Seeking a little fresh air and a change of environment, many of us have been heading to the great outdoors. While hiking and camping dominated the outdoor adventure scene during summer and fall, during winter, snowshoeing has emerged as the outdoor sport du jour. Great for beginners, inexpensive, and easy to learn, people are now flocking to this classic winter sport in droves. That’s not to say you can’t camp in the winter, and snowshoeing into your campsite is a great way to take your snowshoeing adventures to the next level.
If you’re one of these new disciples, the most important thing you need is the right pair of snowshoes. As with any kind of outdoor gear, investing in a good, high-quality pair of snowshoes is sure to turn first-time triers into devoted fans for many winters to come. Below, we’ve rounded up the best choices for snowshoes for 2022.
Whether your trail is a snow-covered meadow or golf course, Tubbs Wayfinder snowshoes are perfect to keep you on your feet. These snowshoes have secure and easy-to-use bindings for a fuss-free time. The bindings also provide a comfortable and optimal fit. On top of that, these snowshoes have aluminum Fit-Step frames. These frames can help significantly reduce the musculoskeletal impact on your hip, knee, and ankle joints by 10%. These snowshoes bite deeply in the snow for a firm and even step each time.
Ideal for flat trails and gently undulating terrain, the sleek and minimalist Atlas Helium Trail combines length (either 23 or 26 inches long) and an airy helium frame and deck to help you go long distances fast. The larger the shoe, the more surface area it covers, which helps keep you walking on top of the snow instead of sinking down into it. The modern design easily sheds snow, making it easy to keep weight off, and crampons and serrated blades provide grip and traction. The crisscross foot binding is also extremely user-friendly.
If you’re ready to take your snowshoeing to the next level, these advanced snowshoes are the way to go. What makes them advanced? Yukon Charlie’s snowshoes are made from lightweight but strong 6000 aluminum, with a Snow Motion axle system that adds 30% more rigidity, and a high-density polyethylene decking. Wherever your next adventure takes you, these snowshoes will get you there.
Combining function with ergonomic comfort, the TSL Symbioz Elite is one of the most agile and natural-feeling snowshoes on the market. The composite frame easily flexes and folds to adjust to your gait and the terrain, with eight stainless steel crampons providing grip and contact with the ground while the frame is flexing during a stride. This makes it a great choice as a running snowshoe. An underfoot heel lift also helps you tackle uphill climbs with ease, sparing you the foot and leg pain after.
These best-selling men’s and women’s snowshoes are a versatile option for exploring a wide range of landscapes in different snowy conditions. Available in 21- and 27-inch lengths, the aluminum frame is optimal for flotation, and two sets of hard-pack crampons grip icy grounds and provide traction. The heel lift riser also helps provide comfortable leverage while heading up inclines. And users rave about the adjustable binders, which operate in a ratcheting style.
Now as you’ve seen above, there are a lot of options when it comes to selecting the right snowshoes for you. From comfort to utility, there are many factors to consider. Here are some you’ll want to keep in mind.
Choosing the Correct Snowshoe Size
Unlike regular shoes, when referring to size in regards to snowshoes, the focus is on how big the actual shoe is. A larger snowshoe with a bigger frame and deck span will cover more surface area, making it ideal for navigating deep powder or long hauls in the backcountry. But that also makes it more awkward to maneuver. In comparison, a smaller snowshoe is better for increased agility and flexibility, making it ideal for more difficult, technical terrain.
You should also consider how much weight you’ll be carrying, which includes both your body weight and the weight of your pack and gear. For long trips where you’ll need a lot of equipment or you’re carrying gear up to a desirable ski or snowboard run, you want a snowshoe that will support all that weight without sinking down into the snow, which makes walking more difficult and tires you out more quickly. In comparison, on short day trips where all you need is a light day pack, you won’t need to worry about the combined weight as much.
Picking the Right Snowshoe for Different Terrains
Different kinds of snowshoes work best in different terrains. Larger snowshoes with bigger decks are optimal for deep snowfalls, whereas if you’re into mountaineering and alpine explorations, you need a model with plenty of crampons and blades that will grip the icy and rocky slopes. These types of snowshoes are also generally more durable since they’ve been built for more strenuous technical challenges. You can also find models that are a happy middle ground, with spacious decks and frames but sturdy grips and traction for less extreme uphills and downhills. So, when deciding, you need to consider what kind of terrain you generally spend most of your time in.
Find a Comfortable Snowshoe Binding
One of the most important parts of the snowshoes is the bindings, which physically bind your boot to the snowshoe. You want a binding that is snug and secure, but also comfortable during long hours of use. User-friendliness is also key, especially for being able to take off or put on your snowshoes with ease. Bindings can range in style from sneaker-esque crisscrosses to ratchet straps and are generally made of nylon, cable lace, or rubber.
Deciding on a Snowshoe Profile
While some snowshoes are unisex, snowshoes are generally divided into men’s and women’s styles. The women’s models have a more tapered, elongated tail and are widest at the front, having been designed to fit a women’s natural stride and relieve physical strain on the hips and knees. On the flip side, men’s models are boxier, with no tapering or widening at either end. And unisex models are a bit of both.
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