The Top 5 Snowshoes Reviewed
Getting the right snowshoes is greatly important if you want to make sure that your trek is safe. As you’ve probably seen on way too many YouTube videos, a lack of good snowshoes can lead to pretty embarrassing consequences, and they’re an absolute necessity if you’re a snow-based adrenaline junkie. However, picking out the right ones can be a pretty difficult task, not least because you don’t want to get this wrong, and end up worrying about your snowshoes for the entire time that you’re supposed to be out having fun.
The truth is that buying snowshoes is more complex than buying your regular gear like winter boots, but if you make sure that you look into all of the options, you’ll soon find the ones that are perfect for you. We’ve given you a little bit of a helping hand, by reviewing some of the best snowshoes out there, so that you can make an informed decision about the ones that are right for your trek. After all, you have other things to focus on, like enjoying that trek you’ve always wanted to go on, right? Here’s our take on the best snowshoes out there.
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Snowshoes is the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes.
- Efficient: the most important feature of snowshoes is that they actually work well when it comes to walking in the snow (and they have good traction as a result), and the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes certainly do the job, even when the snow is hard and pretty compact.
- Comfortable: the Lightning Ascent snowshoes are comfortable options, and you could trek for quite a while in them before you felt any discomfort (if you felt any at all). The bindings are secure, so you won’t have to keep messing with them whilst you’re focusing on having a great time in the snow.
- Size: these are some of the best snowshoes if you’re looking for some that are lightweight, and easy to carry around. This is also beneficial as you won’t be putting too much effort into lifting your feet up when you’re walking, and it’s pretty easy to get used to walking in them, too.
- Rear strap: if you’re looking to adjust the rear strap whilst you’re wearing the snowshoes, you may have a bit of difficulty, so it’s best to do this before you stand up, or to use the front buckles instead.
- Expensive: whilst the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes are great, be prepared to spend quite a lot of cash on them, as they don’t come cheap.
- Ultralight (4 lbs) technical snowshoes with superior traction for mountaineering, aggressive backcountry pursuits, and rugged terrain
- 360-degree traction frames deliver edge-to-edge grip, while the one-piece steel crampons provide serious bite on traverses and steep slopes
- PosiLock bindings provide a secure, freeze-resistant attachment to all types of footwear; rugged, yet lightweight decking offers floatation and durability
- Increased uphill efficiency and traction with the Ergo Televator heel lift bar that easily flips up to reduce fatigue and provide help on the steeps
- Snowshoes measure 8 x 22 inches, weigh 4 pounds, and can carry a 180-pound load; bindings fit men's shoes sizes 4.5-15; made in the USA
- Lightweight: like the Lightning Ascent snowshoes, the Evo Ascent 22s are lightweight, and as such they are easy to carry around no matter where you are, or what you’re doing. Simply strap them to your backpack, and you will hardly notice that you’re carrying a little more extra weight with you. This is also helpful in terms of walking, so points all around for the Evo Ascents.
- Strong: despite being lightweight, these snowshoes are strong and well-built, and the grip on them is really good, so there’s no way that you’ll be slipping and sliding all the way up that mountain. They are likely to last you a long time, making them good value for money, and perfect for those who regularly go on hikes.
- Heel lift: the heels on the MSR Evo Ascent 22 snowshoes lift up, to help you to climb up those steeper slopes on your trek. This makes them a super versatile option for whatever you’re doing, and this flexibility is pretty ideal.
- Color options: there aren’t many downsides here, but perhaps the Evo Ascents could be available in more than one color, if any improvements were to be made.
- Steel traction rails and brake bars molded directly into snowshoe decks provide a secure grip
- Tri fit bindings deliver ample, freeze-resistant and glove-friendly Security, easily accommodating a wide range of footwear
- Televator heel lifts reduce fatigue and increase traction on the steeps, and are easily engaged with a glove-friendly pull Tab
- Modular flotation tails (sold separately) easily attach and allow you to carry heavier loads when needed
- Snowshoes measure 22 inches long, weigh 4.1 pounds, and can carry a 180-pound load; bindings fit men's shoes sizes 4.5-15; made in the USA. The load without trails (standard) is upto 250 pounds
- Good quality: the WildHorns are some of the best snowshoes when it comes to the quality vs. price weigh up, and they are manufactured out of strong and durable materials. The traction is ideal, and they are even a little better than most of the competition out there when it comes to walking through difficult snow. They have heel lifters too, which can be found on the more expensive MSR snowshoes.
- Stylish: these snowshoes are a lot more stylish than some of their counterparts, and they aren’t just boring grey or black colors. If you want to make an impact with your boots and other trek aesthetics, then the WildHorn Outfitters snowshoes are definitely a good option here.
- Affordable: for the features that they offer, these snowshoes are a more affordable alternative to some of the other makes out there, and they still do the job extremely well, especially given the price. They are definitely worth a shot for those less experienced hikers, who aren’t too sure that they will get a lot of use out of them, but they’re good for hiking fanatics too.
- Some movement: some people report experiencing a little bit of movement with the WildHorn snowshoes, but this isn’t an issue that affects most hikers.
- NEW AND IMPROVED FOR 2019 - You spoke, we listened. Based on feedback from our 2018 model, we made adjustments to our Sawtooth Snowshoes. We reinforced the ratchet binding with heavy duty spring-loaded clips and added a new heal strap with an auto-locking system.
