If you are in a rush and are looking for the best scuba fins it’s the Mares X-Stream
Scuba diving isn’t just about seeing the world underneath the waves. It’s also about being able to explore a world unseen to most that almost seems alien in some ways.
In order to explore this hidden world properly, you need to have all the right equipment. Without a doubt, scuba fins along with scuba masks have to be counted among the essential pieces of diving equipment.
Throughout this article, we will discuss the different factors that help to determine the quality of the scuba fins. We’ll also look at specific products in the hopes that you’ll find the best diving fins for you among them.
The Best Scuba Fins Go as Follows:
- Mares X-Stream Scuba Fins
- Mares Avanti Quattro + Power Dive Fins
- Mares Avanti Quattro Plus
- CAPAS Fins
- Scubapro Twin Jet Scuba Diving Fins
The Factors to Consider When Shopping for the Best Scuba Fins
It is hugely important to pick out the right set of scuba fins. Wearing anything less than the ideal pair could result in you having to swim through the ocean depths in discomfort. You may not be able to swim anywhere at all with the wrong scuba fins on.
In this buyer’s guide, you will learn how scuba fins can differ from one another. You will also be able to select the pair of fins that’s best for you based on those factors.
The Fit of the Fin
Prior to sinking time into taking a closer look at a specific scuba fin, you should first find out if it actually fits you. To properly test out how a fin fits you, DiveZone recommends following a few steps.
- Just as you would with fitting a shoe, sit down first and put the fins on your feet.
- Depending on the type of scuba fin you’re trying out, you may have to wear some booties first.
- Full-foot fins should cover your feet entirely when worn. A small portion of your booties will remain exposed if you’re wearing open heel fins.
- Move your feet around in the diving fins and make sure that they don’t come loose.
- Put up your fin-wearing feet and flex them. The fins should stay on while you’re doing so.
- If the fins don’t stay in place, you will probably have to look for smaller items.
Comfort in the Pocket
You can argue that boosting your swimming ability is the most important thing scuba fins do, but personally, I believe that providing comfort while you’re underwater is their most essential duty. You want to be at ease while you’re underwater.
It will be harder to accomplish that if you’re not comfortable with the fins you’re wearing. That’s precisely why the foot pocket matters.
According to Divers Supply, there are two basic types of foot pockets to choose from, with those being full-foot and open heel.
You can enjoy the greatest level of comfort if you decide to go with scuba fins that feature full-foot pockets.
If you decide to wear fins with full-foot pockets, you can just slip your feet into them and they immediately become secure thanks to the presence of the rubber heels. You aren’t even supposed to wear anything on top of your feet aside from the fins themselves.
Getting rid of that additional layer should make it easier for you to feel more comfortable. These fins are also lighter and more flexible. Your feet won’t feel as though they are confined inside wet containers if you’re using these fins.
Because of the way these fins secure themselves on your feet, you can control them easier. There’s no barrier getting in the way, meaning there’s also nothing preventing you from moving the fins exactly the way you want to.
Full-foot fins are shorter and feature fewer moving parts. As long as you use them properly, you should be able to cover a good amount of distance within a short amount of time while you’re swimming.
The downside to full-foot fins is that they can leave you vulnerable to the cold. In places where the water runs colder than usual, using full-foot fins that don’t allow you to wear any additional layer in between could make you uncomfortable.
As much as possible, stick to using full-foot fins when you’re swimming in warm weather locations.
Once you’re done, you can easily slip off the full-foot fins just as you would with shoes.
Open Heel Fins
In contrast to the full-foot scuba fins, you have to do more things to get the open heel fins secured on your feet.
First, you will have to wear booties before you place your feet inside the open heel fins. Make sure that the fins will still fit you with the booties on before making any purchase. Once your feet are inside the fins, you will have to secure them using adjustable straps.
You don’t really have a choice if you want to swim in cold waters. Open heel fins are the only items that can ward off the cold and you must wear them.
Open heel fins are somewhat unwieldy but they can boost your kicks significantly. Furthermore, the right pair of open heel fins will also last for a long time.
If you’re planning to swim somewhere with cold water, you have to use open heel fins. In other scenarios, you are given more options.
