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Modern snowshoes provide a great way to explore the wintertime outdoors. With the right equipment, it’s easy to traverse snow-covered trails and tackle deep powder. But selecting the right pair of snowshoes can be a challenge, as there’s a great variety of options available. In this article, we’ll provide tips to help you choose snowshoes that are best suited for the trails and deep snow.

Types of Snowshoes

Using the right type of shoe for the conditions is key when deciding which snowshoe to get. There are three main types of snowshoes and each is suited for specific conditions.

Trail Snowshoes

Trail snowshoes are designed for performance on groomed trails. They provide excellent traction when kicking-in steps and flotation in lighter snow conditions. Trail snowshoes typically fit into a pack, making them an ideal choice for those who prefer a more technical backcountry experience.

Backcountry Snowshoes

Backcountry snowshoes are the burliest of the snowshoe designs. These shoes are meant for exploring deep snow and difficult terrain. They have wider frames and come with strong crampons for extra grip in ungroomed areas.

Hiking Snowshoes

Hiking snowshoes provide a good balance between the performance of trail snowshoes and backcountry snowshoes. They are lightweight and provide easy off-trail maneuverability. These types of snowshoes are a versatile all-arounder, designed for both beginners and experienced hikers.

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Size Considerations

The size of your snowshoes should be based on your intended use as well as your body weight. Heavier users will need bigger snowshoes to spread out the weight and avoid sinking too far into the snow.


Snowshoe sizing usually lists a recommended weight range. Make sure to select a size that’s appropriate for your bodyweight. It’s best to err on the side of caution and get snowshoes that are bigger than the minimum recommended size.


If you plan on using your snowshoes for both groomed trails and off-trail backcountry exploration, you may want to opt for a larger size for better flotation. Smaller snowshoes are better for groomed trails as they provide better agility and faster speeds.

Other Considerations

Before making a purchase, here are some other factors to consider.

Binding System

The binding system is a crucial piece of the snowshoe puzzle. It helps to keep your feet secure and comfortable. Traditional bindings are made with nylon straps, while newer designs feature adjustable plastic buckles for simpler use. Consider which system you find easier to use.


Look for snowshoes that have good grip for both forward motion and side-to-side maneuvering. Steel toe crampons are a great choice as they provide reliable grip on ice, packed snow, and loose powder.


Determine the type of terrain you will most likely encounter. If you plan on exploring icy surfaces, go for snowshoes with more aggressive toe crampons. If you plan on sticking to groomed trails, less aggressive crampons are a better choice.

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People Also Ask

What size snowshoes do I need?

The size of snowshoes you need depends on your body weight as well as the terrain you plan on exploring. It’s best to get snowshoes that are bigger than the minimum recommended size.

What type of snowshoes should I buy?

The type of snowshoe to get depends on the conditions you plan on exploring. Trail snowshoes are best for groomed trails, backcountry snowshoes are for deep snow and difficult terrain, and hiking snowshoes provide a versatile all-around option.

How much do snowshoes cost?

The cost of snowshoes varies depending on the size, type, and quality. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $400.

How long do snowshoes last?

Depending on the type and quality, snowshoes can last anywhere from 3-5 years. Regular maintenance is a must to keep them in tip-top shape.

Final Words

With the right knowledge and the right equipment, you can easily enjoy snowshoeing on either groomed trails or deep backcountry powder. Choosing the best snowshoes for your intended use can be a challenge, so it’s important to do your research and find the perfect pair for you. Once you have the traction and flotation you need, you can start taking on winter with confidence and explore the great outdoors in comfort and style.