Best Freediving Fins of 2023 (the best kept secret of pro freedivers)

Best Freediving Fins of 2019
When you're paired up with the best freediving fins on the market, the underwater world becomes your playground.

When you’re paired up with the best freediving fins on the market, the underwater world becomes your playground.

When you’re armed with a pair of the best freediving fins to suit your particular freediving style…

Your jaw will drop at just how fast you’re able to jet through the water down to your desired depths…

It’s almost like unlocking a ‘secret cheat code’ to being more agile in the water (and yes, writing that now, I know how ridiculous that sounds)…

But you won’t be able to to relate to the above – or even believe it – if you’ve been using the wrong type of freediving fins this entire time.

So if you’re currently wondering whether you’ve got the right type of freediving fins…

Or curious as to what the best freediving fins are…

Then this post is for you.

Best Freediving Fins of 2023

What makes a good freediving fin?

First, let’s start with the 2 things EVERY freediving fin MUST HAVE:

1) Closed heel foot pockets.

As a freediver, you want to invest in a freediving fin that has closed heels (closed foot pockets).

A closed heel foot pocket, is a type of fin foot pocket that wraps completely around your feet and closes off your heels (kinda like wearing a shoe).

Picture of a closed heel foot pocket.

Picture of a closed heel foot pocket. This style of foot pocket has a dramatically increased power transfer leading to faster finning speeds.

An open heel foot pocket, on the other hand, does not completely wrap around your feet. As the name suggests, it leaves most of your heel uncovered by material, with only a small adjustable strap around your ankle keeping the fin in place.

Open heel foot pockets are almost similar to wearing sandals, except with less straps.

Picture of an open heel fin.

Picture of an open heel fin. Typically this style of foot pocket is much weaker leading to slower finning speeds.

So what’s so great about closed heel foot pockets for freediving fins?

Closed heel pockets are better for freediving because the rubber completely encloses around your feet for a tighter, more secure fit. This tighter fit leads to an increased power transfer per kick, so you fin much faster with less effort (and thus save more oxygen throughout dives).

For this reason, I strongly recommend investing in freediving fins with closed heels. Going forward, the best freediving fin (covered later in this post) will take into account that it must be closed heel.

If you’re bent on getting open-heel freediving fins, I recommend getting booties like these ones here. Wearing booties with open heel fins makes for a tighter fit and keeps your feet nice and warm.

If you’re using closed heel freediving fins – I recommend investing in neoprene socks so you don’t get blisters from your fins.

Let’s move on to the second thing all freediving fins must have…

2) Long fin blades.

You want to invest in long freediving fin blades, NOT short fin blades.

Long bladed fins displace more water per kick which drastically increases your kicking efficiency. When wearing long-bladed fins, you travel at faster speeds and cover more distance all with less work and less oxygen consumption.

Using short fins for freediving will burn through your energy and oxygen reserves. It’s almost like trying to sprint on a bike in 1st gear…while all your competitors dash passed you in 5th gear.

If you’re serious about tapping into your potential as a freediver; you must invest in long bladed freediving fins.

Now that we’ve established the 2 things any high-quality freediving fin must have (closed heels with long blades), let’s move onto the best types of freediving fins that have these 2 highly desirable features.

First I’ll cover the best freediving fins for beginners.

After that, I’ll cover the best freediving fins for advanced freedivers, followed by the best overall fin for depth & speed.

Choosing the wrong freediving fin can lead to worse freediving performances.

Choosing the wrong freediving fin could set you back hundreds of dollars and stunt your growth as a freediver.

Best freediving fins for beginners – Gara Professional LD by Cressi

The best freediving fin for beginners is Cressi’s ‘Gara Professional LD’ freediving fin.

