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Best Snowshoes for Beginners: Surviving your First Snowshoeing Adventure

Best Snowshoes for Beginners
Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

Snowshoeing is quickly becoming one of the most popular winter activities for families to participate in together, and for a number of good reasons. If you are considering going on your first snowshoeing adventure, then the first thing that you need to think about is your actual snowshoes. This is because the wrong pair could easily make or break a trip. In our opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry and ensure that you have a pair of the best snowshoes for beginners with you, that way, you can be certain that your shoes will not ruin all of your fun!

One of the main reasons that families are drawn to snowshoeing is actually the safety of the activity, as it is much safer than the majority of winter sports. It can be enjoyed by solo backpackers, older couples, and families with young children. The first thing that you have to consider when purchasing a pair of snowshoes, be they for you or a child, is that not every snowshoe is suitable for every type of snow. There are snowshoes that have been specifically designed for use on compact, easy to walk on snow, and there are snowshoes that have been specifically designed for climbing up icy mountains. Some of these products can be found reviewed below.

Our top picks

NameWeightWeight CapabilityTerrain CapabilityPrice
MSR Evo 223.6 pounds180 lbsEasyCheck price on Amazon
Tubbs Mountaineer5.15 pounds220 lbsDifficultCheck price on Amazon
Fleshtek Terrain2.49 - 4.52 pounds55 – 260 lbsDifficultCheck price on Amazon
All Terrain Aluminum2 pounds150 lbsEasyCheck price on Amazon
ALPS Lightweight5.1 pounds40 – 120 lbsEasyCheck price on Amazon
Chinook Trekker3.1 pounds59 – 90 lbsModerateCheck price on Amazon
RedFeather Snowshoes Women’s HIKE3.3 – 4.7 pounds22 – 220 lbsModerateCheck price on Amazon
ALPS Adult All Terrain6.5 pounds80 – 250 lbsEasyCheck price on Amazon

You should also always make sure that the snowshoes that you choose are suitable for you, as they have to be compatible with both your shoe size, and your own body weight. Otherwise you will just sink into the snow the way that you would while wearing a pair of winter boots. It is best to make sure that they match up perfectly!

What should you consider before purchasing your first pair of snowshoes?

Most people find it difficult to pick their first pair of snowshoes, and that is completely understandable. There are a lot of factors that you simply have to take into consideration, otherwise you could end up with snowshoes that your boots just will not fit in, or you could end up being ankle deep in powder-like snow.

Snowshoes in the woods

When purchasing your first pair of snowshoes, you should always take the following features into consideration:

Size

Choosing the right sizing for your first pair of snowshoes can be incredibly difficult, and not choosing the right sizing could ruin your day in the snow entirely. Snowshoes offer their wearer an excellent form of ‘floatation’, and they do this by spreading your body weight over a large, flat surface area so that you do not start to sink. The heavier your own body weight, or the lighter the snow, the more snowshoe surface area is required.

Men Snowshoeing

Most of the time you can base the size of the snowshoe that you will need on the sizing of the boot that will be going inside of it, but snowshoes are also a little bit more gender specific than that. Men’s snowshoes are specially designed to accommodate larger boots and heavier loads, whereas women’s snowshoes tend to be much narrower, and more contoured. Snowshoes for children are usually intended for casual snow play, while some models also offer sought after technical features.

Weight

When choosing your first pair of snowshoes, you have to consider the factor of weight for two different reasons. Firstly, you have to consider the weight of the actual snowshoe. You will not want anything too heavy attached to your boot while you are trekking through the snow, otherwise it will just slow you down.

Snowshoe Weight

Secondly, you have to consider your own body weight. The heavier you are, the larger the surface area of your snowshoes needs to be. This is because your own body weight needs to be spread out over a larger surface area to stop you sinking.

Design and Structure

The design and structure of your desired snowshoes is incredibly important, as there are a number of different technical features and design quirks that you need to be on the lookout for. The first would be the main material of the snowshoes, and generally snowshoes are either aluminum frame snowshoes, or composite snowshoes. Composite snowshoes are unique because they often allow you to add tails, and these tails are designed to help you stay afloat on incredibly soft snow.

You should make sure that you check what material the crampons on the snowshoes are made out of. Usually they are made out of either steel, or a steel composite. Steel offers a fantastic level of grip, but a lightweight alternative would be aluminum.

