So we FINALLY decided to bring full snorkel gear this year instead of renting. After all our drama last year dealing with the rocky entry at Kiddel Bay, we decided that the answer would be open-heel fins plus water shoes. Because we are also trying to keep the luggage down to carry-on only, we decided to look for short travel fins. This turned out to be WAY harder than it sounds.
Possibly because we live about as far away from an ocean as it is possible to get on the North American continent, there aren't a lot of snorkel shops in town. There are a few dive shops, but they cater more to serious scuba divers that buy wetsuits and book expensive dive expeditions. Not a single one of these places carries any of the short travel fins I found online.
So I came home from my first shopping trip with a pair of ostensibly "short" dive fins and a pair of heavy-duty rubber-soled dive booties. I'm not very good at judging size by eye, and was dismayed to discover when I got home that the "short" fins are 21" long and don't fit inside any suitcase we own. Oh well, I guess I can carry them in my red mini-duffel. They're pretty heavy for snorkel fins, but I guess by diver standards they are light weight.
DH was impressed by my double-jointed, turbo-charged dive fins, but still insisted on something that would fit in his rolling carry-on. Since I couldn't find anything at the dive shops (and happened to have a 1-month free trial to Amazon Prime) I decided to order online. Boy, was that a mistake! The US Divers Trek Travel Fin looked perfect: wider shape but only 15" long with the open heel for maximum adjustability. His size (8) falls right in the middle of the Medium size, so I ordered those. They were so narrow he couldn't get his foot more than 3" into the foot box. So I ordered a Large (10-13), figuring that the largest size available should be big enough for any size 8 foot, even a wide one.
Well, no. The Large was hardly bigger than the medium. The foot pocket is not only far too narrow for an 8EE foot, but too tight in the vertical direction for Richard's rather high arch. They look like nice sturdy fins if there is any foot that they would fit. It occurs to me that they might work well for a woman with a medium to narrow foot, assuming she had the sense to order a size larger than advertised. But there is no way in hell that a man with size 10-13 feet could wear these.
But our story has a happy ending. We did what we should have done all along - gave up on the fancy dive stores and went to a chain sporting goods superstore. All the way to the back, where we found exactly what we were looking for: a moderately priced Tusa snorkel package (mask, fins, snorkel), complete with a sturdy carrying case. The mask fit perfectly. And, miraculously, so did the fins. A Large slipped on easily over 3mm snorkel socks and fit like a glove. The fins are 16" long, and the entire set in its carrying case fits easily in a 21" rollaboard. The pair of Tusa fins weighs about the same as one of my Aqualung Hotshots.
So, hurray for Tusa!! And if you happen to have wide feet, I recommend the Tusa Sport Snorkel fin.