3 Best Snowshoes

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Hey there my fellow skiing enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best snowshoes for some winter walking this year.  Whether hiking, trekking or simply enjoying a leisurely walk, snowshoes provide much-needed traction and support to navigate the snow-covered terrain.

However as with anything to do with snow sports, there are a number of options out there so to help you out I have had a good look around and come up with three decent options below.  Let’s check them out…

My three recommended snowshoes

I will review these in more detail below. Still, if you want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

02/18/2024 06:14 am GMT Lasso Brag

What are Snowshoes?

What are snowshoes?

In short, snowshoes are footwear specially designed for walking over snow-covered terrain. They have a large, flat surface area that helps to distribute the weight of the wearer over a wider area, preventing them from sinking into the snow allowing individuals to walk on snow that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to traverse.

Snowshoeing is a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints and can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels and are essential for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors during winter.

best snowshoes - snow shoes in snow

Check out these: Cross country skis

What should you be looking for?

The following factors should be considered as you hunt around for a good set of snowshoes to meet your winter walking needs.

  1. Snowshoe types
  2. Length
  3. Traction
  4. Bindings
  5. Frame and decking
  6. Additions

Snowshoe types

When it comes to snowshoes, there are a number of types to choose from including:

  • Trail/Recreational SnowshoesThese are a great choice if you are into moderate hiking trails that fall somewhere between groomed hardpack and knee-deep powder. They suit beginners and casual snowshoers looking for a fun winter activity on easy-to-moderate terrain. They are typically designed for comfort and ease of use, with features such as simple binding systems, lightweight construction and moderate traction.
  • Backcountry Snowshoes Backcountry snowshoes are designed to handle steep ascents and descents, deep powder and varied terrain. These snowshoes are more performance-oriented than trail/recreational models and are ideal for those heading out into powder, tackling challenging terrain and spending long days out. They are typically more extensive and robust than trail snowshoes, with aggressive traction systems, heavier-duty bindings and more durable construction.
  • Running/Racing SnowshoesThese snowshoes are designed specifically for running or racing on snow. They are lighter and more streamlined than other snowshoes with a more flexible frame and minimalistic binding systems. Racing snowshoes also tend to have smaller surface areas and more aggressive traction systems, which allow for a faster and more efficient stride on snow. They are great for fitness enthusiasts and competitive runners who want to keep up their training through the winter months.
  • Kids Snowshoes – As you would expect, kids snowshoes are smaller versions of their adult counterparts and have similar designs overall but with shorter lengths and smaller load limits. They are typically lightweight and easy to use with simple binding systems and moderate traction. Kids’ snowshoes are perfect for introducing children to the joys of snowshoeing and are suitable for easy to moderate terrain.

Length

The length of snowshoes is essential as it directly affects walking comfort and flotation on snow. The ideal length balances these factors to prevent “postholing” or sinking too deeply into the snow with each step. Snowshoes come in different lengths, generally ranging from 22 inches to 36 inches. Shorter snowshoes are better for on-trail use, while longer ones are ideal for backcountry and deep snow. 

Your weight, snow type and terrain are crucial in determining the appropriate snowshoe length. Snowshoe manufacturers provide a recommended weight range for each shoe, including your body weight and any gear you carry. Heavier loads require longer snowshoes to stay afloat, so choosing a length that matches your weight with gear is essential.

best snowshoes - group of people walking on snowshoes

Traction

This may be an obvious statement, but snowshoe traction prevents slips and falls on icy or steep terrain. Here are some valuable pieces of information regarding snowshoe traction:

  • Crampons: Most snowshoes come with metal teeth or crampons attached to the underside of the snowshoe frame. These teeth dig into the snow or ice and provide traction and stability. Look for snowshoes with aggressive, long and sharp crampons for steep or icy terrain.
  • Heel Lifts: Some snowshoes come with heel lifts or “televator” bars that can be used to lift the snowshoe’s heel. This feature can reduce calf fatigue on steep ascents and improve traction by keeping your foot level on the snowshoe.
  • Frame Material: Snowshoe frames can be made from aluminum, composite or plastic. Aluminum frames provide better traction due to their rigidity and strength, while plastic frames can be lighter but may not have as much grip.

Bindings

Snowshoe bindings are the components that attach your feet to the snowshoes. They provide comfort, support and control as well as allowing you to lift your feet and snowshoes with each step. They also keep the snowshoe close to your foot.

The primary function of snowshoe bindings is to secure your feet to the snowshoes so you can walk on top of deep snow without sinking. They also allow your feet to pivot naturally while walking and prevent snowshoes from flipping over during steep climbs or descents.

Snowshoe bindings come in various types, including ratchet, buckle, and strap bindings. The type of binding you choose depends on your preference and the type of snowshoeing you plan to do.

Frame and decking

When it comes to choosing the right snowshoes for your winter adventures, two components that are crucial to consider are the frame and the decking. These components affect not only the performance and comfort of your snowshoes but also their durability and cost.

