What Do the Numbers on Snowshoes Mean?

What Do the Numbers on Snowshoes Mean?
Having the right size snowshoe will enable you to have an enjoyable outdoor experience. Pay close attention to the numbers on the snowshoes or their packaging to ensure that you get the right fit.

Width

The first number you're likely to see on a pair of snowshoes is the width of each individual shoe, expressed in inches. So in a pair of snowshoes that measure 9 by 30, each snowshoe is 9 inches wide.

Length

The second number on your snowshoes is the length. Considering the 9-by-30 snowshoe in our previous example, they would be 30 inches long.

Benefits

Having snowshoes of the appropriate size means they're big enough to float your weight above the snow but not so large that they make hiking difficult. In addition to their length and width, almost all snowshoes will have a number representing weight range, in pounds, that they're intended to support.

Weight

Don't choose snowshoes according to how much you weigh in your underwear; instead, add in the weight of your winter clothes, boots, pack and anything else you might carry in your pack on a snowshoe outing; your snowshoes are going to have to carry all of that.

Considerations

Women-specific snowshoes tend to be a little smaller than unisex or men's snowshoes. They also tend to be a bit narrower than men's shoes; this is intended to accommodate the relatively narrow gait most women have compared to men.

Extra Gear

If you need to carry gear that weighs too much for your snowshoes to float on top of the snow in addition to your body weight, consider pulling the heaviest items behind you on a sled.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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