Snorkel fins are a frequently overlooked piece of snorkeling equipment which make a huge difference in snorkeling as they provide the propulsion system when in the water. Snorkeling without fins is certainly possible, but fins add so much speed and manueverability to snorkeling, it really is a different experience without them. Fins give swimmers more power to move through the water, increasing their swim speed by approximately fifty percent. Fins also focus all propulsion power in the legs, taking the strain off a swimmer’s arms and freeing them to handle equipment and explore.
There are two basic types of fins, open-heel fins and full foot fins. To be used effectively a diver’s fins must fit comfortably and securely. Too tight and they can hurt and cause blisters, too loose and they may chafe or fall off. Full foot fins, which fit over the entire foot, offer more protection to the bottom of a diver’s heel, but because they are not adjustable they do not provide as secure a fit. Open-heel fins, which are held in place by an adjustable strap, can be more secure and often easier to put on and take off. However, because they provide no protection for the bottom of the foot, many divers choose to wear Neoprene booties when using open-heel fins, to protect their feet against sharp objects and rough underwater surfaces.
Whichever type of fins you decide to use, all divers should become comfortable with their fins both in and out of the water before taking them out for a dive. Although fins are designed to make it easier to maneuver through water, they take more effort to move than bare legs, so beginners may find their legs tiring out more quickly than they expect. Fins with longer and more rigid blades take more effort to swim in, so beginner divers are encouraged to use smaller, more flexible fins.
Initially, many divers find it cumbersome and awkward to walk around on land with their fins on. Be sure to practice and get comfortable with your fins on dry land, practice lifting your feet high to prevent the blade of the fins from tripping you. You may prefer to enter the water backwards to make it easier to walk into the surf.
Read our review of a pair of high end fins from Mor-Fin