Winter Sports

Best Snowshoes Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best snow shoes for the money? Read on as we review all the top options with Pros & Cons.

You’ll have no trouble finding snowshoes; there are seemingly endless options to choose from. While finding a pair of this specialized footwear isn’t hard, what can be difficult is trying to figure out which option to choose.

With so many options, determining which one will best meet your specific needs can be a bit of a challenge. To help you with the process, we’ve put together this handy review and buyer’s guide for you. After scouring the internet and reading through the descriptions and customer reviews of dozens of snowshoes, we’ve selected what we feel are the best snowshoes currently available on the market.

Below, you’ll find an overview of each of the options we selected. You’ll also find a buyer’s guide, which highlights some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for snowshoes.

We’ve also included a list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions novice snowshoers have about this specialty footwear. With the information presented in this review and guide, you should be able to find the perfect pair of snowshoes for your unique needs.

Top 3 Snowshoes

For shoppers who are in a rush, this section is for you. If you don’t have the time to read through our extensive review, here, you’ll find a brief assessment of our top three snowshoes: the best overall, premium, and budget picks.

Best Pick: Winterial Onyx Premium 25 Inch Snowshoes

Winterial Onyx Premium Snowshoes 25 Inch Mountain Terrain Black Snow Shoes with Quick Fit Bindings Carry Bag and Adjustable Poles
  • STABLE: The ultra-flex plastic deck offers top tier performance under any terrain!
  • TRACTION: Steel crampon style teeth, wide base and deck traction will help traverse steep and uneven backcountry climbing.
  • 190LB LOAD CAPACITY: Snowshoe dimensions 8" x 25",
  • QUICK FIT BINDINGS: The quick fit binding system will get you on the trail quicker than ever. Simply put your foot in the slot and pull the tab. The heel lock bar allows you to climb steep hillsides while feeling the stability of being on the deck!
  • Carry bag and Poles INCLUDED! Anti-shock poles are a must for backcountry trail blazing and are included in the Winterial snowshoe carry bag!

For our best overall pick, we selected the Winterial Onyx Premium Snowshoes. Measuring 25 inches long, these snowshoes will evenly distribute your weight across the top of the snow, provide ample support, and will prevent you from sinking in. With an ultra-flex plastic deck, you’ll enjoy proper support and premium performance on any terrain you run into.

Premium Pick: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes

MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes with Paragon Bindings, 30 Inch Pair, Black
  • Ultralight (4.93 lbs) technical snowshoes with superior traction for mountaineering, aggressive backcountry pursuits, and rugged terrain
  • 360-degree Traction Frames deliver edge-to-edge grip, especially on traverses, while durable steel DTX crampons provide serious bite on alpine steeps
  • Paragon bindings feature a one-piece contouring strap that wraps securely around boots, for a glove-like feel that eliminates rigid pressure points, and provides easy alignment and foot control
  • Ergo Televator heel lift bar flips up to increase uphill efficiency, provide help on steep ascents, and reduce fatigue
  • Snowshoes measure 8 x 30 inches, weigh 4.93 pounds/pair, and can carry up to a 280-pound load; bindings fit men’s shoes sizes 4.5-15; made in the USA

If you’re serious about snowshoeing and you have room in your budget, the MSR Lightening Ascent Accent Backcountry and Mountaineering Snowshoes are definitely a great option to consider. Weighing in at just 4.33 pounds, these technical snowshoes provide exceptional traction for the most challenging terrains.

Budget Pick: Goplus 25-inch Snowshoes

Goplus 25-inch Snowshoes for Men and Women, Lightweight Snowshoes w/Heel Lift, Adjustable Ratchet Bindings, Hard Rack Grip Teeth and Carrying Bag, Anti Slip Snow Shoes for Hiking, Climbing (Red)
  • 【Durable Materials】Made of high-quality PP and steel, our snowshoes ensure firmness and durability. PE upper with excellent low temperature resistance is able to withstand bad weather. In addition, stainless steel screws and aluminum rivets greatly extend the service life of snowshoes.
  • 【Stylish & Comfortable Concept】Our snowshoes are ergonomically designed while ensuring aesthetics. Streamlined design and raised toe caps greatly reduce the resistance of moving forward. And the heel lift bar can ease fatigue effectively, which provide a comfortable and convenient experience for your hiking and rock climbing.
  • 【Convenient to Wear】The snowshoes’ ratchet bindings can keep your feet in place firmly. Compared with traditional shoes, the quick release buckles make it easier to put on and off, and the heel straps can easily adjust the tightness according to the size of your feet.
  • 【Better Traction & Grip】The solid serrated crampons at the bottom of the snowshoes will provide you with an ideal grip, so that you can stand firmly and move steadily even on the snow-covered ice and the rugged mountain road.
  • 【Lightweight & Portable Design】The lightweight plastic frame improves the heavy experience of the aluminum frame snowshoes for optimal snow float performance. Reasonable size and a free storage bag make the snowshoes easy to carry anywhere.

If you’re just starting to explore snowshoeing and you don’t want to invest a lot before really knowing if it’s the right sport for you – or even if you’re an experienced snowshoer and you just don’t want to break the budget – the Goplus 25-inch Snowshoes for Men and Women is a great option.

Top 7 Snowshoes

Now that we’ve quickly reviewed our top three picks, let’s take a more in-depth look at the eight best snowshoes on the market. In this section, we offer a more detailed review of our choices for the best overall, the best premium, and the best budget options, as well as an additional four models that we think are great choices, too. In addition to the detailed reviews, we’ve also included a list of pros and cons for each model.

Winterial Onyx Premium Snowshoes

For the best overall snowshoes, we choice the Winterial Onyx Premium Snowshoes. With an ultra-flex single form polymer deck, these snowshoes are durably constructed and will provide outstanding performance on virtually any terrain you encounter.

A wide base and deck, coupled with coated carbon steel crampon teeth provide exceptional traction on even the most challenging courses. With quick fit bindings, all you need to do is put your foot into the slot, pull the tab, and you’ll be ready to hit the trail. A heel lock bar makes climbing those steep hills a cinch, too.

These snowshoes weigh 5.2 pounds, which is a little bit heavier than some of the other models featured in our review; however, you really won’t notice the extra weight. The recommended weight capacity is 190 pounds, so they can be worn by people with a variety of builds.

In addition to the features that the snowshoes offer, they also come with a pair of aluminum, anti-lock, anti-shock poles to help keep you grounded, as well as a sturdy carrying case to make transporting and storing these snowshoes a breeze.

Pros:
  • Single form polymer deck
  • Coated carbon steel crampons for excellent traction
  • Quick fit bindings make putting them on and taking them off a cinch
  • Heel lift system to support hill climbing
  • Comes with anti-shock, anti-lock aluminum poles and a carrying bag
  • 190 pound weight capacity
Cons:
  • Weighing in at 5.2 pounds, these snowshoes are a bit heavier than other models on our list; however, the added weight really isn’t noticeable

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MSR Lighting Ascent Snowshoes

For serious snowshoers who are planning on hitting really rugged and challenging trails, the MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry and Mountaineering Snowshoes are an outstanding choice.

They’re the lightest weight, most technical snowshoes in the manufacturer’s line (MSR is one of the most renowned snowshoe makers, so that says a lot). The thoughtful design provides exceptional traction for those tough pursuits, such as backcountry trails and steep mountainsides.

With Minimalist Paragon bindings that boast one-piece contouring straps that wrap around virtually any type of boots, you’ll enjoy a solid, yet comfortable fit, as they minimize pressure points and help your feet to remain properly aligned so you can have better control over your feet.

The variable thickness TPU mesh is super-durable and automatically adjusts to a wide variety of boots, while maintaining durability and flexibility in the coldest climates. The 360 degree traction of the frames delivers edge-to-edge grip, while the steel DTX crampons give you more stability on ascents and descents.

The polyurethane decking is durable, yet lightweight and the Ergo Televator heel lifts (which are as to engage), ensure that you’ll always have proper flotation and minimize the risk of fatigue. Weighing just 4.33 pounds and with a weight capacity of 220 pounds, these snowshoes really are lightweight, supportive, and durable.

