How to Size Snow Shoes

How to Size Snow Shoes
Your weight--and the type of snow you prefer to travel in--will determine what size snowshoe you'll wear. In general the larger the snowshoe, the more weight it can support. Don't forget to factor in the weight of your snow gear and pack; the snowshoe has to support this extra weight in addition to your body weight. Snow conditions also make a difference because the same hiker will need a larger snowshoe to support her in deep, fluffy powder than to navigate dense, packed or wet snow.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Scale
Step 1
Weigh yourself, in full snow gear and carrying your usual weight backpack, on the most accurate scale at your disposal. This is your "fully loaded weight". Some outdoor retailers may have a scale on hand for this purpose. Otherwise, if you don't have a home scale, ask to use a scale in your local gym or at your doctor's office.
Step 2
Check the weight capacities listed on each snowshoe's packaging or, if shopping online, on each product page. Each snowshoe listing will contain a range of weights the snowshoe can accommodate. The range of weights may overlap a bit, so you may find yourself choosing between two possible sizes of snowshoe. See Resources for a chart of standard snowshoe sizes and how much weight each size of snowshoe can typically support.
Step 3
Choose the next largest size of snowshoe--or the larger of your two options, if more than one size snowshoe can hold your weight--if you intend to spend a lot of time walking in deep powder or carrying heavy loads. Opt for the smallest snowshoe that's large enough to carry your weight if you intend to do a lot of maneuvering in narrow, tight places.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure you're shopping in the right snowshoe section; you may see Men's, Women's and Child-specific models. If a snowshoe doesn't state whether it's for men, women or kids, it is unisex.

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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