Snowshoeing in Mountains

Finally, you should pay attention to the type of bindings that your desired snowshoes feature. Unfortunately, you cannot swap the actual bindings out once you have purchased the shoes, so you have to be certain that they will be suitable for your own requirements. As a rule of thumb, the more straps your snowshoes have, the greater range of adjustability and tensioning you will have. Don’t worry, a lot of snowshoes actually feature bindings that can all be adjusted at once.

Terrain Suitability

Lastly, you should make sure that you consider the terrain that you plan on using your snowshoes with. Will it be a flat terrain, or a rolling terrain? Or, will it be something as tough as a mountainous terrain? Each environment requires the snowshoes to have different features, these features get more and more specific the harder your trail is to follow.

Snowshoeing in deep snow

Snowshoes that are made for flat terrains often tend to be the best for beginners, and they are ideal for use with families. They feature incredibly easy-to-adjust bindings, and offer a nice level of affordability. Whereas snowshoes that are made for mountainous terrains have to feature climbing-style crampons, as well as stronger bindings.

The Best Snowshoes on the Market Today

Without further ado, the products we would be happy to recommend are:MSR Evo 22 Snowshoe

MSR EVO 22 Snowshoe

Price: Approximately $100 – $120

Weight: 3.6 pounds

Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 32 inches

Specific features: Steel traction; DuoFit bindings; weather resistant; classic crampons; 180lbs weight limit; lightweight

Best use: Easy snowshoeing trails

The MSR EVO 22 Snowshoes are a great example of a product that would be suitable for use on both easy to hike routes, and on incredibly compacted snow. They are not the type of snowshoes that you would hike up a mountain in, and yet with their steel traction rails they are incredibly durable. It is impossible to ignore the lightweight nature of this particular pair of snowshoes, as any additional weight would simply be weighing you down.

It is also possible to use these snowshoes in really light, powder snow. But, only if you also purchase a pair of EVO Modular Flotation Tails. The tails themselves are relatively easy to use, as they simply slide onto the snowshoes and fix in place with a twist of the adjustment knob. Stability is the key with a good pair of snowshoes, and the bindings featured on this pair are incredibly easy to adjust, while offering an additional level of security.

PROS:

  • Easy to adjust DuoFit bindings
  • Lightweight
  • The ability to add modular floatation tails
  • A great level of weather resistance
 CONS:

  • You have to buy the flotation tails separately
  • These can feel quite tight against certain brands of boot

Related:  EVO also offer a set of fantastic 6” floatation tails, that would be suitable for use in powder snow.

Check the price on Amazon

Tubbs Mountaineering Snowshoe

Tubbs Mountaineering Snowshoe

Price: Approximately $200 – $260

Weight: 5.15 pounds

Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 32 inches

Specific features: ActiveFit+ bindings; carbon steel crampon; gender-specific design

Best use: Difficult snowshoeing trails.

If you are looking for a pair of snowshoes that would be suitable for mountaineering, then the Tubbs Mountaineering Snowshoe could be the right product for you. It is slightly more expensive than a number of other snowshoes that are already available on the market, but it offers consumers the technical features that they deserve to be receiving at that price range. One of our favorite features of these snowshoes is that they come in gender-specific shapes, that accommodate the unique requirements of both male and female feet.

These snowshoes feature an intuitive razor-sharp, carbon steel Anaconda™ toe crampon, and it is that crampon that makes them so suitable for icy mountaineering. It has eight sharp teeth that all penetrate the ice and the snow directly, ensuring that you will not slip. These snowshoes are also really nice to walk in, as they feature a shock absorbing system that helps you to maintain a natural position for your feet.

PROS:

  • Gender-specific structure
  • Gender-specific ActiveFit™ binding
  • Durable
 CONS:

  • Slightly heavier than other snowshoes

Related: Tubbs also offer a fantastic snowshoe for children, in the form of the Tubbs Storm Snowshoes. They are incredibly durable, and can be used by people who weigh up to 130 lbs. They should not be used to go mountaineering in, but they would be suitable for moderate trails.

Check the price on Amazon

Fleshtek Terrain SnowshoesFlashtek Snowshoes for men and women

Price: Approximately $50 – $60

Weight: 2.49 – 4.52 pounds

Dimensions: 18 – 30 inches

Specific features: Unisex; quick use binding system; aluminum frame; HDPE decking; tempered aluminum crampons; nylon-reinforced urethane axle

Best use: Difficult snowshoeing trails

These snowshoes are a fantastic example of just how durable and efficient snowshoes can actually be. The Fleshtek Terrain Snowshoes have been designed to be suitable for icy and tough to handle conditions, and the technical features that make up the snowshoes really reflect on that.

