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How to Pick the Right Snowshoes

Imagine trekking through pristine wilderness blanketed by a cover of pure snow. Now make the picture a reality when you buy snowshoes perfectly suited to you and your experience.


  • Step 1: Define your adventure Define your snowshoe adventure according to whether you will trek flat, steep, packed, or icy terrain, or participate in competitive events, and consider snowshoe styles based on their intended use.
  • Step 2: Consider weight Consider your weight, plus the weight of the gear you will carry, to determine what size snowshoe to buy, keeping in mind that heavier people and lighter snow require larger snowshoes.
  • TIP: Modern snowshoe frames are made from lightweight aluminum and their surface decking is made from synthetic materials to make trekking easy.
  • Step 3: Match weight and length Match your weight to suggested snowshoe lengths, which range in size from 8-by-21-inches for under 140 pounds, up to 10-by-36-inches for weights over 200 pounds.
  • Step 4: Choose bindings Choose bindings that secure the snowshoes to your boots, making sure they hold snugly to your style of footwear, especially if you race.
  • Step 5: Get traction Get the traction you need by buying a snowshoe with toe cleats for general use, heel cleats for control on descents, and traction bars for navigating rough terrain.
  • Step 6: Rent Rent a pair of snowshoes from a resort, park, or retailer before buying to try out the features you're considering.
  • Step 7: Buy Buy snowshoes from respected retail outlets, or order a kit online for the satisfaction of making your own snowshoes the time-honored and old-fashioned way.
  • FACT: Snow leopards of Central Asia have large, furry paws which serve as natural snowshoes.

You Will Need

  • Planned use
  • Your weight
  • Weight of your gear
  • Rental snowshoes
  • Internet access

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