How to Choose Snowshoes

How to Choose Snowshoes
One of the easiest and most entertaining winter sports is something that you already know how to do: snowshoeing. Snowshoeing has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. Originally devised as a way for settlers to get around during the winter, snowshoeing is now a popular form of exercise and a great winter sport.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Size Snowshoes

Things You’ll Need:
  • Showshoes Sturdy boots or hiking shoes
  • Showshoes
  • Sturdy boots or hiking shoes
Step 1
Choose an appropriate snowshoe size according to your total weight. Your total weight includes how much you weigh and the equipment you intend carrying in your pack. Snowshoes range in length from 20 to 36 inches. For instance, woman weighing 100 to 140 lbs. should use a 20 to 22 inches snowshoe. A larger man, weighing over 240 lbs. should choose a 36-inch snowshoe. Your outdoor equipment dealer will be able to make specific suggestions for you, based on your height, weight and terrain.
Step 2
Consider the type of terrain you'll be trekking. Generally speaking, the firmer the snow, the smaller the snowshoe. If you anticipate trailblazing in the backcountry on soft, untracked snow while carrying a heavy pack, you'll need to buy a larger snowshoe with more surface area.
Step 3
Choose your snowshoe by length, not width. Snowshoes that are shorter are typically narrower as well to compensate for narrower hip structures.

Types of Snowshoes

Step 1
Choose the type of snowshoe based on how you intend to use it and the terrain you'll be trekking. There are three basic types of snowshoes: recreational, backcountry and racing.
Step 2
Buy recreational snowshoes if you anticipate walking on firm, prepared surfaces including golf courses, roads, sidewalks and other compacted surfaces. Medium in surface area, recreational snowshoes provide plenty of "flotation" without burdening you with large dimensions and can be used in the backcountry as well as on prepared surfaces.
Step 3
Choose backcountry snowshoes if you plan on breaking trails and ascending and descending steep slopes. Their larger surface area keeps you higher on the snow surface without "punching through" the surface of the snow. They're also the best type of snowshoe to use if you'll be carrying heavy backpacks and enough supplies for several days of camping.
Step 4
Buy low-profile racing snowshoes if you need a lighter weight shoe designed for running or high performance walking and hiking. Racing snowshoes are typically much narrower than other types of snowshoes and are designed to be used on compacted snow conditions like nordic parks and trails.

Tips & Warnings

 
Be honest about your weight. Anticipate whether or not you'll be carrying heavy loads. If you can only afford one type of snowshoe, buy a recreational snowshoe.
 
Be honest about your weight.
 
Anticipate whether or not you'll be carrying heavy loads.
 
If you can only afford one type of snowshoe, buy a recreational snowshoe.
 
You get what you pay for, so don't skimp on price. Avoid buying unknown brands of snowshoes.
 
You get what you pay for, so don't skimp on price.
 
Avoid buying unknown brands of snowshoes.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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