What are the best fins for snorkeling in Hawaii?


When you go snorkeling in Hawaii the gear you use can really make a great deal of difference. There is a huge variety of different types fins that you can use. The right set of fins for you is going to depend on a variety of different factors and personal preferences so instead of trying to tell you what set of fins is the best for you we're going to instead try to help you learn about the differences between different types of fins so you can make an informed decision about what kinds of fins you want to use.

Open vs Closed Heel Pockets?

Open Heel Pockets have a single strap that loops around the back of the heel. The benefits of this design is that they are easier to get on and off and they are designed to wear over booties. Having booties is nice if you're going snorkeling at a location that requires you to get in and out from a rocky shoreline because you have a layer of protection against cuts to your feel.



Closed Heel Pockets (Long Length)



Closed Heel Pockets are a more traditional design that has a full heel similar to a shoe. The advantages of this design is that there is generally less flex between your foot and the fin which results in increased efficiency. The other advantage is that the smooth design is generally more comfortable on the feet because there are less edges in the design. If you want you can normally wear a neoprene sock under closed heeled fins but you normally can not use a full bootie with a hard rubber sole when you use closed heeled fins.



Open Heel Pockets (Mid Length)

Short Fins vs Long Fins

The shorter the fins, the faster you will have to kick to get the same amount of propulsion as you would from a longer fin. A longer fin is nice because you can kick slower, but each kick requires more effort. Most of the designs that we've had the best experiences with are mid length. Mid length fins are generally available in open or closed heeled versions. Long blade fins are generally only available in closed heeled versions. When you get down in length to less than mid length fins it gets harder to propel yourself. Short fins are generally reserved for shallow water activities like bodyboarding or body surfing.




Long Fins





Short Fins

What fins are best for you?

If you are going to bring your fins home and use your fins in a colder climate you should get some open heel fins so you can fit full neoprene booties under them. If you are planning on doing a great deal of deep freediving you may want to go for a pair of long fins but normally a pair of mid length will do you just fine. We've compiled some fins that we've used in the past and have had positive experiences with below.

Our Fin Reccomendations



High End, Closed Heal



Entry Level, Closed Heal



High End, Open Heel (Includes Mask)




Entry Level, Open Heel


Do you have any questions about snorkeling in Hawaii?

We can help you arrange a snorkel or SCUBA dive trip on any of the Hawaiian Islands. We offer a full selection of snorkeling excursions ranging from entry level all the way through intermediate and "expert only" options.




View Comments

Jamie Valdez
I never really understood what all the differences with snorkel fins were before. I'm glad I read this because now I know to get the fins with the straps on the back so I can use them for cold water. Looking forward to using them :)