How we pick our products
Whether on vacation internationally, at the lake, at the local beach, or local rec-centre, Canadians like taking flippering in the water. Whether you have recently bought flippers that you aren’t too happy with, or would like to find out more about how to choose the right one, you should take the below guide to heart, because it just might help you out.
There is a wide range of flippers on the market and they all have different things to offer, so it is important to do good research before getting anything. The below guide will help you make this decision by answering some common questions from Canadian consumers when it comes to buying these swimming accessories.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 The best flippers on the Canadian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about flippers
- 3.1 What are flippers and what are they for?
- 3.2 Why is it useful to swim with flippers?
- 3.3 What types of fins are there on the market?
- 3.4 What material are the fins made of?
- 3.5 What care do diving fins need?
- 3.6 How much are flippers worth?
- 3.7 Is it worth buying second-hand flippers?
- 3.8 Where can I buy cheap flippers?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Unlike swimming paddles or kick-boards, flippers adapt to our feet to form an extension of our body to make our feet longer and allow us to swim faster.
- When you swim with fins you give yourself better posture, because they make you feel as though you are covering ground above the surface of the water. Flippers also force you to utilize your legs more while in the water, which will help combat the feeling of sinking.
- While they might look the same superficially, there are a great many different kinds of flipper on the market, and some have specific sporting functions, while others are designed for recreational activities like snorkelling.
The best flippers on the Canadian market
A quality flipper is an essential accessory when swimming, snorkelling or diving. Flippers help make it easier to swim and help you to use less energy whilst in the water. In the below section we have chosen the five best products currently to be found on the Canadian market to help you make the best decision.
- HEAD – Energy Swim Fin
- Speedo – Multicoloured Short Blade Training Fin
- HEAD – Tarpon/Barracuda Dry/Volo One Snorkel Set
- Cressi – Palau SAF
- Phantom Aquatics – Speed Sport Adjustable Snorkelling Fin
HEAD – Energy Swim Fin
HEAD makes a wide range of high quality sporting equipment, and their Energy Swim Fin is a nice, mid-range flipper made for both water aerobics and swimming. They are great for help building good swimming technique while also building muscle. The closed-foot pocket (as opposed to straps) gives you a secure, comfortable fit and the fins are constructed out of high grade polypropylene, so they are strong enough to stand up to regular wear and tear.
These flippers come in all the most common sizes, so you can easily get something to fit your foot. Many people like these for training and learning freestyle kicks. They provide enough resistance to work your legs out, but they are not designed for diving or free diving. They would, however, be entirely appropriate for snorkelling and they are small enough that they would be easy to pack up and take with you on a vacation.
Speedo – Multicoloured Short Blade Training Fin
Speed has been making great swimming gear, including goggles, fins, swimming caps and more for decades and their Multicoloured Short Blade Training Fin is no exception. It comes in a wide range of common sizes, so you can get the right one for your foot size. These are great for helping to develop swimming technique and providing you with that extra bit of thrust in the water. They are made from soft silicone so they are extra comfortable and fit like a glove.
These are ideal swim fins for helping you strengthen the speed of your kick, and build important swimming muscles. These are a nice fin because the short and straight blade helps you get into a good kick/stroke rhythm, so they are great for training for competitions. They are also the right size for light snorkelling in calm water and pack up small to take in a carry on or checked bag. These are a nice mix of resistance and comfort so that you feel you are making progress in the water.
HEAD – Tarpon/Barracuda Dry/Volo One Snorkel Set
HEAD’s Tarpon/Barracuda Dry/Volo One Snorkel Set comes with the Tarpon mask, the Barracuda dry snorkel, and the Volo One fins. The mask has a soft touch silicone buckle so that no hard plastic is pressed up against your face and head. The dry snorkel is the latest in snorkelling technology and one of the more popular kinds of snorkels currently on the Canadian market. The snorkel contains a comfortable silicone mouthpiece that is easy to bite down on and will not wear your jaw out.
The channel thrust gives you optimum performance with very little effort so you get more distance and power out of each kick. The fins are a good length for snorkelling in that they are short enough to give you could manoeuvrability, but long enough to generate sufficient power to effectively propel you through the water. The Volo fin is 30 per cent more efficient than traditional fins because it keeps an optimal angle in the water while kicking, thus generating more thrust.
Cressi – Palau SAF
Anyone who knows about the world of diving and snorkelling knows that Cressi is one of the most trusted brands in the industry. Cressi’s Palau SAF is an adult open-heel snorkelling fin that is made in Italy and designed for optimal performance in the water. Cressi has been making diving geat since 1946 and they have perfected the art of fin making. This Palau SAF fin is the short fin version of their full length fin that is specifically designed for snorkelling.
The buckle is easy to adjust so you can wear this fin with water shoes or go bare-foot. It comes in a variety of colours so you can get something that suits your personal style. This short snorkelling fin is easy to pack and lightweight, so you can take it with you on your next vacation south, rather than having to rent expensive snorkelling equipment from a hotel while you’re there. The buckle is also quick release so you can get it off easily if need be.
Phantom Aquatics – Speed Sport Adjustable Snorkelling Fin
Phantom Aquatics is another well-respected nake in diving and snorkelling gear and their speed Sport Adjustable Snorkelling Fin is a great short fin made for snorkelling enthusiasts. The nice thing about this fin is that it has an extendable soleplate that adds thrust. This is an especially nice feature if you are snorkelling in rougher water and need more power to push your through, of if you come up against a current. The strap adjustment is easy to use so you can tighten and loosen it easily while snorkelling.
