Light and sturdy aluminum frame. Designed to be durable over many seasons of use. Integrated traction with stainless steel crampons. Molded cinch cord binding with hook-and-loop strap. Built with side rails.
Rated up to only 200 pounds.
Flexible carbon-reinforced frame adapts to terrain. Ergonomic binding fits any boot and adjusts with the turn of a dial. Bidirectional crampons feature steel teeth for traction in either direction. Lifted heel for steep slopes.
Some find the crampon placement interferes with natural stride.
Made with tough polyethylene decks for better support and lightweight alloy frames for easier control. Has a double-ratchet binding system for quick and secure fastening. Comes with a mesh, vented carrying bag.
Does not come with poles.
Constructed with high-density polyethylene material for ultra stiffness. Lightweight, anti-slip aluminum heel plate for comfortable trekking and heavy-duty aluminum frame for durability. Includes Quick Click II Ratchet binding and Rapid-Lite Flex heel strap for quick fastening and unfastening. Comes with trekking poles and travel bag.
Maximum weight recommended is 200 pounds.
Built with durable yet lightweight construction. Includes fully adjustable bindings. Made with hard-pack grip teeth and steel incline heel lift riser. Designed with tough spring-loaded clips and heel strap with an auto-locking system.
Pricier than other options.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Snowshoes offer a fun and inexpensive way to explore a snowy landscape, and little skill is required to get started. The different varieties of snowshoes are designed for certain types of terrain, so you should have an idea of where you’ll be trekking before purchasing a pair.
A snowshoe is made up of a frame, decking, binding, and crampons, each of which helps to secure your feet and distribute your weight over a large area so you can “float” on the surface of the snow. Snowshoe varieties include flat, rolling, and mountain snowshoes. Some snowshoes are better and handling certain conditions, like powder, deep drifts, packed trails, and steep ice. The price of snowshoes depends on their size and overall construction
The construction of a snowshoe is simple at first glance, but it contains a number of important and useful features. After all, there’s a reason they’re still around after thousands of years.
Modern snowshoes have a rectangular or oblong frame made either of a single piece of aluminum tubing or composite plastic. They’re usually wider at the front, tapering to a narrower point at the back, or tail, of the snowshoe.
The material filling the space in the frame was traditionally a latticework of rawhide strips. Now it’s usually a panel made of synthetic material. (Some composite models are just a single piece of molded plastic with venting added.)
Atop the decking are the bindings that hold the snowshoe on your foot. These can be simple straps or a step-in binding system. Some snowshoers opt for hybrid binding, also known as a fixed binding system, which provides greater control on rough terrain but also offers more comfort when walking.
On the bottom of the snowshoe are crampons, which provide traction on rugged terrain so you can go up a hill without sliding back down.
Flotation and articulation are important terms to know when looking for snowshoes to buy.
Flotation is the way a snowshoe spreads out your weight so that you seem to “float” over the snow. The wider the snowshoe, the higher the flotation.
Articulation refers to how much your foot moves in the snowshoe bindings. Most of the snowshoes used for recreational snowshoeing have a full-rotation binding system that allows the tail of the snowshoe to drop away from the heel while you walk, reducing muscle fatigue. Racers and other snowshoers who need more maneuverability and control use a fixed-rotation binding system that limits the distance the tail drops from the foot.
At first glance, a snowshoe doesn’t look too complicated. It’s just a frame several inches wider than your foot with webbing in the middle and some simple bindings, right? Well, there are different snowshoes designed for the terrain, the individual user, and even the kind of snow in which they’ll be used.
There is a snowshoe designed for every type of terrain out there.
Flat: Best for beginners, casual snowshoers, and families, snowshoes for flat terrain are also the easiest to find and usually the lowest priced. They work on level to gently rolling ground, which is what you’d find at a local park or snowshoe center.
Rolling: For hikers and backpackers who like to explore off the beaten path, this type of snowshoe has sturdier bindings and longer crampons to take a bigger “bite” on the terrain. These snowshoes can handle tougher challenges. They’re rugged and designed to carry the extra weight of a hiker’s heavy winter rucksack.
Mountain: Backcountry snowboarders, mountaineers, and experienced hikers are most likely to purchase ultra-tough snowshoes. Often made of composite material, these work well in icy conditions, on very steep terrain, and in the harsh conditions you’ll find well off the trail. There are even specialty snowshoes made for running on snowy or icy terrain.
Gender and age are factors in choosing the right snowshoe for you.
Men: Typically, the largest-width snowshoes are designed for men. Even lower-priced, flat-terrain versions are often built to be a little more rugged than necessary to accommodate the heavier weight and larger boots.
Women: The bindings on snowshoes designed for women are sized to fit women’s winter footwear. The snowshoe frames are narrower, more contoured, and come in a range of sizes as small as 8 x 21 inches.
Children: Snowshoes come in a range of sizes for children – even toddlers. The bindings are adjustable to accommodate growing feet.
And of course, you want to consider the type of snow you’ll be snowshoeing in.
Powder: Light, fluffy snow is the most difficult to traverse in snowshoes. A wider snowshoe works better on this type of snow. If you plan to snowshoe in powder conditions, make sure the length of the snowshoes is appropriate for this type of snow. Consult an expert or the manufacturer’s sizing guide.
Deep drifts: Wider snowshoes can also help you walk over and past drifting snow.
Packed trail: It’s much easier to maneuver in a narrower snowshoe on packed trails and in brush or forested areas. Walking in wider snowshoes on packed or groomed snow may expend more energy than necessary.
Steep ice: Narrower snowshoes with beefier crampons handle treacherous conditions much better than wide snowshoes.
A good set of poles can help you balance as you trek over uneven terrain. If you get a set with interchangeable baskets, you can use your poles for hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter.
Few things will ruin your good time in a winter wonderland like cold, wet feet. A good pair of snow boots should not only keep your feet dry, but they should also be comfortable enough to walk in.
While you may think sunscreen is just for summer, sunlight reflecting off of brilliantly white snow can give you an unpleasant sunburn on your face. Add a good facial sunscreen to your gear, and remember to reapply when you're out on a long trek.
Lower-end snowshoes for flat terrain range from $60 to about $100.
Snowshoes for rolling terrain can range from $80 to nearly $300.
Specialty snowshoes for mountainous terrain can run well over $300.
Children’s snowshoes range from $20 (toddler and low-end models) to $90.
A. The bindings on snowshoes are adjustable, so they'll fit over almost any footwear. However, you'll want to wear warm, waterproof boots for both comfort and practicality.
A. Yes. Snowshoeing requires more physical exertion than hiking, so you'll want to plan an easy adventure your first time out on snowshoes.
A. While poles aren't necessary, they do provide additional balance. When you snowshoe on groomed, well-compacted trails, you may find that you balance just fine without poles. However, when you snowshoe over untouched snow, you might hit patches of powdery snow that cause your foot to sink further than you expect, and poles can prevent you from falling.