Pros:
  • 360 degree traction frames for edge-to-edge grip
  • Steel crampons on the bottoms
  • Paragon bindings with one-piece contouring straps are easy to apply and fit like a glove
  • Ergo Televator heel lift bar is easy to enable and increases uphill efficiency to reduce fatigue
  • Lightweight, yet durable polyurethane decking
  • Weighs just 4.33 pounds and can accommodate up to 220 pounds
Cons:
  • They are a bit pricey and may be cost-prohibitive for some shoppers

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MSR Women’s Revo Trail Hiking Snowshoes

A lot of snowshoes are designed for men, and while women can wear them, they often don’t provide the support or fit that a woman needs. With the MSR Women’s Revo Trail Hiking Snowshoes, women can have confidence knowing that they’ll have the support and comfort that they need, as they’re made specifically for women.

They’re constructed for a narrower gait, which means they are better suited for women, and because they weigh only 3.44 pounds, they’re lightweight and easy to move in. Steel teeth along the perimeter ensure edge-to-edge traction, while pivot crampons offer more grip on steep inclines.

The injection-molded ExoTract tapered plastic deck is super durable and can easily stand up to the most frigid temperatures. The material also provides torsional flex for even better control. The DuoFit bindings won’t freeze and are easy to secure with gloved hands, while the adjustable attachment can accommodate all types of shoes.

The bindings fit women’s shoe sizes 4.5 to 14 for exceptional versatility. They’re also available in two lengths: 22 inches and 25 inches, and are an attractive black and violet color combination.

Pros:
  • Injection-molded ExoTract tapered plastic deck for exceptional durability
  • Perimeter teeth and pivot crampons provide reliable traction
  • Made specifically for narrow gaits
  • DuoFit bindings are freeze-proof and glove-friendly
  • Adjustable attachment can accommodate all types of footwear
  • Weight capacity of 180 pounds
  • Weighs just 3.44 pounds
  • Fits women’s sizes 4.5 to 14
  • Available in two lengths
Cons:
  • The price may be a bit steep for some shoppers

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MSR Tyker Kids’ Snowshoes

For the youngest snowshoers, the MSR Tyker Kids’ are a great choice. Since they’re made by MSR, one of the most renowned snowshoe manufacturers, you know that they’re high-quality.

They are specifically designed with children in mind and offer the perfect traction and flotation for little ones. Steel crampons and kid-friendly molded traction bars ensure that the feet will remain firmly planted on the ground.

The injection-molded deck is lightweight, durable, and can easily stand up to all types of elements – as well as the harsh wear that kids tend to put on their shoes. The bindings are kid-friendly, are easy for small, gloved hands to use, and can accommodate all types of children’s footwear.

With a weight capacity of up to 90 pounds, they’ll grow with your child, and the 2.06 weight of these snowshoes will certainly be easy for the kids to navigate. They are also available in two fun colors that will add an extra element of fun to snowshowing: Dino green and purple power.

Pros:
  • Made specifically for children
  • Injection-molded deck is durable and can withstand all types of temperatures and conditions
  • Kid-friendly bindings are easy for little hands to maneuver
  • Steel crampons and kid-friendly molded traction bars ensure proper grip and maximize safety
  • Can accommodate all types of footwear
  • With a 90 pound weight capacity, they’ll grow with children
  • Lightweight design
  • Two fun colors
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • They may not be able to accommodate bigger kids

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Winterial 25-Inch Lightweight Mammoth Snowshoes

Next up on our list of the best snowshoes is the Lightweight Mammoth Snowshoes from Winterial. They were made specifically for advanced snowshoers and are ideal for tough terrains, such as the slopes of rugged mountains.

The frame is made of lightweight, yet durable polymer material and can easily withstand all types of conditions. The aluminum  teeth are lightweight, yet provide great traction on snow- and ice-laden trails, while the popup terrain heal and squared toe design makes it easier to tackle hills.

The ergonomic design ensures comfort and reduces fatigue, while still providing ideal support and keeping you up on top of the snow while you’re trekking.