Go with the full-foot fins for comfort and convenience, or for the open heel fins for durability and extra burst.
Picking Your Blade (Type)
The reason why fins can help you move around underwater is because of the parts known as the blades. The blades cut through the water and propel you forward.
The structure of the fin blade determines how you are propelled forward.
Listed below are the different types of fin blades.
Named as such because they feature a center channel, the channel blades enable scuba divers to move faster by offering less resistance, according to Leisure Pro. The water in front of you can just move across or even through the fins because of the channels featured.
Channel blades are also flexible and they may also come with side rails that also help to improve movement.
Fins with flippable blades are very convenient. Once you’re done scuba diving or before you go into the water, you can turn the blades up so that you can walk more easily. The blades will even lock back into working position once you’re kicking in the water again.
Fins with flippable blades can be handy, but they are not must-have items.
As long as you can live with their somewhat goofy appearance, force blades should be able to serve you well while scuba diving. They are designed for efficiency and quickness. You don’t have to expend as much energy with force blades on your feet.
The long blades attached to some scuba diving fins are great to have on if you absolutely must have complete control over your movements underwater. That’s less of a need when scuba diving, but still, you may find long blades to your liking if you want to be more precise.
You can think of the paddle blade as kind of the default model for diving fins. They’re easy to find, and usually inexpensive. Paddle blades don’t excel in any specific area. They are valued instead for being solid, all-around performers.
Last up are the fins that make use of split blades. Similar to force blades, you don’t have to spend too much energy using these scuba diving fins. The split design helps with that.
However, the split also results in these fins featuring less power. They are better suited for cruising under the water as opposed to high-speed paddling.
It is also worth noting that manufacturers have a tendency to use multiple blade styles to craft a single pair of fins. Don’t be surprised to see those while you’re shopping.
The Materials Used for Your Fins
Manufacturers of scuba fins don’t deviate that much from the norm in terms of the materials they use. Just for your reference though, you should see either polypropylene or polyurethane used to make scuba fins, according to ThoughtCo.
Polypropylene is used to make scuba fins for a variety of reasons.
First off, this material is remarkably durable – it’s resistant to both tearing and some of the reactive chemicals that may be found in ocean water. The aforementioned material also handles pressure well and because it’s highly impermeable, as noted by 3DInsider, you don’t have to worry about getting soaked on the inside as long as it fits you properly.
Polyurethane possesses many of the same qualities that serve to make polypropylene durable. Tearing and corrosion are not concerns if your fins are made out of this material. You can also count on polyurethane scuba fins lasting for years as long as you take care of them.
In recent years, some manufacturers have turned to using more sophisticated materials in their scuba fins. Those are worth trying out as well because they still offer the same qualities as polypropylene and polyurethane along with some notable additions.
Blade stiffness can vary and you need to have it at the right level if you want to ensure that the fins fit you correctly. The general rule is that stronger and more experienced divers should use stiffer fins. By failing to get fins that are adequately stiff, you could end up having a bad time while scuba diving.
The Scuba Doctor also urges you to use bungee or spring straps if you have had trouble using rubber straps in the past. Utility straps are also recommended because they are harder to lose.
Before you go scuba diving, it’s also a good idea to purchase some spare straps for your fins.
Lastly, if you’re going diving with a group of people you don’t know, you may want to write your name on your fins using a waterproof permanent marker.
Scuba Diving Fins Reviews
Picking out scuba fins is a more involved process than it may seem at first. As you have just read, there are numerous things you have to keep in mind. To make the search for your ideal pair of scuba fins just a bit easier, you can refer to the items listed below and see if any of them will work for you.
In stark contrast to the Avanti Quattro+, the Mares X-Stream isn’t as taxing on the body. Because of the fin’s unique design and the utilization of the Optimized Pivoting Blade system, you don’t have to be very precise with your kicks. Even if you are starting to get tired from spending quite a bit of time underwater, these fins will still make it possible for you to produce a good amount of thrust so that you can keep moving in your intended direction.
Channels again contribute a great deal to these fins being able to supply more than adequate thrusting power. There’s a larger channel located at the center of each fin and it is flanked by additional channels at the sides. As you can imagine, those channels are able to allow plenty of water to go through. That, in turn, boosts your movement speed.
