Beginners Guide to Choosing and Buying Your First Snowshoes

Introduction

Are you looking for a new pair of snowshoes or even your very first pair of snowshoes?

Snowshoeing is an awesome way to explore the outdoors and get some exercise. It’s easy, fun, and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. You can go on your own or with friends and family – it doesn’t matter what age you are! If you want to try out this great activity but don’t know where to start, we’ve got everything you need right here in our ultimate guide. We’ll tell you about different types of snowshoes, how they work, what features to look out for when buying them – even how best to use them so that your first time is as safe as possible! So if you’re ready for an adventure outside, then read on.

Whether walking through the woods or going up a mountain, there’s nothing quite like exploring nature on foot. And with winter coming up fast (if it hasn’t already arrived where you live), now is the perfect time to buy yourself some new gear so that next year will be even better than this one was! Trust us; once winter hits, there won’t be anything else worth doing besides staying inside by the fireplace while everyone else has all the fun outside without us! So let’s make sure you’re prepared before then.

To choose the right snowshoes, you’ll want to factor in three simple things.

Where do you plan to go

It would help if you bought snowshoes depending on where you are going. If your destination is flat, rolling, or mountain terrain so will affect what type of shoe to get for yourself!

Figure out how much you (and your gear) weigh 

The weight of a snowshoe should be listed in ounces.

Guidance for Packs: The overall load that can be carried by your pack when equipped with these shoes is important to know, especially if you want the maximum carrying capacity and longevity from them!

Try to anticipate the type of snow conditions you’ll be moving across.

The right shoe for you will depend on the type of snow. If it’s dry, fluffy powder with little else other than snow underfoot, consider going larger to ensure proper traction and protection from falls.

If your destination has packed damp earth beneath its surface or if there are rocks hidden in deep drifts along the trail – go smaller!

Know Where You Plan to Go—Snowshoe Type by Terrain

Flat Terrain Snowshoes 

Flat terrain snowshoes are great for beginners and kids, and they are a simple design that makes getting a good grip easy. They also have a large surface area to distribute your weight load, which helps prevent falls. Large, non-aggressive crampons make it easier to walk over even deep snow.

Mountain Terrain Snowshoes

When the going gets tough on more challenging trails, you can buy these are the best type of snowshoe! They offer excellent traction with spiked crampons that dig into ice or icy slopes. It will be hard to slip when you’re wearing mountain snowshoes if the surface beneath them is icy or slippery from fresh powder. This is because of how the front of the shoe moves independently of the back.

Rolling Terrain Snowshoes

For rolling terrain, these are the best type of snowshoes to buy. They offer excellent traction with spiked crampons that dig into ice or icy slopes. It will be hard to slip when you’re wearing mountain snowshoes if the surface beneath them is icy or slippery from fresh powder. This is because of how the front of the shoe moves independently of the back.

 Running Snowshoes

Running snowshoes are a type of snowshoe that features two large platforms that the runner stands on. These shoes were designed to optimize balance and precision, which is why they’re popular with cross-country runners. Some running-specific models have been designed for the next generation of runners who want to tackle tough terrain.

Nordic Snowshoes

Nordic snowshoes offer a very different experience from the other shoe designs mentioned so far. They allow you to walk like walking on blades, and they have a shorter stride length than traditional snowshoeing models. This makes them ideal for people who have hip or knee problems because you can push off with your opposite foot more easily.

Snowshoe Sizing

Snowshoe Sizing by Load

The first thing to consider when it comes to snowshoe sizing by load is figuring out what type of snowshoe you will be using for your specific terrain. For example, if you are going on a flat, rolling, or mountain terrain so will affect what type of shoe you will need! The second step in determining the correct size of your snowshoes is to take into account the weight of your snowshoe and any gear that you plan on carrying with you. A 100-lb pack with a running snowshoe, for example, needs a shoe that can hold up under its weight.

Snowshoe Sizing by Conditions

When it comes to sizing by conditions for your snowshoes, the first thing to consider is figuring out what type of snowshoe you will be using for your specific terrain. For example, if you are going on flat, rolling, or mountain terrain so will affect what type of shoe you will need!

Powder snow 

No matter the type of terrain you’re hitting up, powder snow is going to make your day-to-day a lot more complicated. This is because even the lightest and most compact footfalls can make a lot of noise and throw up a large amount of powder. There are some tricks you can use to avoid this, though! If you’re not worried about cooking out on the slopes any time soon, consider investing in some track shoes. These will allow you to move without too much noise or disturbance for those hidden stashes that could be just around the next bend.

For those who want to wear boots while they walk, consider investing in felt soles. These softer soles will grip well with little contact, and there will be less impact on the snow. Consider this for your next trip into the backcountry, and you can enjoy a front seat in nature!

Compact, wet snow and packed trails 

If the snow is compact, wet, and packed, you will find it a lot easier to get stuck. For this situation, consider getting a shoe with spikes on the back so that if your foot does sink into the snow, it will be sturdy enough to support you.

Steep (but not powdery) slopes and icy terrain

When it comes to snowshoe sizing by conditions for steep slopes and icy terrain, the first thing to consider is figuring out what type of snowshoe you will be using for your specific terrain. For example, if you are going on flat, rolling, or mountain terrain so will affect what type of shoe you will need! The second step in determining the correct size of your snowshoes is to take into account the weight of your snowshoes and any gear that you plan on carrying with you. A 100-lb pack with a running snowshoe, for example, needs a shoe that can hold up under its weight.

Understanding Snowshoe Materials

Aluminum-frame snowshoes 

A snowshoe with an aluminum frame is typically lightweight and can be more responsive to the person walking on the snow. A disadvantage of this snowshoe is that if you are walking on deeper snow, it will sink more than a steel frame shoe.