With a weight capacity of up to 240 pounds, the Winterial 25 Inch Lightweight Mammoth Snowshoes can be used by men and women of all body builds.

Pros:
  • Made specifically for advanced snowshoers
  • The frame is made of lightweight, yet durable polymer material
  • Aluminum teeth along the bottom provide reliable traction
  • Popup terrain heal and square toed design makes climbing hills a cinch
  • Can accommodate up to 220 pounds
  • Easy to adjust and close buckle bindings that can accommodate a variety of shoe sizes
Cons:
  • At 5.3 pounds, they’re a bit on the heavy side

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Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

The Chinook Trekker Snowshoes are another pair of affordable, yet reliable snowshoes. Measuring 19 inches, they’re shorter than the rest of the snowshoes we’ve featured so far, which, on average, measure up to 19 inches, with the exception of the MSR Tyker snowshoes, which are obviously made for kids.

The shorter length actually makes them a good choice for bigger kids or young teens that the MSR Tyker’s. The aluminum construction of the frame is lightweight, yet durable, while the polyethylene decking provides even more durability, and it’s UV-resistant, too.

The ergonomic design ensures comfort and reduces fatigue, while the heavy duty aluminum crampons rotate freely and ensure a stable grip in the snow and ice. The dual ratchet bindings and heel straps with quick release buckles are easy to put on and take off, yet secure the feet properly for reliable stability.

With a weight limit of 90 pounds and weighing just 3.91 pounds, these snowshoes, as mentioned, are well-suited for older kids and young teens. They also come complete with a carrying case with backpack straps, side handles, mesh ventilation, and pole carriers.

Pros:
  • Aluminum frame is durable, yet lightweight
  • UV resistant polyethylene decking
  • Dual ratchet bindings and heel straps with quick release buckles
  • Heavy duty rotating aluminum crampons
  • Measures just 19 inches long and has a maximum weigh capacity of 90 pounds, making them ideal for older kids and young teens
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • A few users said that they weren’t pleased with the traction

