* Prices may differ from that shown
Being an older person who suffers from a bit of arthritis, caused by the "newness" wearing off the body, I have to be careful not to choose fins which are too rigid. I have always used a split fin before and found them very reasonable. Unfortunately these were stolen so I went to my club and asked advice. The Mares Plana Avanti Quattro were recommended. They are not a new design but are tried and trusted by thousands of divers with a name for being flexible and reliable so I purchased a pair.
I found them easy to use at the surface and had no problem keeping up with my buddies on a longish surface swim. Underwater they performed better than my expectation providing enough power to keep up without any stress whatsoever. When diving in a confined space like a quarry it is important not to kick up silt and make life difficult for other divers so a frog kick is better than a normal fin stroke. This I found much easier to do than with my old split fins and it was a joy to use them. The foot pockets of the fins are deep and so the foot is fully supported. This is a aspect vital otherwise one can gat cramp easily and ruin a good dive for yourself and your buddy.
The fin blade itself has soft rubber channels to catch and guide the water directly backwards. The rigid sides are deep and ensure a clean stroke with no 'side spill' thus no losing power sideways.
The fastening of the heel straps are however a different matter. They have a lever fastening system which lets you set the strap size once then thereafter simply apply the levers to open or close the fin. These I found almost impossibly stiff and to operate with 5mm gloves on was a nightmare.
With the bare hand they are easier to use but the red lock release has to be slid and with thick gloves on just finding the thing is a pain; operating it I found well nigh impossible.
This aspect alone should not put anyone off buying these excellent fins because if one bought spring fastenings, which many experienced divers prefer anyway, and replaced this awkward mechanism then the problem is solved.
When purchasing fins always take your dry suit with you and try them on the boots for size don't just take the word of the salesperson. If the fins are too small they can come off or be impossible to put on. If you've paid for a boat dive and can't do it you'll be sick. If they are too big they can wobble sideways and that is a very disconcerting feeling especially for a new diver.
Make sure if you are taking them abroad to a warmer climate to take bootees with you or you'll end up losing them or blistering your tootsies.
These fins have a retail price of around £68 and are mid priced in range. My split fins cost £100 and one can pay more than that so these are very good value for money especially if you are not a wilting wallflower and find asking for a discount no problem.
These scuba diving fins were purchased for a two week holiday in Sharm El Sheikh which included a five day Padi training course to get my diving qualification, in addition we planned to do some snorkelling on the local reefs including one that was on the beach of our hotel complex so both my other half and I bought a set of fins each and as we were buying two pairs the shop knocked off £20 from the combined price so these ended up costing me £45 which is not a bad price. Mine are a small size which will fit up to a size 7. They are an open heel design so you also need to factor in the cost of a pair of boots as well otherwise they would not be very comfortable and would rub on your feet. Also given the hot sand and the fact that there are things on the ground that can cause you harm the boots are essential.
I found these to be really comfortable to wear, they were easily adjusted to tighten just by pulling the two straps at the back and they feature what Mares call the Adjustable Binding System (ABS) so once adjusted they remain locked into position and will not come off no matter how hard you fin, not a problem with me but my other half creates a lot of power so this system is good for him.
They are quite rigid in the structure and they certainly were very easy to fin with, both at the surface while snorkelling or under water, the deepest we went to was about 15m while doing our course and there was little current on any of our dives as the reefs were pretty sheltered. I found that I did not suffer from any cramp or soreness in my calfs and on a previous holiday I had suffered from this when snorkelling in the carribean and the instructor reckoned that was because the fins I had were wrong for me. These were so comfortable to wear and I also found after a little practice that I was able to change direction and control my popsition in the water easily and this is meant to be due to the ruberised edges of the fins but to be honest I have no idea why this is the case.
They do generate a decent amount of power when it is needed, again this is partly due to the design of the fins which have channels running down them that helps shift the water and provide forward propulsion. Since qualifying I have used them again on a holiday to Cuba when we did a couple of dives and they still worked perfectly, they are easy to remove when you need to exit the water and while they are a bit bulky I prefer to take these on holiday as I know I can trust them.
These fins are good quality and well made, after five days of diving in total they do have a couple of scuff marks but that is more to do with my own clumsyness in the water and I would certainly recommend them to others.
I have these in a size 11 (Large), I use to wear fins that were made by beaver but soon found that there didn't give enough power /Force when I was finning in any type of current
These on the other hand are actually quite comfortable to wear and give a very good finning force due to their design, I have used my pair for just over 3 years now and cannot complain what so ever, there is a bit of ware to them but I use to use mine almost daily for about a year at one point and even now, I find that the way the strap at the back is positioned on my boots, they fit in as if one was designed for the other.
There only down side is that if there done up to tight, I personally find that they will start cutting into the top of your boots of done up for a long period, or multiple periods of time, however. If done up properly, then the only true words I can give are that these have been one of the best buys in a long time