- FULLY ADJUSTABLE BINDINGS - These adult snowshoes not only come in two lengths, 21 and 27 inches, but can adjust to the size of your foot. The easy ratchet style binding uppers with quick release and a buckle secure heel strap, give it a truly custom feel. No lacing necessary. Walking in the snow just became so simple. 21 Inches - Optimized Weight Range is 80-160 lbs (30kg - 60 kg) / 27 Inches - Optimized Weight Range is 165-235 lbs (62 kg - 88 kg)
- HARD PACK GRIP TEETH - Snowshoeing requires traction. Each shoe has two sets of reinforced, heavy duty crampons that ensure traction on icy, hard surfaces. The pressure from your feet let the crampon act as an extreme ice pick for your boots!INCLINE HEEL LIFT RISER - This unique system provides traction and balance while climbing hills. The heel lift riser comes up under your heel to support you when you need it and lays flat when you don't.
- LIGHT WEIGHT MATERIALS - This snowshoe model is designed with a durable, aluminum frame that allows for optimal snow flotation performance in deep powder. Sawtooths are constructed with high-grade, weather tested materials because we know how important it is to hPACK GRIP TEETH - Snowshoeing requires traction. Each shoe has two sets of reinforced, heavy duty crampons that ensure traction on icy, hard surfaces. The pressure from your feet let the crampon act as an extreme ice pick for your boots!
- STEEP INCLINE HEEL LIFT RISER - This unique system provides traction and balance while climbing hills. The heel lift riser comes up under your heel to support you when you need it and lays flat when you don't.SLIP FEATURES - The Sawtooth snow shoes have boot grip, no-slip textured pads and an excess heel strap clip. These systems cradle your foot to hold you in place and prevent sliding around while snow shoeing this winter.
- Affordable: the Chinook Trekker snowshoes are super affordable, and depending on your sizing, you could bag these for around $55. These make them one of the least expensive snowshoes out there on the market, so if you’re looking to bag yourself a deal, then these may be the best option.
- Efficient: these snowshoes do what they’re supposed to do, and they offer an increased level of ease for the wearer. In no time at all, you’ll have these snowshoes on and you’ll be on your way on that average-level trek, so if you’re looking for a pair without all of the complexities, then they may be a good choice for you.
- Comfortable: the Chinook Trekker snowshoes are noted for being comfortable, and they fit your feet well, especially for the price. They won’t be slipping off anytime soon, which is good news for your safety.
- Not suitable for longer hikes: if you’re planning on getting out there and climbing a mountain, then these snowshoes may not do the job. They’re great, but not for certain types of activities, as the traction isn’t as impressive as some of the other brands out there.
- Light weight and strong aluminum frame features an ergonomic design to ensure comfortable and easy walks
- UV resistant polyethylene decking, easy-to-use dual ratchet bindings and heel straps with quick release buckles
- Heavy duty aluminum crampons, rotate freely to bite into snow; heel crampons provide traction for heading down mild slopes
- Includes carry bag with back pack straps, side handles, mesh ventilation and Velcro pole carriers
- Recommended load: 180-250 pounds (82-114 kg); measures 30 x 8.6 Inch (76 x 22 cm); weighs 4.95 pounds (2.25 kg)
- Affordable: like the Chinook Trekkers, the ALPS snowshoes are very affordable, coming in at around the same price ($54). For those who aren’t sure about getting out there and experiencing a hike – or for those who only go out and experience the snow a few times a year – these are definitely good value for money.
- Work well: the ALPS snowshoes work well, and they give you enough basic traction, and good enough rivets, to get through all of that thick and compact snow. For the average trekker, they do the job that they are supposed to, which makes them a good choice for those first time adventurers.
- Stylish: the ALPS snowshoes are pretty stylish, and they have a look that would be suitable for those of all ages (yes, even teenagers…). If you want to make a statement whilst you’re out there making the most out of the snow, then the all-black ALPS with silver frames may be a good choice for you. They’re classy, and will match pretty much any snow gear out there.
- Not suitable for some activities: like the Chinook snowshoes, the ALPS All Terrain snowshoes arguably aren’t ‘all terrain’. If you’re planning to go on a more extreme hike, you may want to give these a miss, and invest in something with a little more traction.
- Quality: the quality of the ALPS Adult All Terrain snowshoes is not as good as some of the alternatives, although they’re not exactly poor quality, either. Some say that they are prone to breaking, but others praise the good quality of them, so it all depends on personal use and opinion.
- 30" snowshoes + pair antishock adjustable snowshoeing poles + Free tote bag
- Light weight with sturdy alloy construction
- For user weights up to 250 lbs
- Design for adult, men, women use
- Forged aluminum crampons front and back
Other Snowshoeing Gear
Whether you are going on a leisurely walk on a snowy trail or hiking up a hardcore snow-capped mountain, you will likely need to bring some other gear with you. Of course you will need to stay warm out there, so a proper heated jacket along with winter gloves and snow pants are a good idea. If you are climbing up a slope where there is a chance you may fall, you should protect your head with a ski helmet. While there are many other things you should bring, this list covers the basics and should get you started on the right foot.
How To Snowshoe
Here is a good video showing the basics of snowshoeing:
There are many different options out there when it comes to snowshoes, but these are some of the best options for every budget. Ultimately, the choice that you will make depends upon how much cash you’re looking to splash out, and what kind of trekker you are. If you want to get out there and conquer those mountains (as well as some of the more difficult areas to trek in) then you may need to invest a bit more cash, to ensure that you’re not stuck out there without any snowshoes to get you home, which could prove to be the adrenaline seeker’s nightmare.
Whichever snowshoes you go for, make sure that you have thought about how much you will use them, what you will use them for, and how much you’re willing to spend on getting your hands on them. Ultimately, getting this right can require a bit of trial and error, but it’s best to test your snowshoes out when you’re at the bottom of a mountain, rather than at the top. Whatever your choice is, these snowshoes will help you to ensure that you’re focusing on what really matters: having fun in the snow, and discovering the natural world. Good luck finding your perfect snowshoes!