Scuba diving is not a cheap sport; neither do the gear that comes with it. One of the most important decisions when purchasing one is the type of fin you’re going to use. Should you pick models with open heels? Or full-foot fins make a better choice instead? Since you are unsure which one to settle for, this guide will help you make a final, informed decision.
What are Scuba Fins?
Also called swim fins or flippers, scuba fins are dive gear that resembles the function of real fish fins. Most of the time, they are made from plastic, rubber, or a combination of both. These little guys help in better propelling underwater, helping you perform better at water sports including scuba diving, bodysurfing, body boarding, underwater hockey and so much more.
Commonly utilized in tropical diving spots, full-foot fins offer complete coverage for the diver’s feet. Inside them are flexible and soft foot pockets, surrounding all areas of the feet up to the heels. While wearing booties or socks is not necessary some divers still opt for neoprene diving socks to go with their full-foot fins so as to avoid getting blisters on the skin.
Unlike full-foot fins, open heel models are used in all sorts of climates, especially in cold water environments where thermal protection is crucial. These fins have open foot pockets at the rear portion, hence the name open-heel. In terms of materials, these are crafted from firmer alternatives compared to full-foot models. Dive booties are usually worn with open heel fins. For this reason, they usually come in larger sizes to lodge the extra bulk. When buying open-heel fins, it’s wise to note that they vary in shape and thickness. To know if it’s the right fin for you, don’t forget to try it on prior to purchasing.
So those were the major factors to consider when choosing between open-heel and full-foot fins. Depending on your preferred diving spot and desired features, you want to choose fins that work for you best. For example, if you’re diving into a tropical environment, full-foot fins are your best bet. Otherwise, open-heel fins combined with dive booties is the way to go. The latter also makes the best option if you want better fit, convenience, and maximum adjustability.