Tubular aluminum has replaced wood for the frame on modern snowshoes. It makes modern snowshoes lighter and gives them a smaller footprint.
Nylons and plastics have replaced sinew for the material used to stretch over snowshoe frames and provide movement in the snow. These synthetic materials have a flexible quality even in extremely cold temperatures and allow the snowshoes to be dynamic and light.
Aluminum, hinged crampons are common on modern snowshoes. These are metal cleats that provide traction in the snow. Using aluminum, or in rare cases, titanium, for a hinged crampon makes snowshoes more versatile in climbing steep slopes, while helping to keep them light and strong.
The use of high-tech plastic for modern snowshoe bindings has given snowshoes better grip for the foot and boot. The plastic also helps cut down on weight.
Although rawhide once held snowshoes together, nylon cord now does the job. It is stronger, lighter and more reliable.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.