Last updated: August 29, 2021

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Whether you have recently bought flippers that you aren't too happy with, or would like to find out more about how to choose the right one, you should take the below guide to heart, because it just might help you out.

There is a wide range of flippers on the market and they all have different things to offer, so it is important to do good research before getting anything. The below guide will help you make this decision by answering some common questions from consumers when it comes to buying these swimming accessories.




Summary

  • Unlike swimming paddles or kick-boards, flippers adapt to our feet to form an extension of our body to make our feet longer and allow us to swim faster.
  • When you swim with fins you give yourself better posture, because they make you feel as though you are covering ground above the surface of the water. Flippers also force you to utilize your legs more while in the water, which will help combat the feeling of sinking.
  • While they might look the same superficially, there are a great many different kinds of flipper on the market, and some have specific sporting functions, while others are designed for recreational activities like snorkelling.

The Best Flippers: Our Picks

A quality flipper is an essential accessory when swimming, snorkelling or diving. Flippers help make it easier to swim and help you to use less energy whilst in the water. In the below section we have chosen the five best products currently to be found on the market to help you make the best decision.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about flippers

There is no doubt that having your own equipment makes your swimming experience more enjoyable and better. In the below section we are going to lay out some of the most commonly asked questions by consumers to help you learn more about flippers. After reading this you will be able to figure out which are the best ones for your needs.

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The most professional fins are usually made of glass fibre, carbon fibre or a combination of both. (Source: Jakob owens: 303060/ unsplash.com)

What are flippers and what are they for?

Flippers, often referred to as fins, are used to advance through the water quickly and easily. A fin typically contains a foot opening or pocket (which can be closed or open) and a blade. A high-quality flipper helps a swimmer move faster through the water without feeling hampered or bogged down. Some flippers have adjustable straps so that you can use them with diving socks or small booties.

Why is it useful to swim with flippers?

Fins work as an artificial appendage that allows you to advance through the water and maintain stability whether underwater or on the surface. Flippers are great to help make you a more efficient swimmer in the water as well as helping to cut down on the frequency of muscle cramps.

Did you know that fins were invented in 1717 by Benjamin Franklin? He loved swimming, and at the age of 11, he created the very first pair of flippers to help him in the water.

What types of fins are there on the market?

Flippers work by pushing water in the opposite direction we are swimming. The first flippers ever made were basically large blades that were made to increase the surface area of our feet.Today, the design of fins has improved significantly. Here's what kind of fins are available today:

Type Features Use
Adjustable fins Open at the heel with adjustable straps Used for diving or snorkeling in cold water and are worn with diving socks or booties
Enclosed fins Feet are completely enclosed Worn barefoot or with neoprene socks in the pool
Hinged fins Have an integrated hinge on the blade They are used for diving and as an alternative option to the previous ones
Split fins The blade consists of two parts which makes the each flipper stroke easier and you exert less energy Their use is widespread among divers who want to advance faster under water
Long blade fins They allow you to travel long distances with short movements They are used by rescue swimmers
Medium blade fins They are used to cover medium distances and to perform technical exercises They are used both by beginners when diving as well as swimming laps
Short blade fins There is only a small fin surface from the foot They are used for swimming training
Diving fins They are the classic fins They are used to swim underwater easily
Bodyboard fins They are used to propel yourself through the water while you are on a bodyboard They are used whilst bodyboarding
Submarine fishing fins They are a little longer to provide stability without making great effort They are used to carry out fishing with a speargun underwater
Apnea fins They are carbon fibre fins that are extremely lightweight They are used to descend underwater to great depths for either submarine fishing or deep sea free diving

What material are the fins made of?

The most common material flippers are made from is rubber, but mane professional fins are often a combination of carbon fibre, glass fibre, or both. This makes them both light but still rigid enough to generate adequate force. The place where you put your feet is always made of a softer material like silicone to help protect your skin.

What care do diving fins need?

One thing most people are concerned about is taking care of any technical equipment they might own. Where flippers are concerned, you should always rinse them down after having them in the ocean or the pool to remove the saltwater and the chlorine. These can break down flipper materials over time. After you have rinsed them, let them dry out in the shade. You also should store them on flat surfaces so that they don't become deformed.

