If you love walking in the snowy or frozen mountains, snowshoes are the ideal complement for your boots. With these, you can enjoy the activity comfortably and safely; currently, there are products of excellent quality, built with the best materials, and with a carefully studied design.
In this article, we will help you learn more about this tool that allows you to move on the snow, as well as the best models that you can find on the market. All of them offer excellent performances, but they will not help if the characteristics do not correspond to those necessary for the use you have to do with them.
Right here we had listed out the best pairs of snowshoes that are present below.
Things to Consider Before Buying Snowshoes
What Are Snowshoes?
Snowshoes, also known as snowshoes, are tools that attach to boots to move quickly and comfortably on snowy or icy terrain. They distribute body weight over a larger surface, and the foot does not sink completely into the snow.
Today they are made of light materials or plastic, which reduce their weight and provide greater flexibility. In addition, they are equipped with various elements that significantly increase performance, such as in the case of the pivoting axis that joins the foot with the tip of the snowshoes, the crampons, the blades on the sole, and the rises under the heels.
What Are the Main Elements of Snowshoes?
We don’t know precisely when the first snowshoes appeared, but it certainly was thousands of years ago. These were rudimentary tools, which in recent times have undergone significant improvements to the original design. Here are which:
- Structure – Made of light, flexible and resistant materials, generally of metal or plastic. It can be of various designs, but the function is to distribute the person’s weight so that the feet do not sink into the snow.
- Pivoting Axis – This element allows you to join the foot to the snowshoe from the toe. In this way, it is possible to lift the heel and bend the knee without increasing the total weight of the snowshoes.
- Raises – It is an easy-to-use system that makes the heel-rise higher. In this way, the twin muscles will be less affected by the slope of the ground.
- Crampons – They are metallic traction devices placed on the sole. They are useful for walking on hard snow or ice.
- Front Nail – Another element that improves grip, especially when going downhill.
Are Women’s Snowshoes Different from The Others?
On the market, there are models for men, women, children, and even unisex. The main differences lie in their size and shape. Since women generally have smaller feet, they will need tighter snowshoes with a sharper tail in the back.
Despite this, some women also feel comfortable with men’s snowshoes, without considering that unisex models are top-rated nowadays. However, it is advisable to specify that on the snow, it is easier to sink with small snowshoes.
What Are the Benefits of Snowshoes?
In addition to allowing you to walk on the snow without difficulty, snowshoes offer different types of benefits to users. For example, using them is good for health, thanks to physical activity in contact with nature. Here are the others:
- Aerobic Exercise. Thanks to the snowshoes, you can continue to do physical activity even in the places where the winter is more difficult. Walking on the snow, in fact, is an excellent exercise.
- Social Activity. Sure, you can decide to go for your walks alone, but this activity is equally pleasant if done in the company. This type of exits, free of obstacles of excessive difficulty, can be made by children, adults, and even the elderly.
- Preparation. Before using snowshoes, it is essential to know how to do it. For example, you can’t use them without knowing how to get up correctly or how to walk on sloping terrain. This and much other information are a great advantage when you are in contact with nature, especially in adverse conditions.
- Price. Compared to other snow equipment, snowshoes are not very expensive. In fact, there are some models that are indeed within everyone’s reach.
How Do You Put on Snowshoes?
The first time you try a pair of snowshoes, you may feel a little lost. In reality, this is not a difficult task, even if it requires some knowledge of the elements that compose them. Following, here are a series of steps to follow to use the snowshoes properly.
It is advisable to wear them directly on the snow, in order to avoid damaging the crampons and the surface on which you are.
- Open the buckles and loosen the straps and clean the area where the boot will go.
- Once the foot is positioned, tighten the straps, up to the instep, and without neglecting those of the heel.
- Make sure there are no spaces between the straps and boots and that there is no pressure.
- Move your feet, lift them, and walk. In this way, you can check that everything is in order.
Which Shoes Are Suitable for Snowshoes?
If you intend to follow a short path, a couple of hours, and with compact snow, trekking shoes will be beautiful, which are comfortable and breathable, even if perhaps as a support they are not ideal.
As for the longer and more complex routes, we recommend you to wear mountain boots, which will be of the right height to support the ankles. Depending on the need and the conditions in which you are going to practice this activity.
You will have to choose quality, resistant, comfortable, waterproof, and breathable shoes. But the fundamental thing is that they fit perfectly with the snowshoes, without open spaces or too narrow, practically like a glove.
To be sure to choose the right snowshoes for you, you will need to consider a series of criteria that will help you evaluate their suitability and performance.
Furthermore, do not overlook the importance of the quality of the materials, the dimensions adaptable to the ground, the weight conditions, and the traction and fixing systems.
Snowshoes have changed a lot over the years. From the first wooden rackets, also used recently, up to the current models manufactured with materials that enhance their functions. In general, these are compounds that can be used for any activity, but not with the same quality.
Cheap snowshoes are made of polymers (plastic compounds). The main disadvantage is that they cannot withstand low temperatures or excess weight. Those built with synthetic materials (resin or fibers) are lighter and more resistant, but the best are those in aluminum or steel, which offer excellent traction and strength.
To know which are the most appropriate dimensions for the activity you want to carry out, you need to evaluate a number of aspects, such as the terrain, conditions, weight, and gender. Here are some examples:
- Territory: You need to know what surface you will move on. For trekking, we recommend a pair of snowshoes with good flotation.
- Conditions: Evaluate the snow conditions. If it is not very dense, you should use wide snowshoes with long tails to avoid sinking.
- Weight: Each model indicates how much weight it can support without destabilizing and sinking. Calculate your weight and that of the material you transport to verify that the capacity of the snowshoes is the right one.
Heel raises are very useful and are present in almost all models. They are metal bars placed horizontally under the feet, and, when necessary, they can be activated with the stick. Thanks to the elevations, the foot will be in a natural position during a slope, reducing tiredness and avoiding too much strain on the twin muscles.
Towards the bottom of the snowshoes, there is a traction system, which will help you stay balanced and safe and can be made of steel, aluminum, or plastic. On flat and unhindered snowy paths, it will not be necessary to have an excellent grip on the ground, but on pronounced slopes and slippery areas, it will be essential. The elements that determine adherence are:
- Crampons: Positioned under the foot, generally in the metatarsal area.
- Teeth: Present on the outside. Together with crampons, they help manage the ground.
- Front Nail: In the front part of the snowshoe, there is this blade which, however, is not very useful on ice or on slippery slopes.
The various fixing systems secure the feet to the snowshoes. You must check that they are easy to handle with gloves while driving and in uncomfortable situations. Also, make sure that there is not too much pressure or tension when adjusting the boots; otherwise, during the journey, you would experience a lot of discomfort.
It is essential that the fastening system adapts to boots, and this is not always the case. For example, snowboard shoes are quite large, and consequently, a small fastening system is not adequate. Most of these are made of plastic, but there are also some with rubber or nylon straps with buckles.