How to Choose the Right Snowshoes for Different Types of Terrain

snowshoes

Taking a walk through the snowy woods is the best way to beat the winter blues. You get to enjoy the stunning backdrop of the world buried under a blanket of snow, an unfamiliar yet mesmerizing scenery. Although snowshoeing is not as adventurous as skiing, its simplicity makes it the most pleasant winter excursion.  

One thing that can make or break your snowshoeing experience is snowshoes. They allow you to traverse the snow-covered terrain quickly and efficiently, which would be impossible otherwise.

Nowadays, there are many user-friendly options available to choose from; In this blog, we’ll guide you through every snowshoe and which one to choose for your next hiking and backpacking trip:

What are Snowshoes

Snowshoes are worn alongside your hiking or running boots to keep you from sinking into the snow. Traditionally they were long, wooden, and heavy. These days they are lightweight and easy to wear so you can be comfortable during your pursuits.

Bindings of the shoes play the most critical role because they fasten your other shoes (hiking, running, or whichever shoes you’re wearing). It has to be secure enough to keep it fastened throughout the trip and easy to use so you can snap in and out of it instantly.

The traction part of this shoe is responsible for enhancing your mobility on snow. It features a crampon that lets you dig into the snow and a heel lift to assist you on steeper terrains.

Snowshoes for Different Types of Terrain

Flat Terrain Snowshoes

Flat terrain snowshoes are perfect for casual snowshoers who want to explore the neighborhood or need to burn some calories by covering long-distance. These shoes are beginner-friendly with easy-to-adjust bindings that will keep your feet secure without loosening up in the middle of the hike.

They make hiking on flat trails a breeze, and their fixed bindings fasten your shoe’s entire length so you can walk comfortably. These shoes also feature a modest crampon to improve mobility on ice but don’t have heel lift.

Get it from Amazon: Odoland 4-in-1 Snowshoes for Men Women Youth Kids with Trekking Poles

Rolling Terrain Snowshoes

Whether you love on or off-trail hiking, rolling terrain snowshoes are designed to keep you comfortable throughout your adventure.

These shoes are built to let you hike on moderately sloped snow and feature a binding that is a bit more technical than flat terrain snowshoes. The binding should be convenient enough to adjust when you change from uphill to downhill and vice versa.

In contrast to the flat terrain shoes, these shoes have a moderate crampon with a heel lift to assist you in inclining the slopes.

Get it from Amazon: Winterial Rolling Terrain Snowshoes with Trekking Poles and Carry Bag

Mountain Terrain Snowshoes

Mountain terrains are rugged with a steep slope, so these shoes are more robust with highly technical binding that can be easily adjusted. They are made for professionals who opt for backcountry excursions or mountaineering.

These shoes have extra safety features to keep you secure and balanced when doing up the slope. While getting these shoes, ensure that the bindings are comfortable and reliable enough for your vigorous trips. Moreover, they have an aggressive crampon along with the highest heel lift.

Get it from Amazon: Winterial 25 Inch Light Weight Snow Shoes for Men, Women, Youth, Light Polymer Square-Toed Mountain Terrain Snowshoes

A man is hiking in the mountains

Snowshoes Sizes

After knowing different shoes for different terrain, learning about the snowshoes’ sizes is essential. These sizes are not the usual shoe sizes; they are sized according to the snow conditions and the weight it carries.

If you go where the snow is wet with lighter loads, you’ll need a compact snowshoe with a smaller surface area. Whereas, in those areas where snow is deep, dry, and heavy, you’ll need shoes with a larger surface area for better floatation. The bigger the surface area will be, the better you’ll float. However, make sure that it isn’t too large, which affects your mobility.

Other Snowshoes Features to Look Out For

1. Frames and Decking

Traditionally, snowshoes are made with a tubular aluminum frame, but some latest designs include flat stock frames.

· Tubular Frames

Tubular frames are suited for softer surfaces where you go for leisure or hiking and don’t need much traction.

· Flat Stock frames

Flat stock frames have metal framing with jagged edges. They also feature durable rubber decking, making it more appropriate for steeped and icy pitches.

· Plastic Decking

Plastic decking doesn’t have any separate frames, and they are pretty stiff than others. Such designs can only be used when floatation is not an issue because they can quickly get slippery.

· Plastic Decking with Partial Tubular Frames

These snowshoes combine the plastic decking with tubular frames so you can easily float.

a red ceramic mug and snowshoes

2. Crampons

The crampons are mostly made from steel to offer a good grip. Many designs substitute steel with aluminum to make it lightweight. To improve the grip, there can be either two or three-prong design at the toe. Mountain terrain shoes also feature a row of teeth on the underside beneath the heel so you can safely go over steeper areas.

3. Binding System

As mentioned before, the binding system is the most important part of any snowshoes because your safety and performance depend on it. Every type of snowshoe will have a different binding system, but they all need to be comfortable and reliable.

4. Heel Lifts

They are also called climbing bars and are only present in the snowshoes used for hiking or mountaineering. Their purpose is to help you ascend steeper areas easily.

A man is hiking in snow

Need More Ideas for Outdoor Excursions?

If you are looking for more ideas for your next travel & adventure, we have everything you need. Our website reviews all the fun gadgets and outdoor trends, from the best camera drones to the best off road all terrain electric skateboards of 2022.

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