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Fins for things like spearfishing are much more expensive than ordinary flippers. (Source: Jeremy bishop: 98688/ unsplash.com)

Is it worth buying second-hand flippers?

Whether you are an avid snorkeler, or an experienced scuba diver, or even just a pool hobbyist, the best thing is to get your own flippers off Amazon. You will get the best deal on your new geat, and you will be sure that you are getting a reliable product that is going to last you a long time.

Shopping Criteria

As you are now well aware, every kind of fin has its own special use. Before you get your set of new flippers, you should make sure you fully understand the importance of the below shopping criteria so you make the correct decision:

Size

Depending on the type of fin you're going to use, you can choose between shorter fins (small and easy to carry) and longer fins (better performance with more propulsion and less effort). The size of flipper you like will also depend on your personal preferences, as well as what you plan on using them for.

Open or closed

Open fins are best when you plan on using them with strong booties that are perfect for swimming in water that has a lot of sharp rocks and corals. Alternatively, closed flippers are best for warmer water and work well with neoprene socks.

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Diving fins are much larger than snorkelling which - which tend to be too small to take diving. (Source: Doug duffee: 1171504/ unsplash.com)

Adjustment type

An important part of good diving fins is the material or design of the strap used to adjust them. Straps tend to give up the ghost faster than other flipper components so it has to be sturdy and well-made. Also, flippers should be adjustable so that you can take them off and on easily, and so you don't hurt your feet.

Comfort

Comfort is another important factor when choosing fins, because if you are not comfortable, you will not enjoying wearing your flippers. Since they are made for a nicer swimming experience, they need to remain comfortable throughout and be removed and put on.

In addition, the use of socks or neoprene boots is recommended depending on the temperature of the water.

Hardness and blade size

Based on what you want to use your fins for, you will need to decide on whether you need a blade with more or less rigidness. A more flexible blade means less effort when kicking, however a more rigid blade produces a more powerful kick and better propulsion. Rigid blades mean you must exert more effort while swimming, so they require more leg strength and better all-around physical conditioning.

When it comes to the size of the blades, diving fins tend to be longer than snorkelling fins, which are usually inappropriate for diving. There's a helpful trick when choosing the fin size for recreational flippers for snorkelling or swimming: the length of the blade should not exceed the measurement between your ankle and your knee. Always consider this because it might help your purchase decision down the line.

Fabrication material

The materials your flippers are made out of have changed dramatically since they first hit the scene. They were originally made with tanned leather around the foot, then natural rubber and nowadays there are two distinct types of flippers depending on the material they are made of:

  • Made entirely from neoprene rubber: They aren't the lightest but they tend to be more chlorine and salwater-resistant.
  • Made using a plastic blade and a neoprene boot: lighter than all rubber fins. This makes them the most popular flipper.

Colour

Colour is one of the more personal factors when deciding which fins to you want to buy. You should get flippers that are brightly coloured so that you are easier to spot in the water. Bright colours, however, are not the best for underwater photography because they can scare fish.

Physical fitness of the user

You should always take into consideration your level of physical fitness when choosing your flippers. Based on how strong you are, you might require shorter or longer fins and are more or less rigid. A fin that doesn't suit your strength and fitness will be hard to use for extended periods of time.

Handling

You should always investigate the handling of a flipper before making a purchase. This means knowing how easy they are to take off and put on, and how heavy they are to take to the beach/pool. Additionally, you should always make sure that the strap adjustments are easy to use while in the water, as you may have to adjust them at some point.

Summary

Before thinking about renting fins, our best recommendation is that you purchase your own set for swimming, bodyboarding, snorkeling, spearfishing or diving. Using fins that are ill-fitting, or that are worn out and uncomfortable feels terrible on your skin and feet. This is why you have to do some preliminary research and get ones that suit your needs and stay within budget.

If you have your own flippers, you never have to put up with ill-fitting rental fins again. While some people might be under the impression that a good quality diving, snorkelling, or swimming fin constitutes a big investment, that is not necessarily the case, as there is a lot of good value for money on the market. So if you swim, bodyboard or scuba dive regularly, a new set of flippers will be worth the investment.

If you like this article on flippers and found it helpful, share it with friends and family. Additionally, drop us a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.

(Source of featured image: Sonnie hiles: 64325/ unsplash.com)

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