Split Fins vs Blade Fins: What’s the Difference?


When looking to buy your next pair of snorkeling flippers you will more than likely come across split fins and blade fins. Even though these look similar they have significantly different strengths and weaknesses. Making your decision between these two types of fins doesn’t have to be difficult.

We explain everything you need to know about these two vastly different fins below. Let’s take a look.

Split Fins

Split fins are easy to spot as they are the ones that have a slit down the middle of them. This was designed to mimic the shape of whales and dolphin fins. This split design may look less effective but this is one time that looks are deceiving. This split design gives snorkelers a more robust kick with less effort. In fact, this type of fin can be up to 40% easier to use than a regular fin.

These fins are great for beginner and intermediate users. Their efficiency makes up for any limits inform that more novice users may have. These fins feature rails: the part of the fin that runs along the edge. This allows water to cut through the middle of the slit which allows you to move more efficiently. With that being said, split fins are not the best for backing up or different kicking styles such as the frog kick. This is due to the lack of stiffness in the design.

Split fins are excellent to learn on. They give you the confidence you need when you are first getting used to swimming in the water. Also, they make it easier for people with knee or hip issues. Allowing for a less forceful stroke, these fins put less pressure on joints and allow you to develop the correct kicking motion without pain.

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Blade Fins

Blade fins, also known as paddle fins, are the more traditional looking style. They do not have a slit running down the middle and are found in every single dive shop. This solid design is best for experienced divers. The blade is stiff and allows for a more powerful stroke. While they do require you to have a more perfected stroke, they can allow for better efficiency when you know what you are doing.

These fins have a proven track record with anyone who has experience in diving or snorkeling. This type of fin has been used for everything from freediving to scuba to snorkeling. There are many different types, shapes, and sizes to choose from.

They are powerful and offer excellent propulsion through even the strongest currents, something that split fins lack. If you are an experienced diver you will be able to get more out of your kicks with a blade fin than split fins. But with that being said, it takes more effort and proper form to achieve.

These fins are also exceptional when it comes to maneuverability. You have full control over every aspect of your dive including angle, pitch, and direction. If you are scuba diving and need to propel you and your gear against a current regularly you will want to choose blade fins. They will give you the power you need.

Which One Is For Me?

This is a tricky question. It all depends on your skill level and what you are using them for. More advanced divers will appreciate the power and agility they have with blade fins. They will also be familiar with this type of fin as they are most often found in rental shops. Blade fins excel in areas with currents or moving water. They can use their shape and size to their advantage and power through water that split fins cannot.

If you are just getting into diving or you don’t have the strength needed for blade fins, split fins will be the better choice for you. These will give you added efficiency in the water while building your form and muscles. Also, split fins are a great choice for areas with little or no current. If you have an injury to your lower body these fins will also be a great way to rehabilitate and build your muscle. They are also quite easy for kids to learn from.

Globo Surf Overview

Choosing the right fins for you can be a difficult task. The decision between blade fins and split fins requires you to know what kind of swimmer you are. Your choice will ultimately be determined by your skill level, what kind of water you will be swimming in, and your leg strength. Now all that is left to do is find the best snorkeling spots.

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