Updated: May 29, 2015

Snowshoes Reviews:

I've been cross country skiing a few times and it's tiresome and requires a lot of work. Recently, someone introduced me to snowshoeing. We live near the Mt Hood wilderness and there are literally 1000's of acres you can explore. When the snow gets deep, the best option is often to use snowshoes. The snowshoe has been around for centuries (historians show they were invented some 4000 to 6000 years ago) and were widely used by American Indians, fur traders, and trappers who needed to be able to walk on the snow without sinking down. The design of modern snowshoes are only slighly different than their older counterparts. Their purpose is to allow a person to walk or run on snow and evenly distribute their weight (over a wider area) so that they don't sink into deep snow. You can find a pair of snowshoes at stores like REI, Dicks Sporting Goods, and online at Amazon.com. The top brands are Tubbs, Alps, TSL, Redfeather, Pacific Outdoors, Atlas, Crescent Moon, MSR, and Yukon Charlie.
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Choosing Snowshoes - When I went to get fitted for a snowshoe I realized it's not the same as getting new shoes. Snowshoes sizing is based on your weight (not shoe size). They range in length from 20" to 36". The lighter you are, the smaller size of snowshoes you are going to buy. You can find a snowshoe size chart at Sierratradingpost.com. Ultimately you want snowshoes that keep you up on top of snow. Experts say you still may sink into fresh powder, but snowshoes will be a much better choice than wearing regular boots. The larger snowshoes tend to work better in light, dry powder and on flat surfaces. The smaller snowshoes can be best for steeper slopes, wet snow, and provide good maneuverability and excellent traction. Snowshoe Styles - 4 main types exist - backcountry, recreational/trekking, race/running, and womens. Many people choose recreational snowshoes since the majority of us just walk or hike on basic terrain that tends to be flat. Mountaineering snowshoes have superior traction components so you can take on icier or steeper slopes. Materials - Aluminum is the most common material used for the frames, although you may see some made with wood or carbon fiber. Lightweight and limited upkeep are two things you want in a good snowshoe. Bindings - Similar to a harness in look, the snowshoes bindings attach the boot(s) to the snowshoe. The straps go around your heel and over the foot. Lots of people want to know what type of footwear they can wear while on snowshoes. The good news is that they can accommodate hiking boots, mountaineering boots, or even snowboard boots. You will find both rotating and fixed bindings. The rotating bindings pivot and therefore you can walk easier while the fixed bindings "spring back" after each step. Snowshoes reviews - We found dozens of online owner and expert reviews on websites like Trailspace.com, Outdoorreview.com, Snowshoereview.com, and Backpackgeartest.com. You can browse the best selling snowshoes here.

Best Snowshoes:

Alps, Redfeather and TSL tend to receive the best reviews. RECOMMENDED - The TSL Men's Walk In The Park Aluminum Snowshoes (30-Inch) - are designed for those between 150 and 260 lbs. Great for recreational climbing or hiking in the snow. You get rear crampons and aluminum front while the buckle ankle strap is padded. Lateral movement is eliminated since the 4 point binding adjustment system stop the natural binding rotation. These snowshoes are perfect for recreational use and owners say they provide "good flotation and grip". The Redfeather snowshoes are also highly recommended by experts - good for those that do more than casual walks in the snow. They give you added mobility and speed and they come in 7 different sizes.


Snowshoes for Women:

Since men and women have different body types and their weight is distributed slightly different on their body, there are snowshoes designed just for women. One of the best sellers is the MSR Women's Lightning Ascent Snowshoes - for less than $250. They are lighter and narrower than the men's same snowshoes from MSR. The serrated traction frame gives exceptional gripping action and the 3 step step-on binding fits most boots. With reduced heel drift and increased foot stability women prefer these snowshoes. Another favorite amongst females are the Tubbs Snowshoes Women's Frontier Snowshoes that run from $100 to $150 and come in a 21 inch or 30 inch model. The snowshoe is designed for powerder or packed snow. The 6000 series aluminum frame keeps the shoe lightweight yet sturdy.