The 10 Best Dive Fins
How Do I Choose a Proper Pair of Dive Fins For ME?
The most important aspect of any pair of dive fins is comfort.
One-size-fits-all dive fins tend to cause blisters, or pinch the heel, or cram the toes, or, worse yet, slip right off.
The most important aspect of any pair of dive fins is comfort. This may comes as a surprise given so much priority is focused on a dive fin's performance. And yet the reality is that if a pair of dive fins doesn't fit comfortably, that pair of fins is of little value, long-term. One-size-fits-all dive fins tend to cause blisters, or pinch the heel, or cram the toes, or, worse yet, slip right off. The point being that approximate sizing is important, and any dive fins that are fastened with a strap should include some extra padding along the back.
Once you've squared away comfort, the next area you'll want to focus on is aqua-dynamics. Ideally, you'll want a pair of dive fins to weigh somewhere between 6-10 lbs. Top dive fins are designed with built-in rivets, or channels, along the top half of the flipper. These rivets work in conjunction with side rails to propel a diver forward. Kicking with a well-built pair of dive fins creates the same type of thrust as pulling inward with a pair of oars. An oar's blades are actually shaped like a pair of dive fins. Certain oars even feature rivets for redirecting water.
As a precaution, you'll want to get a sense of how durable a pair of dive fins might be. This is a tricky business, in that the majority of dive fins have been designed by using a similar combination of rubber and plastic. Seeing phrases like "multi-layered," "reinforced," and "structural integrity" in a dive fin's description is a promising start. But you'll probably also want to read some professional reviews - and some customer reviews - before you make your final choice.
How To Swim Efficiently With a Pair of Dive Fins
The goal of dive fins is to allow a swimmer to move quicker, and more efficiently, while underwater. This is especially important for ocean divers who are using a great deal of energy to reach - and return from - considerable depths within an abbreviated period of time.
Frog-kicking requires a swimmer to begin with both legs resting straight, and parallel.
Swimming with dive fins is easy, and it will lighten the burden on your body. The most basic dive-fin motion is what is known as a flutter-kick. Flutter-kicking requires the same one-two motion that a person uses whenever kicking in a swimming pool, with the difference being that both arms should remain static, and positioned at your sides.
Flutter-kicking involves constant movement, and it is for this reason that a lot of divers prefer to frog-kick instead. Frog-kicking requires a swimmer to begin with both legs resting straight, and parallel. The swimmer then brings both legs up toward the body before cycling them outward and around (this is the same lower-body motion that is used during a breaststroke).
The key to an effective frog-kick is making sure that both heels face each other whenever you bring them back into what is known as the resting position. Doing so will maximize the amount of propulsion, thereby allowing you more time to relax in between kicks. In addition, you should hold both hands clasped in front of your stomach during a frog-kick. Using your hands to skim water will actually impede some of your progress.
It is recommended that you practice both of the above kicks before attempting any type of deep-sea excursion. You can hone your technique by completing 2-minute drills in dive fins while swimming laps, or holding onto the ledge of a pool.
A Brief History of The 'Swim Fin' (By Way of Its Inventor)
Flexible swim fins were invented by a Lieutenant Commander in the French Navy named Louis de Corlieu. De Corlieu spent roughly two decades refining his propulsion device before he registered for a patent in early April of 1933.
What separated de Corlieu was his insistence that a pair of flippers needed to be constructed out of rubber or plastic.
De Corlieu was far from the first person to tinker with the idea of using foot extensions to push through open water. Some of the greatest innovators of the 19th Century - including Benjamin Franklin - had experimented with the idea before. What separated de Corlieu was his insistence that a pair of flippers needed to be constructed out of rubber or plastic. Ben Franklin's flippers had been constructed out of wood, which is incapable of channeling water in a weightless, fluid motion.
In 1940, de Corlieu coined the term "swim fin" when licensing his propulsion device to an American sailor named Owen Churchill. Churchill helped de Corlieu market his new invention to the American Navy, which used the fins for a number of purposes. Perhaps most notably, US frogmen wore de Corlieu's flippers while disabling underwater mines just off of Normandy Beach. This became a precursor to what we now know as the D-Day Invasion.
Throughout the 1950s, major manufacturers (including Dunlop) began cutting in on de Corlieu's profits. These manufacturers developed their own lines of highly-specialized fins, including diving fins, which were built longer for gaining additional propulsion with each thrust. De Corlieu stepped away from the business entirely during the early 1960s. He died in Paris in 1967. He was inducted posthumously into the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.