As promised, something that has performed well beyond expectations. Initially I trusted the dive shop employee who sold my first and only set of fins. They were bought in Jacksonville Beach, Florida at Atlantic Pro Divers. The cost was about $125, although a quick search on LeisurePro list them for $57.00. They were purchased right before doing the PADI Rescue course. Approximately 12 years later and over 5000 dives they are still going strong. Now that's value, and no warranty required.
There is a Mares dealer here in West-End who sells these and newer versions of the fins but the only thing that has been replaced is the straps. They can be quite pricey, but again worth it. PJ ordered a bunch of new straps for open heel fins used during the rainy season. When the weather gets nasty on the north side we dive the south. At times we do shore dive in Flowers Bay over by Church Wall. That's when the open heel fins earn their money. To clarify, we carry a large variety of closed heel fins, some of which are never picked because they are simply to hard to put on and much less take off while hanging to the back of the ladder. The rest of the year they sit there on the shelf providing cover for Precious, Mally, and Shitty Kitty (our shop cats). In any case, he found some third party fin straps sold by Trident. That strap is also holding up.
I've tried the split fins and they definitely have less resistance and thus less stress on your knees. I'd hate to have to tow someone back to the boat against a current using them. That's a matter of comfort anyhow. I'm just making the case that the Mares Open Heel fins are good reliable ones.
Here are what a pair of well used ones look like;
You can see the third party strap and how it fit right into the Mares clips. I still have the Mares strap, it was switched to simply test it. The fins are starting to tear on the rubber right where your foot goes, but simply because at times someone doesn't zip up their booties. There is only one person to blame for that.
On a separate note, Coconut Tree Divers has used a variety of close heel fins for just about all our rentals when diving off Potlicker and Wish You Were Here (our current boats). During that time, it is also the Mares closed heel fins which have lasted the test of time. Those do tend to tear at the heel though, but they have outlasted the competitors we have used.
They get the double oks from this reviewer. That's not to say I'm not going to try a different pair.
Until next time, happy bubbles.