TOP GEAR PICKS

Best Snowshoes: Our 2017 Top Picks

Best Snowshoes
Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

Unlike typical outdoor footwear, snowshoes are made for walking in the snow, and where some outdoor enthusiasts may use this only a few times during the year, for others, where the terrain is always snowy white, this shoe is a part of their everyday wardrobe.

When you’re looking for snowshoes, they usually need to meet certain criteria. In other words, you want the best snowshoes for whatever the occasion or condition, which ticks off the list;

  • Flotation
  • Traction
  • Performance
  • Ease of Use
  • Secure on foot
  • Value

How to Choose Snowshoes

Not many people are aware of this, but the snowshoe market is just as inundated with variety as any other.

Snowshoes guide

So with all of these snowshoes available, how do you select the right ones?

Method One

There are three types of snowshoes available:

  • Recreational/hiking: these types of snowshoes are a basic selection and are perfect for first-timers. They are meant to work best on simple terrain, that doesn’t require a lot of steep climbing or descents.
  • Aerobic/fitness: these types of snowshoes are best suited for those who are active and avid trekkers, such as runners and cross-trainers. Due to the purpose of its use, these snowshoes usually have a sleeker design that the basic selection snowshoe, and are generally tougher than most that are available on the market.
  • Hiking/backpacking: these types of snowshoes are even more rugged and more durable than the aerobic/fitness snowshoes.

Method Two

This method helps you get the best out of your snowshoes in terms of performance and value. They are sorted out into three categories;

  • Flat Terrain: these are snowshoes that are designed for walking on flat to rolling ground and are ideal for people new to the pastime, or for families with younger members. This category of snowshoes is referred to as entry level.
  • Rolling Terrain: these are snowshoes that are designed for hiking off the beaten track. They are best suited for rolling hills to steep hills, and for all other terrain except for very steep hills and icy conditions.
  • Mountain Terrain: these are snowshoes that have been designed for the more experienced trekker. They are ideal for traversing very steep and icy terrain. These snowshoes are made to attract those who blaze their own trails when on that rugged path, so the features and design, would be of a more aggressive nature.

What Else Should You Consider?

In addition to choosing the right snowshoes for you and your family, there’s another aspect of this choice which must fit like a hand and a glove. You need to consider the right boots which would fit into the snowshoes. The boots should be waterproof and appropriate for the task or function at hand.

Boots and snowshoes

The other factor is the amount of load you would be carrying while trekking.  A smaller size snowshoe would be more suitable for persons carrying lighter loads, and the larger sizes would be more suitable for persons carrying heavier loads.

Now that we’ve dealt with the complicated details of snowshoes, let’s get to the more fun part; Our Top Pick list of 2017.

Our Top Picks of 2017

The Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

The Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Weight: 3.9 to 5.43 pounds. See table below.

Dimensions: See table below.

Features:

  • Heel straps with quick release buckles
  • UV resistant polyethylene decking
  • Lightweight and strong aluminum frame
  • Easy to use dual freeze-resistant ratchet bindings
  • Heavy Duty aluminum crampons
  • Includes carry bag.
Product Model

 

Young Trekker 19Trekker 22Trekker 25Trekker 26Trekker 36
ColorYellowBlueRedDark blueGreen
Product #8000080002800048000680008
Recommended Load in lbs.50 – 90

 

90 – 130

 

130 – 210

 

180 – 250

 

250 – 300

 

Dimensions18.9” x 75”22” x 8”25” x 8.3”30” x 8.6”36” x 10”
Weight per pair3.91lbs

 

4.01lbs

 

4.3lbs

 

4.95lbs

 

5.43lbs

 

Best Use: Hiking through trails and forest. Built for flat terrains and perfect for first-timers.

Description: The Chinook Trekker Snowshoe is a series of snowshoes which provide great traction and comfort on packed snow and moderate terrains.

Each is designed and built to provide a great enjoyable experience in the winter months, and the makers at Chinook have devised a system to ensure that you buy the snowshoe that best suits you.

Commonly referred to as a great ‘entry level snowshoe’, the Chinook Trekker is the top choice for recreational snowshoeing. They hold up pretty well and are sturdy enough for long hours of snowshoeing fun. It isn’t advised to use these trekkers for rugged terrain.

Available at Amazon.com starting at just $63, it’s perfect for that budget minded traveller.

Related:  Chinook also supplies an assortment of hiking poles and hiking accessories which can be used with their snowshoes.

The ALPS Performance Snowshoes with Poles and Tote Bag

The ALPS Performance Snowshoes with Poles and Tote Bag

Weight: 6.7 pounds

Dimensions: dependent on the size of the snowshoe.

Features:

  • The series comes in 3 sizes; S-21, S-30 and S-34. Please see the table below
  • Sturdy alloy frames made with 6061 alloy material
  • Deck made with TPU-85 plastic material
  • Special frame design
  • Not gender specific
  • Fits most shoe sizes
  • Easy Fast-Loc buckles
  • Includes a free carrying tote bag and a pair of anti-shock walking poles
Product NameALPS PerformanceALPS PerformanceALPS Performance
SizeS-21S-30S-34
Recommended LoadUp 150 poundsUp to 250 poundsUp to 300 pounds

Best Use: Kids, teens or a small built adult. Also great for beginners. Suitable for use in groomed trails and some off-trail in deep snow.

Description: The frames of these ALPS Performance Snowshoes have a reputation for durability, being made of lightweight 6000 series Eastern aluminum tubing. With this particular snowshoe, ALPS takes a step further by making it to withstand in rugged terrains.

This snowshoe rated low when it came to flotation. It’s not suitable to extended travel in deep snow. They perform better on groomed and packed snow.

Fitted with two crampon components; one under the ball of the feet and the other under the heel of the feet, this traction system is somewhat semi-aggressive. The bindings offer limited foot mobility.

Coupled with the crampons which seem to collect a good amount of snow while trekking, the traction is significantly reduced.

Occasions may occur where constant stopping and clearing away of the crampons of the accumulated snow, would be required in order for them to function well enough.

These snowshoes are however quite easy to use, as they utilize a simple ratchet system. Even a novice would be able to figure out the basic anatomy of this snowshoe, based on the design of the frame, binding and decking system.

They are sized as unisex which simplifies the buying process for snow trekkers. They are available at Amazon.com starting at just $70.

Related: ALPS All Terrain Snowshoes, ALPS Performance Lightweight

The Tubbs Men’s FLEX VRT Snowshoes

The Tubbs Men’s FLEX VRT Snowshoes

Weight: 24 – 4.5 pounds; 28 – 5 pounds

Dimensions: 24 – 8” x 24”  28 – 8” x 28”

Features:

  • Part of the Flex Series which cater to men, women and kids.
  • Men’s specific design
  • 19 degree active Heel Lift
  • Viper 2.0 steel toe crampon
  • Tubbs DynamicFit binding and Boa Closure System
  • Torsion deck design
  • Curved, non-parallel traction rails
  • A Soft Strike Zone
  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Recommended Load; 24 – up to 190lbs; 28 XL – up to 290lbs

Best Use: The premium choice for walking on packed snow, variable terrain, steep ascents, and primarily hardpack or icy alpine conditions. It’s a backcountry snowshoe

Description: Launched in 2014, the Tubbs Men’s Flex VRT Snowshoe is designed to deliver top backcountry performance. The Boa Closure DynamicFit system will keep your feet in all-day comfort.

Once tension is distributed evenly around your feet, the Patented FLEX tail design purpose is then realized, to ease the stress on the joints.

The award winning Flex tail award winning design allows the snowshoe to roll from heel to toe so that you can maintain your natural gait of walking. The carbon steel crampons make it possible for traversing uphill and downhill with ease.

The traction is ideal for trekking on uneven terrain and the binding system which is shown below, is one of this snowshoe’s most important feature.

All customer reviews on this snowshoe has been optimal, so there’s no reason to doubt them. If you’d like to get a pair for yourself, get yours on Amazon.com starting at $200.

To Learn more about the Men’s Flex VRT Snowshoe, click the video below:

Learn more about the FLEX series snowshoes by clicking the link below:

Related: The Men’s Flex ALP and The Men’s Mountaineer

The MSR Revo Men’s Explore Snowshoes

The MSR Revo Men’s Explore Snowshoes

Weight: Dependent on size; 22” – 3lbs. 14oz. and 25” – 4lbs. 2oz.

Dimensions: –

Features:

  • Color; orange
  • New ExoTract deck
  • New HyperLink binding
  • Built-in televator heel lift
  • Serrated perimeter rails
  • Pivot toe crampon
  • Flexible reinforced nose
  • Includes a set of 10” extra-long straps for use with oversize boots
  • Available in 22” and 25”
  • Versatile modular adaptability with the Revo tail
  • MSR lifetime warranty
  • Recommended load; 22” – up to 180lbs and up to 250lbs with tails, 25” – 120 to 220lbs and up to 280lbs with tails
  • Also available for women

Best Use: Ideal for steep, varied landscapes in any winter condition.

Description: Whether you’re exploring rolling trails, or ascending a mountain flank, traction is essential for safety and efficiency when snowshoeing. The MSR Revo Men’s Explore Snowshoes have long set the standard for advanced grip through the terrain devouring perimeter traction. The flexible reinforced nose with added shovel traction, dig in for excellent stability.

On the downside, the majority of customer reviews commented on the quality and fit of the bindings, which were described as; “terrible”, “straps are too short”, “bindings are uncomfortable”, “…binding issues”.

One customer even commented that the manufacturer was updating this feature which would alleviate this issue all together.

On the upside, the majority of the customer reviews for this snowshoe, were very comforting after examining some of the downside comments.

Customers felt that; “a must for any winter hiker or backpacker”, “durable”, “simply amazing snowshoes the bindings are fast and easy to use”. With these dependable reviews, you can decide to get yours on Amazon.com starting at $150.

To learn more about the MSR Revo Men’s Explore Snowshoe, please click the link:

From the manufacturers, let’s see what they have to say here:

Related: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe.

The MSR Lightning Ascent Men’s Snowshoes

The MSR Lightning Ascent Men’s Snowshoes

Weight: 22” – 3lbs 13oz; 25” – 4lbs: 30” – 4lbs 9oz

Dimensions: 31” x 8” x 8” without tails

Features:

  • Color; black, silver
  • New 360 degree traction frame
  • New PosiLock AT binding
  • Low friction speed straps
  • Built-in Ergo televator heel lift
  • Serrated perimeter rails
  • True-hinge steel crampon
  • Available in 22”, 25” and 30”
  • Versatile modular adaptability with the lightning tail
  • MSR lifetime warranty
  • Recommended load; 22” – up to 180lbs and up to 250lbs with tails

Best Use: Ideal for steep, varied landscapes in any winter condition.

Description: Whether you’re exploring rolling trails, or ascending a mountain flank, traction is essential for safety and efficiency when snowshoeing.

The MSR Lightning Men’s Snowshoes have long set the standard for advanced grip through the terrain devouring perimeter traction.

Some customers when rating down this snowshoe felt that it; “functions well but frame is too weak to be practical”, the “bindings are a real pain, very unsecure”.

Some more positive reviews generally commented on the snowshoes general outlook which was that it was the best snowshoe although advising that other users keep their feet apart when using.

The MSR Lightning Ascent is not the cheapest snowshoe out there on the market. Priced from $217 on Amazon.com, but there is a reason for this. These snowshoes offer extraordinary performance even in the toughest circumstances and across all terrains.

To see it in action, check the video:

Related: MSR Revo Ascent Snowshoe and the MSR Evo Snowshoe.

The MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes

The MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes

Weight: 3lbs 9oz

Dimensions: Width – 8” x Length – 22”

Features:

  • Colors; dark blue, mineral and red
  • New Evo Unibody polypropylene deck
  • Weather resistant DuoFit binding
  • Unisex
  • Free-floating pivoting binding
  • In-molded horizontal break bars
  • Available in 22”
  • Versatile modular adaptability with the Evo tail
  • MSR lifetime warranty
  • Recommended load; up to 180lbs and up to 250lbs with tails

Best Use: Excellent for most winter conditions, mountain snowshoeing and general snowshoeing.

Description: These are high-tech snowshoes for winter, backcountry adventures. The MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes remain a favorite of the trekkers around the world. This snowshoe is compatible with optional Evo tails (sold separately).

But what did actual customers have to say about this snowshoe? Some customers felt that the snowshoe bindings were too complicated to figure out, was very hard on the knees and the extension tail made it worse.

Keeping in mind that there is a strategy and skill to everything, we’re sure that with practice and constant use, the outlook should change to reflect these more positive reviews; “the only snowshoe you need”, “great snowshoes” and “ready for snow”.

The MSR Evo is priced from $110 on Amazon.com. Get yours today.

To learn more about the Evo 22, please check this video:

Related: MSR Revo Ascent Snowshoe and the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe.

The Atlas Endeavour Men’s Snowshoes

Atlas Endeavour Men’s Snowshoes

Weight: 24 – 4.05lbs; 28 – 4.47lbs

Dimensions: –

Features:

  • Color; bright chartreuse
  • Sizes; 24 and 28
  • Durable composite decking
  • Spring-Loaded suspension
  • Aluminum Reactive Trac composite V Frame
  • PVC-free composite tail
  • Heel lift bar
  • Spring loaded suspension
  • Atlas BC Utility strap
  • Stainless steel Holey 1-toe crampon
  • PackFlat binding with urethane Z-strap
  • Saw-toothed traction rails
  • Recommended load; 24 – 100 to 180lbs

Best Use: Designed for backcountry and outdoor enthusiasts looking to head into the mountains.

Description: The Atlas Endeavour Men’s Snowshoes combines the aluminum V frame with a resilient composite deck to maximize durability. It is easy to strap on and use. The binding rail rests under the ball of the foot for easy positioning. The binding also locks on pretty securely so trekking is made even easier on all types of terrain.

Though the heel lift has the enormous task of reducing tension on the calves, getting it to open and close can be a bit of a chore and may bruise some fingers. The endeavour creates good side hill traction with its lateral traction bars. The bindings are effective enough to keep this snowshoe underfoot without slipping.

Some downside observations are; the difficulty with the heel lift, the snowshoe is noisy on crusty snow (but that’s to be expected a little right?) and there can be some slight snow balling on the toe crampons while trekking especially in heavy, wet snow.

Some upside observations are that; this snowshoe provided good traction, above par flotation, easy to use bindings and lightweight. Get yours today on Amazon.com starting from $155.

To learn more about this snowshoe, click this video:

Related: The Men’s Aspect.

The Tubbs Wilderness Women’s Snowshoes

Tubbs Wilderness Women’s Snowshoes

Weight:  21 – 4.2 pounds; 25 – 4.5 pounds; 30 – 4.6 pounds

Dimensions: 21 – 8” x 21”; 25 – 8” x 25”; 30 – 9” x 30”

Features:

  • Color; white/green
  • 180 Pro binding
  • FitStep 6000-series aluminum frame
  • ActiveLift 16 degree heel
  • Rotation Limiter
  • Cobra crampons
  • SoftTec decking
  • Rotating toe cord
  • Also available for men

Best Use: Designed for day hiking or going backcountry in all conditions.

Description: Whether you’re exploring backcountry or day hiking, The Tubbs Wilderness Women’s Snowshoes are easy to use. The rotating toe cord shreds snow when you walk. While the rotation limiter prevents the snowshoe from over rotating.