Here’s why:

  • Affordable: The Gara Professional LD fins are very affordable making them the perfect entry-level, low-risk investment fins for beginner freedivers. Typically most high-quality freediving fins will set you back $300+. This sum is well worth it if you’re an advanced freediver, but as a beginner you shouldn’t invest this much in a new fin.Your priority is to get a good pair of long freediving fins that are durable…and then work on your technique as a diver before upgrading equipment.
  • Elastomer Polyproylene Blades: Plastic/elastomer fin blades are highly durable and affordable, but also come with one huge downside: the plastic in the long fin blades can be uncomfortably stiff – usually to the point where finning becomes exhausting and slows you down in the water.As a beginner freediver, you probably aren’t used to finning with long blades. You need strong, large leg muscles and it takes weeks or months of training before you see results with a long fin.
    • However, what’s so great about the Gara Professional LD fin blades is that they are made of an elastomer-polyproylene blend.

This blend of materials makes the blades much softer and more flexible. The end result is they don’t require much leg power to fin with. So as soon as you strap them on, you’ll be jetting through the water and feeling the full power of long-bladed fins (even if your legs aren’t super strong).

The best freediving fins for beginners are the Gara Professional LD's by Cressi.

The Gara fins are the best freediving fins for beginners because they are powerful yet easy to use.

  • Fully Enclosed Foot pockets: Wraps completely around your feet, leaving the blade at a slightly higher insertion point above your feet. All this adds up to devastatingly efficient kicks that slice through the water and torpedo you to your desired depth.
  • Sleek Black Color: Need I say more? It’s no secret that freedivers are drawn to black gear like months to flame… 😉

For less than half a week’s worth of rent, you can massively boost your freediving speeds with a pair of highly reputable long freediving fins. Click here to check the price of the Gara Professional LD Cressi Fins on Amazon.

You may also want to pick up some 2mm neoprene socks here; or if you’re diving in colder waters and prefer a warmer, more snug fit, you can invest in 5mm neoprene socks by clicking here.

Best Bi-Fins for Advanced Freedivers

If you’re an intermediate or advanced freediver, you might feel little restricted with plastic/elastomer fins.

Once you get to a certain level of freediving, after, say 1.5 years, it can be a good idea to ‘upgrade’ fins and move to something a little more advanced.

Typically most freedivers follow the following path when upgrading fins:

Plastic (1.5 years) — UPGRADE —> Fibreglass (1 year) — UPGRADE —> Carbon Fibre (use for 5+ years).

But in my opinion, it’s best to move straight from plastic freediving fins, to Carbon Fiber fins.


Well, if you pay a little more (eg; an extra $100) you jump straight to the best, most ideal freediving fins material – Carbon Fiber.

Sure, carbon fiber is more expensive than fiber glass, but if you invest in carbon fiber upfront, you won’t have to pay the double costs of both fiber glass and then a year later ditching them for carbon fiber (so you actually save money in the long run, by investing the more expensive fins up front…).

And not to mention with carbon fiber blades you also get instant access to experiencing the gigantic speed boost that comes from using the most powerful fin material on the market. 😉

If you want a nice entry level carbon fiber fin, I recommend investing in the Leaderfins Pure Carbon freediving fins. It has stiff foot pockets for extra thrust, with a nice soft fin blade that packs a powerful punch…but is laughably easy to fin with (doesn’t require big leg muscles). I’m not sure how or why this fin is so goddam powerful for its price…

Your jaw will drop at just how far one simple kick with the Leaderfins Pure Carbon fiber fins will take you underwater…it’s like having a little motor boat strapped to your feet! 🙂 To check the price of the Leaderfind Pure carbon Fins, click here.

If you’re after the ‘crème de la crème’ A.K.A the best of the best freediving bifins (carbon fiber) – and you’ve got a bit more of a budget to work with – you can’t go wrong with the C4 Martin Stepanek freediving fins.

The Martins come with 3 different fin stiffness types (so you can tailor the fin to your exact preferences to make you unstoppable in the water…)

However the most outstanding thing about the Martin Stepanek freediving fins is how weightless they are.

