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Scuba Diving Fins: How to Choose Yours and Which Ones Our Experts Recommend

Did you know that scuba diving fins affect trim and therefore buoyancy control? If your answer is “no”, don’t worry, few people know about it. If your answer is “yes”, congratulations, you must be one of the few.

Yes, it is true. Few people have enough diving experience to have the opportunity to try many different diving fins. And if you don’t believe us, ask your instructor how many pairs scuba fins they have had in their lifetime. The answer is usually, in the case of experienced divers, 2 or 3 pairs at most in their entire diving career.

But at Dressel Divers, we have been diving for 30 years, and our experts even longer. So, we asked them just to bring you value and help you with the decision-making process. Rest assured that you can trust us, we don’t sell dive fins.

In this article about scuba diving fins, these are the points we are going to cover.

1. Why It’s Important to Choose Your Scuba Diving Fins Wisely?


Diving fins condition propulsion

In fact, not only propulsion, but they also condition energy savings, the execution of the kick, and even the type of diving.

A long or wide and rigid blade diving fin provides more thrust, but moving them requires more effort. If you have a thin blade, it will be easier to move but try getting out of a current with them.

A rubber or plastic diving fin will last you a lifetime, but you’ll need leg muscles to move them for long-distance scissor kicks.

Scuba fins with a relatively short and rigid blade, such as those used for technical diving, can help you perform the frog kick and provide greater precision underwater, but you won’t move fast, that’s for sure.


The diving fin helps with movement or can be a weight

The truth is that recreational divers who enjoy diving in the Caribbean with Dressel Divers generally appreciate a lightweight fin. It should provide enough propulsion to deal with the typical currents in the area without ending up exhausted or with cramps. However…

I have diving fins that weigh 2.5 kg/55.11 lb.” says Victor Cordoba, Director of HR at Dressel Divers, Course Director, technical diver, and expert in underwater cave exploration, when I ask him about diving fins.

When I inflate my drysuit, the air tends to go up and accumulate in my legs. Thanks to my dive fins, I can maintain trim more easily, compensate for the positive buoyancy that the air accumulating in my legs causes, and avoid advancing with my head down. In a cave, that can be dangerous.” – Victor affirms. In other words, his diving fins, in addition to being a propulsion tool, are also part of the weight.


The diving fin affects trim

“Where the head goes, the tail follows” is a phrase my mother used to tell me, and although it has always made sense, it took on a new meaning when I started diving. That’s when I learned the word “trim,” which is nothing more than the angle at which the diver moves forward.

Recreational divers need to stay horizontal in the water column. That is, maintain neutral trim. If we are unbalanced, we will have difficulties throughout the dive. You can learn more about trim in this article: 3 Secrets of Buoyancy Control to Dive as An Expert Diver.

The correct distribution of weight is what will help us have the correct trim. As we saw in the previous point, scuba diving fins are another weight to consider. According to Diving Alert Network (DAN), regarding diving fins, “dry weight and buoyancy in saltwater can vary greatly from one model to another and from one size to another. Proper size and weight selection of dive fins makes ankle weights unnecessary and prevents knees from dropping below the horizontal axis.”

2. These Are the Fins of Choice for Dressel Divers Professionals

Katharina and Kevin Collishaw

The woman who is a manager in Dressel Divers Vallarta, Katharina Collishaw prefers these scuba fins. TUSA Split fin EXPERT Z3: great scuba diving fins for people with sore knees, less strain but still stiff enough.

Her husband and base leader, Kevin, ops for Mares Plana Avanti 4: “good comfortable fit, good stiffness, nice colors, good durability”.


Marcello Aldera, Course Director, 11 years working in Dressel Divers from Instructor to Course Director, matches Kevin. His scuba fins are Mares Avanti 4  Use that for 5 years in open water, tec dives, and cave dives. They are durable, stiff but not too much, very powerful, and great for frog kick and even, back kick. They have slightly negative buoyancy”.


Monserrat Rojas Moraga SDI and PADI instructor and base leader in Dressel Divers Playa del Carme, chooses Scubapro GoThey are super easy to use, let me have soft movement, and at the same time work hard. They make it easy to reach anyone fast and also go with the current nice and smooth.”


Paul Flower, 23 years working in Dressel Divers. He is the Course Director who taught most Instructors in Mexico. He had the record of being PADI Course Director for 5 years in a row. These are his diving fins and why.

Apeks RK3 HD

The RK3 is a great fin if you like them stiff and heavy. They’re virtually indestructible, and I love how easy they are to get on and off with the spring strap. These dive fins are awesome for TEC diving. Great for frog kicks and all the modified kicks you would use in SM, CCR, cave, and wreck diving. I love the shorter blade that gives tons of power without fatigue. I traded up to these from my Mares Avanti and am never going back. Obviously, he has other needs.”


Víctor Córdoba, Human Resources Director in Dressel Divers. He is a scuba diver with more than 6.000 dives in his log book, in addition, he works as Course Director and IANTD Instructor Trainer specialized in Cave Diving, Trimix, and Rebreather Diving. Our master’s scuba diving fins selection is:


I use Hollis fins F1 as the main fin, it’s heavy and works very well with drysuit diving to compensate for the lift effect of the feet. They are very efficient in any type of kick including the backward kick and very powerful. Easy to don and doff with the metal springs but tight enough so my feet do not wiggle when I need a power kick against a current or flow in a cave.

I change to F2 that are smaller and lighter for traveling. They are not as powerful as F1 but still work very well for such small scuba fins. Also, very easy to don and doff with the springs.”


