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What To Look For In Your First Set Of Swim Fins

Swim further, faster and easier with the right set of fins.

Going scuba diving is always a fun adventure for any tropical vacation, so it's worth buying and bringing your own fins and gear along. Here's what you should look for as you're considering your first set.

CAPAS Snorkel Fins, Swim Fins Travel Size Short Adjustable for Snorkeling Diving Adult Men Women Kids Open Heel Swimming Flippers
This lightweight pair is constructed with quality in mind. The comfort of soft straps offers flexibility and can be worn with or without booties. | CAPAS

Start with short-blade fins for your first set. Short blades are easier to control for new divers and are more portable, usually fitting right in your pocket. While longer blades will give you more power, it's good to have a short set to get used to being in the water and to work your way up to a longer set. They're also easier to put on for walking on land.

Cressi Palau Short Snorkeling Swim Fins with Mesh Bag
The sleek, contoured design makes it easy to slip into your carry-on luggage. | Cressi

Fins generally come in "full-foot" and "open-heel" types, and you should have open heels for your first set. Just like shoes may look like a good fit until you put them on, full-foot fins need to be sized carefully and take some getting used to. Open-heel fins are easier to adjust and will let you try out accessories like dive booties to limit blisters and discomfort. They're also easier to share between groups, so you won't need to buy multiple sets if you're not all going in the water at once. Don't wait for a beach trip to use them, these fins are great for other outdoor activities such as canoeing and rafting.

cozia design Adjustable Swim Fins - Snorkel Fins for Lap Swimming, Travel Size Scuba Diving Flippers for Snorkel Set Adult, Neoprene Water Socks Included
The textured sole on this option helps prevent slipping on surfaces. | Cozia

Don't forget that you'll spend at least a little time on land with your fins. The sole under your foot should be comfortable and grippy enough for you to get around when you're not swimming, and also so you don't slide off the deck. Look for treads, and run your hand over the material to get a sense of its texture. If possible, walk around in them for a few steps to get a sense of how you'll feel standing in them.