Open-Heeled vs Full-Footed Fins for Diving
When purchasing dive gear, every diver will have to make an important choice when it comes to fins. Should you buy full-footed fins or open-heeled fins and booties? Open-heeled fins and dive booties are recommended for almost every diver, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each style. So, which type of fin is right for you?
What Are Full-Footed Fins?
Full-footed fins have soft, flexible foot pockets which completely surround the divers feet, including the heels. These fins are usually worn without socks or booties, but some divers like to use neoprene diving socks to prevent the fin from rubbing blisters on their feet. Full-footed fins are most commonly used in tropical or warm waters, where thermal protection is not a concern.
What Are Open-Heeled Fins?
Open-heeled fins have foot pockets that are open in the back. The foot pockets are normally made out of more rigid material than the foot pockets of full-footed fins. These fins are designed to be worn with dive booties. The sizes tend to run larger than the sizes of full-footed fins in order to accommodate the extra bulk of the booties. Because dive booties vary in thickness and shape, it is essential to try on open-heeled fins with the booties you intend to use before purchase. Open-heeled fins are used in water of all temperatures and are essential in cold water environments for thermal protection.
Cons of Open-Heeled Fins
When diving with open-heeled fins, selecting the correct dive booties is essential. Some dive booties have internal seams, which may rub uncomfortably on a diver’s feet and even cause blisters. Shoes must be fit properly to avoid pinching, but dive booties must fit both the diver’s feet and the fins properly. This adds an extra step to the purchasing process.
The Take-Home Message About Full-Footed and Open-Heeled Fins
Full-footed fins work well for many warm-water diving scenarios. However, if a diver plans on making cold water dives or shore entries, or simply prefers a more adjustable fin, open-heeled fins and dive booties are the way to go. If money if not a concern, we recommend purchasing open-heeled fins, dive booties, and spring straps.