Do You Need Fins To Snorkel?

Do you plan on snorkeling in the deep blue sea any time soon? Gorgeous and mysterious fish, shallow shipwrecks, and colourful coral reefs await you.

A lot of people presume you only need a snorkel and mask before hitting the water. They don’t realize they need the best snorkeling fins in their arsenal too.

So I guess the big question is…

Do You Need Fins To Snorkel?

Technically, you don’t. A mask and snorkel are all you need if you plan on messing around in shallow waters. In reality, you definitely need fins to snorkel if you plan on doing anything the slightest bit adventurous.

The Best Travel Fins For Snorkeling

I’m guessing you don’t live at the beach otherwise you would already own snorkeling fins. You probably just want a pair to take on holiday.

Travel fins give you the best of both worlds. You’ll get all the benefits of wearing snorkeling fins in the water, but you won’t have any trouble fitting them in your suitcase.

Wildhorn Topside snorkel fins are probably the best ones around at the moment.

Wildhorn Topside Snorkel Fins- Compact Travel, Swim, and Snorkeling Flippers for Men and Women. Revolutionary Comfort on Land and Sea.

Before we look at some massive reasons why fins are important when snorkeling, we’ll discuss a few cool features these ones offer:

  • Fit into a backpack
  • Easy to walk around
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Extra supportive

Fit into a backpack – Are you worried about trying to find room in your large suitcase? These snorkel fins are so small and compact they’ll be able to squeeze into your carry-on backpack.

Easy to walk around – If you look carefully at the bottom of the fins they look like little shoes. It means you’ll be able to walk on sand or boats without waddling like a duck, plus you won’t slip or trip.

Extremely comfortable – The fins fit like a glove and neoprene is very comfortable. When your feet feel good you’ll be able to snorkel for a lot longer before you need a break.

Extra supportive – The closed toe and heel style will help you avoid cramping and hypertension. Plus the velcro strap that wraps around your ankles will give you even more support than most snorkel fins.

Why Do You Need Fins To Snorkel?

Reason number 1: it’s more fun. Snorkeling with your bare feet is like trying to climb a mountain with a backpack full of rocks. Fun sounds like a pretty convincing reason to wear fins, right?

But seriously, there are a few important reasons why you’ll want to wear the best snorkeling fins anywhere away from shallow water. We’ll take a look at those reasons in a little more detail right now:

  1. Swim faster and cover more ground
  2. Snorkeling fins give you buoyancy
  3. Dive deeper and come up for air
  4. You won’t waste as much energy
  5. Great for safety in emergencies

1 – Swim faster and cover more ground – Snorkel flippers allow you to swim a lot faster than using your bare feet. How much extra ground do you think you’ll be able to cover when you’re flying through the water at high speed?

You might be able to keep up with some of the fish. Not just the turtles. You can’t snorkel without flippers unless you’re prepared to see a lot less when you’re under the water.

2 – Snorkeling fins give you buoyancy – Sometimes you just want to remain still and admire the sights below. It’s hard to do this when you don’t have fins on your feet because you’ll start sinking.

You will feel like a shark that needs to keep moving at all times.

Snorkeling flippers will provide the lower half of your body with enough buoyancy to ensure you can stay flat and still without going under.

3 – Dive deeper and come up for air – Most of the interesting stuff isn’t right below the surface. If water isn’t crystal clear you might have a hard time believing there is anything worthwhile at all.

If you want to reach the really cool stuff longer flippers like the Cressi open heel snorkel fins will let you go much deeper in less time.

Cressi Pro Light, black, S/M
Dive much deeper with longer fins.

4 – You won’t waste as much energy – Snorkeling is meant to be one of the most relaxing water sports in the world. Kicking your feet up and down without fins will make your feel like you’re competing in the Olympics.

When you kick with flippers you’ll hardly waste any energy at all. Especially when you take into account the modern technology in the best ones around today. When you finish for the day you’ll feel fantastic.

5 – Great for safety in emergencies – Although we’ve saved it until last it’s certainly not the least important. There are so many things that can go wrong when you’re in the ocean. Currents can drag you away in an instant.

Would you feel confident you could survive without snorkel fins on your feet? Your chances of making it back to shore will increase dramatically if you wear flippers every time you go snorkeling.

The Best Flippers For Snorkeling In The Ocean

Travel fins like the ones we mentioned before will get the job done and suit holidaymakers, but they’re not actually the best flippers for snorkeling. To maximize the amount of benefits you get you’ll need a pair of long fins.

There are two particular types we’re going to touch on briefly:

  • Paddle Fins
  • Split Fins

Paddle Fins – Although the name might sound unfamiliar they’re basically traditional single blade fins. Not only are paddle fins superb when it comes to speed but they’re great when it comes to maneuverability too.

Thanks to the single blade you’ll be able to backtrack and change direction at great speed, which is sometimes helpful when you’re snorkeling. You don’t want to miss anything whizzing by.

Split Fins – A split fin looks like a single blade fin with a split down the middle. Even though it won’t feel like it you’ll be able to propel yourself forwards at faster speeds thanks to the design.

Each side of the blade moves independently and there is less total surface resistance. It’s the opposite of a paddle fin. Even though you can move quicker it’s less effective when it comes to maneuverability.

Please Note: The best bodyboarding fins are a great option if you plan on messing around in the waves with bodyboards too.

Open Heel vs Closed Heel Fins

Each of the fins we’ve looked at come with an open or closed heel. To be honest, it’s not going to have a huge impact on your snorkeling. But it will make a difference depending on where you’re going:

  • Open Heel Fins
  • Closed Heel Fins

Open Heel Fins – Flippers with an open heel are designed to be worn with water booties. You’ll be able to strap your feet into them and they’ll stay warmer in colder waters.

Closed Heel Fins – Putting your foot into a closed heel fin is like slipping your foot into a shoe. They are a lot more convenient because you don’t need to own booties.

Why You Should Take Fins For Snorkeling

Let’s say you decide to snorkel without fins on holiday. There is a good chance you’ll change your mind after your first few hours in the water. You will be left renting fins from a beach vendor with everyone else.

You won’t be able to rent the best fins for snorkeling on the beach. You’ll be left with a cheap pair you’ll despise. They won’t do your feet any favors and to add to the misery you’ll be overcharged.

Make up your mind before stepping onto the plane. It’s something to think about between now and then.

So Do You Need Fins To Snorkel?

You definitely need fins to snorkel unless you want to have the most boring time ever. Just remember you don’t actually need to take them on holiday with you. If you’re anywhere near a busy beach you’ll be able to hire them.

But if you plan on going snorkeling more than a few times take your own. It would also be wise to take your own full face snorkel mask too.