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What is the difference between full foot and open heel scuba diving fins?

The main difference between full foot and open heel scuba diving fins lies in the design of the foot pocket and the method of securing the fin to the foot. Here´s a breakdown of each type:

Full Foot Fins:

Full foot fins are designed to be worn without additional footwear, as they have a closed foot pocket that encases the entire foot. Key features of full foot fins include:

Foot Pocket: The foot pocket is made of soft, flexible material that conforms to the shape of the foot. It provides a snug and comfortable fit, similar to wearing a shoe.
Sizing: Full foot fins are typically sized like regular shoes, following standard shoe sizes.
Warm Water Use: Full foot fins are commonly used in warm water diving conditions or for snorkeling. They are often made of lightweight materials and have a shorter blade length, offering less resistance and requiring less effort to kick.
Limited Adjustability: Full foot fins usually have a fixed size and offer minimal adjustability. Therefore, it´s important to choose the correct size for a proper fit.

Open Heel Fins:

Open heel fins have an open foot pocket that leaves the heel exposed. They are designed to be worn with neoprene booties or dive socks for added comfort, protection, and insulation. Key features of open heel fins include:

Adjustable Strap: Open heel fins feature an adjustable strap and buckle system that secures the fin to the foot. This allows for a customizable fit and makes it easy to don and doff the fins, even when wearing thicker booties.
Booties or Dive Socks: Open heel fins are typically used with neoprene booties or dive socks. These provide thermal insulation, protect the feet from abrasions, and allow for a more secure fit.
Versatility: Open heel fins are suitable for a wide range of diving conditions, including warm water and cold water diving. They are often made of sturdier materials and have longer blades, providing more power and propulsion.
Adjustability: The adjustable strap system of open heel fins allows for fine tuning the fit to accommodate different foot sizes and bootie thicknesses. It also allows for sharing fins between divers of varying foot sizes.
Choosing between full foot and open heel fins depends on factors such as diving conditions, personal preference, and the need for additional thermal protection. If you primarily dive in warm water and prefer a lightweight and minimalist design, full foot fins may be suitable. On the other hand, if you dive in a variety of water temperatures or require the ability to adjust the fit with booties, open heel fins would be a better choice.
It´s important to try on different types and models of fins to determine the most comfortable and appropriate fit for your diving needs. Properly fitting fins contribute to better propulsion, efficiency, and overall diving experience. Find some of the best brands like Cressi, SEAC, Mares, Salvimar and Aqualung.