How to Choose a Snowshoe

How to Choose a Snowshoe
Snowshoeing is a fun winter-time recreational activity for all members of the family. Choosing what snowshoes to buy depends on a variety of factors, the main factor being what type of snowshoeing you plan to do.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Determine the type of snowshoeing you plan to do. There are three main types of snowshoes: recreational, adventuring and backcountry. Recreational snowshoes are typically the easiest to use, good for all ages and made for flat terrain. Adventuring snowshoes are one step up from recreational snowshoes. These snowshoes are specially designed for use on hilly terrain and have stronger bindings than recreational snowshoes. Backcountry snowshoes are best if you plan to trek off-trail and/or hike through steep and icy terrain. They have heavy-duty crampons and bindings.

In addition to these three main types, there are also specialty snowshoes, such as fitness snowshoes (meant for running) and climbing snowshoes.
Step 2
Consider the sex and age of the snowshoer. Many companies make snowshoes specifically for men, women and children. Women's snowshoes tend to be narrower than men's and are built to accommodate women's shoe sizes, for example, while snowshoes for men are built to carry more weight.
Step 3
Determine how much weight you will carry when snowshoeing. In addition to your body weight, think about how much pack weight you will typically carry. Outfitters such as REI recommend purchasing the smallest snowshoe size for the weight you will plan to carry. Smaller snowshoes are easier to manipulate than larger ones.

Tips & Warnings

Start with a rental pair if possible. Doing so will help you determine what type/brand of snowshoes best meets your needs. Check with local outdoor stores to see if they have a rental program.


Article Written By Susan Berg

Based in northern Wisconsin, Susan Berg has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her work has been published in both print and online media, including the "Dayton Daily News" and BioZine. Berg earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.

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