So, you’ve gotten the rest of your snorkeling gear at hand and now need to find some fins to wear.
Choosing the appropriate snorkel itself can be relatively straightforward, but with any kind of footwear comes an additional layer of complications as you need them to be reliable and functional in the water, but also comfortable with the biomechanical movements of your feet and legs.
Don’t let yourself get too bogged down in all these considerations, as we’ve sifted through the current market to find you five of our favorite snorkeling fins.
We’ve put them in their own entries along with the pros and cons of diving in them.
What’s more, we’ve also added a buyers’ guide and a small FAQ so that you can read on what factors came into our ranking, and hopefully use that knowledge to get yourself better products when you next dive into the market.
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Why it's our top pick
If you want to get under the water as soon as possible, then you’ll be happy to see that we have our top performing fins at the head of this article for you to check out.
We liked the WildHorn Outfitters Topside Snorkel Fins, the only closed-heeled fins on our list that are competent as both fins and sneakers.
The rest are open heeled, so if that’s what you’re looking for you can find those further below.
For now, though, see why we liked the Topside Snorkel Fins below:
These fins are very versatile, possessing some sneaker features such as neoprene treads and Velcro adjustable straps, making these fins great as amphibious footwear.
The blades on these fins are short, allowing for stronger down kicks and, as a result, provide more thrust.
Surprisingly buoyant fins that float to the surface of the water should they come off, and they lighten your legs when worn to reduce water drag too.
Best Snorkeling Fin - Comparison Table
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Best Snorkeling Fin - Reviews
Our first snorkeling fins on the list are the WildHorn Outfitters Topside Snorkel Fins which, as you’ll see at first glance, don’t look too much like fins at all.
That’s because these are closed-heel fins with a reinforced topside that makes them fit like shoes complete with lots of ankle support, neoprene treaded sneaker-like soles, and an adjustable Velcro strap.
These combine the best features of fins and sneakers, allowing you to be amphibious and traverse easily on land and in water. They’re also handy for boarding in the water, too.
As for the blades of these fins, they’re shorter and so more geared towards casual snorkeling rather than deeper diving.
However, the shortness of these blades provides a stronger down kick than up kick due to the fins’ shoe-like design, providing some extra thrust.
Despite how they look, they’re surprisingly buoyant, lifting the ends of your legs in the water and so lessening drag.
They’re so buoyant that they float, so should they accidentally come off it’s of little worry since they float back to the surface instead of sinking into the deep.
The second fins we have on our list are the Seavenger Torpedo Snorkeling Fins, a pair of 16-inch long fins that clear a lot of water when you swim with them, being ideal for snorkelers looking for extra speed and mobility.
They’re also made with durable materials that retain their flexibility so that they can maneuver easier.
The foot pockets are very soft, soft enough to be worn with or without footwear according to your preferences.
The fit can be made even more comfortable by using the adjustable straps and easy-click buckles to manage how snug they are around your feet.
These fins also come with a drying mesh carry bag that are a convenient means of transporting and storing these fins without them sustaining damage or becoming misshapen.
At the midpoint of our list are the Cozia Design Adjustable Swim Fins Set, a set that includes open-heeled flippers along with neoprene water socks to wear with them.
The neoprene water socks are unisex, comfortable, and allow you to walk on land without risking damage or discomfort to your bare feet.
The fins themselves are adjustable, as their name suggests, with a strap and button system that allows you to get that perfect fit with a little elbow grease on your part.
It’s worth it to find the right fit, too, since these fins are capable at both deeper and shallower waters.
The foot pocket has extra padding that not only works to make these comfortable to wear but they also maintain the shape of the fins so that they don’t distort or become misshapen under certain hydrostatic pressures.
Though not a concern with the fins themselves, the socks that come with these fins may not fit your feet very well, instead squeezing your toes and rubbing in certain places.
If you’re going for open-heeled fins, you should have a spare pair to hand anyway.
The next fins in our list are the Palau Short Adjustable Fins from Cressi, a brand with a wide variety of fin products but we liked these ones the best.
They’re relatively muted in terms of color, mostly being black with splashes of color at the tips but are versatile since they’re designed for both snorkeling and scuba diving.
The foot pocket of these open-heel fins are manufactured with a soft elastomer to make them more comfortable to wear, and the top of that foot pocket smoothly transitions into the fin blade for maximum surface area, increasing propulsion force.
The fin itself is designed to withstand a lot of hydrostatic pressure since it can also be used for scuba diving, staying in place when you descend to depths that snorkelers don’t usually go to.
Don’t mistake their endurance for them being cumbersome, however, as these blades are also lightweight and responsive.
Sizing can be an issue, particularly if you’re a man with wider feet, so that’s something to be aware of.
Last but certainly not least are the Sport Adjustable Snorkeling Fins from Phantom Aquatics, short-finned snorkeling aids that are available in a variety of colors, some of them eye-catching.
These open-heeled fins are designed with efficient propulsion in mind, the soles plates being extended to add thrust and relieve strain on your feet during use.
This energy transfer efficiency is further aided by the fact these are made with high grade polypropylene materials that are lightweight and provide more thrust per kick.
The small disturbances to your swimming form that happen when underwater, the main one being the fin shape deviating, are corrected by structurally optimized hinge points that correct the fin shape, ready for every kick cycle.
As for the foot pockets, they’re contoured for maximum comfort and don’t require the use of another footwear while not precluding them. They also wear well because of their reliable strap adjustment system that makes putting these fins on and taking them off simple.
