Tech & Gear Luggage The 8 Best Snowshoes of 2023 By Suzie Dundas Suzie Dundas Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Suzie Dundas is a writer and editor based in Lake Tahoe. She writes primarily about travel, the outdoors, and millennial culture. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 01/06/23 Share Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Aiming to explore your town, state, or national parks more this winter? Arm yourself with a pair of snowshoes, and you’ll be able to tackle your favorite summer terrain on the snowiest winter days. Snowshoes may seem like a goofy anachronism to the uninitiated, but hiking through snow can be dangerous (and frustrating) without them. Whether you’re taking a winter trip to the mountains and want to explore, or you live in a snowy region and want to get around easier, there’s a pair of snowshoes to help you stay afloat in all kinds of snow and terrain. Below are some of our top picks for the best snowshoes across several categories based on their size and shape, traction elements, materials, and of course, what you should expect to spend on them. The Rundown Best Overall: Atlas Range-MTN Snowshoes at Atlassnowshoe.com Jump to Review Best Value: FLASHTEK Light Weight Snowshoe Kit at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Comfort: Crescent Moon Eva Foam Snowshoes at Amazon Jump to Review Best Women’s-Specific: MSR Women’s Lightning Explore Snowshoes at Moosejaw.com Jump to Review Best for Kids: Yukon Charlie SNO-Bash Youth Snowshoes Kit at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Backcountry: TSL Highlander Elite at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Powder: Tubbs Panoramic Snowshoe at Backcountry.com Jump to Review Best for Ice and Hard Pack: TSL Symbioz Hyperflex at Amazon Jump to Review Table of contents Expand Our Picks What to Look For FAQ Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall Atlas Range-MTN Snowshoes Atlas View On Atlassnowshoe.com View On Moosejaw.com View On Sportsunlimitedinc.com What We Like All-terrain snowshoe Lightweight Extensive crampons What We Don't Like Expensive Sells out quickly It’s hard to find fault with the Atlas Range Snowshoe (save for the price), and the name gives away what makes this snowshoe great: It excels on a range of different types of terrain. It’s a top-of-the-line snowshoe made for all-mountain adventuring, which means down icy slopes, up crusty and sun-baked skin tracks, and through fluffy powder in the woods where it seems like you’re traveling across snow deeper than your waist. BOA tech—which you may recognize from your snowboard boots—makes clipping in a breeze, and traction rails running the length of the shoe cling to icy uphills. They’re very light at under 2 pounds per shoe, making them ideal for clipping onto your backpack if needed, and the 19-degree heel lifts should help you climb steeper hills with fewer breaks. Price at time of publication: $320 Sizes: 26, 30, 35 | Weight per pair: 3 pounds, 13 ounces | Dimensions: 26 x 7.5 inches | Max recommended load: 300 pounds (35-inch version) Best Value FLASHTEK Light Weight Snowshoe Kit Amazon View On Amazon What We Like Budget-friendly Complete kit Multiple color options What We Don't Like Aluminum is a bit heavy Limited traction This kit is ideal for athletes who like to get out a few times a month (or a few times per season) but plan on spending most of their time in state parks and trail systems rather than attempting aggressive uphill climbs. The affordable snowshoe kit includes poles, aluminum snowshoes, and a storage bag to keep your gear together when you stash it in the garage for summer. It doesn't have the heel supports, traction systems, or metal clips you'd want for extreme conditions or icy downhill pitches, but they're an excellent choice for casual snowshoers and winter walkers. Price at time of publication: $75 Sizes: 21, 25, 30 | Weight per pair: up to 4 pounds (30-inch option) | Dimensions: N/A | Max recommended load: 260 pounds (30-inch version) Best for Comfort Crescent Moon Eva Foam Snowshoes Crescent Moon View On Amazon View On Crescentmoonsnowshoes.com What We Like Curved design mirrors natural step Foam materials reduce foot fatigue Lightweight What We Don't Like Sinks deeper into powder than other options Low max weight Snowshoes are great for staying afloat and can be a game-changer if you’ve only snow-hiked in boots. Still, newbies can struggle with the added bulk and strange experience of having wide platforms attached to their feet. The Crescent Moon EVA Foam snowshoes are a wide platform, but by using the same compound as the soles of your running shoes, they’ve created a flexible platform that’s an easier transition for newcomers to the sport. While they’re best suited for more well-traveled, packed-down trails, the EVA Foam shoes have seriously lugged soles for traction in the snow. Additionally, they are fully recyclable through sneaker recycling programs. Bonus: The Boulder-based company scrutinizes its manufacturing processes to ensure environmental friendliness. Price at time of publication: $179 Sizes: One size | Weight per pair: 3 pounds, 8 ounces | Dimensions: 24 x 8 inches | Max recommended load: 200 pounds Best Women’s-Specific MSR Women’s Lightning Explore Snowshoes MSR View On Moosejaw.com View On Msrgear.com What We Like Narrow width Quick step-in system Great traction What We Don't Like Expensive Low max weight limit A women-specific snowshoe doesn't just