Wildhorn Topside Hydro Fins mark a big change from traditional fins. For one thing, they fit and act in many ways just like an athletic shoe, but they’re also excellent swim fins. You can shift easily between walking on land to swimming, snorkeling, river tubing, kayaking, body and paddle boarding, and many other water sports (however, these fins are not recommended for scuba or free-diving).
Another difference: Topside Hydro Fins aren’t one-size-fits-all. Instead, they’re available in most whole shoe sizes for men and women (half sizes are advised to order up).
Once you slip into the boot-like opening of the neoprene “shoe” and tighten up the secure-fit strap at the ankle, the tread on the nonslip high-grade polymer blend soles allows you to walk comfortably and with assurance over a rocky or lava-laden shore (because the fin blade is slightly raised above the ground, it doesn’t interfere with walking).
A secure and enclosed heel fit, rather than the traditional strap, translates to a blister-free experience. The fins are compact and travel-friendly. They float, which prevents them from sinking and disappearing forever. Because your entire foot is enclosed, stepping on sea urchins or sharp coral will leave your tootsies unscathed. Guaranteed two-year warranty. Comes in three colors: Pearl Aqua, Sharkskin and Manta Ray. $69.99. wildhornoutfitters.com.
Read GearHead’s previous snorkel/fin reviews: Tusa’s Dry Mask/Snorkel Combo (the mask is notable for its single window and patented nose-purge system) and the U. S. Divers Adult Cozumel Set (budget-priced, compact travel set). Both items still rank highly in their category.