We consistently talk to snorkelers who have wide feet; men specifically who have problems finding fins that will fit them. We feel bad because there are hardly any snorkeling manufacturers who make a foot pocket that is generous with regard to the width of the foot. There were even less when we started this website 5 years ago. We have yelled, screamed, complained and have even begged them to address the issue and over the years and finally have made progress. There have been definite changes occurring and, though the choices available are not always the less expensive $30.00 pair, there are at least options available. If you are looking for snorkel fins for wide feet, we can help.
WIDE FEET IN MENS SIZING
Wide feet are caused by a number of reasons, but because we at SnorkelingOnline.com are not doctors of podiatry, an explanation of those reasons are best discussed with those professionals. The question we will address is how you know if you have wide feet. In simple terms, you will know if you are unable to fit into normal shoes, ok, let's get a little more specific. In the United States, letters are used to represent shoe widths. Those who are considered normal width are a 'D' and those on the narrower side are a 'C'. Those with wide feet start at an 'E', then 'EE' and adding another 'E' with each progression. The letter designations are for male sizing and is important when reading our descriptions on snorkel fins for wide feet.
LADIES HAVE WIDE FEET TOO
Women's shoes have the following designations: Narrow, Average, Wide and Extra Wide. Out of the thousands of pairs that we have sold and the ladies we have spoken to, we have known only one female to have wide feet. All manufacturers make all fins in male sizing only which is why we include the female equivalency in our size charts. So ladies, if you have wide feet, go up one size in your purchase and you should be fine. All manufacturers make fins in male sizing only which is why we include the female equivalency in our size charts.
Some strap designs require the use of additional footwear and have been an option for many years but because most of them are geared more toward scuba diving, they tend to be heavier, longer and bulkier than even the traditional length fins that are snorkel oriented. The need for water shoes or wetsuit boots is due to the materials of which the foot pockets are made which are much stiffer than that of the barefoot designs. They add a measure of thermal insulation but more important is that they protect the foot from being irritated from rubbing against the pocket while being used. At present we do carry one style that has met what we consider to be standards acceptable for snorkelers and great for scuba diving, just in case you choose to enter that sport also. The Oceanic Viper has a foot pocket that is designed to be worn with a boot, the material used is quite flexible and could be worn barefoot but unless you have a EEEE size, we would not recommend it. The overall length are 25 inches and while this does not make them as travel friendly, they are the most generous with regard to the snorkel fins for wide feet.
TRAVEL BAREFOOT STYLES
Our complaints to the manufacturers have not gone unheard regarding barefoot styles and more are beginning to offer designs with wider widths. We are constantly monitoring what is becoming available and the offerings on this page will be edited to reflect this. So check it often.
The National Geographich Fit Fins are definitely worth looking into, they incorporate so much of what the snorkeler is looking for in a fin. The open heel strap design will accommodate up to a size 13 narrow width as well as the wider 12 EE sizing. The fit is very comfortable due to the softer material used in the foot pocket and the nylon laminate pad on the replaceable strap. What makes them even more appealing is the overall length and total weight. The largest of the three sizes ranges available measures just under 18 inches with a combined weight of 2.5 pounds making it an obvious travel choice as it will fit comfortable in check in or carry-on luggage. The blade has the flexibility needed to reduce strain on muscles from kicking without reducing its thrust capability. Comfort, fit and performance is what they are all about.
The Tilos Getaway are another option of snorkel fins for wide feet. This open heel adjustable fin has a generous foot pocket which seems to be filling the needs of many snorkelers with wide feet. The barefoot styling is comfortable but they are not the shortest in length with the length for the largest measuring 20 inches. The blade is a bit on the stiffer side but still a good choice and will fit those with up to a size 13EEE.
The Oceanic V6 are a full foot design with the foot pocket that proves to be quite generous in terms of width. The blade styling is traditional length for snorkeling which, for the largest size is 24 inches and they are of the split fin styling. While the blade are of the traditional length, the split design makes them quite manageable in the water. There are four distinct size ranges from which to choose with the largest being a mens 12.
As was previously stated, we are vigilant in our commitment to the wide footed snorkeler and as more snorkel fins for wide feet are introduced into the industry that meet their specific needs, we will be adding them to our site and to this article which will remain a work in progress.