Snowshoes can turn your favorite summer hiking adventure into a winter fun. Snowshoeing is very entertaining and there is no better way of doing it than taking a risk, wearing the right outfit and buying a pair of snowshoes. Snowshoeing has been around for centuries. Without a doubt, the art of snowshoeing has evolved throughout the years and now it is regarded as a winter sport. Snowshoeing has accumulated quite a following all over the world. Snowshoers usually consist of casual hikers, enthusiasts who like to trek as well as competitors who love to race. Just like snowboarding, snowshoeing is also growing fast. Snowshoes are not only utilized by snowshoers but also by snowboarders and skiers too. Furthermore, snowshoeing is an excellent substitute for numerous sports especially those who love running.
The best snowshoes must be able to provide you with more flotation and less weight so as it will be easier for you to head for the hills. Here are the finest best models of recreational snowshoes, backcountry snowshoes, and running/racing snowshoes. If you would like to stay on refined trails or on tamed rolling terrain then recreational shoes will do just fine for that. On the other hand, if you are planning to go on an off-trail in deeper snow then you’ll need lengthier and grippier backcountry snowshoes. The great news is you can have excellent options from reliable brands such as MSR, Atlas, Tubbs, and Crescent Moon.
- 1 Quick Overview Best Snowshoes
- 2 Snowshoes Reviews
- 3 Snowshoes For Men
- 4 Snowshoes For Women
- 5 Snowshoes For Kids
- 6 What to Look For When Buying Snowshoes?
- 7 Why Wear Snowshoes?
Quick Overview Best Snowshoes
Crescent Moon Gold 9 Snowshoes
For snowshoers up to 195lbs
MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe
360 Degree Traction frames
MSR Evo 22 All-Condition Snowshoes
Steel traction rails and brake bars
Tubbs Flex VRT Snowshoes
With Boa Closure
Louis Garneau HG 721 Course Snowshoes
Dual BOA closure, synthetic-and-mesh
Crescent Moon Composite Kilo Run
Frame: carbon nanotube composite
Tubbs Women's Mountaineer Snowshoes
Energy efficient and effective
Atlas Access Elektra Snowshoes
LRS (Light-Ride) Suspension
Tubbs Boys Flex Jr Snowshoes
MSR Tyker Kid-Friendly Snowshoes
Molded traction bars, secure bindings
Snowshoes For Men
We consider the Crescent Moon Gold 9 as the best overall snowshoes in the market. It has a durable aluminum frame and uses the three-claw traction system which is efficient not only on flats but also on rolling hills, and technical terrains. It also has the best bindings which are easy to put on and can make you feel comfortable. Furthermore, we love its unique teardrop shape. This pair of snowshoes has a length of 27 inches for an excellent float yet you can easily move on the snow as well as on the cover ground.
Type: Recreational / Backcountry
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz.
- It can make you feel comfortable and it’s also light on the foot.
- It is not actually a complete backcountry snowshoe yet it is expensive.
Backcountry skiers, mountaineers, and extreme winter explorers are ranting about the MSR Lightning Ascent. Why? Well, it’s because of its marvelous grip, toughness and being ultralight. One of its standout features is its traction which runs all over the shoe, making it effective on the ice. It is made from a lightweight nylon decking so you will not feel weariness on big climbs as well as in hiking long distances.
Regardless, if it does not have the most comfortable binding system, it has pretty decent straps that can hold your feet well. But most essentially it can lay flat when stored in a pack.
Lengths: 22, 25 and 30 in.
Weight: 4 lbs.
- It has an unparalleled traction and weight making it perfect for summiting peaks.
- The 3-strap system does not make you feel comfortable.
MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes have a strong reputation when it comes to snowshoes. The Evo is an efficient recreational pair of snowshoes for both newcomers and experts. For less than $150, you can already have a sturdy hard plastic decking with a nice traction and strong toe crampons. Also, the side rails are made from steel. Despite the fact that it has a hard plastic decking which is not ideal for most scrapes, on the overall is it effective, lightweight and reasonably priced. This is why it remains a top choice for most hikers.
Length: 23 in.
Weight: 3 lbs. 9 oz.
- This is an entry-level pair of snowshoes that have a superior balance of price and performance.
- The binding system is not so cozy during long hauls.
Boa bindings are very popular on snowboards and now they have invaded the snowshoe industries as well. It is a one-dial cable system that can secure the whole binding. Correspondingly, this is the most straightforward shoe that is best for people who adore simplicity. The Flex VRT makes sure that the user encounters minimal calf and Achilles tendon problems. It gives you superior mobility and is your best option if you are looking for an easy-to-wear snowshoe.
Length: 24 and 28 in.
- It is adept, lightweight and has an excellent fit with the Boa system.
- The underfoot feels a bit slender.
The Louis Garneau Course is constructed with slender yet superior aluminum frame along with dual Boa closure system. This is a good choice for would-be snowshoe racers. The trail performance has enhanced giving you a secure fit on the Boa dials. Underneath the frame is a coating of Teflon to make it smoother. One of its most significant features is that it only weighs less than two pounds with bindings. Regardless if it does not have the best floatation but it has the greatest mobility.
Type: Running / Race
Length: 21 in.