OMS Slipstream

When I use wetsuits I change to my OMS slipstream, as I keep the sensations of a technical fin, regarding power and sturdiness but neutral in the water so my feet don´t go down when the neoprene of my wetsuit compresses.

In the past I used some recreational diving fins (Mares fins, Cressi fins, Aqualung fins) and they worked fine but now I do only technical and cave diving and I favor technical-style diving fins.

3. Parts Of a Diving Fin

Scuba diving fins are made up of several parts, each with a unique function that contributes to the overall performance of the fin.

First, there is the blade, which is the most important part of the fin that provides propulsion to the diver. The blade can vary in size and material to suit different skill levels and diving styles. Some scuba fins have channels on the blade that improves hydrodynamics and power while kicking. These channels circulate water along the blade, providing greater propulsion. Some models even incorporate holes to allow water to flow through the fin more easily.

Next, we have the foot pocket, which is essentially the space where the diver inserts their foot. While there may be slight variations in the shape of the foot pocket, its primary function is to provide a secure and comfortable fit for the diver’s foot.

The straps are responsible for securing the diver’s foot inside the foot pocket. In most cases, the straps are made of rubber, which provides a firm and secure grip.

Finally, the clips attach the straps to the rest of the fin through a hook. Depending on the model, the hook may be fixed or adjustable.

In summary, each part of a scuba diving fin serves an important function and contributes to the overall performance of the tool. When choosing fins for scuba diving, it is essential to consider all of these parts and how they work together to provide the best diving experience possible.

4. The Types of Dive Fins

Regarding how diving flippers fit, we can distinguish between open-heel scuba fins or full-foot diving fins.

In full-foot scuba diving fins, the foot pocket is closed and they are used barefoot. Open-heel fins for scuba diving are more common in dive centers because they fit different foot sizes, but those must be used with booties.

In terms of blade style, among the different options available on the market, we find:

Long-blade diving fins, with their comparatively larger blade, provide greater propulsion. These dive fins are ideal for open water diving and in current conditions. They are also widely used in free diving.

On the other hand, short-blade scuba fins are more compact and offer less propulsion than long-blade diving fins. However, due to their smaller size, they are ideal for those looking for greater maneuverability and the ability to perform different types of fin kicks. That’s why short-blade fins for scuba diving are most commonly used by technical divers.

Interchangeable blade diver fins. Why choose when you can have it all? These diving flippers for scuba diving allow you to change the blade according to your needs.

Split diver flippers provide better propulsion with less effort, but they are very flexible and offer little resistance. They cannot be used as weight.

scuba diving fins - aletas de buceo (3)

5. What Makes for Great Scuba Diving Fins? Key Features to Consider

In the world of scuba diving, selecting the proper equipment is vital to ensure a safe and satisfying experience. That’s why dive fins are a crucial element to consider.

The weight and buoyancy of scuba fins influence the diver’s position underwater, making them an essential factor to take into account.

There are fin models known for their lightweight and neutral buoyancy, while others are designed for dry suit diving and are heavier to compensate for the positive buoyancy of the suit. It’s important to note that overly heavy scuba flippers can be uncomfortable for divers with smaller legs.

In addition, the type of clips and straps used in adjustable diving flippers are critical. Many models use an adjustable rubber strap with quick-release clips. However, some models have replaced these clips with springs or elastic bands, which are simpler and quicker to put on and take off.

The stiffness and size of the fin blade also affect the technique and power of the kick, as well as the fin’s buoyancy, which depends on the material and density of construction. Every diver should select the stiffness and size that best suits their needs and personal preferences. A valuable tip is to choose a blade surface area that matches the power of your legs.

Finally, although it doesn’t impact their function, the design and color of dive fins are also important to many divers because it provides better visibility underwater.

6. How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Diver Fins: Tips and Recommendations

When it comes to choosing scuba fins, there are several aspects to consider to ensure you make the right choice.

Comfort and fit are essential. You’ve already heard what Kat had to say about knee pain, and we agree. It’s crucial to feel comfortable and have scuba flippers that fit perfectly, like a natural extension of your foot. Ideally, you should try on different models underwater to find the ones that best suit you.

The best way to determine your size is to try on different diver flippers and see which ones fit most comfortably. You can also consult the manufacturer’s sizing chart to get an idea of the size you should try.

Another crucial factor to consider is the use you will give them and the type of diving you do. If you have read our experts’ choices, you will have seen that technical divers’ choices are different from those of other instructors.

If you dive in cold water, for example, it is essential to choose diver flippers that allow you to protect your foot with a boot, so closed-heel diving flippers would not be suitable. If you dive in places with currents, on the other hand, stiff diving flippers can provide you with greater kicking power. And if you’re thinking of exploring wrecks or caves, technical scuba flippers are the most appropriate due to their smaller size for confined environments.

Finally, it’s important to consider the kicking techniques you use, as certain models are designed to favor a particular type of kick. If you flutter or scull kick, very flexible scuba flippers can give you quick movement, but if you do a frog kick, they won’t give you much propulsion. And if you’re an experienced diver who performs advanced techniques like the “helicopter turn” or the back kick, technical scuba fins can help you.

In conclusion, choosing the right scuba diving fins is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable diving experience. When selecting scuba fins, we must consider their different key features, such as their weight, buoyancy, clips and straps, design and color, as well as size and comfort, the type of diving we do, and our personal preferences regarding stiffness and blade size. Follow the advice and recommendations of diving experts and try out different models in the water, so you can find the perfect pair of scuba diving fins that suits your needs and allows you to fully enjoy your underwater adventure.