How To Find the Best Snorkel Fins For Your Adventure

There are many options and fits when looking for snorkeling fins, but which fins best fit your adventure?

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Expert: Cameron – I have been active in all water-based adventures since 2014. While working overseas I obtained my advanced PADI diving certificate and when needing to fly within the day I go snorkeling instead. I have snorkeled with many different fittings of fins and have come to know exactly what questions to ask.


Finding the right pair of snorkeling fins is key for your comfort and performance in the water.

There are different types depend on things you would not normally think about at times like how much you want to carry to the water.  

There are advantages and disadvantages to every type, but to match yourself to your best snorkeling fin what is it that you need to be looking for?

Choosing the best snorkeling fin for you requires understanding your options, taking into consideration the fit and size of the fin, the comfort of the foot pocket, knowing how to properly and comfortably put on and take off, the fin as well as knowing how you are traveling to your snorkel destination.

Beyond this, there are some additional tips and adjustment techniques to get you the most out of your fins that we will break down below.

Options for the Best Snorkel Fins

The type of fin that is best for you depends on a number of factors; whether you prefer the open or closed heel design, the length of the fin blade, and the type of fin material.

There are 6 different types of fins, but the following features can be interchangeable with each of them.

Read: Do You Need Snorkeling Fins to Snorkel?

Closed Foot vs Open Heel Snorkel Fins

Despite what your needs are, a snorkeling fin that fits you can come in either style.

Closed or Full Foot Snorkel Fins

Closed Foot Fin

Closed Foot fins are the most commonly used as they are easier to wear and probably manufacture since there are no moving parts like straps.

These snorkel fins fit over your foot like a boot and can typically weigh less than other fin types.

They are better used in warmer waters since there is no thermal protection around the foot.

Open Heel Snorkel Fins

Open Heel Fins

These have adjustable straps on the heel which can give more use over time, especially for children since their foot size is still growing.

Most need booties or wet socks to prevent chafing while in use.

Since you usually wear booties or dive socks these are good for colder waters.

Long Blade Snorkel Fins vs Short Blade Snorkel Fins

I prefer long blade snorkel fins, but they are definitely hard to fit in honestly any kind of suit case.

Long Blade Snorkel Fins

Long blade fins are perfect if you want extra power when kicking and swimming in deeper water.

These fins range from 21 to 26 inches which can be difficult to pack for traveling.

These are good for strong kickers who want to make distance or for those who want distance without exerting much effort; it works both ways.

Typically, if you are going into deeper waters or freediving then this is what you are looking for.

Short Blade Snorkel Fins

These are often used in shallow water and can offer more maneuverability since you will not be extending your natural foot reach as much as a long blade.

They used to be sized around 15 to 20 inches long, but the travel size snorkel fins that are on the market come in even smaller sizes.

This shorter size of course makes them easier to pack in your luggage or beach bag.

Snorkel Fin Materials

Fins are usually made of a combination of plastic and rubber, with elastomer being one of the most popular materials used.

Elastomer offers excellent flexibility and is lightweight, allowing for extended use and minimal fatigue.

According to this post, elastomer is a description for any type of elastic material, such as synthetic rubber, while rubber is a specific type of elastomer.

Other materials used for snorkeling fins include molded PU, thermoplastic rubber, and carbon fiber, all offering slightly different performance.

Snorkel Fin Comfort

Comfort should be the main factor when deciding the fin you want to snorkel with.

Long uses of fins that are not comfortable can lead to chafing and subsequently infections depending on the waters you are snorkeling in.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best snorkeling fins for your needs.

Snorkel Fin Fit and Size

Getting the correct size and fit is key for comfort.

The fins should fit snugly on your feet, but not be so tight that they cause discomfort or circulation problems.

While knowing the measurements of your feet can help when ordering online, it is best to head to a local dive shop and try some fins on yourself; especially if you are using booties.

Snorkel Fin Foot Pocket Comfort

The foot pocket of your snorkeling fin should be as comfortable as possible.

Some manufacturers have adopted technologies such as ergonomically designed pockets and foam inserts to ensure comfort and reduce the risk of blisters and other injuries.

Since I have a high arch, I prefer to wear booties with my fins to correct for this.

Ease to Put on and Take Off Your Snorkeling Fins

The fin should be easy to slip your foot into and easy to adjust when putting it on.

This is where fin or diving socks are helpful since it is easier to slip your feet in and out of the fin.

Keep in mind that you will likely be putting your fins on after you enter the water and if you cannot stand it may be difficult.

Putting on Your Snorkel Fin

When putting on your fins, there are a few practical tips that will help you get the most out of them.

How to Put on the Snorkel Fin

With open heel fins, keep the adjustment straps loose and after your foot is all the way forward into the fin tighten the straps.

With a closed foot fin, grip the back of the heel section and pull it onto your foot like a boot.

Make sure the fin is completely covering the heel of your foot and the pocket is comfortable.

Checking for Proper Snorkel Fin Fit

To check for a proper fit and to maximize comfort, it is important to make sure that the pocket is secure around the foot.

Use the heel strap to make adjustments, making sure the fin fits snugly but not too tight.

Do not overtighten the straps as this can cause discomfort or even bruising.

Professional Hints for Finding the Best Snorkeling Fin

Freediving Snorkeler

Go to your local dive shop to get fitted for the fin you are looking for.

These shops offer a wide selection of fins and the ones I have been to have offered for me to try on booties with the fins I want to try as well.

Get booties or fin socks, this is the absolute best way to prevent chafing.

Chafing can cause sores quicker while in water since your skin is softer after an extended time submerged.

Keep the fin snug to your foot like it is attached; loose fins will at worse fall off and sink to the bottom of the water or best tire you out from exerting extra energy.

Snorkel Fin Maintenance Tips

Learn: How to Clean Your Snorkel Gear

Rinse your fins in clean water after every use and make sure to dry them off with a cloth before storage.

This prevents bacteria and algae buildup, as well as any other materials which may damage the fin over time.

It is important to check the straps of the fins for wear and tear periodically to ensure that you do not have a break in the strap while in use.

Summary

The right pair of snorkeling fins is essential for a comfortable and safe excursion.

When selecting the perfect pair of fins consider the open heel or closed foot design, the length of the fin blade, and the type of fin material.

Make sure to try them on for fit and size and check that the foot pocket is comfortable.

Remember to maintain your fins and check the straps regularly for wear and tear.

With the right fin, you can ensure excellent performance and maximum safety under the sea.


[Sources and References]

Administrator, Globaleee. “Global Elastomeric Products, Inc..” Oil Industry Rubber Products, www.globaleee.com/global-news/-history/elastomers-rubbers-difference#:~:text=However%2C%20%22rubber%22%20and%20%22,a%20specific%20type%20of%20elastomer. Accessed 24 May 2023.

Meldgaard, N. and Pedersen, B. (2017). Scuba & Open Water Diving. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Al-Ahdal, A., Al-Awadhi, A., & Masoodi, M. (2015). The effect of the length of snorkeling fins on swim performance. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 55(12), 1409-1414.