Aluminum-framed snowshoes are the traditional choice for outdoor enthusiasts, and for a good reason as they provide durability, stability and protection from trail hazards. The flexible nylon decking on these models makes them comfortable for long distances, allowing for a natural stride and ample flotation on the snow. However, one potential disadvantage of these snowshoes is traction. While high-end models do incorporate various traction options, they may not always be as effective as other snowshoe designs.

On the other hand, plastic or composite decking is a more cost-effective option and these materials also allow for better incorporation of traction, as the decking can be molded with treads and cleats for superior grip on snow and ice. However, plastic and composite materials can be more prone to breakage than aluminum.

Finally, hybrid snowshoes have emerged as a third option that combines the best of both worlds. These models feature an aluminum frame towards the front of the snowshoe for added stability and support, while a plastic tail helps with flotation and reduces overall weight.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Heel lift: A heel lift is a metal bar under the heel of the snowshoe that can be raised and locked into place to reduce fatigue and increase efficiency during climbs. By lifting the heel of the foot, the calf muscles are relieved, reducing the strain on them and making it easier to climb steep slopes. 
  2. Flotation tails: These are a valuable accessory for snowshoes that can provide additional flotation in deep snow. These tails can be attached to the back of the snowshoe and removed or added as needed, making them ideal for areas with varying snow conditions.
  3. Carry bag: This item is a convenient accessory allowing you to store and transport your snowshoes safely. When not in use, the bag can protect your snowshoes from damage caused by moisture or other elements.
  4. Warranty: This feature assures that the product is covered for a specific period and can be repaired or replaced if it becomes defective. The length and coverage of the warranty can vary depending on the manufacturer and the model.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Retrospec Drifter Snowshoes

My first recommended snowshoes are engineered to provide optimal performance during wintertime adventures. The snowshoes feature tough polyethylene (HDPE) decks that provide maximum support on the snow and are available in three sizes making them suitable for both adults and children. See their specifications below:

  • Brand: Retrospec
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 120 pounds
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Size: 21 inches, 25 inches, 30 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Heel lifters
  • Carrying bag
  • Double ratchet bindings

Why have I chosen them?

One notable quality of this pair of snowshoes is their double-ratchet binding system. This fast and secure system allows you to easily strap in and out while on the trail, ensuring that you can quickly adjust the fit to suit your needs. They also feature lightweight 6061-T6 alloy frames that are tough and sturdy yet provide superior support on the snow. The stern polyethylene decks also help to keep your steps light and controlled, making it easier to navigate different terrains.

The Drifter Snowshoes also provide excellent traction and stability thanks to their heel lifters and full-floating pivot system. This feature helps to increase traction and reduce fatigue when exploring steep terrain, allowing you to stay safe and comfortable throughout your snowshoeing adventures.


2. MSR Revo Explore All-Terrain Snowshoes

Next are snowshoes perfect for rugged and extended winter trips, hiking, breaking trail and trekking. They are designed with superior traction and floatation in mind, ensuring you can easily navigate any terrain. See their specifications below:

  • Brand: MSR
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 180 pounds
  • Material: Alloy steel, plastic
  • Frame material: Plastic, alloy steel
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Size: 21 inches and 25 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Hyperlink binding
  • Modular flotation

Why have I chosen them?

These snowshoes come with an injection-molded ExoTract plastic deck built to withstand the most challenging alpine terrain. The steel perimeter teeth and Pivot crampons provide edge-to-edge traction allowing you to stay in control even on the steepest slopes.

The HyperLink binding system is another remarkable quality that provides an easy-entry cushioned cradle to help keep your feet centered for exceptional all-day comfort. The fast macro-adjustment strap ensures you can easily adjust the fit to your needs, making it easier to tackle any terrain confidently.

And finally, they weigh 4 pounds and can carry a 180-pound load, making them suitable for various body types as well.


3. TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Instinct Snowshoes

Last on my list are snowshoes that could be the ultimate multi-terrain snowshoe specialized in providing a natural gait while hiking over any terrain. With a combination of ergonomic design, flexible materials, and sturdy construction these snowshoes will take you wherever you want to go. See their specifications below:

  • Brand: TSL
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 132 pounds
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Frame material: Alloy steel
  • Weight: 1.75 pounds
  • Size: Small, medium, large

Other inclusions:

Why have I chosen them?

One of the most notable features of these snowshoes is their carbon-reinforced Hyperflex design. The hourglass shape uses a hyper-flexible, carbon-reinforced frame for ergonomic maneuverability and torsional rigidity without the weight, making them easy to wear for long periods.

They also feature eight large stainless steel claws that provide a solid bite on the iciest of trails as well as the BOA Fit System. This system quickly dials in a solid fit and locks into place to remember your foot size making them beneficial for hikers and snowshoers who are on the move and need a quick and easy way to adjust the fit of their snowshoes.

The snowshoes are designed to fit shoe sizes US 35-41 and users weighing between 66-132 pounds and weigh only 1.75 pounds, making them one of the lightest snowshoes available as well.

02/18/2024 06:14 am GMT Lasso Brag

Conclusion

There you have it, my three best snowshoes for some winter walking this year. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul