Just like normal footwear are often categorized and differentiated by gender, so are snowshoes. There are structural and anatomical distinctions between a man and a woman that affect gait and stride patterns in walking and running. Snowshoes are best fitted when matched well with a snowshoer's footstrike, which is why snowshoes are built differently for men and women.
Women are typically smaller and lighter than men. This difference in average size means that women require lighter snowshoes with less flotation. In contrast, men need heavier snowshoes with more flotation to support their weight in snow conditions. Women's snowshoes, therefore, are smaller with less total surface area than men's. Women's snowshoes are also narrower. The crampon's design as well as the bindings are smaller to suit narrower strides and smaller feet.
Snowshoes for women have a more tapered design than men's snowshoes because women have narrower strides than men. The male physique tends to have thighbones that drop almost straight down from the hips to the knees, and a female's thighbones curve inward. This difference in body shape causes a significant stride length difference. Women's knees and legs tend to be closer together, which causes narrower strides and requires snowshoes with a more tapered design.
Women's snowshoes are built with the consideration that women are more likely to have feet with arches that overpronate. Snowshoe bindings for women are designed to offer more arch protection than men's to accommodate this structural difference. Arch supportive binding helps correct gait and prevents injuries.
Article Written By Rona Aquino
Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.