Best Snorkeling Fins
Updated 22nd of May 2021
With summer approaching, the option of a nice snorkelling trip becomes a possibility. Or maybe you are looking to an overseas getaway to that dream beach. To make the most of any snorkel (or scuba diving) adventure, a comfortable set of fins makes all the difference. In this review, I focus on a set of fins that won’t disappoint in almost all situations, the Cressi Rondinella Fins. I have used a lot of different fins, but most snorkeling trips I reach for the Cressi Rondinella knowing it has outstanding comfort but also a relaxing but efficient propulsion.
Quick product guide
• Top recommendation
• Comfortable, durable, great propulsion
• Incresed flexibility, but less durability
• Below blade foot pocket
• Extremely hard wearing
• Stiffer blade, and increased weight
Cressi Rondinella Fins Review: Top recommendation
So what makes these fins a top recommendation for 2020? Well they are a classic fin that has stood the test of time, with all the right features. I discovered the Cressi Rondinella many years ago, and I instantly warmed to them with the super comfortable and supple rubber foot pocket. This makes them a dream to wear for long periods of time. Some other fins I can't even tolerate for say 20 minutes, but with the Cressi Rondinella I know if I am heading out for a few hours (or multiple times in a day) that I will not get any rubbing on my feet, or tightness in my foot or calf.
Just in case you are thinking about a fin with adjustable length foot pocket for snorkeling, don’t! They are awful! Yes all of them! If I try and use an adjustable foot pocket fin, the difference in comfort is obvious. With comfort being a non-negotiable feature, I won't wear adjustable fins when casually snorkeling. If you are wearing neoprene boots, it's a different story - but for me i much prefer a molded foot pocket that fits just right without the additional hassle of neoprene boots.
It’s not just the rubber foot pocket that makes the difference in terms of comfort. It’s also the length of the fin. Too long a fin, and you get excessive rubbing in the foot pocket in addition to requiring a much thicker rubber foot mould. The Cressi Rondinella gets this just right. The very light weight of the Rondinella blade makes these fins effortless to use. They are great for snorkelling in shallow water, or free-diving to the depths. I do enjoy the experience of long fins, and diving with slow and deliberate timing for a long fin, but for a casual snorkeling trip they can be too cumbersome. You may go a little further with some longer blades, but a long blade does not have the maneuverability of a shorter blade. If you are trying to twist and turn (for example, to see fish or coral), the long blade will not be comfortable. If you like to spend a few hours in the water, soon the long blades will become uncomfortable, and you won’t even want to kick anymore! Longer blades are also extremely awkward to put on and off, and stand in on the beach. Another advantage of the Rondinella fin length is that it makes them easier to pack in a travel bag. The flexibility of the Rondinella blade also means you have a natural kick with accommodation for kick variation.
I am often asked about sizing. A factor here is if you wear fins with diving boots (also known as neoprene socks ) or not. I highly recommend wearing these fins without neoprene boots. They are soft enough that boots are not needed. I find the Cressi sizing chart (as shown below) is spot on. I am a 46, and the 45/46 fits just right without a boot.
Cressi Rondinella Sizing Chart
So how long can you expect these fins to last? Well a very long time! I have purchased many of this fin (not to replace mine - which have lasted a very long time, but for others), and as long as they are cared for well, should give you years of life even when used regularly. If I look at mine, the rubber is still perfectly supple and like new. The blade itself has a few little marks from standing on rocks, or bumping onto objects, but it in no way affects the performance of the fin. Just remember to rinse and dry them thoroughly after each use, and minimise walking in them (walk backwards if required).
Cressi Pluma: A flexible blade
The Cressi Pluma is an interesting Fin, and many snorkelers want to consider the Cressi Pluma vs Cressi Rondinella. At first glance, the differences between these fins seems minimal. But in your hand, the obvious difference is that the Pluma features a below blade foot pocket, while the Rondinella has a more common above blade foot pocket. This difference changes the blade angle and feel. The Pluma pairs this with a super flexible blade - which I actually find a bit too flexible. The end result is what i'd consider a very comfortable, but not so efficient fin. It's a fin that you may enjoy as a beginner because the feel is very relaxed, but they do not allow your technique to develop quite like the Rondinella. In addition, the Rondinella is a strongly constructed fin that will definitely outlast the Pluma. So if you are considering the Cressi Rondinella vs Cressi Pluma, i'm strongly lean towards the Cressi Rondinella for a fin that is a pleasure to use for beginners and experts, and is built to last.
Want an extremely hard wearing fin? Consider the Cressi Clio
The Cressi Clio is a more traditional presenting snorkeling fin than the Cressi Rondinella (and Pluma). The blade is made from Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), a rubber like plastic. The foot pocket is a nice soft rubber, which is similar in quality to the Rondinella. The Clio has a stiffer blade, which doesn't have as natural feel as the Rondinella making the Rondinella a nicer fin to use when snorkeling. But where the Clio excels is as a very robust fin. The Rondinella is also an extremely well built, but if you tried your hardest to damage the fin blade you probably could! The Clio is an option that will withstand the harshest treatment that may come its way - making it ideal as spare fin for guests, or for kids who are very rough with their gear.