If you’re not a fan of fins that can be called stiff, then you should know that other users have had the same complaint about these short fins.
Best Snorkeling Fin - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best snorkeling fins
If you do want to dive into the details of what we think is important when rating snorkeling fins, we’ve written this handy buyers’ guide where we’ve broken down the fins by their constructional and functional properties, and commented on what you should look for.
We ended up breaking them down into the fin blade length, fin flexibility, foot pocket, adjustability, and accessibility, as in how easy it is to put the fins on and off.
Fin Blade Length
Your preferences and the way you’ll be using the fins here are the main things to consider. Since the length of the fin blade grants you more surface area, you’ll be propelled further with every kick.
This is great for long dives or other situations where you may want to clear a lot of water in as little time and effort as possible.
On the other hand, you’ll want shorter fins if you anticipate a lot of walking with the fins.
Walking with longer fins is obviously unwieldy and inconvenient, and so shorter fins are a less specialized and more casual option for those who want to have some amphibious capability.
Fin Blade Flexibility
When you kick to push yourself forward, the rigidity of the fin blade is also a factor in how far you are propelled. More flexible fins are springier, so it logically follows that you want a lot of flexibility to get the most distance from your kicks.
There is such a thing as too flexible, however, to the point of floppiness, so you should avoid overly-floppy and overly-rigid blades and find a happy but springy medium that matches the power of your kicks well.
There are two main types of blades you’ll find on commercial snorkeling fins, being either split or paddle style.
Split fins provide more propulsion per kick than others, making them more efficient and lightweight, whereas paddle fins rely on the brute force of their stiff single blade to propel you, but this requires more exertion on your part.
The foot pocket is essentially the shoe portion of the fins where your feet will rest, and so includes the foot bed and how it fits around your feet.
The material that these foot pockets get made from have a large say in how they operate, e.g. softer materials will make blisters less common and less severe, eliminating them as a possible distraction when you’re in the deep.
The material and the texture of said material can also help add to the capabilities of fins. Having ridges inside the foot pocket is a common means by which traction is held so that you can kick freely without them coming off in the water.
The fit of the fin is also affected by whether the toe and heel are open or closed, they fit differently but this is largely a preference that different divers will be familiar with.
It also dictates what other gear you may want to wear, with full foot fins being better off worn barefoot rather than with water socks.
On the other hand, open heel fins benefit from water socks and boots to stop foot rubbing.
Going without water socks is best in warmer waters, so it logically follows that socks are best worn in colder areas or if you’re anticipating a lot of time on land.
Open heeled fins also benefit from the less restrictive design, fitting a wider range of feet than their closed counterparts.
There’s also a general aspect to consider, and that’s the fit of the pocket itself. You want your pockets to have the same features that make any footwear functional and comfortable, such as an ergonomic design that fits well with your feet and is snug to avoid them slipping off.
As we alluded to above, the size of a fin’s fit can be important to the overall performance of fin. With this it’s important to know your feet and the type of fit that often works best, so we’d recommend using old fins to gauge your new ones against if buying online.
This is the best option if you’ll be using it, but if you plan on having others use your fins or plan on renting them, then you can get fins with adjustable components. These are also a good option if you just want to buy for yourself and play it safe.
Fins are unwieldy, especially when you’re out of the water, and so it’s nice to have fins that are easy to put on and take off. It’s preferable to have fins that are quite fast and easy to secure to your feet.
You should mainly consider how often you plan to go onto land, much like when deciding on a length of the fin blade itself.
Straps with a quick adjust and release functionality are preferable but not necessary, this isn’t the most important consideration here. There are also pull tabs that can be used to easily loosen and tighten snorkeling fins.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean snorkel fins?
You’re likely to be using these in saltwater, unless you’ve found a particularly deep lake that’s caught your interest, and so it’s good practice to clean them after every use to avoid deterioration. At the very least they’ll benefit from a rinsing after you’ve finished, and you’ll be glad to know that this is exactly how you clean them.
Just rinse them thoroughly with fresh water before allowing them to dry naturally, preferably by air but out of direct sunlight. Store them straight, too, and not with their tips touching the floor to avoid any accidental damage.
How do I choose the right size fins?
Choosing fins is a bit different from choosing your own shoes, and some of us have trouble finding the right fit for even them. So, it makes sense that you might need a little help in the sizing department.
Like with all footwear, there’s no standardized sizing system, so they vary across brands and even product lines within those brands. Look for sizing charts on the product listing pages, wherever possible.
As for how the fins feel on your feet if you’re trying them out, your fins shouldn’t squeeze your toes and your heel should touch the back of the fin’s interior. They should provide comfort and support.
What are the differences between diving and snorkeling fins?
Laymen may mistake the two, but there are actual differences between fins you’d wear for diving versus snorkeling. You’ll want to make sure that you have the best ones, especially if you’re a beginner in need of the most comfortable and simple snorkeling experiences possible.
They’re made for different depths, with snorkeling fins being used for shallower depths. They also tend to be shorter than scuba diving fins. Snorkeling fins often come in a full foot design, but you’ll see exceptions to that rule in our list above.
Scuba fins, on the other hand, have more features because they’re designed for stronger currents and more treacherous waters. These include open-heeled designs to facilitate the use of water socks, as well as a longer fin blade and channels within the fin that allow water to pass through them to lessen water resistance.