the Deep Blue facility of fins, the Latitude 2’s have a medium length blade (58-61cm) and are designed for minimising fatigue and optimising efficiency.
Overall, a great option for those looking for a comfortable, traditional shaped fin, utilising the latest in design technology.
- Lightweight and durable
- Comfortable rubber full foot design reduces friction and chafing
- Medium length blade provides more power than shorter fins
- Rubberised blade center cups the water maximum propulsion efficiency and minimum fatigue
- Don’t float
Deep Blue Gear Aquanaut II Fins
A no fuss, super comfortable, soft rubber fin, the Aquanaut IIs are medium in length and designed for multi-purpose in use.
They are small enough to be stuffed in luggage for a flight but big enough in size to provide power when you need it.
Coming in a large range of sizes, these fins are a great option for the whole family.
- 100% Durable rubber
- Comfortable soft rubber full foot design
- Medium size provides good propulsion but minimises fatigue
- Float for easy retrieval
- Less power than larger designs
How To Choose Snorkelling Fins
When choosing your snorkel fins, it really comes down to 2 key factors: comfort and performance. Below we look at the key things you’ll need to consider to ensure you tick the box on both of these.
Closed foot vs Open foot
Fins generally are either closed foot or open foot in design.
With closed foot fins, the silicone rubber covers your entire heel, much like a shoe or ankle sock.
These are generally more comfortable than the open foot design, and provide similar power.
Given they are also generally lighter than other varieties, they are generally the design recommended for snorkelling.
Open foot fins have a strap that goes around the ankle, meaning a lot of the heel and ankle are still exposed.
The key purpose of this design is to allow them to be worn with diving boots, essential for diving in cold conditions.
The length of general purpose snorkelling fins ranges from around 50 – 65cm.
The longer the fin, the more thrust available to the user.
However, longer fins are generally less manoeuvrable, and as they require more energy and force, they are more likely to result in cramp or fatigue.
They are also harder to walk in.
We recommend going for something in the 40-50cm range for a travel fin, or 50-60cm for general use.
Split fins vs Regular fins
Split fins, as the name suggests, have a split down the middle, allowing water to pass through when the wearer kicks.
If used correctly they provide increased efficiency with less energy required due to reduced resistance.
Regular fins, also called paddle or blade fins, provide increased power and manoeuvrability, but can result in fatigue or cramp if used at high intensity for extended periods.
If however, you stick within the 50-65cm range you should be fine with this type of fin – the issues mentioned come into play more when talking about diving fins which are longer in length.
It’s really down to personal preference, and there’s definitely great options available in both the split and regular variety.
It is worth noting that split fins do require a slightly different technique so if you haven’t used them before you may want a few practice sessions before taking them out for anything too challenging.
Size and storage
A final consideration you’ll need to make relates to your likely mode of transport for your fins.
Are you going to throwing them in the back of the car for a short drive to the beach, or are you more likely to need to fit them in your luggage for a flight up to the great barrier reef or bali?
Naturally, the smaller the fins, the better they are for travel. Some brands are now producing smaller, more rigid fins specifically for the travel market, that are comparable in power to traditional styles but pack into a smaller space.
With improvements in technology and design over the past few years, there really are some great options for snorkelling fins on the market.
We think the Cressi Pluma represent the best all around option here, but in the end, it’s all about finding the pair of fins that best fits your needs and budget.