If you’re familiar with how professional track athletes wear incredibly light shoes with studs so they can shoot across the track to smash the competition…

Well, the Martin Fins are the freedivers’ version of sprinting shoes. They are light as a feather.

When wearing them in the water, you’re agile, fast and dart around like a weightless hummingbird (except underwater 😉 )

Click here to check the price of the C4 Martin Stepanek Freediving Fins.

How to travel with long freediving fins

Regardless of whether you’re travelling by boat, land and especially plane…you need to get a reliable, trusty freediving fins bag.

But the catch is…most freediving fins don’t fit into any diving bags.

The average diving bag is about 35 inches long.

The average long freediving fin is about ~ 38.5 inches long.

Good luck fitting that into a standard dive bag.

In almost all cases, it’s best to just bite the bullet and invest in a long fins freediving bag.

I recommend the Palantic Fins Bag – it’s currently the most popular fins bag on the market.

And most importantly the Palantic Fins bag is 40 inches long, which should hold almost any long freediving fins.

I can’t stress this enough: I strongly recommend investing in a freediving fins bag. Travelling with your expensive freediving fins ‘naked’ (not in a bag) can cause scratches to the protective lining on your fin blades…causing them to erode & break faster over time.

If you’re travelling via planes: investing in a freediving fins bag is an absolute must. The small cost of a fin bag (less than 60 dollars) far outweighs the cost of airport staff damaging your fins as they throw them into the luggage area…or the even worse – the possibility of your long fins getting permanently confiscated by airport staff because you tried to sneak them on board as carry-on luggage (illegal on most airlines).

Click here to check the price of the Palantic Freediving Fins Bag on Amazon.

If you’d like to discover more on how to travel with long freediving fins; I’ve written an entire post covering this here.

The fastest fin on the market

The fastest, most effective and efficient fin on the market for freedivers…

Is and will always be…the monofin.

When used in conjunction with good dolphin kicking technique; monofins are the best freediving fins in terms of speed.

When used in conjunction with good dolphin kicking technique; monofins are the best freediving fins in terms of speed.

Monofins differ from bi-fins in that it is one single blade, with a shape similar to a dolphin’s flipper. With a monofin, both your feet are enclosed right next to each other and are unable to separate.

This makes turning in the water an absolute pain…

But despite this, monofins are still MUCH faster than bifins…usually giving a 15% – 40% boost in speed & distance when compared to a similar costing bi-fin.

Yes, they really are that powerful.

If your number one goal is speed, efficiency and depth…and you’re only diving in straight lines – up & down (or backwards & forwards) then the monofin is the best freediving fin for you.

It’s a strange feeling using a monofin.

Especially if you’re doing DYN in a pool. When you start finning in the pool, you race from one end to the other and watch below you, as the lines between the tiles of the pool blur into one another as they rush passed you.

Truly incredible!

However I will say this: DON’T get a monofin if you plan on doing wreck/cave diving, spearfishing, underwater photography or even if you just plan on diving for pleasure and to enjoy the sites.

Monofins should purely be used for competitive freediving: breaking records, jetting down deeper and beating other freedivers.

Monofins are NOT built for recreational freediving – they are built for incredible SPEED which is not needed for most freedivers. The bi-fins listed earlier in this post should be enough in most cases.

With the warning out of the way, if you are interested in monofins, I recommend you invest in the FINIS Competitor Monofin (click here to check the price on Amazon). This Monofin has a gigantic blade (28″ x 28″) so displaces huge amounts of water per kick, and has a very responsive blade that snaps back into place after each kick (which is what gives monofins their enormous power).

About the Author Gerrie van Niekerk - Apnealogy

Gerrie is a passionate Freediver, Spearfisher, Digital Marketer, and author for the Apnealogy website. Gerrie is an SSI Level 1 certified Freediver who loves geeking out about freediving and spearfishing gear and lives for his family and adventure.

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