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
FLASHTEK 21/25/30 Inches Snowshoes for Men and Women, Light Weight Aluminum Terrain Snow Shoes (Blue, 25")
  • SIZES & WEIGHT CAPACITY: 21 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 65 - 155 lbs / 30 - 70 kg;25 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 110 - 220 lbs / 50 - 100 kg; 30 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 150 - 260 lbs / 70 - 120 kg. (Load refers to total weight of user plus anything they are carrying such as pack, equipment, etc.)
  • DESIGN: Ergonomic and streamlined design and a slightly upturned rounded tail, the snowshoes ensure a comfortable and easy walk for your hiking and climbing. Meet max floatation and fast movement in heavy snow condition.
  • FUNCTION: Fast pull binding system easy entry and fast-lock allow your winter boots put on and off quickly. It can fit a wide range of shoes size from 35-45 EUR.
  • MATERIALS: Long lasting lightweight 6000 Series aircraft aluminum frame. DuPont pivot and environmental HDPE decking. Forged aluminum alloy crampons
  • PACK: One pair of snowshoes + one pair of Trekking poles + one nylon carrying bag.
Bestseller No. 2
Odoland 4-in-1 Snowshoes Snow Shoes for Men and Women with Trekking Poles, Carrying Tote Bag and Waterproof Snow Leg Gaiters, Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Snow Shoes, Black, Size 30''
  • THE ULTIMATE SNOWSHOES FOR MEN AND WOMEN: Snow shoes made of lightweight high quality materials to guarantee ease of use and equipped with handy bag, this set is ideal for your snowshoeing adventures and outdoor activities. 21'' for 60-120lbs / 28-54kg, 25'' for 120-160lbs / 50-72kg, 30'' for 160-220lbs / 72-100kg.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY-TO-PUT SNOWSHOES: The snowshoes made of lightweight and strong aluminum frame, the snow shoes feature an ergonomic design to ensure comfortable and easy walk.
  • GREAT FLOTATION & HARD GRIP SAWTOOTH: Large flat surface area of aluminum frame, the shoes provides you with maximum flotation. Each shoe has two sets of reinforced, heavy duty saw tooth for strong traction on icy, hard surfaces.
  • ADJUSTABLE TREEKING POLES: Easily changing the height of these telescoping poles from 25.5 to 54 inches is a breeze even when you're wearing gloves or trekking in wet conditions.
  • WATERPROOF LEG GAITERS: Made of pongee fabric, provides excellent water and tear & puncture resistance.
Bestseller No. 3
FLASHTEK 21 Inches Snowshoes for Men and Women Lightweight Snowshoes with Poles for Hiking Heel Lift Riser for Mountaineering + Free Carrying Bag (Lake Blue)
  • SIZES & WEIGHT CAPACITY: 21 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 65 - 155 lbs / 30 - 70 kg;25 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 110 - 220 lbs / 50 - 100 kg; 30 inches snowshoes optimized weight range: 150 - 260 lbs / 70 - 120 kg. (Load refers to total weight of user plus anything they are carrying such as pack, equipment, etc.)
  • DESIGN & DESCRIPTION: Standing atop the Series, the snowshoes are packed with features to tackle your favorite winter hikes, with the lightweight, smooth-striding design, comfort of the TPU binding with fast lock & loosen system and confidence of advanced aft traction, to take you to the tree line and beyond
  • HEEL LIFT RISER: On steep climbs, calf muscles tire quickly and traction decreases when your foot matches the slope angle. The heel lift Riser eases fatigue and ties directly into Advanced Aft Traction for grip.
  • LIGHT WEIGHT MATERIALS: Flashtek Use Long lasting lightweight 6000 Series aircraft aluminum frame. Durable UV resistant HDPE decking. Heavy duty steel crampons. Meet max floatation and fast movement in heavy snow condition.
  • SNOWSHOE TOTE BAG & TREKKING POLES: Adjustable trekking poles and a zippered snowshoe tote bag for easy carrying and storage.
Bestseller No. 4
Carryown Xtreme Light Weight Snowshoes Set for Adults Men Women Youth Kids, Aluminum Alloy Terrain Snow Shoes with Trekking Poles and Carrying Tote Bag, 14" /21"/ 25"/ 30"
  • SNOWSHOES SIZES & WEIGHT CAPACITY: 14 Inches optimized weight range: 30 - 70 lbs/ 13 - 31 kg; 21 Inches optimized weight range: 70 - 150 lbs / 31 - 68 kg£»25 Inches optimized weight range: 120 - 200 lbs / 54 - 90 kg; 30 Inches optimized weight range: 180 - 250 lbs / 81 - 114 kg.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY-TO-PUT SNOWSHOES: Made of lightweight and strong aluminum frame , the snowshoes feature an ergonomic design to ensure comfortable and easy walk. With upgraded double ratcheting bindings, it's easily adjust to your footwear. And the one-buckle tightening mechanism coupled with TPE heel strap provides efficient support.
  • ADJUSTABLE TREEKING POLES: Easily changing the height of these telescoping poles from 25.5 to 54 inches is a breeze even when you're wearing gloves or trekking in wet conditions.
  • [Fully Adjustable] : Double ratcheting bindings easily adjust to most footwear and enable a secure fit for maximum efficiency during outdoor treks; one-buckle tightening mechanism coupled with an TPE heel strap provides efficient support
  • [Package Included]: Snowshoes +Trekking Poles + Carrying bag
Bestseller No. 5
WildHorn Outfitters Sawtooth Snowshoes for Men and Women. Fully Adjustable Bindings, Lightweight Material, Hard Pack Grip Teeth. New for 2019!
  • NEW AND IMPROVED FOR 2019 - You spoke, we listened. Based on feedback from our 2018 model, we made adjustments to our Sawtooth Snowshoes. We reinforced the ratchet binding with heavy duty spring-loaded clips and added a new heal strap with an auto-locking system.
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE BINDINGS - These adult snowshoes not only come in two lengths, 21 and 27 inches, but can adjust to the size of your foot. The easy ratchet style binding uppers with quick release and a buckle secure heel strap, give it a truly custom feel. No lacing necessary. Walking in the snow just became so simple. 21 Inches - Optimized Weight Range is 80-160 lbs (30kg - 60 kg) / 27 Inches - Optimized Weight Range is 165-235 lbs (62 kg - 88 kg)
  • LIGHT WEIGHT MATERIALS - This snowshoe model is designed with a durable, aluminum frame that allows for optimal snow flotation performance in deep powder. Sawtooths are constructed with high-grade, weather tested materials because we know how important it is to hPACK GRIP TEETH - Snowshoeing requires traction. Each shoe has two sets of reinforced, heavy duty crampons that ensure traction on icy, hard surfaces. The pressure from your feet let the crampon act as an extreme ice pick for your boots!
  • HARD PACK GRIP TEETH - Snowshoeing requires traction. Each shoe has two sets of reinforced, heavy duty crampons that ensure traction on icy, hard surfaces. The pressure from your feet let the crampon act as an extreme ice pick for your boots!INCLINE HEEL LIFT RISER - This unique system provides traction and balance while climbing hills. The heel lift riser comes up under your heel to support you when you need it and lays flat when you don't.
  • STEEP INCLINE HEEL LIFT RISER - This unique system provides traction and balance while climbing hills. The heel lift riser comes up under your heel to support you when you need it and lays flat when you don't.SLIP FEATURES - The Sawtooth snow shoes have boot grip, no-slip textured pads and an excess heel strap clip. These systems cradle your foot to hold you in place and prevent sliding around while snow shoeing this winter.