Weight: 1 lb. 11 oz.
- It utilizes a dual Boa system which is very easy to adjust. The underfoot is swift.
- The surface area is only limited, which is a hindrance when performing in a soft snow.
The Composite Kilo Run, which is also known as “The Rocket”, is constructed mostly of fabulous carbon fiber. It can move faster on snow or ice. This is the longest and widest pair of snowshoes that offers excellent flotation. It is very light since it is created from advanced materials. To minimize the weight even further, you can choose to ditch the binding and attach the snowshoes directly to your winter runners. Keep in mind that a carbon snowshoe can be risky since it can be destroyed if you land on a rock. However, if you are a sincere racer who wants a snowshoe that can move faster then it’s worth the risk.
Type: Running / Race
Length: 24 in.
Weight: 2 lbs. 13 oz.
- There’s carbon everywhere!
- It is very expensive.
Snowshoes For Women
The Tubbs Mountaineer is great for breaking new trails. The longer model is best for going through some pretty deep powder. On the bottom, it may not seem that the crampons and traction are an enhancement from the standard yet it gives you the best performance. The weight might tire your legs, especially on longer treks. However, the Tubbs Mountaineer is the snowshoes that have a class of its own.
Lengths: 21, 25 and One Size
Weight: 6.4 lbs.
- It has an impressive grip and flotation.
- It’s a bit heavier for long distances.
The Atlas Elektra Access is an exemplary recreational snowshoe since it is made of aluminum. It has different trail types and expert levels as well. This shoe can handle just about anything from plain snow to ice as well as modest powder. The binding is adjustable to make you feel comfortable while you are on longer tracks. Despite not having the best traction, the length options works great on hikers who would like to go through those beaten paths.
Lengths: 23 and 27 in.
Weight: 3.9 lbs.
- It has an authenticated and dependable design at a substantial price.
- It does not perform well on trails due to its low-quality suspension system.
Snowshoes For Kids
Tubbs Boys Flex Jr Snowshoes are great for kids who don’t want to miss out the fun. This is efficient for short walks or exploring the cabin. It is suitable for kids who are 6 to 10 years old. The traction rails have curved corners which can let your kids go anywhere. It offers a secure grip and smooth bindings to let your kid take control.
MSR Tyker Snowshoes are sturdy and easy-to-use. It is ideal for kids who are more or less 90 lbs. MSR Tyker Snowshoes have steel crampons and secure bindings making it excellent for all-around traction. It can perform well on flat terrain.
What to Look For When Buying Snowshoes?
There are important details that you need to keep in mind before buying a pair of snowshoes. In general, there are three types of snowshoes available. These are Hiking/Backpacking, Recreational Hiking, and Aerobic/Fitness. If you are already an expert in snowshoeing then the best choice is a pair of hiking/backpacking snowshoes. It is made of tough aluminum frame and the materials being used for the flotation and bindings are also sturdy. In fact, it has the capacity to support all types of boots. For beginners, the best selection is the recreational hiking snowshoes. Most of the time, it works best on easy terrain which doesn’t need too much steep climbing or descents. On the other hand, Aerobic/Fitness snowshoes are fitted for people who are active snowshoers such as runners and cross-trainers. It has a very sleek design and is practically tougher than the others.
Snowshoes are normally inexpensive. For the low-end, you can probably spend more or less $100 and for the high-end, it can cost around $300 depending on its manufacturers. Some sellers offer a package deal that consists of poles and a snowshoe bag. This is primarily a good deal, however, you have to examine the snowshoes carefully. If you are planning to go backcountry snowshoeing then a starter kit is not the best option for you. Never purchase a used pair of snowshoes. But if you want to then you have to check it thoroughly. Inspect the frames, bindings, and flotation. Obviously, you don’t want to be stranded in the backcountry with your defective pair of snowshoes.
Lastly, one of the most significant aspects to consider when buying snowshoes is the size. Typically it is measured in inches and its length will rely on your weight. The most prevalent sizes are 25 inches, 30 inches, and 36 inches.
Why Wear Snowshoes?
Hiking on the trail can be done from spring through fall. But what if you can prolong your hiking season by including the winter season. These snowshoes open up this possibility, giving you more time to enjoy hiking, even in the winter.
With snowshoes, you can still hike on the same trails that you did with your hiking boots. However, this type of shoes can let you go beyond, like exploring off-trails including deep snow. Thanks to its surface area which is four to five times bigger than your hiking boots. The surface area corresponds to its flotation. Simply put, the bigger the surface area, the bigger the flotation in deep snow. It can keep you closer to the surface. It is capable of handling off-snow terrain but will get damaged on rocks. Nonetheless, it can perform well on snow which is about 1 foot or deeper. Snowshoes are built with metal crampons which are sharp and has a nice grip for snow and ice. These crampons are similar to the ones used for ice climbing and glacier traveling. They are particularly designed for winter use.
James Haden is one of the owners of the Skateboarder community, together with Nash Gibson – his co-owner. He works as a full-time copywriter for a private company and also a true adventurer. He is an avid reader, writer, traveler, and extreme sports junkie. During his free time, he researches interesting content for their blog and continuously writes for their audience.