Firstly, they feature an incredibly durable 6000 series aluminum frame, the same type of aluminum that is frequently found on different types of aircraft. Underneath they have a set of tempered aluminum crampons, which quickly and efficiently hook into the snow to offer a level of stability to the wearer, they are attached directly to a nylon-reinforced urethane axle.

One of our favorite features of this particular product is actually the way that the frame curves at the rear end, as it minimizes the dragging effect that you often feel while walking forwards in snowshoes.

PROS:

  • Durable build
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Made out of materials that are completely weather resistant
 CONS:

  • The two lever ratchet buckles system binding can take a little while to get used to

Related: Fleshtek also retail a fantastic pair of snowshoes for children, in the form of these Fleshtek Terrain Snowshoes for Kids.

Check the price on Amazon

All Terrain Aluminum SnowshoesAll Terrain Aluminum Snowshoes w/ Carry Bag and Trekking Poles

Price: Approximately $45 – $50

Weight: 2 pounds

Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 21 inches

Specific features: Lightweight aluminum construction; easy to use bindings; anti-shock structure; forged steel crampons for additional traction

Best use: Easy snowshoeing trails

There are a wide range of snowshoes out their available for adults, and sifting through them all can be difficult. But, what about purchasing snowshoes for our children? We need them to be safe, and finding a suitable pair can actually be quite difficult. One durable pair that we have found are the All Terrain Aluminum Snowshoes, which have the ability to accommodate up to 150 lbs.

Due to the nature of this product, and the fact that it has been made to be used by children, a vast amount of the metal structure is made out of aluminum. This means that the product is as lightweight as it possibly can be, making it more comfortable for little feet. The bindings on these snowshoes come in the form of an adjustable ratchet system, which features a one-pull technique so that it can be used quickly, and on the go.

PROS:

  • Lightweight construction
  • Easy to adjust binding system
  • Forged steel crampons for additional stability
 CONS:

  • Can only be used on easy trails

Related: For getting out to the trail in your normal shoes, ThunderBay also sell a set of Winter Snow Ice Treads, to stop you slipping over on the ice.

Check the price on Amazon

ALPS Lightweight SnowshoesALPS Light Weight Snowshoes for Kids

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 5.1 pounds

Dimensions: 14 – 19 inches

Specific features: Alloyed aluminum frame; TPU-85 deck; lightweight; semi-aggressive crampons

Best use: Easy snowshoeing trails

Another fantastic option for younger snowshoers would have to be the ALPS Lightweight Snowshoes, with their design and structure. They are not as light as other snowshoes aimed at children, but their solid and sturdy construction makes up for that entirely. The different sizes actually have a weight range capacity that runs between 40lbs – 120lbs, so realistically these shoes could also be used by adults who have small builds.

These shoes are definitely a good choice for people who are new to snowshoeing, as the semi-aggressive crampons can handle both well groomed trails and certain off-trail treks, as long as the snow is incredibly compact. The sturdy frame is made out of a 6061 alloy, so it is much stronger than a number of other snowshoes that are currently available.

The deck of the snowshoes is made out of TPU-85 plastic, which is famed for how long it lasts in extreme weather conditions, like the conditions that it would be exposed to in a snowshoeing environment.

PROS:

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Weather resistant
  • Semi-aggressive crampons that offer extra stability
 CONS:

  • Heavier than other children’s snowshoes

Related: ALPS also offer an incredibly bright pair of snowshoes in the form of the ALPS Adult All Terrain Snowshoes, and it comes with a free carrying bag. These are some of the cheapest, high quality snowshoes that we could find at approximately $60 – $70.

Check the price on Amazon

Chinook Trekker SnowshoesChinook Trekker Snowshoes

Price: Approximately $40 – $100

Weight: 3.1 pounds

Dimensions: 18.9 x 7.5 inches

Specific features: Aluminum frame; lightweight; dual ratchet bindings; heel straps; aluminum crampons

Best use: Moderate snowshoeing trails

Our last pair of snowshoes aimed at children, are the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes. This particular pair of snowshoes are known for their structure, and their ability to handle moderate terrains. They offer the wearer a lightweight design in the form of an aluminum frame, and an ergonomic shape that will ensure that your child does not suffer with uncomfortable feet.

These shoes come with a recommended load of between 59 – 90 pounds, and they offer a great level of traction in the form of a set of heavy duty aluminum crampons. These crampons are free to rotate and grip the snow, offering your child the stability that he or she needs not to slip on uneven terrains.

