Comfort, adjustability and acceleration are all key when evaluating the best scuba fins. ScubaLab's team of test divers put nine pairs of new open-heel scuba fins to the test, providing ratings and comments for this real-world review of the best scuba fins for 2019. Check out the reviews below and visit our gear page for more on the latest ScubaLab reviews.
2019 Scuba Fin Review
- Cressi Thor EBS
- Genesis Coronado
- H2Odyssey F10 Aero
- OMS Reefstream
- OMS Slipstream
- Scubapro Go Sport
- Tilos Starburst
- Tusa Hyflex Switch Pro
How We Score
The bar graphs with each review show the fins’ combined test-diver scores for overall comfort and fit and for power versus stress.
The scoring is:
How We Test
Ease of Donning Both in and out of the water, how easy is the fin to put on?
Adjusting for Fit If straps and buckles are adjustable without tools, how effective and easy to use are they? Are they intuitive, or complicated to operate?
Fit and Comfort How comfortable and secure is the fin on the foot? Does it slip/slide/pinch, etc., during hard kicking?
Stability Do the ins have a tendency to wobble, slice side to side, or strike each other while kicking? Do they track straight?
Power Versus Stress Propulsion produced during the kick cycle relative to the amount of effort being put into the kick.
Flutter Kick The ease, efficiency and stability of the fin in flutter kick.
Frog Kick The ease, efficiency and stability of the fin in frog kick.
Other Kick Style The ease, efficiency and stability of the fin in dolphin, scissor or other kick style.
Acceleration How efficiently do the fins allow you to quickly increase speed?
Maneuverability How well do the fins allow you to get in and out of tight locations, including spinning, backing up or reversing directions?
Surface Swimming While on the surface on scuba or snorkel, how efficiently do the fins propel you relative to the effort?
Ease of Removing Fin How easily can you remove the fins, in and out of the water? Are the straps or buckles easy to grasp? Is it unusually difficult to slide your boot out of open-heel pockets?
Fins were also evaluated for weight, buoyancy (in fresh water), construction/durability, and the effectiveness of nonslip material on the bottom.
Scubapro Go Sport
Based on the original barefoot Go fin, the new Go Sport offers the same travel-size convenience to boot-clad divers. Just over 20 inches long in size medium and only 1½ pounds apiece, this fin is compact enough to fit in your carry-on. In the water, the Go took top scores in almost every category — including power versus stress, where the angled blade and ventral support rails helped it churn water like a bigger fin. “A real go-getter,” one diver commented. The short blade performed very well in all styles of kicking and is highly maneuverable, with divers praising its ability to perform tight turns. Donning and doffing are effortless, with an excellent bungee strap and ergonomic finger loop. Made of durable 100 percent monoprene, the fins have small vertical stabilizing skegs at the blade tip that are interchangeable and — like the fin — come in a range of colors. Powerful, compact and overwhelmingly picked as the favorite of test divers, the Scubapro Go Sport is our Testers Choice.
Cressi Thor EBS
With its long, wide blade, soft, deep center pocket and firm, trusslike side rails, the Thor grabs a big chunk of water with every kick. It takes some work to keep those big blades churning hard. But the Thor can cruise along efficiently at a leisurely pace, which landed its score for power versus stress right in the average among our test fins. Rated good for flutter stroke, the Thor’s score bumped up to very good for frog kick, where those big, firm blades performed their best. While it was rated good overall for fit and comfort, the Thor drew mixed individual scores, with some divers reporting a perfect fit and others finding the bungee strap a little too snug. But divers gave the bungee nearly top marks for donning and doffing, with the big, soft finger loop making the Thor a cinch to get on and off.
We expected the Coronado to be quite stiff because almost all of the blade is formed of the harder plastic that shapes the foot pocket. But the fin is actually flexible enough that you can bend the blade into a U shape without much effort, although it has a nice spring to it. That big, springy blade and the Coronado’s streamlined shape make it easy to keep moving through the water at a modest pace, earning this fin a good score for power versus stress. “Effortless, easy flutter,” one test diver noted. But working harder didn’t give the same payoff, and rapid acceleration tended to overpower the flexy blade. Divers liked the shape and fit of the Coronado’s foot pocket, which worked well with most boots and feet, and it was picked as a favorite of multiple testers.
