Every year, millions of people around the world go snorkeling. It’s an incredibly popular vacation activity and is also enjoyed for aquatic exploration, underwater photography, and even competitive sports. Snorkeling requires minimal equipment, but you need a mask, a snorkel, and a great pair of fins. Let’s look at the best fins for snorkeling to help you choose the right pair for your needs.
Fins for Snorkeling Reviews
The Oumers snorkel fins are travel-ready, with an adjustable heel strap for easy, comfortable fit, a compact and lightweight size, and a convenient travel bag. These fins are comfortable, flexible, and easy to use, so they are an excellent choice for beginners or vacationers.
These fins are polypropylene, with soft, flexible blades for extra speed and propulsion when snorkeling. The anti-slip sole provides greater comfort, and the open-heel design with the adjustable strap makes it easy to create a custom fit for these fins.
The adjustable strap has a quick-release setting for safety and convenience. In addition, the Oumers snorkeling fins come with foot pocket padding that helps the fins keep their shape when not in use, an additional replacement strap, and a convenient carrying bag.
They are available in sizes from X-small to X-large and in black or blue colors.
- Easy, comfortable, adjustable design
- Lightweight and compact
- Includes carrying bag and replacement strap
- Not very durable
The Wildhorn Topside fins are fitted like shoes and designed to allow you to comfortably transition from walking to swimming or snorkeling with excellent traction, comfort and without blisters from rubbing or friction. In addition, these fins are easy to wear on hot sand, rough walks, or cold water for hours of fun.
Wildhorn’s Topside fins are made from a high-grade polymer blend. The free-floating technology prevents the fins from sinking, and the blade length is optimized for both walking and swimming.
The wide fin design provides twice as much thrust and propulsion with every kick. The heel pull tab and amphibious design eliminate awkward transitions in and out of the water. They have a neoprene stretch-fit foot pocket that fits like a water boot, with a hook and loop strap for extra stability.
The ultra-grip sole provides traction on wet, slippery surfaces and protects the feet from sharp objects.
- Comfortable, sock-like fit without rubbing or blisters
- The durable, shoe-like sole provides traction and protects the feet
- Convenient and lightweight for travel
- Some people don’t want buoyant fins when snorkeling because they want to get deeper into the water
The Atomic Aquatics High Performance Split Fin has a unique propeller fin design that reduces drag and creates lift for more propulsion.
In addition, the patented blade design causes less effort, stress, and strain when swimming with a snorkel-style flutter kick. These fins' lightweight, innovative design and superb efficiency make them an excellent choice for swimming and snorkeling.
Atomic Aquatics’ high-performance split fins are made of multi-composite plastics, with highly resilient power rails that store and release energy. Semi-rigid battens on the flexible blade create the precise wing shape that generates thrust, with flexible hinge points to improve reactivity.
The foot pocket is anatomically contoured to remove stress and friction points, and the inner rigid soleplate transfers more power from the foot to the fin. The heel straps stretch easily with variable pitch geometry but resist deformation and slide easily back into shape.
These fins also have Atomic Aquatics’ EZ-Lok buckle system with a patented, one-handed quick release. They are available in black or yellow.
- Unique design provides greater propulsion and thrust when flutter kicking
- Split fins are flexible and lightweight
- Comfortable, anatomical foot pocket
- These fins are designed for a specific swimming and kicking style and may not perform as well under other conditions
The Cressi Agua Snorkeling fins are designed for ease and comfort during use, reducing fatigue so you can snorkel further and longer. The self-adjusting foot pocket, light weight, and compact size make these fins an excellent choice for beginners or vacationers who want no-fuss enjoyment of their fins.
Cressi’s Agua Adult Snorkeling Fin blades are lightweight, reactive polypropylene with rubber veins for increased flexibility and responsiveness. The full-foot pocket is placed above the blade to reduce fatigue and is a soft, flexible thermo-rubber.
The self-adjusting foot pocket conforms to a wide range of foot shapes, with a heel tab that makes the fins easy to put on and remove. They are available in standard EU shoe sizes and come in aquamarine, black, blue, or yellow.
- Compact and lightweight for travel
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Reduce fatigue and improve efficiency when snorkeling
- May not be durable enough for years of use
The Mares Volo Power fins were so popular, Mares created the Volo One, designed for snorkeling. These fins have Mares’ patented OPB hinge technology that makes kicking easier and more comfortable, along with Channel Thrust for improved propulsion with less effort. These open-heel fins combine power and comfort in a great package.
HEAD Mares Volo One Snorkeling fins are made of Tecralene and thermoplastic rubber to combine flexibility and durability. The blades have Super Channel Technology that propels more water with every kick. The anatomical foot pocket adds more thrust with less fatigue.