Snowshoes Buyer’s Guide

If you’re a hiking enthusiasts, your passion for exploring the Great Outdoors doesn’t have to end when the winter closes in. In fact, the winter months can offer even better hiking than spring, summer, and fall.

The trails are less crowded, there’s no pesky insects to deal with, you’ll have the opportunity to see the beauty of landscapes painted in white – and you may even get the chance to run into some forest friends that you wouldn’t ever have the chance to see during the warmer seasons, such as snowshoe hares, bobcats, caribou, elk, and perhaps even the elusive lynx.

Yes, the winter season can offer up some great hiking, but it does present some challenges. In order to enjoy a successfully hiking trip when the ground is covered in snow, you need to invest in the right type of gear. An ordinary pair of hiking boots won’t cut it when the snow is piled high.

You’ll end up having to trudge through knee- or hip-deep snow – if not higher, depending on where you’re planning on exploring. Not only is it harder to move when you’re buried in snow, but it can also be dangerous.

The longer your body is exposed to snow and ice, the greater the chance that hyperthermia will set in, and that’s something you definitely don’t want to experience. How can you avoid the challenges that are associated with hiking in the snow and get the most out of your experience? By investing in a pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoes, as the name suggests, are footwear that are specifically intended for walking over the snow. They feature frames that surround the foot, which helps to distribute your weight over a larger area, thereby preventing your feet from sinking into the snow. Just an FYI, the practice of hiking in the snow is known as “snowshoeing” (for obvious reasons).

The purpose of snowshoes is to provide you with proper support and traction so that you can easily navigate snowy and icy terrains. As such, choosing the right pair of snowshoes is imperative, as what you’re wearing on your feet when you’re trekking in the snow will directly affect your safety, comfort, and overall success.

With that said, we’ve put together a list of important factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for snow shows. By considering these factors, you’ll be able to select the right pair to suit our unique needs.

The Type of Snowshoe

First and foremost, you need to decide what type of snowshoes you want. There are three different types of snowshoes:

  • Flat terrain. These are best for beginners, as they’re made to be used on flat surfaces or slightly inclined terrains that are relatively free of growth. They traction isn’t really complex and they don’t offer as much flotation, due to the terrains that they’re intended to be used on.
  • Sloping terrain. For more experienced snowshowers, sloping terrain snowshoes are a good choice. These snowshoes are made to be used on more rugged terrain and steeper slopes. They offer better flotation than flat terrain snowshoes.
  • Steep terrain. This type of snowshoe is made specifically for advanced users who are planning on hitting the backcountry. They’re designed to tackle steep slopes, ice, and snow, and as such, they are outfitted with steel crampons on the bottoms and a number of other features for improved traction and stability

Size of the Frame

Once you decide what type of snowshoes you’re interested in, the next thing you need to consider is the size of the frame. This is one of the most important factors, as it directly determines the type of flotation the snowshoes will offer – how well they’ll keep you up above the snow.

