Why does the cutest footwear have to hurt the most?
For most of the year, I get by with comfortable boots and sneakers. But come the heat waves, all I want to wear are breezy sandals, elegant flats, and flip flops! And my feet absolutely hate it! Blisters, calluses, sore spots, you name it. Summer is the season of foot discomfort!
These sad tales of unhappy feet often extend to the world of underwater sports as well. Especially for folks new to snorkeling or SCUBA, finding the right pair of fins is as finicky as finding the right pair of hiking shoes.
Do your legs get tired and cramp easily? Does your fin strap give you sore spots? Do your foot pockets chafe your toes or ankles? Then it’s time to re-think your fins!
The feature article for this month is a full guide on how to choose fins. It targets beginner snorkelers, but has a lot of detail that may benefit advanced snorkelers and divers as well! Accompanying the feature are additional articles I’ve written covering the difference between SCUBA and snorkeling fins, the physics of how fins work, and whether split fins are a good choice for snorkelers.
With the dizzying variety of fins on the market, my hope is that these articles will set the record straight on a lot of misconceptions that result in unhappy feet! Happy underwater feet not only make for happy snorkelers and divers but happy aquatic environments too!
Enjoy the tides!
Look awesome and avoid leg cramps by choosing the right pair
Obviously, I love water sports (otherwise why would I be writing this blog??). But I’ve always hated buying fins. Well actually, I plain hate shopping for anything, but I especially loathe shopping for footwear of any kind. That’s because my feet are quite small and narrow, plus I’m super sensitive to even minimal amounts of foot discomfort. So it’s often quite an ordeal for me to find exactly what I need without compromising on comfort, function, style, or price.
For now, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the choices for fins out there. Is there a difference between SCUBA and snorkeling fins? Full-foot vs. open-heel? Paddle vs. split fins? Long vs. short blades? Maybe you’re wondering what the heck a split fin even is?
Don’t worry! I’ll go over everything you need to know about snorkeling fins and give you some recommendations to start your shopping online.
Isn’t a fin just a fin? Not at all! There are 4 major differences between SCUBA and snorkeling fins. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you mix them up!
Split fins are a design trend that has become especially popular in recent years. But is this new trend legit or just a gimmick?
The Physics of Finning!
Did you know? The modern design of the fin was invented by a Lieutenant Commander in the French Navy, Louis de Corlieu. Inspired by how the webbed feet on frogs and ducks propel them through water, de Corlieu designed wearable swim fins that work in a similar manner.
He demonstrated his first prototype to the public in 1914 and later left the navy to refine the design, patenting it in 1933. By 1939, the propulseurs de natation et de sauvetage (swimming and rescue propulsion device) had entered mass production.
Since then, the design of the humble swim fin has seen countless iterations, styles, and designs to suit many different kinds of activities, from snorkeling to SCUBA.
But what made Louis de Corlieu’s basic design from the early 1900s so effective?
Cool stuff I’ve been reading…
…and watching! Starting with a showcase from Shark Week:
Why We Should Love Sharks – There are many reasons to admire and conserve these underwater icons.
Lionfish: An Invasive Delicacy – How to stop this fish from wreaking havoc across the oceans? Eat them!
Short Film – Out of the Sky: Sardine Run South Africa. Watch full-screen 4k if possible!
Ocean Photography – Check out the winners from the Backscatter Photo Digital Shootout contest!
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