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Whether you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the polar regions or simply require a little bit of help navigating your backyard in winter, there’s a set of snowshoes out there for you. Styles vary greatly but can be separated into three basic categories: snowshoes for flat terrain, snowshoes for moderate terrain and snowshoes for extreme backcountry adventures. Each category has its own set of special features, while prices range from affordable to pricey. If you need help picking a pair out, take a look at some of our favorite snowshoes below.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Atlas Montane Snowshoes
With incredible versatility, the Atlas Montane Snowshoes are one of the best all-rounders on the market. They’re designed to be used on a variety of different terrains, ranging from beginner trails to serious backcountry. The teardrop-shaped V-frame limits the amount of snow displaced as you walk, thereby reducing drag and helping to conserve energy levels. The decking is made from synthetic Nytex, known for its flexibility, durability and lightness. Secure the snowshoes using the Wrapp Swift binding, designed for easy cinching and release.
Atlas’ patented Spring-Loaded Suspension is a major benefit, helping to absorb impact and increase your freedom of movement. It also allows your foot to flex from side-to-side on traverses and uneven terrain so that you feel more stable. The heel lift bar relieves calf strain on steep uphill sections, while sharp ridges on the side rails and an All-Trac toe crampon combine to provide excellent traction on ascents and descents. Order a 25”, 30” or 35” set, remembering to size up for adventures in deep powder.
Best Budget: Chinook Trekker Snowshoes
At half (or even a third) of the price of some of the other models on this list, the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes are perfect for those on a budget. They’re also a great solution for travelers planning a single trip to a snowy region who don’t need to worry about longevity. Best suited to packed snow and moderate terrain, this product features polyethylene decking and a lightweight aluminum frame.
Aluminum toe and heel crampons rotate freely for better grip on the snow; however, they’re more likely to bend over time than steel crampons. The ratchet bindings are freeze-resistant and flexible up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can operate them with gloves on, while the heel straps feature quick-release buckles. Whether you choose 19”, 22”, 30” or 36” snowshoes, your purchase comes with a backpack-style carry bag.
Best for Moderate Terrain: MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes
Intended for everyday use on moderate rolling terrain, the MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes are the perfect choice for intermediate users. The absence of features required for more challenging terrain (think heel lift bars and superior suspension) also helps to keep these snowshoes affordable. The polypropylene deck is ultra-durable and sheds snow and ice easily. When the going gets tough, steel traction rails and toe crampons molded directly onto the deck help to ensure a secure grip.
The double-strap DuoFit binding system is freeze-proof and easy to operate even with gloves on. You can also adjust the straps to fit a wide range of different footwear. At 23” long, these snowshoes are not particularly supportive in deep powder. However, they are compatible with the MSR Evo Tails (sold separately), which increase their length by six inches to provide added flotation for soft snow or heavier loads. Choose your pair in dark blue, mineral or red.
Best for Flat Terrain: Crescent Moon EVA All-Foam Snowshoes
Designed for short, flat walks on compact snow, the Crescent Moon EVA All-Foam Snowshoes are the ideal entry-level choice. The revolutionary deck is made from dual density foam; which, while unsuited to steep inclines or rugged terrain, keeps these snowshoes incredibly light and quiet. The foam is also a natural insulator, helping your feet to stay warmer for longer. You may find that the cushioned feeling provided by the foam reminds you more of your athletic shoes than conventional snowshoes.
In addition, the deck’s teardrop shape reduces drag, keeps your stride natural and increases maneuverability. Molded cleats on the bottom afford some traction on icy trails; while the hook-and-loop velcro straps are exceptionally easy to fasten and release (albeit not especially supportive). These snowshoes measure 24” in length and come in four colors.
Best Backcountry: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
The MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes are made for serious adventurers and are best suited to aggressive ascents and virgin backcountry. They’re also a great choice for backcountry skiers. The nylon decking is super-lightweight, helping to reduce fatigue in tough conditions. The 360-degree traction frames pair all-around grip on the sides with steel split-teeth crampons - giving you unparalleled grip on steep traverses and even on hard-pack snow and ice.
On your ascents, use your poles to engage the heel lift bar, thereby increasing traction and reducing calf strain. Dual-component AT bindings offer the most secure, freeze-resistant attachment possible; and are also surprisingly comfortable. These snowshoes come in 22” or 25” lengths, and can be paired with MSR’s Modular Flotation tails for expeditions that require heavy loading (or involve exceptionally soft snow). Colors include black and silver.
Best with Boa Closure: TUBBS Flex Vertical Snowshoes
Allowing for precision fit at the turn of a dial, the Boa Closure System distributes tension evenly around the foot and is becoming increasingly popular in snowshoeing circles. It is used to excellent effect on the TUBBS Flex Vertical Snowshoes, which receive rave reviews for comfort and for being incredibly easy to put on. Other highlights of these moderate-to-difficult terrain snowshoes include the FLEX Tail, which eases joint stress by absorbing shock as you walk. If you decide to tackle icy traverses, you’ll be grateful for the heel lift bars, steel toe crampons and curved traction rails. Available in two sizes (24” and 28”), the snowshoes come in black/citron or black/plum.
Best for Kids: Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes
Available in 14”, 19”, 22” and 26” lengths, the Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes are great for smaller explorers. All sizes feature durable decking and a sturdy aluminum frame designed to keep weight (and strain) to a minimum. A metal toe crampon provides solid traction on moderate terrain, while the adjustable bindings are easy for little hands to master. Best of all, a hinge in the tail of the shoe allows it to lift slightly with every step, affording extra mobility and speed. Choose blue, pink or green and receive a carry bag included in the price.
Best for Running: Louis Garneau Transition Snowshoes
Measuring 23” in length, the Louis Garneau Transition Snowshoes offer limited flotation but come into their own on flat, hard-pack trails. They are designed specifically for runners, whether you’re competing in snowshoe races or simply want to train outside throughout winter. The futuristic decking is beautifully streamlined for a natural stride, while the aluminum anodized frame makes it possible for the snowshoes to weigh under 2.5 pounds per pair.
The Boa Closure System allows for increased comfort and flexibility. In addition to helping you achieve top speed in the snow, the snowshoes also look great. The sleek black and red colors stand out on the start-line, while the weave design offers superior abrasion resistance so that the decking looks brand new for longer.