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Footwear can be a tricky thing: Notoriously difficult for men to get right and a lifelong obsession for many women. But what about your fins, what does your choice of diving footwear say about you? And why would anyone possibly care?
First off some ground rules, well one: Let’s not go near that picture of the fins that look like high heels please (like the photo inserted above by Steve - just to annoy Alex!). Like many fellow dive professionals I have now seen or been tagged in this picture 1.7k million times. Unlike the birthday card of the 2 sharks talking about not eating the divers tank because it makes them fart, it wasn’t even funny the first time.
Full foot fins are the flip-flops of the dive world, fine for bimbling around in the shallows but not really up to the task in other situations.
I saw a man wearing jeans and flip-flops in Piccadilly recently (I don’t care that we were having an unusually warm April-there is no excuse). He had a girl with him, who strangely hadn’t left in utter disgust. Flip-flops may well be perfectly practical as you amble down the beach from your shack to the bar but they are wildly unacceptable on the London public transport system.
It’s 2006 and lank haired, boggle eyed crazed monster Pete Docherty is choosing what shoes to wear. He opts for a pair of thin-soled winkle pickers with a point almost as long as his foot. These shoes are excellent for semi staggering down the street wearing a pirate shirt in a louche manner but are completely hopeless if you suddenly find yourself having to run from the police. Just like split fins.
The choice of the discerning individual: A good paddle fin is like a pair of high quality leather chelsea boots if you’re a guy and Louboutins if you’re a girl. Well made, stylish, functional, and they make you feel good wearing them. In contrast a bad paddle fin is like any shoe bought in Aldo: Looks good on the shelf and then virtually self-destructs on your foot as you walk out the door.
If good paddle fins are refined and stylish then jetfins are the Doc Martens of the dive world: Slightly hard work at first, clumpy, heavy duty and totally indestructible. Not the prettiest shoe in the world but highly functional and an undisputed classic.
Imagine that you were given enough money to buy an expensive pair of shoes for an important occasion but instead you bought a pair of diamond-encrusted Crocs that cost double the price of the proper shoes? That would be ridiculous thing to do, wouldn’t it….Wouldn’t it?
So there we have it, a largely uninformative look at fin choice but then given that I make most of my kit purchasing decisions based on how much it will make me look like Darth Vader, what did you expect?