mean better color options. Most of MSR's women-specific options have the ideal blend between being lightweight and durable enough for all-day outings. Our favorite model is the Women's Lightning Explore. Like all shoes in the Lightning series, it has the HyperLink binding system, allowing users to step in and out of the bindings with just one strap. They're noticeably lighter than other equally capable shoes (and they're very capable, thanks to the sharp traction spikes running the length of the frame) and on the narrower side at 7.5 inches. That's ideal for women with shorter legs or who take smaller steps, as it essentially eliminates the risk of clipping the inner edges against each other when navigating narrow uphill tracks. Price at time of publication: $300 Sizes: 22, 25 | Weight per pair: 3 pounds, 8 ounces (22-inch version) | Dimensions: 22 x 7.5 inches or 25 x 7.5 inches | Max recommended load: 210 pounds (25-inch version) Best for Kids Yukon Charlie SNO-Bash Youth Snowshoes Kit Yukon Charlie View On Amazon View On Dick's View On Opticsplanet.com What We Like Unisex Very affordable Anti-fatigue foot-flex design What We Don't Like Maxes at 100 pounds Limited mostly to flat and gentle slopes Help your budding athlete learn to move across the snow with the SNO-bash kids' snowshoe from Yukon Charlie. The one-pull binding system makes it easy for kids to put them on all by themselves, and the flexible foot panel will help them stay comfortable. Of course, that same foot rotation also means they're not the best for serious climbs. But since they cap at about a 100-pound weight limit, they're best for younger kids who are not quite ready to tackle any real winter summit attempts, anyway. Price at time of publication: $64 Sizes: 19 (one size) | Weight per pair: 2.2 pounds | Dimensions: 16 x 7 inches | Max recommended load: 100 pounds The 12 Best Hiking Gear Items of 2023, Tested by Experts Best for Backcountry TSL Highlander Elite REI View On Amazon View On REI What We Like Rocker design Heel lift Excellent float What We Don't Like Expensive No women’s-specific model Many snowboarders consider snowshoes a simple, intuitive way to get off-piste for untouched lines in the backcountry. Splitboarding gear can be heavy and cumbersome, but on snowshoes, you can walk normally and carry your regular snowboard (or skis) on your back. But since you're probably climbing steep slopes in search of the perfect downhill line, your snowshoes need to be up to the task and uphill-oriented. The TSL Highlander Elite is designed with this pursuit in mind and features a lightweight molded plastic frame with stainless steel crampons, a BOA binding system, a rocker shape to encourage a natural stride and keep you comfortable for hours, and an hourglass shape so you don't knock your inner edges and take a tumble down the skin track. It also has lateral teeth to provide grip when traversing a slope perpendicular to the fall line or moving up icy slopes. Price at time of publication: $220 Sizes: S, M, L | Weight per pair: 2.2 pounds | Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.5 inches (S), 24.2 x 8 inches (M), 27 x 8.5 inches (L) | Max recommended load: 300 pounds The 11 Best Snowboard Boots of 2023 Best for Powder Tubbs Panoramic Snowshoe Backcountry View On Backcountry.com View On Moosejaw.com What We Like Great on powder Foot articulation system to reduce leg fatigue Extra crampons under the toes What We Don't Like A little on the heavier side Has pressure points in certain footwear If you're reading online reviews of snowshoes before making a purchase (which is always a good idea!), you'll probably see the Tubbs Panoramic Snowshoe generally has high ratings when it comes to float (or how well it stays on top of powder). No snowshoe will prevent some degree of sinking, but the Panoramic's lightweight decking distributes weight well and does an excellent job of keeping you on top of the freshies. The Panoramic also comes in a downright massive 36-inch version, which will keep snowshoers up to 300 pounds afloat. If you plan to snowshoe on super-dry snow, like most of the Rocky Mountains receive, consider buying a size up to maximize your weight distribution. Price at time of publication: $270 Sizes: 25, 30, 36 | Weight per pair: 4 pounds, 8 ounces | Dimensions: 25 x 9 inches, 30 x 9 inches, 36 x 9 inches | Max recommended load: 300 pounds (36-inch version) Best for Ice and Hard Pack TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Backcountry View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com What We Like Massive crampons for extreme grip Ideal for backcountry Prevents tripping on narrow paths What We Don't Like Expensive Sinks a bit in powder With a small footprint that makes narrow tracks a breeze and sharp crampons that could serve as a weapon in a pinch, the Symbioz Hyperflex snowshoes excel when it comes to hard-packed trails and ice. If you need a pair of snowshoes for winter hiking along narrow singletrack or ascending the north faces of icy slopes, these are your best bet. The heel lift stays in place exceptionally well, and the BOA system makes quick work of on-mountain adjustments. Depending on the terrain near you, they may also work quite well for backcountry days when moving across icy, crusty layers. Our tester noted that the "ice cream cone" shape of these shoes made them user-friendly, reducing the likelihood of tripping. Keep in mind that their narrower heel cups are not compatible with wider hike boots. Price