The Gear Loop is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(The Gear Loop) - You’ve read our guide on the best snorkel masks for underwater adventures and now you’re understandably keen to add a little pep to your aquatic paddle and this is where the bst snorkel fins stride on to stage.

The flippy-flappy things you attach to your feet before diving into the Big Blue have come a long way over the past few years - the latest iterations are lean, mean, speed-increasing machines that will slice through water, increase underwater efficiency and reduce drag, all while taking up less space in your suitcase, should you be jetting off to the Maldives like we did to test the fins out. Please keep hatemail to a minimum. 

In essence, they increase efficiency underwater, saving you vital energy so you can swim farther and for longer without needing a break. But there are more to snorkel fins than simple making underwater forays a bit easier.

For a start, they allow for smooth propulsion underwater with a variety of swim strokes, many of which are far less energy intensive than the traditional up/down flutter stroke used by swimmers. The Frog Kick, which is more akin to a breaststroke leg movement, creates less turbulence underwater, meaning the likelihood of seeing marine life is much greater. This is only made possible with a good set of fins.

But don’t just think any old swim fin will do, because there are numerous shapes and sizes that are designed for various uses. Longer, stiffer fins tend to be for deep-sea Scuba activities, while ultra-short angled blades are designed for things like bodyboarding or sea swimming, where rapid changes of direction are required.

Snorkel fins will pack features such as carefully placed perforations for additional streamlining, water channelling grooves and multi-material construction, which have allowed brands to create fins that are lightweight but incredibly powerful, helping to reduce energy expenditure and supercharge every stroke. You can find a general guide to buying fins at the bottom of this page.

PexelsThe best fins for snorkelling lifestyle photo 4

The best fins for snorkelling

SubaProThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 6

Scubapro Go Travel Fin

squirrel_widget_6291920

For 

  • Brilliant value
  • Incredibly comfortable

Against 

  • Not the most hi-tech fins

An incredibly versatile fin with a wallet-friendly price tag, these Go Travel numbers are made from a lightweight Monprene material. In other words, they might lack the tech offered by fins crafted from 50 different high-tech plastics (we’re exaggerating, but you get the drift), but there’s much less chance of wear and tear-related issues, such as delamination, whihc is common among well-used fins. 

It’s a great fin for beginners too, with so-called power bars on the underside of the blades that lend extra strength to every kick, while making it easy for the blade to maintain the optimum angle. This means more time to appreciate the underwater world, and less time worrying about perfecting fin-stroke. 

Our favourite thing about these fins, however, is their portability. Their shorter profile makes them easy to stash into suitcases, and the fins interlock - a great space-saving feature we’d like to see more of.

CressiThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 3

Cressi Agua Fin

squirrel_widget_6291921

For 

  • Great for beginners and intermediates
  • Easy to put on and adjust 

Against 

  • Take up a little more space in the suitcase 

It turns out Italians don’t just make beautiful shoes, they also craft fantastic fins too. This is a brilliant fin for beginners, simply because it reduces the legwork (excuse the pun) required to glide through the water. 

The secret’s in the profile, as the blade starts from the upper part of the foot pocket, which means the business end (the bit which propels you through the water) is 20 per cent larger than on standard fins. 

On top of this, the rubber used to sculpt the precision-engineered, self-adjusting foot pocket is incredibly soft, resulting in a fin that neatly hugs your foot in all the right places, but one that won’t weigh you down in the wet stuff.

AquaLungThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 1

Aqualung Phazer Fin

squirrel_widget_6291979

For 

  • Clever design minimises legwork 

Against 

  • Multiple materials mean more potential failure points

These are some of the easiest fins to live with, thanks to a super-stretchy bungee strap and a heel pad that makes getting them on and off a breeze. 

They’re also incredibly high-tech, with a tri-material construction that means they’re rigid in the spots that require extra stuffiness, but flexible in the areas where a little more give is needed. 

We also love the streamlined design, which incorporates so-called hydro-power channels that are designed to enhance water flow and improve thrust. The best bit? They come in five fabulous colours - perfect for snorkelers keen on looking fab among the coral.

CressiThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 4

Cressi Reaction Pro Diving Fin

squirrel_widget_6292029

For 

  • Very comfortable
  • Reduces risk of chafing 

Against 

  • Longer design takes up more space 

One of the highlights on these fins is the side reinforcement bars found on the flanks, as they do a great job of reducing rubbing, while also protecting the fin from wear and tear. 

These fins are also incredibly efficient, with a blade that features precision-engineered thickness for exactly the right amount of flex along its entire length. 

Although tapered thicknesses aren’t uncommon, the tapering on these fins is much more pronounced, something made possible by an extra-long profile. 

The blade’s position (it’s positioned on top of the foot pocket) means less ankle fatigue and more efficient movement through the water. It’s worth noting the footbed errs on the wide side, so if you find most fins too narrow, these could be the ones you’ve been searching for.

AquaLungThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 2

Aqualung Storm Fin

squirrel_widget_6291991

For 

  • Very portable 
  • Grippy underside for extra stability when moving around 

Against

  • Not the most powerful models out there 

These Monprene marvels are the perfect snorkelling fins for a quick getaway - short and easy to stuff in a bag for last minute snorkelling sessions, but with a no-nonsense blade that maximises on efficient power transfer without a hint of leg fatigue. 

They’re also packed with features that we'd like to see more of, whether it’s an extra grippy underside to minimise the risk of stumbles when moving around on wet surfaces or rolling boat decks, and a small hole in the blade that makes them easier to carry or hang up when not in use. 

We also love the way each size has its own colour, making them a great option for customers keen to kit the entire family out.

MaresThe best fins for snorkelling product photo 5

Mares X-One set 

squirrel_widget_6292030

For

  • Brilliant value 

Against 

  • You're lumbered with a mask and snorkel

On this occasion, the fins our are favourite bit about this triple whammy of Mares-related marvellousness, which includes the fantastic Marea mask, which has a brilliantly wide field of vision, some of the softest silicone we’ve come across on a mask and small pressure-relieving ribs around the nose area to ensure maximum comfort. 

But the pièce de resistance is the X-One fin, with narrow channels to aid movement and increase manoeuvrability, while perforations allow water to flow through for more streamlined swimming. You’ll also get a snorkel, which is just an added bonus when it comes to this do-it-all kit that feels perfect for that winter sun getaway. 

Kevin Wolf/UnsplashThe best fins for snorkelling lifestyle photo 2

What to look for when buying fins for snorkelling

Get the right fit

Not all fins are created equally and the fit will vary among manufacturers. If getting to a store or trying them on isn't possible, order a slightly larger size and purchase a neoprene sock to wear underneath. This will bulk out the the foot for an improved foot and reduce the amount of chafing on any bare skin. 

Full-foot or adjustable fins

Both have their pros and cons, as full-foot fins tend to be more comfortable, as they feature a built-in sock element that tends to wrap around the foot and packs fewer areas to rub. The issue is getting the fit spot on, as they also tend to slip off the foot easily. Adjustable fins will have a ratchet-style loop at the rear, which makes putting them on easier but they tend to be more rigid and not as comfortable. 

Fins fit for purpose

As previously mentioned, there are numerous fins for a number of activities and it's wise to select the correct option for snorkelling. Snorkel fins are flexible and light. They’ll provide you with just enough power for under water sightseeing, but won't fatigue the legs like larger or stiffer fins. Scuba fins will be larger, stiffer and generally harder to swim in, but this is because they need to produce the additional propulsion required to move a diver laden with heavy kit.

Writing by Tamara Hinson. Editing by Leon Poultney. Originally published on 23 November 2021.