Composite snowshoes 

Composite snowshoes have a metal or aluminum frame and a deck made of wood or fiberglass. The deck can be as solid as its materials, but such decks are heavier than those made primarily from aluminum.

Steel-frame snowshoes

A steel-frame shoe will sink less in deep snow than an aluminum-frame shoe and provide better traction on slippery surfaces.

Wooden snowshoes

Wooden snowshoes are primarily used for walking and not hiking since they make a lot of noise. They also do not provide any shock absorption and may be uncomfortable to use over long distances.

EVA foam snowshoes 

EVA foam snowshoes are specifically made for walking and not skiing, making a lot of noise. They also don’t provide any shock absorption and may be uncomfortable to use over long distances.

Understanding Snowshoe Bindings

Rotating (or floating) bindings

Rotating bindings are common in snowshoes. They allow the thatch to rotate, though not much else. The benefits of rotating bindings are that they’re easy to put on and remove, you can walk off a hill with them on, and they’re great for people who tend to walk heel first. The disadvantage of this type of binding is that it can be difficult for beginners to learn how to balance with their feet on the snowshoes –this means more wear and tear on your shoe’s material and a greater chance of slipping.

Floating bindings

Floating bindings are different from rotating ones because they allow movement in three planes: forward and back, side-to-side, and up-and-down. These bindings are easier to use, but you still have the same problem with slipping.

Fixed bindings

Fixed bindings, also known as strap bindings, give the person using them the capability to walk and ski without any problems. This binding is a favorite among athletes because of how it keeps your feet in place and allows them to move in three planes–forward and back, side-to-side, and up-and-down. Fixed bindings come in both rotating and floating styles.

Binding closures 

Straps are the most common closure for snowshoes. They allow you to take off your shoes quickly without having to step out of them. Fixed clamp bindings are also a type of strap binding, meaning you can walk and ski with them on.

 Understanding Snowshoe Traction and Climbing Features

Toe or instep crampons

Toe or instep crampons are metal, spring-loaded devices that attach to the shoe’s deck. They provide extra stability on slick terrain.

Heel crampons

Heel crampons are metal, spring-loaded devices that attach to the shoe’s deck. They provide extra stability on slick terrain.

Side rails (also called traction bars)

Side rails are sometimes called traction bars. They are metal, spring-loaded devices that attach to the deck of the shoes. The advantage of side rails is that they provide extra stability on slick terrain, which is why they’re sometimes used as a substitute for toe or instep crampons.

Braking bars

Braking bars are metal, spring-loaded devices that attach to the deck of the shoes. The advantage of braking bars is that they provide extra stability on slick terrain, which is why they’re sometimes used as a substitute for toe or instep crampons.

Heel lifts

Heel lifts are extra pieces of metal that attach to the deck of the shoe. They are used in snowshoe races by runners who tend to walk heel-first.

Snowshoeing Footwear

When picking out snowshoes, it’s important to consider the type of terrain you’ll be using them on. If you plan on using them mostly in flat, sheltered areas, steel-frame snowshoes are a good choice. These shoes will sink less in deep snow and provide better traction on slippery surfaces than an aluminum-frame shoe will. If you’re looking for a quieter shoe and more comfortable to use over long distances, wooden snowshoes or EVA foam snowshoes may suit your needs better.

The bindings for your shoes will also factor in when choosing the best ones for you. Rotating (or floating) bindings are common in snowshoes and allow the webbing to rotate–though not much else. They’re easy to use and remove, and they don’t require much strength to maintain while walking on the snowshoes. Those who tend to walk heel-first may find rotating bindings difficult–this means more wear and tear on your shoe’s material, as well as a greater chance of slipping. Another type of binding is strap bindings, which are fixed closures that provide a range of movement allowed by toe and instep crampons.

How to take care of your snowshoes

Tips for taking care of your snowshoes

Many people choose a lightweight waterproof fabric with a cinch closure and DWR coating. You can also purchase a heavy-duty material with a plastic backing or synthetic wool.- In all cases, ensure that you have a quality cover designed to protect it from the elements. Make sure to store the shoes with the bindings detached, so they don’t gather moisture.

– When storing your shoes, use a shoe bag–such as one from DryGuy–to isolate them from dirt and mildew.

– If your bindings are traditional rotating ones, unscrew them from the deck of the shoe before storing them, so they don’t twist or warp.

– If you store your shoes outside, make sure they’re covered to prevent them from icing up or becoming waterlogged during the winter months. The best covers are breathable ones that allow ventilation.

– When removing ice from the inside of your snowshoes, never shake them–this will cause extra moisture to seep in and freeze. Instead, chip it out gently. You can also use a hairdryer or heat gun to melt away the ice from the inside of your shoes.

– If you store your snowshoes outside in cold weather, be sure to keep them at least 15 feet away from any sources of ignition–including barbeque pits and chimneys.

The best way to defrost them is in a source of warm water at room temperature until the ice melts away. Afterward, dry them thoroughly before storage.- Never thaw your shoes at high heat–this can warp the deck and binding of your snowshoe.

Remember: With every use, wipe off the snow from your bindings so it doesn’t freeze and prevent the shoe from closing correctly. Check for rust on the metal components, as well as wear and tear on other parts of your snowshoes. In addition to regular inspections, clean them once every season with a mild cleaner to remove salt or chemicals built up over time. If you store your shoes outside, make sure they’re covered to prevent them from icing up or becoming waterlogged during the winter months. The best covers are breathable ones that allow ventilation.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and we’re excited to help you find the perfect snowshoes for your next adventure! Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to make your experience with our team more enjoyable. If not, happy trails and happy shopping!

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