at time of publication: $255 Sizes: S, M, L | Weight per pair: Between 2 and 2.4 pounds | Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.5 inches, 23.5 x 8 inches, 27 x 8.5 inches | Max recommended load: 300 pounds (size large) The 9 Best Boots for Snowshoeing of 2023 What to Look for in Snowshoes Size and Shape A larger snowshoe is generally better suited for deeper powder snow, while smaller shoes are more effective in hard snow conditions and steep uphills. You don’t necessarily want an ultra-wide snowshoe as you’ll increase the likelihood of stepping on your own feet and because increased flotation is usually achieved with longer snowshoes than wider ones. MSR offers an add-on accessory tail that you can employ in deeper snow conditions. Crampons and Teeth While the surface area keeps you afloat, the integrated crampons, teeth, and rails provide traction. The more aggressive the traction elements, the better-suited the snowshoes are for steeper terrain going up or down. Look for teeth along the frame's rails, crampons on the toe and/or the heel, and braking bars behind the heel area. The more these elements are employed, the better the snowshoes will perform in hilly terrain. However, if you’re mostly traveling in flat zones, you can opt for less expensive snowshoes that skip many of these traction features. Materials While classic snowshoes feature leather webbing stretched across a wood frame, most modern snowshoes are made from either an aluminum frame or a composite deck. Both materials are lightweight and strong but have different designs with different pros and cons. Aluminum frames mostly mimic the classic design, where a material such as nylon is stretched across the frame to create the deck. Composite snowshoes often feature a single-piece construction where a plastic composite makes up the bulk of the deck. Composite snowshoes are often smaller and are better suited for more mountaineering-type adventures, while aluminum frame snowshoes can be wider, longer, and retain structural integrity, making them superior for deep, light snow. Price You really do get what you pay for in snowshoes. Higher-priced snowshoes will generally be better performing and longer-lasting than cheaper models. That said, if you are only an occasional snowshoer or want a pair for a winter trip where you’ll go for a moderate hike once or twice, the budget options may be a great choice. The most expensive snowshoes are generally more streamlined, traction-heavy mountaineering snowshoes, which may not be the right fit for your adventure, so remember that “better” may not actually be the best option for you. Frequently Asked Questions What shoes should I wear with snowshoes? Snowshoes will keep you above the snow, but because you still may end up stepping into deep snow, you generally want to wear some kind of insulated waterproof winter hiking boots in your snowshoes. The aggressive tread of hiking boots will also help keep your feet in place once strapped into the snowshoes. Avoid bulky winter boots (think classic Sorels or muck boots), which can create conflicts with the straps and toe cutouts in the snowshoes. Do I need snowshoes? No, you don't need snowshoes for winter hiking. (Although, they will certainly make it more enjoyable). If snowshoes aren't your thing, consider a pair of gaiters, which connect to your boots and keep snow from getting in around the ankle. These lightweight additions effectively extend the snow-deflecting capabilities of a regular pair of hiking boots above the calf, which is a must when traveling in deep snow.Gaiters are especially essential when wearing shorter hiking boots (which I recommend). Sure, you could wear extra-tall boots such as muck boots, but those types of boots aren't very athletic, and the stiffness can cause blisters and discomfort over a long hike. Do I need trekking poles? Trekking poles aren’t essential but can be an excellent gear addition if you go snowshoeing often. Winter trail conditions can vary with hard-packed snow, light powder, and crusty layers you punch through. These conditions can all result in unsteady footing, and a supportive pole can keep you upright when you make a wrong step. Make sure to look for poles with a larger skiing-type powder basket on the bottom, as many summer trekking poles have small or non-existent baskets. The basket helps keep poles from sliding all the way down through light, unconsolidated snow, which can throw off your balance as badly as a wrong step! Why Trust TripSavvy Suzie Dundas lives in Lake Tahoe and is a freelance adventure writer and gear tester. As much as she loves snowboarding, she turns to another pastime on busy weekends at the resorts: snowshoeing. While most of her routes are steep uphills, she’s also a fan of snowshoe tours around the perimeters of lakes and state parks, which gives her a wide variety of terrain for testing. For items she couldn’t test in person, she relied on expert feedback, online reviews, and Q & A with brand representatives to get the scoop on tech and performance. Justin Park also contributed to this roundup. He lives in Summit County, Colorado, with one of the longest winters in the country due to its elevation and snow-generating peaks. From skis to sunglasses, he’s always looking for the latest innovations in winter gear, and he’s tried nearly every shape and style of snowshoe on the market. The 10 Best Mountaineering Gloves of 2023 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 8 below.