You definitely won’t confuse these scuba fins with any of the alternative options on the market. It almost looks like a rubber boot connected to some form of wide ski. The design is most certainly unconventional and you will find people who are not too fond of it.
Those who don’t mind the design and even like it can rest assured that they are getting scuba fins that offer terrific performance together with great comfort. Look inside the foot pocket and you’ll see that there’s ribbing inside. The ribbing is included to protect your feet. It will keep the fins stable and prevent them from flexing too much.
The manufacturers note that the buckles can be quickly fastened or removed even if you’re wearing thick gloves. I personally didn’t find that to be the case and I had to focus on the buckles to get them on and off.
I can understand why some divers may shy away from these scuba fins. At the end of the day though, they are simply scuba fins that offer great performance and comfort while sporting a somewhat unconventional look.
- Optimized Pivoting Blade system ensures that you are always creating the right angles with your feet while swimming
- You don’t have to exert too much effort to move quickly using these scuba fins
- Different-sized channels help immensely with improving water flow through the fins
- Foot pocket features ribbing designed to keep your feet as comfortable as possible
- Techno-polymers and thermoplastic rubber boost the lifespan of these scuba fins
- Buckles can be difficult to fasten and remove at times
When Mares first came out with the Avanti Quattro, it was warmly embraced by the scuba diving community. More than a few scuba divers were wholly intrigued with this new Tecralene material that was being used to create these fins that, at the time, were considered revolutionary.
You don’t mess with a good thing and the manufacturers at Mares clearly know that they didn’t have to make drastic changes to the Avanti Quattro to make it even better. The Avanti Quattro Plus is a testament to that.
Once again, the manufacturers decided that they could stick to using the Tecralene material as the foundation of their latest creation and bring something great to the market. From my experiences with the Avanti Quattro Plus, I can certainly say that their instincts are spot on.
The fins are able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. If you suddenly decide to kick things into gear, you can easily do so because the Tecralene material is conducive to high speeds.
It helps that the Avanti Quattro Plus fins are also significantly lighter than their predecessors. They won’t drag you down and will instead help you move forward in a faster manner.
One more feature of the Quattro Plus that allows it to help with your movement underwater is the fact that it’s loaded with channels. It becomes so much easier to move against the current of the water when it can just go through the channels already included on the fins.
These scuba fins provide plenty of comfort. Many open heel fins can feel snug when worn because of how tight they are and the fact that you need to wear booties together with them.
That’s not the case with these Mares fins. The foot pocket is uniquely designed to make people feel more at ease while they are using it.
You should be wary of tiring yourself out too quickly while using these fins though. In all likelihood, you will be tempted to go full-speed with these fins on your feet and that can lead to you getting tired sooner rather than later.
- A notable improvement over the Avanti Quattro, lighter and capable of reaching higher speeds
- Scuba fins are exceptionally durable thanks in large part to the usage of the Tecralene material
- Channels featured on the Avanti Quattro Plus make it easier for scuba divers to reach high speeds
- Foot pocket is designed to cradle your feet even as you’re wearing booties
- Bungee straps form a reliable link between you and your scuba fins
- These are not the scuba fins you want to use for long diving sessions
The manufacturers from Mares have decided to use a newer type of material in the Avanti Quattro+, with that being Tecralene. The aforementioned material functions much in the same way as the polymers often used to make scuba fins. The most notable difference is that Tecralene is capable of providing an even greater boost to the fins’ propulsion.
It’s hard to find fault with the Tecralene material used in these scuba fins, to be honest.
The usage of Tecralene is not the only reason for why these scuba fins can offer so much additional power.
Form-wise, these are open heel fins. When it comes to functionality though, they act more like the full-foot variants.
The foot pocket is designed in such a way that you are still given complete control despite it being an open heel model. Its anatomical design can fit your foot so well that it can sometimes feel as though you’re just wearing some thick socks.
Also helping to improve the speed potential of these scuba fins are the channels. Four additional channels have been baked into the design of these fins and they will help you move through the water at a faster rate.