The open-heel design and simple adjustments make them easy to fit and comfortable to wear. The quick-release buckle system is a great safety feature and also allows you to use the fins without readjusting the fit every time.
These fins come with a mesh bag for easy carrying and transportation. They come in sizes from small to X-large and are available in black, blue, pink, white, or yellow.
- Comfortable fit with easy adjustments
- Designed to deliver more power with less effort
- Comes with a breathable carrying bag
- May not be durable enough for years of use
When choosing a new pair of snorkeling fins, here are some key features to look for.
Snorkeling Fin Firmness
Snorkeling fins typically occupy the “Goldilocks” sweet spot: longer and more flexible than swim fins, shorter and firmer than diving fins. However, there is still a wide range of flexibility in the amount of firmness in snorkeling fins because every snorkeler has their own style and preference. As a general rule:
- If you are snorkeling near the surface of the water, contending with waves, or chop: choose a firmer fin that gives you more control
- If you are snorkeling deeper underwater, with less interference from the surface: choose a softer fin to provide more propulsion
Snorkeling Fin Length
Again, snorkeling fins are usually longer than swim fins and shorter than dive fins. Longer fins give you more surface area and underwater propulsion but may be more cumbersome to carry or travel with and be more awkward when getting in and out of the water.
Because they are such a popular vacation travel item, most of the best snorkeling fins come in a suitcase-friendly size or come with a carrying bag to make them easy to transport.
Full Foot Pocket vs. Open Heel Foot Pocket
Most people prefer full foot pocket fins when snorkeling barefoot and open heel fins when using dive socks or booties. In cold water, dive socks help keep you warm and protect the feet, and open heel fins can easily be worn with various thicknesses of neoprene.
Open heel fins are also a good choice for people with feet that are difficult to fit because they are more adjustable. However, open heel fins with large buckle and strap systems can sometimes reduce your hydrodynamics by causing drag.
Most snorkelers won’t notice any performance loss due to open heel fins, but it may be noticed by advanced snorkelers or over especially long sessions in the water. Generally speaking, choose full-foot pocket fins for warm, tropical waters and open heel fins for colder temperatures.
Split Fins vs. Paddle Fins
Split fins have an opening in the middle that flexes on the downstroke, forcing water through the gap and creating additional propulsion. Split fins are lighter in weight and optimize speed, but paddle fins are still the norm and the choice of professionals. When are split fins a better choice?
- Paddle fins provide more power. They work by enhancing the strength of your kick force, using water resistance to push you forward.
- Split fins provide more speed. They have less resistance, with long flexible blades that don’t offer much force. Instead, they maximize the jet-like thrust from every kick, providing extra propulsion.
If you prefer to swim with faster, flutter-type kicks and want fins that provide excellent propulsion with low weight, consider split fins. If your swimming kicks are slower and more robust, or you need the power to tow other people and move a lot of water, paddle blades are the better choice.
Can You Snorkel in Swimming Fins?
Yes, you can snorkel in swimming fins. In fact, if you are snorkeling on the surface of the water, dealing with waves, chop, or obstacles, swimming fins might be the better choice. However, if you want to spend more snorkeling time beneath the water surface or plan on snorkeling for long sessions, snorkeling fins are best.
It’s worth noting that the opposite isn’t really true: It’s not usually a good idea to lap swim or pool swim in snorkeling fins. Snorkeling fins aren’t typically designed for chlorinated water or to maximize performance during most common swimming strokes.
You may notice that many negative reviews for snorkeling fins come from people who used them for swimming and weren’t happy with the results.
Is It Better to Rent or Buy Snorkeling Fins for Vacation?
Many people plan on snorkeling while on vacation and don’t know whether to buy or rent their gear. Here are a few things to consider to help you decide.
Rent Snorkeling Fins If:
- You will only be snorkeling for one or two days of your vacation. If snorkeling is just one of the many things you want to experience on holiday, it’s better to rent and not worry about buying and transporting gear.
- You are new to snorkeling. If you are a beginner, renting is an excellent opportunity to try different snorkeling equipment and find out what you like best. By trying and testing various rental equipment, you can make sure you choose the best snorkeling fins for your needs when you decide to purchase them.
Buy Snorkeling Fins When:
- You have sensitive or hard-to-fit feet. Buying your own fins lets you make sure that you have fins that fit you properly and provide the right level of comfort and protection. But, of course, nothing ruins a snorkeling adventure like blisters or foot pain!
- You are an experienced snorkeler. If you are an experienced snorkeler, you probably know exactly what you want from a pair of snorkeling fins, and you won’t always be able to find it for rent. When you own snorkeling fins, you can also ensure that they are clean and well cared for to get maximum performance in the water.
If you decide to buy fins for your vacation and buy them online, buy them well in advance of your travel date. Give yourself time to inspect the fins, make sure they fit well and return/exchange them if necessary.