H2Odyssey F10 Aero
Aimed at smaller divers, the F10 features a composite blade with sides that straighten for the last several inches, keeping it somewhat narrow and helping to prevent the fin tips from striking each other. The scalloped blade and big vertical winglets near the tip helped keep the fins tracking straight, even at the surface, and that helped the F10 take one of the higher scores for surface swimming. As you might expect for a fin targeted at smaller divers, the long, narrow blade is on the more flexible end of the scale, and that hurt the F10’s scores for power and acceleration. While the F10’s basic adjustable strap worked well enough, some test divers found the foot pocket too boxy to get a fit that allowed them to put as much effort into their kicks as they wanted.
Old-school with a new twist, the Slipstream has a vented paddle design that’s been around for decades, but the fin has gotten an update with a new set of spring straps. Rather than traditional rubber, the Slipstream is made of monoprene, which is lighter but also stiffer; there’s not much flex to the Slipstream beyond the last few inches of the blade tip. The short, wide, stiff blade makes the Slipstream easy to maneuver in tight spots, backing and spinning with little effort. Not surprisingly, it also excelled in frog kicking, where it took one of the top scores, though in the flutter kick, it was hurt by the stiff blade and a foot pocket that ends midfoot on the bottom, which several divers found put too much pressure on the arch of their foot when fluttering hard.
Unlike the more tec-oriented Slipstream, this lightweight kicker is decidedly of the recreational realm. Thanks to its springy side rails, the fin scored well enough for power versus stress, but some testers found the blade too soft, with only so-so acceleration. The large but sculpted foot pocket is comfortable and makes for easy donning, helped by a finger loop on the adjustable strap. Multiple divers liked the easy-to-reach quick-release that makes fin removal a swift and painless procedure. This fin isn’t for all divers — especially those who often find themselves battling stiff currents — but for tropical travelers who frequent calmer conditions, its admirable performance at a below-average price makes it an attractive option. That’s why the OMS ReefStream is our Best Buy.
Molded from a single lightweight compound, the Starburst weighs just 1½ pounds in size medium. The long blade, though a bit stiff, has a large vent at the base that makes for a low-effort kick that test divers found best-suited to an easy flutter. “Not much power, but no stress at all,” one tester observed. Testers found it willing to pick up speed — to a point. “Reaches top speed long before you do,” one test diver commented. Most divers found the foot pocket comfortable, but some disliked the large opening at the toe, which is big enough for some boots to squeeze into. The adjustable strap earned good scores, and doffing is made easier thanks to the strap’s quick-release buckles. This fin’s light weight and easy-kicking nature make the Starburst an option for snorkeling.
Tusa Hyflex Switch Pro
For divers who prefer a firmer fin, Tusa has introduced a new version of the HyFlex Switch (a previous Testers Choice) with a blade that’s 20 percent stiffer. Divers rated the 23½-inch blade very good for stability and straight tracking. “Good stable foot platform,” one diver commented about the comfortable and supportive foot pocket. While testers found that the fin’s stiffness worked against it during flutter kicking and surface swimming, the “frog kick is awesome,” as one test diver put it. In fact, the Switch Pro took top score for frog-kick efficiency and was also ranked highly for maneuverability. The bungee strap was beloved by testers — especially the ergonomic heel pad and finger loop. The buckles also have a handy, no-tools adjustment feature with five positions.
H2Odyssey F5 Abaco [Snorkeling Fin]
Although the F5 is intended as a snorkeling fin, we were curious how it would perform on scuba duty because its compact size and light weight (21 inches long and under 1 pound in size large) make it easy to get in a suitcase. As with several lightweight fins in recent tests, it has an open-heel design with an adjustable strap, but it’s made to be worn barefoot or with neoprene socks rather than boots. The fins were sized too small for several testers to use them, resulting in too little data for an official score. But the divers who could wear them gave very good marks for comfort (though they thought the rather stiff strap could have more stretch). A bit too short and limber for scuba use, the F5 could be an attractively priced option for snorkelers, especially those with smaller feet.
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