I really like these spring straps! The grip area on the back is very easy to get a firm grip on, even in drysuit gloves...which is great, since I need a really firm pull on these to get them over my size 13 dry boots!
A little background about me and the types of diving I do before I talk about the fins: For my personal set of fins that I use for rec diving, I have Scubapro seawing novas. I have had these since I first started diving, and I really like them because they are gentle on the knees and ankles, and can really move when you need them to. They are awesome on flutter kicks... After I had been diving for a year or so, I started doing some volunteer work at the local aquarium. Although it is not formally "tech" diving, it is impossible to work effectively at the aquarium without doing tech style kicks. Over time, I found that I actually prefer the frog kick for getting around, and that I really like being able to back kick, even on rec dives, particularly when I am doing video or taking pictures. Thats when I started struggling with the novas - they are not really built for those kinds of kicks. Back kicking, in particular, is really difficult vs a standard profile fin. Not impossible...just...difficult...and a lot more inefficient than in other types of fins. At the aquarium, they provide all the gear we dive with, which includes OMS slipstreams and Scubapro jet fins. These traditional tech fins are GREAT for moving you around with tech style kicks, but in my opinion, they are rather stiff and unforgiving on the knees and ankles. That said, they can really move you with tech style kicks in ways the novas just...cant. That stiffness really makes small effort turn into big movement and precise control. I dont generally need to flutter kick in these, but when we do during safety and rescue drills, I find that I cramp up like crazy in these types of fins. I also find the foot pocket somewhat uncomfortable - but in fairness, the boots we wear at the aquarium are pretty flimsy vs my rec boots. Now back to the warp1s. I bought these fins to replace my recreational set of scubapro seawing novas. It was my hope that they would still be more comfortable than traditional style fins, and significantly more comfortable than the tech style fins. I also hoped that they would perform more like a tech style fin for the tech type kicks. This week I am doing open water scientific work with the aquarium, which gave me the opportunity to use my own fins for tech type work - so that means I got to put the warp1s through the paces in my dry suit, hauling lots of gear, and doing actual work underwater. The warp1s work GREAT for tech kicks. I have found that even gentle frog kicks can really move me around in these fins. Back kicking and helicopter turns are as easy as in traditional tech fins. In the same gear, with traditional tech fins, I get sore ankles by the end of the day. Not in the warp1s! Although there is certainly more resistance on the ankles with the warp1s vs my seawing novas, they are MILES ahead of the tech fins in regards to comfort. The only time I got even a LITTLE sore with the warp1s was yesterday when we did open water rescue and safety drills, including tired diver tows and long surface swims to "panicked" divers. That said, these fins really can move with a strong flutter - I was moving through the water really well! The thing that surprised me, though, is how well these fins compared to the traditional tech fins doing tech style kicks. At the start of todays work, we measured how many frog kicks it took us to cross a specific distance since we were doing some mapping work. Although I didnt have time to compare the fins to the slipstreams or jetfins on my own feet today, my colleagues wearing those fins did NOT move any farther per kick than I did in those measurements. I do feel like I was working less than I usually do in slipstreams to go the same distance, however, and that is always a plus. As far as fine control is concerned, I dont think I am giving up ANYTHING versus the standard tech fins. Forward, backward, rotations - all easily done. And like I said - all while loaded down with gear. Now am I saying that tech divers should throw away their fins and buy these warp1s? Goodness no...tech fins are awesome for doing tech work. Of course, if you are a tech diver that would like a fin with some oomph to move you around, and doesnt give up much (if anything) vs a traditional tech fin, with SIGNIFICANTLY increased comfort - well maybe it would be worth giving these a try. But if you are a recreational diver that would like a fin that can perform like a tech fin with more comfort? Well, then the warp1s are a no brainer! I do think that my seawing novas are probably a little more comfortable if all I were doing was flutter kicks. I would presume the same would be true for split fins. I can guarantee you that neither of those fins will outperform the warp1 in tech style kicks, though. Some final notes - although the sizing on the fins are listed as XL up to size 12+, I am wearing size 13 soft boots on my dry suit, and they fit these fins just fine with the spring straps. They also fit my rec boots, which are only marginally smaller. They are SLIGHTLY negative in fresh water - which makes me believe they may be neutral or slightly positive in salt. Oh...and there is some aggressive texture on the bottom of the fin which makes it pretty stable. We were walking over some algae covered bottom next to our entry point while setting up, and these fins didnt slide around as much as some other fins I have used at the same location. Hope this info is helpful! Cheers