Whether you are a beginner diver or a seasoned expert, you’ve probably noticed the never-ending variety of innovative scuba gear available in today’s market. As a diving community, we were not satisfied with simply having swim fins in multiple designs (open heel vs. full foot, bladed vs. split fins, etc.) The search for the perfect gear has taken us towards many accessories for our gear.
Open-heel swim fins must be secured in place using straps, and most models have removable straps. I want to introduce you to the latest trending accessory for open-heel swim fins: interchangeable spring fin straps.
Integrated Vs. Interchangeable Fin Straps
Some fins have integrated straps that cannot be replaced or changed. These are probably easier to manufacture, but interchangeable fin straps are far more comfortable for the consumer. Firstly, they provide more options for the diver. You can choose fin straps that feel more comfortable for you or adjust them according to the size of your feet. Additionally, if they are ever damaged (or worn out), changing a fin strap is much cheaper than buying a new pair of fins.
Fin Strap Types
If you’ve already decided to get interchangeable fin straps, you are still not done choosing. Further options are available because they are made of several materials and in different designs. These are the main fin strap types in use today.
These highly elastic straps have a fixed length and cannot be adjusted. Bungee straps are designed to be stretched wide so that the wearer can insert their foot, and then the strap snaps into place. They have a tendency to get worn out and may slip off in the water if they get stretched out over time. One reason they are so popular is that they’re lightweight.
Silicone Rubber (Adjustable)
To solve the problem of finding the accurate size, manufacturers started making straps out of silicone rubber. They are comfortable and lightweight and can be adjusted according to the diver’s preference within a limited range. These are also very popular but might need readjusting when in the water. They are also more prone to damage.
Professional divers use heavy-duty fin straps that are made of stainless steel springs. They are by far the best option for any diver for various reasons that I shall elaborate on below.
Why Are Spring Fin Straps The Best Option?
Depth Compression Is Not An Issue
Whenever you dive deep under the surface of the water, you will inevitably feel the effects of water pressure. The compression caused by the increased pressure can make your fins feel looser once you get into the water. This is due to the reduced thickness of neoprene socks and also a slight change in the volume of your foot. By design, springs compress further when under pressure. This means that spring straps can readjust to the changes automatically and won’t be loosened after diving.
Water makes everything slippery, and so adjustable straps tend to slip out and loosen once you take a dive. Many divers need to readjust their straps multiple times during a dive, which can be inconvenient, especially with neoprene gloves. With spring fin straps, you only need to adjust them once and forget about them until you get out of the water and need to take off the fins.
Ease Of Use
Attaching spring fin straps is a simple process, and so is putting them on/taking them off. To put on your swim fins, all you need is to pull the D-shaped ring behind the fin straps to stretch the spring. Once you’ve placed your foot in the pocket, gently letting go of the D-shaped ring will adjust the spring’s tightness to your foot perfectly.
Taking off the straps is equally easy – simply pull down the D-shaped ring over your heel and pull your foot out of the pocket. There is no need to worry about buckles and readjustment.
While rubber straps can last long, the repeated readjustment causes them to wear out over time. The plastic buckles are also prone to breaking. Stainless steel spring straps and bungee straps are far more durable because of their elasticity and corrosion resistance.
Most spring fin straps can easily be attached to a wide variety of diving fins. You can even use the same pair of straps for multiple pairs of fins, even very old models.
Of course, nothing in this world is absolutely perfect. Spring straps are considerably heavier than other types, which is the only disadvantage that drives some people to avoid using them. If this is a particularly important factor for you, then you might need to weigh the pros and cons of using spring straps.
Some people claim that spring straps are painful to wear, but that is usually because they’ve chosen a smaller size than needed. Switching to a larger size solves the problem instantly because the straps will still spring tight against your ankle to give you a perfect fit.
Now that you know of all the advantages (and a few disadvantages) of switching your regular fin straps to spring fin straps, you can change them easily. Most of the diving community agrees that they are the best option. The only thing left for you to do is go ahead and buy them.