The best snowshoes you can buy
- Snowshoeing is a fun and casual winter activity that's easy to pick up, but it can also be extremely challenging.
- There are different types of snowshoes for various kinds of snow and tasks.
- But for most people, the versatile MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes perform well in various conditions, making them the best snowshoes you can buy.
Modern snowshoes are lighter, more efficient, and more highly specialized than ever before, allowing outdoor enthusiasts and mountain athletes to travel faster and more confidently in the backcountry. Snowshoeing is also a casual activity that many novices can learn easily.
As with most other types of footwear, the best snowshoes now incorporate high-tech materials and unique designs that make them more capable without holding the wearer down, which in turn has broadened the scope for how they are used too.
Snowshoes can trace their origin back to Central Asia, where they've been in use for more than 6,000 years. The goal back then - as it is now - was to make it easier for people to walk on deep snow without sinking in, up to their knees. By increasing the surface area of the feet, snowshoes help to redistribute body weight in such a way that it allows the user to float on top of the snow instead.
Over the centuries the snowshoe has evolved dramatically. Gone are the wooden frames and leather laces, replaced with aluminum, plastic, nylon, and rubber. This has not only allowed them to become smaller in size, but more durable and versatile too.
Modern snowshoes are typically equipped with built-in crampons (spiky traction devices) that give them a better grip on a wide variety of terrains. They also include unique binding systems that are designed not just to keep them securely attached to the feet, but easy to get off and on too. Because of this, snowshoes now perform at an exceptionally high level, for both experienced users and beginners alike.
These days, there are a wide variety of snowshoes to choose from, each with their own set of features and unique design elements. Sorting through which ones are worth your time and money can be a challenging endeavor. As an outdoors journalist, based on my testing, experience, and research, I've rounded up the best snowshoes you can buy for various types of terrain and individuals.
Here are the best snowshoes you can buy:
- Best snowshoes overall: MSR Lightning Ascent
- Best budget snowshoes: MSR EVO Trail
- Best snowshoes for beginners: Crescent Moon EVA
- Best women's snowshoes: Tubbs Mountaineer
- Best snowshoes for kids: MSR Shift
Updated on 10/2/2019 by Kraig Becker: Added new options with product descriptions. The MSR Lightning Ascent remains our overall pick, but we updated it to the 2019 version. Kyle Schurman contributed to this article.
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The best snowshoes overall
The best budget snowshoes
The best snowshoes for beginners
The best snowshoes for women
The best snowshoes for kids
Tips on how to choose the right pair of snowshoes
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