PROS:

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Heavy duty aluminum crampons
  • A high level of durability
  • Additional accessories
 CONS:

  • The multiple bindings could be hard for children to use on their own

Related: If you need some additional support while you are hiking in the snow, then Chinook also offer the Chinook Cane Walker 3 Hiking Pole, known to be good with both rocky and icy surfaces.

Check the price on Amazon

RedFeather Snowshoes Women’s HIKE SnowshoeRedFeather Women’s HIKE Recreational Series Snowshoe

Price: Approximately $165 – $220

Weight: 3.3 – 4.7 pounds

Dimensions: 22 – 36 inches

Specific features: Aluminum frame; rip stop material; foam grips; quick-adjust webbing; live action hinge

Best use: Moderate snowshoeing trails

This pair of snowshoes are a fantastic option for women, due to their gender specific design. From a medical viewpoint the feet of a woman are usually narrower, and more contoured, than the feet of a man. This means that women need support in certain places more than other, and the RedFeather Snowshoes Women’s HIKE Snowshoe really takes that into consideration.

These snowshoes also feature a set of SV2 control bindings, which offer an exceptional level of security, whilst still being easy to adjust on the move. It also features a heel frame for superior lateral support, so that your feet don’t end up acting like shock absorbers. Speaking of shock, these shoes also come with a set of 3-section ski poles, each of which has an anti-shock vibration system that reduces stress on your joints, muscles, and ligaments.

PROS:

  • Lateral support
  • Quick-adjust webbing
  • Lightweight aluminum design
  • Additional 3-section poles
 CONS:

  • It can take a while to get used to the binding system, especially if you are familiar with other snowshoes

Related: If you are looking for a male shoe of the same caliber, then the RedFeather Men’s Snowshoes could be perfect for you.

Check the price on Amazon

ALPS Adult All Terrain SnowshoesALPS Adult All Terrian Snowshoes

Price: Approximately $45 – $80

Weight: 6.5 pounds

Dimensions: 22 – 30 inches

Specific features: Comfortable; lightweight; aluminum construction; lacing system; buckles

Best use: Easy snowshoeing hikes

If you are planning on gentle strolls through even snow, or on clean trails, then the ALPS Adult All Terrain Snowshoes could be the right option for you. They offer everything that you would need to handle easy trails effectively, while also being highly affordable and friendly towards your wallet.

The lacing system that these shoes feature is incredibly easy to use, and it features a set of buckles that can be used to quickly remove and apply the snowshoes.

One of our favorite features that these snowshoes can offer is actually the amount of comfort that they provide the wearer with, as all of the bindings are molded. They cradle and efficiently pad the arch of the foot and the ball of the foot, so that there are no pressure points for your body weight to go down directly onto.

If you do have pressure points as a result of wearing your snowshoes, then you will quickly find them to be both fatigue inducing and painful, so this additional comfort is incredibly helpful.

PROS:

  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
 CONS:

  • Heavier than a number of other snowshoes
  • Not as many technical features

Related: There are a number of people who enjoy the great outdoors, but also enjoy packing light. If you are one of those people, then the ALPS Extreme Lightweight All Terrain Snowshoes might be the ideal product for you.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

With all of that said and done, we hope that you have enjoyed our snowshoes reviews of some of the best products that are currently available on the market. These shoes would especially be recommended for beginners, but if you are an experienced snowshoer then we are certain that you will benefit from them too!

Family Snowshoeing

So, which of our snowshoes has successfully caught your eye? Or, do you already have a pair of snowshoes that you love to put on as soon as the winter rolls around? Let us know in the comments below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell McCarty
Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.

  • William Golgosky

    I don’t snowshoe too often, but I occasionally have to so I decided to go with the MSR EVO 22 Snowshoe. It’s the perfect snowshoe for the casual user. They’re light and I have used them in three or four feet of snow and up some pretty steep embankments and they’ve worked great.

  • Russell McCarty

    Hi William and thanks for sharing!
    Check out some of my favorites, too which include: Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes, Fleshtek Snowshoes and the All Terrain Aluminum Snowshoes.

  • Christi Turner

    My husband and I recently both started using snowshoes for the exercise and so I bought him the Alps Adult All Terrain Snowshoes mentioned above. He hasn’t had any trouble in the deep snow and they seem to fit him like a glove. I think it’s safe to say he’s very happy with these!

  • Russell McCarty

    Hi there Christi! I bet he is and for good reasons. The Alps Adult All Terrain Snowshoes is one of the best products there is and one of the most reliable, too. The fit is excellent and it’s a bonus that these are affordable.

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