When it comes to scuba diving gear, there are numerous benefits to finding the perfect pair of fins: maximum thrust, increased comfort, less leg strain and way more fun. But with the wide selection of styles on the market, where should divers begin their search? The following tips should help you narrow your choices. In the end, the toughest part is picking just one.
GETTING THE RIGHT FIT
The most important factor in choosing fins is getting the proper fit. Here's how to measure the best fit for both full-foot and open heel fins.
To test the fit of full-foot fins, put your weight on the ball of your foot, as if from a runner's starting position, and try to step out of it. If it comes off, it's too big.
To test the fit of open heel fins, sit down with the fin on and try to wiggle your foot back and forth and up and down. The fins should move as one with the foot without slipping.
PADDLE FINS VS. SPLIT FINS
The difference between paddle fins and split fins is basically a matter of kicking style.
How Paddle Fins Work
Paddle fins work best with a traditional, longer scissors kick.
* Simple Physics: Paddle fins act as a natural extension of the human leg, giving our feet — which are not designed to create efficient thrust in water — much-needed assistance.
* Blade Designs: The main difference between paddle fins are in the size, shape and construction of the blade.
* For Best Performance: Use a long, smooth flutter kick, and consider alternating with a frog kick to share the load with other muscle groups.
How Split Fins Work
Split fins work best with a shallow and rapid flutter kick.
* Propeller Effect: The technology for this type of fin is based on each side of the split blade twisting independently to create lift that translates into greater thrust.
* Decreased Resistance: The design is meant to reduce leg and ankle strain, because the split blade operates more efficiently with less drag during the up and down strokes.
* For Best Performance: With split fins, use a slightly shallower and more rapid flutter kick.
Check out the newest fins on the market in our Masks, Fins and Snorkels Gear Guide.