Generally speaking, the more powdery the snow is or the heavier the wear is, the more surface the snowshoes should require in order to provide proper flotation. In other words, if you’re planning on hiking on light snow, or you’re a bit on the heavier side, you should opt for larger snowshoes.

Shape of the Frame

In addition to the size of the frame, you’ll also need to consider the shape, as this also impacts the flotation. Oval snowshoes tend to offer better flotation, as they offer a larger surface area, while tapered and narrow snowshoes offer less flotation, but they offer increased speed.

There are models that combine both the oval and tapered design, creating a teardrop-like shape, to offer both proper flotation and speed.

Traction

Snowshoes aren’t only meant to keep you “floating” on top of the snow; they’re also intended to prevent you from slipping and sliding on snowy, icy terrains. When you’re ascending or descending a slope, you’re definitely going to want to be sure you have something that will hold you in place.

That’s where traction comes in. Crampons, which are situated on the bottom of the snowshoe, provide traction, but make sure that you check to see what level of traction they provide and where they are located. For example, if the crampons are situated underneath the bindings, they’re best suited for flatter ground, while snowshoes that feature crampons both under the bindings and the heels will provide you with the traction needed to traverse slippery slopes.

Heel lifts (also known as climbing bars) are also a feature to look for if you’re planning on trekking rugged terrains, as they help to propel you forward and prevent fatigue.

As a general rule of thumb, the deeper the crampons are, the better the grip they’ll provide. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the material that the crampons are made of. Steel is the best, as it’s the most durable and will help you keep your footing on icier surfaces a lot better.

Bindings

You’ll also need to decide what type of bindings you’d like. You can choose from fixed, which fix your foot on top of the snowshoe, holding your foot so that it is in a straight position the entire time, or rotating, which, as the name suggests, allows you to move your feet around.

Which one should you choose? It depends on your needs. Fixed bindings don’t allow much movement, but they do provide better stability and control; however, it can be more of a challenge to ascend and descend hills. Rotating bindings give you more movement, so it’s easier to walk and climb up and down hills; however, figuring out how to back up and cross over objects in your path can be a bit of a challenge.

Weight Capacity

Lastly, make sure that the snowshoes can accommodate your weight. The weight capacities vary and can range from just around 100 pounds to 200 pounds or more. Be sure you consider the capacity limit so that you don’t end up purchasing a pair that won’t support you.

Snowshoe FAQs

In this section, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions consumers have about snowshoes.

Do I need to wear special footwear with snowshoes?

Not really. A good pair of quality snow boots or hiking boots that will keep your feet protected from the cold is really all you need. Just make sure that the footwear you select can fit into the snowshoes.

What are crampons?

Crampons are metal spikes that face backward and are situated along the bottom of snowshoes. They are intended to provide traction and prevent you from slipping while you’re going up or down icy or snowy terrains.

Is the weight of the snowshoes important?

Yes, because it will directly affect your comfort level. The last thing you want to do is lug a heavy pair of snowshoes around in the snow and ice when you’re out on the trails. We recommend sticking to something that’s around 5 pounds or just slightly over; any more than that and you may be uncomfortable.

Conclusion

With the information presented in this guide, you should be able to get yourself suited up with a high-quality, comfortable, and reliable pair of snowshoes. When you’re shopping, make sure you take the factors listed in our buyer’s guide into consideration so you can choose the best pair for your specific needs.

Happy trekking!

Adrienne is a traveller and blogger with many years experience of the outdoors life. An adrenaline junkie at heart she loves to try different sports and activities all year round. With a degree in journalism she combines her love of sports with writing here at BeActiveOutdoors.com Contact adrienne@beactiveoutdoors.com

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