This fin is made from a high-grade polypropylene material that gives you greater thrust per kick, and will also stand up to the saltwater and UV radiation better than plastic. The structurally efficient hinge point gives you the correct fin shape throughout your kick cycle so you generate more energy more efficiently. It is a good idea to order booties along with this fin so that the top of your feet do not get pinched while you are out there enjoying the water.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about flippers
There is no doubt that having your own equipment makes your swimming experience more enjoyable and better. In the below section we are going to lay out some of the most commonly asked questions by Canadian consumers to help you learn more about flippers. After reading this you will be able to figure out which are the best ones for your needs.
What are flippers and what are they for?
Why is it useful to swim with flippers?
What types of fins are there on the market?
|Adjustable fins||Open at the heel with adjustable straps||Used for diving or snorkeling in cold water and are worn with diving socks or booties|
|Enclosed fins||Feet are completely enclosed||Worn barefoot or with neoprene socks in the pool|
|Hinged fins||Have an integrated hinge on the blade||They are used for diving and as an alternative option to the previous ones|
|Split fins||The blade consists of two parts which makes the each flipper stroke easier and you exert less energy||Their use is widespread among divers who want to advance faster under water|
|Long blade fins||They allow you to travel long distances with short movements||They are used by rescue swimmers|
|Medium blade fins||They are used to cover medium distances and to perform technical exercises||They are used both by beginners when diving as well as swimming laps|
|Short blade fins||There is only a small fin surface from the foot||They are used for swimming training|
|Diving fins||They are the classic fins||They are used to swim underwater easily|
|Bodyboard fins||They are used to propel yourself through the water while you are on a bodyboard||They are used whilst bodyboarding|
|Submarine fishing fins||They are a little longer to provide stability without making great effort||They are used to carry out fishing with a speargun underwater|
|Apnea fins||They are carbon fibre fins that are extremely lightweight||They are used to descend underwater to great depths for either submarine fishing or deep sea free diving|
What material are the fins made of?
What care do diving fins need?
How much are flippers worth?
Is it worth buying second-hand flippers?
Where can I buy cheap flippers?
As you are now well aware, every kind of fin has its own special use. Before you get your set of new flippers, you should make sure you fully understand the importance of the below shopping criteria so you make the correct decision:
- Open or closed
- Adjustment type
- Hardness and blade size
- Fabrication material
- Physical fitness of the user
Depending on the type of fin you’re going to use, you can choose between shorter fins (small and easy to carry) and longer fins (better performance with more propulsion and less effort). The size of flipper you like will also depend on your personal preferences, as well as what you plan on using them for.
Open or closed
Open fins are best when you plan on using them with strong booties that are perfect for swimming in water that has a lot of sharp rocks and corals. Alternatively, closed flippers are best for warmer water and work well with neoprene socks.
An important part of good diving fins is the material or design of the strap used to adjust them. Straps tend to give up the ghost faster than other flipper components so it has to be sturdy and well-made. Also, flippers should be adjustable so that you can take them off and on easily, and so you don’t hurt your feet.
Comfort is another important factor when choosing fins, because if you are not comfortable, you will not enjoying wearing your flippers. Since they are made for a nicer swimming experience, they need to remain comfortable throughout and be removed and put on.
In addition, the use of socks or neoprene boots is recommended depending on the temperature of the water.
Hardness and blade size
Based on what you want to use your fins for, you will need to decide on whether you need a blade with more or less rigidness. A more flexible blade means less effort when kicking, however a more rigid blade produces a more powerful kick and better propulsion. Rigid blades mean you must exert more effort while swimming, so they require more leg strength and better all-around physical conditioning.
When it comes to the size of the blades, diving fins tend to be longer than snorkelling fins, which are usually inappropriate for diving. There’s a helpful trick when choosing the fin size for recreational flippers for snorkelling or swimming: the length of the blade should not exceed the measurement between your ankle and your knee. Always consider this because it might help your purchase decision down the line.
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The materials your flippers are made out of have changed dramatically since they first hit the scene. They were originally made with tanned leather around the foot, then natural rubber and nowadays there are two distinct types of flippers depending on the material they are made of:
- Made entirely from neoprene rubber: They aren’t the lightest but they tend to be more chlorine and salwater-resistant.
- Made using a plastic blade and a neoprene boot: lighter than all rubber fins. This makes them the most popular flipper.
Colour is one of the more personal factors when deciding which fins to you want to buy. You should get flippers that are brightly coloured so that you are easier to spot in the water. Bright colours, however, are not the best for underwater photography because they can scare fish.
Physical fitness of the user
You should always take into consideration your level of physical fitness when choosing your flippers. Based on how strong you are, you might require shorter or longer fins and are more or less rigid. A fin that doesn’t suit your strength and fitness will be hard to use for extended periods of time.
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You should always investigate the handling of a flipper before making a purchase. This means knowing how easy they are to take off and put on, and how heavy they are to take to the beach/pool. Additionally, you should always make sure that the strap adjustments are easy to use while in the water, as you may have to adjust them at some point.
Before thinking about renting fins, our best recommendation is that you purchase your own set for swimming, bodyboarding, snorkeling, spearfishing or diving. Using fins that are ill-fitting, or that are worn out and uncomfortable feels terrible on your skin and feet. This is why you have to do some preliminary research and get ones that suit your needs and stay within budget.
If you have your own flippers, you never have to put up with ill-fitting rental fins again. While some people might be under the impression that a good quality diving, snorkelling, or swimming fin constitutes a big investment, that is not necessarily the case, as there is a lot of good value for money on the market. So if you swim, bodyboard or scuba dive regularly, a new set of flippers will be worth the investment.
If you like this article on flippers and found it helpful, share it with friends and family. Additionally, drop us a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.
(Source of featured image: Sonnie hiles: 64325/ unsplash.com)