The frame design reduces impact on the hip, knee and ankle joints.

The durable decking enhances the flotation in the soft snow and the heel lift minimizes fatigue on the legs on upward or steep climbs.

One customer was unfortunate to receive more than one defective model, however, other customers were adamant about this snowshoes performance. Their comments such as; “easy in and out snowshoes”, “great shoes”, “best binding ever”.

Join the entire list of satisfied customers and get yours now on Amzon.com starting from $155.

To learn more about this snowshoe, please click these links:

Related: The Women’s Panoramic Snowshoe, The Women’s Mountaineer Snowshoe, The Atlas Serrate and The Elektra Serrate.

The MTN 25 Venuss Performance Snowshoes

The MTN 25 Venuss Performance Snowshoes

Weight:  4.8 pounds, shipping weight – 18 pounds

Dimensions: 8.4” x 29”

Features:

  • Color; Blue
  • 6000 series aluminum frame
  • Durable Nytex decking
  • FastLoc buckles
  • Unisex
  • Includes Nordic Pole and free tote bag
  • Suitable for men, women, kids and youth
  • Recommended load; up to 250lbs

Best Use: All terrain

Description: Brand new from the MTN company, The MTN 25 Venuss Performance Snowshoes are, as the longer name implies; for men, women, kids and youth of all ages. These snowshoes are made lightweight Easton 6000 series making them very durable and lightweight.

The bindings mold around the boot to cradle and pad the arch and ball of the foot to alleviate pressure points. The lacing system holds feet securely in place to avoid slipping and accidents. The FastLoc buckles create ease for donning and doffing.

The nordic poles sport a comfortable grip handle, handle loop to the top. To the middle, is the anti-shock cushion and at the end of the poles are the sinking stoppers and anti-skid tips.

Customer reviews have hailed that this new snowshoe are “excellent entry level snowshoes”, “great value with vibrant colors” and “great quality, lots of fun”. So what are you waiting for? Get your now on Amazon.com from $75.

Related: The New MTN Athena Performance in its size ranges, The New MTN Dragons Performance in its size ranges, The New MTN Snow Diva Performance in its size ranges, The New MTN Apollo Performance in its size ranges, The New MTN Hercules Performance in its size ranges, The New MTN Madussa Performance in its size ranges and The New MTN Snow Smurf Performance in its size ranges.

Final Words

Though it can be said that there are other snowshoes on the market which perform just as well or maybe even better than those on our list, we’d like you to consider something.

First of all, our focus was on the best of 2017 and secondly, coupled with the many features, designs, styles and colors available, our focus was on those with the least number of negative reviews and a high ratio of positive reviews. Which snowshoes did you like best? Do you have another pair that you prefer?

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.

  • Christian Miller

    Hello! I am an experienced backpacker, and I’m looking for snowshoes. I like to travel light, so they should be very lightweight. I will walk not only on snow but also on icy terrain such as glaciers. I suppose that I need some special type of snowshoes. What do you think?

  • Russell McCarty

    I believe the The Tubbs Men’s FLEX VRT Snowshoes will fit you perfectly. It’s designed for rugged terrain, steep accents and even on icy conditions. If you’re carrying a lot of gear, then its superior traction and binding system will ensure you’ll be able to walk comfortably without slipping. It may be steep in price, but oh so worth it! It’s the ideal pal for the experienced backpacker like yourself.

  • Deborah Cooper

    Hi there! Me and my boyfriend are staying in Vancouver for the next three weeks and we are planning to go on our first snowshoe hike tomorrow. We bought The Alps Performance Snowshoes With Poles And Tote Bag for both of us. Hope, it will be a comfortable journey.

  • Russell McCarty

    Vancouver is just cool (excuse the pun!) and I know you’ll both enjoy the experience with all your new camping gear. Those are excellent products that won’t disappoint so enjoy your vacation and keep safe and warm!

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