Fitted like shoes, so it’s easy to find your size. Comfortable. Functions as both fin and shoe. Floats. Slim and easy to pack for travel. Multiple colors available.
These are great dive fins for surface swimming and beachside fun, not scuba diving or freediving.
Lightweight. Small design for extra portability. 4 sizes available, from small to extra-large. Includes mesh bag. Great for surface swimming. 3 colors available. Affordable.
These dive fins are designed to be similar to your shoe size, but some swimmers may need to fill out the fin with thick socks.
Available in 3 sizes. Includes convenient mesh carrying bag. Multiple colors available. Comfortable gel foot strap. Moderately priced.
These larger dive fins will take up more real estate in your luggage.
Fits based on your shoe size. Lightweight fin. Designed for snorkeling, scuba diving, and freediving. Soft and cozy foot pocket. Long blade for maximum maneuverability. 4 colors available.
These extra-long fins are awesome for diving, but they are fairly large.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
For better or worse, humans are not made to live underwater or even move around with ease in the water. However, because so many of us enjoy lots of activities on and in the water, we have at our disposal a wide range of equipment that allows us to indulge in our aquatic interests. And for those who want to swim in and explore deep waters, dive fins are essential.
Attached to your feet like shoes, dive fins, also known as swim fins or flippers, allow you to move efficiently and effectively through the water whether you’re snorkeling just below the surface, swimming around shallow reefs, or scuba diving to greater depths. Dive fins come in a selection of shapes and sizes of varying construction and quality, and recent decades have seen new innovations to make fins more efficient.
The fins you need will depend on your skill level and intended use. There’s a lot of information to note before purchasing dive fins. If you’re confused, our guide can help you find the pair that’s right for you.
The type of diving and swimming you do will dictate the size of the fin you choose. For beginners, it’s best to go with something simpler and cheaper in order to get used to swimming with fins. Comfort is most important. As you gain experience, you might experiment with different types of diving and dive fins, focusing on particular kicks and maximizing energy efficiency.
Deep: Generally, the deeper the dive, the longer the fin. You want to move more quickly through the water with less energy.
Shallow: Shorter fins are ideal for snorkeling or exploring reefs because you’re moving more slowly and turning more often. Shorter fins are also helpful if you’re swimming into tight underwater spaces, and they’re easier to move around in if you’re walking along the surf.
Paddle: Many dive fins are thin, wide, stiff blades that improve speed and efficiency when kicking. Some have grooves or holes intended to further help with efficient energy use. The stiffness of the paddles offers more resistance as you kick, so paddle fins require a bit more energy to use than other types. They work best with strong alternating kicks. It is easy to maneuver in the water wearing these fins, and they also stop your forward motion very effectively. Paddle dive fins are more common and relatively cheaper than other styles.
Split: Some dive fins are split down the middle, making them far more flexible than paddle fins and more efficient when using shallow flutter kicks instead of longer, slower movements. These dive fins work well if you’re not interested in going long distances quickly — they don’t give the same propulsion as paddle fins. However, split fins are good if you want to stabilize in one place to take photos, for example.
Full-foot fins: Some dive fins cover your entire foot like a shoe or slipper. They’re intended to be worn barefoot or with diving socks. Because they are one piece, the fins aren’t adjustable, so finding the right fit is important, but they are easier to slip into and out of than open-heel fins. These fins are ideal for swimming along the surface, in particular where one might enter and exit the water from a boat. These are also sometimes called “barefoot” fins, and as such, your feet can get cold if you’re diving in chilly water.
Open-heel fins: In fins with an open heel, your heels are exposed except for a strap or spring strap that holds the fins on your feet. These dive fins fit a wider range of foot sizes because, unlike full-foot fins, they’re adjustable. As a result, they also pair well with diving booties or socks, making them well suited to scuba diving and swimming in colder water.
Monofin: This is less a feature and more an advanced option for particular swimmers, especially those in training. A monofin is a single large, wide fin that fits your feet together as one, something akin to a mermaid’s tail. You move through the water using a dolphin kick in which both legs move simultaneously.
Vented fins: These are paddle fins that block water during forward kicks in order to keep you moving efficiently but allow water to pass through the fins during recovery kicks to lessen the energy expended.
Channel fins: These dive fins have channels made of another material to make the fins more flexible, effectively cupping the water and creating more propulsion.
Hinged fins: These newer dive fins include a mechanism that maximizes the energy from each kick to increase propulsion. Some divers swear by them while others find them hard to get used to.
Removable blades: Some fins allow you to remove the blades, making it easier to walk without removing the fins.
Open toe: Some fins keep your toes exposed, which helps when draining the fins after use and makes them easier to get on and off.
Color: Dive fins come in many different colors. Picking a color is a personal choice, but a brighter color may help you be more visible to fellow divers. A unique color will also help other divers identify you.
Dive mask: A dive mask is imperative. It protects your eyes and gives you far greater visibility than you’d have without one.
Diving socks: Neoprene diving socks are rubber-like booties that protect your feet from the sun, cold temperatures, and anything you might bump into or step on along the way. They’re useful if you’re opting for open-heel fins.
Spare straps: If the primary strap on a fin breaks, you’ll want to have extras handly.
Mesh bag: Some fins come with a mesh bag for quick storage and transport. The mesh material means you can throw the fins into the bag right from the water.
Dive fins vary widely in price. Higher-priced fins are geared toward serious divers who are addressing specific diving needs. Cheaper fins are meant for recreational swimmers. While some fins cost the same regardless of size, some styles have different prices for different sizes.
Inexpensive: From $20 to $60, you’ll be able to buy a decent pair of recreational paddle fins. These may be long or short, and they come in a variety of colors. You may find a few more specialized fins in this price range as well.
Mid-range: Between $60 and $90, you’ll find both paddle and split fins in various sizes and colors. They may feature channel blades and be either open-heel or full-foot fins. Some hinged fins are also available.
Expensive: Spend more than $90 and you’ll find durable, high-performance fins for more serious divers. These fins are geared specifically for scuba diving or freediving.
Q. How much do dive fins weigh?
A. Most fins weigh around one pound, but some may be as much as two. It’s important to note that weight doesn’t necessarily equate to durability or stiffness, important in paddle fins.
Q. How do I take care of my dive fins?
A. After use, clean the fins with fresh water. Make sure if you’ve used them in a pool that the chlorine is completely rinsed off. Air-dry the fins out of direct sunlight and store them in a dry place.
Q. What size dive fin is best for my feet?
A. One of the hardest things about finding the right fins is making sure they fit. Open-heel fins are easier to fit because they come in general sizes and adjust with a strap, but full-foot fins match specific shoe sizes. However, each company has a different sizing chart, so if you can’t try the fins on in person, look for a conversion guide to find the best fit. If you intend to wear diving socks, you might want to go up half a size with your fins.