In an effort to make their users feel more secure while using their products, the folks over at Mares have gone ahead and attached bungee straps to these scuba fins. With those bungee straps attached, you won’t have to struggle with the rubber variants any longer.
Be warned though because these scuba fins can be draining. They can take quite a bit of effort to use and you may become so excited by their performance that you can end up tiring yourself out in a hurry.
As long as you manage your energy level carefully, you should be more than satisfied with the kind of performance these scuba fins provide.
- Tecralene material used in the construction of these scuba fins is highly durable
- Tecralene is similarly helpful in boosting your swimming speed
- Unique styling of foot pocket provides users with a greater level of control
- Four channels located on the individuals enhance speed
- Bungee straps make it easier for users to feel more confident while they are swimming
- Using these scuba fins can become tiring way earlier than expected
The CAPAS Snorkel Fins are quite dissimilar from many of the other options that you’ll see on the market for one specific reason. That reason is because they are adjustable.
If you’re going scuba diving with your partner and want to save a bit of money, you can do so by getting this pair of adjustable open heel fins. The adjustments can be made very quickly and there are numerous sizes possible. You and your partner can take turns using these scuba fins if you so desire.
Another unique feature of this scuba fin is that you actually have the option of using it either with booties or without. Normally, open heel fins have to be used with booties. However, because of the flexible materials used and the adjustable design featured, you can just change up the shape of the foot pocket to line it up with your needs better.
I do want to note though that you are putting yourself at risk for developing blisters if you decide to go barefoot. If you want to err on the side of caution, you can just keep wearing booties together with these scuba fins.
These are also some of the best dive fins to bring along for traveling. They are very compact and they can fit easily into any normal-sized bag you’re bringing along.
You also won’t have to spend too much time trying to get these scuba fins on your feet. Once your feet feel comfortable inside the provided pockets and you can tug on the straps and secure them.
Oddly, these are some of the stiffer scuba fins I’ve used. I say that’s odd because the adjustable feature is meant to make this item usable to more people. The stiff blades counteract that and make it difficult for smaller individuals to comfortably use these scuba fins.
Compared to the other items we’ve discussed, these CAPAS are also less durable.
- Adjustable design makes it possible for multiple people to use these scuba fins
- Adjustments can be made quickly
- Users have the option of wearing these scuba fins together with booties or to slip them on without extra protection
- These scuba fins can be secured on your feet within a short amount of time
- Among the more affordable scuba fins currently available
- They are not as durable as some of the previously reviewed scuba fins
- Using these fins without booties can lead to the formation of blisters
As mentioned earlier, the number one issue with most split blade scuba fins is that they lack the same kind of power that can be offered to you by other options. With that in mind, the folks at Scubapro deserve a great deal of credit for their work on the Twin Jet Scuba Diving Fins.
The manufacturers included several features designed to help boost the power that these scuba fins can offer.
First off, the blades are molded in such a way that they can produce a fair amount of power while in motion. They bend independently of each other and that continuous motion builds up additional momentum that helps propel you forward.
The manufacturers also took the time to position the blades in such a way that they can continue to offer power regardless of whether they are moving up or down.
Additional channels have also been installed to help reduce the drag on these scuba fins.
So, do these additions actually work to make this pair of split blade fins faster?
Compared to other split blade fins on the market, yes, you can certainly see that Scubapro’s offering is capable of getting you around faster. Stack them up next to other fin types and their lack of speed still shows.
- Numerous features have been introduced to help these split blade fins become faster
- Specially molded are capable of producing more power with each stroke
- Positioning of the blades also contribute to improved movement in the water
- Vents added to the blades also do a great job of reducing the amount of drag you experience
- Faster than the average split blade scuba fin
- Even with the improvements included, these scuba fins are still slower than other items without split blades
It wasn’t easy, but after getting plenty of chances to use the products listed above, I’m going with the X-Stream scuba fins from Mares as my personal favorites.
The buckles can be troublesome at times, but they are minor blemishes on an otherwise terrific product. If you want to move quickly through the water while remaining comfortable, these fins are your best bet. It also helps that they are very durable.
The next time you go scuba diving, give a second thought to using the aforementioned scuba fins as they may be able to improve your experience immensely.