How to Make Traditional Snowshoes

How to Make Traditional Snowshoes
Snowshoes provide an easy way to travel on foot in areas where there is a large amount of snowfall. Although Native Americans and Eskimos used snowshoes to survive in the winter months, snowshoe use today is done for recreation and emergency situations. By using snowshoes, a person can walk on top of snow drifts without sinking in. This is accomplished by evenly distributing body weight over a large area. Even if the snow would be ankle or waist deep, the walker will be able to travel on foot on top of the snow.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Long, green, saplings or branches about 2 inches in diameter
  • Twine
  • Two twigs 2 inches in diameter
  • Several strong twigs
Step 1
Gather materials to start. Use wood that can bend without breaking. The greener the wood, the more flexibility it has. The length and width of the snowshoe depends on the weight of the wearer. For example, a 200-pound person needs a shoe about 2 feet in length and 15 inches wide. For a shoe of that size, the length of the sapling or branch should total about 4 feet in length. The twigs should be as long as the shoe is wide and two of them need to be 2 inches in diameter. The remaining twigs can vary in diameter but should all be strong pieces of kindling. Any twine or shoe lace will do.
Step 2
Shape the shoe by bending the long sapling or branch so it forms a round or oval shape, and the ends touch. This shape does not have to be exact, both round and oval shapes offer the same level of usability.
Step 3
Tie the ends together using an x-stitch. Attach the twigs 2 inches in diameter at the heel and toe of where the foot rests.
Step 4
Add the supports by strategically laying the twigs lengthwise across the shoe and tie to the frame. Start from where the heel sits and work up to the top of the snowshoe.
Step 5
Weave more twigs through the pieces you just secured, to form a basket weave pattern. This strengthens the support of the shoe so you will stay atop the snow.

Tips & Warnings

Willow works best for this project.
Secure each side of the twigs to the framework of the shoe. When tying the ends together, make doubly sure that the wood stays tied together.

Article Written By Marie Scribe

Marie Scribe has been writing for more than 10 years. Her specialties include copywriting, advertising and editing. She has a journalism degree and extensive experience with business and technical writing. She has been published on and eHow.

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