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Check out the best snowshoes for beginners, children, women and men whether you’ll be exploring groomed trails, rolling hills or deep fresh powder.
I share my top choices along with my expert guide to help you find the right pair of snowshoes. The “right” ones really depend on the type of terrain you’ll be exploring. I’ve been snowshoeing for over 20 years.
When hiking in winter, you often end up doing a mix of snowshoeing and hiking. I often carry both snowshoes and microspikes because, on some parts of the trail, you won’t need any equipment beyond your hiking boots.
While on the packed slippery parts, you’ll want microspikes and in deeper snow, snowshoes.
And, of course, I always bring an emergency blanket since it can save your life.
If you’re new to snowshoeing, be sure to check out my guide which teaches you how to snowshoe.
Why do I Need Snowshoes?
If you have ever tried walking in the snow with hiking boots then you probably know how easy it is to sink into deep powder. Not to mention how difficult it is to lift your foot out covered in deep snow.
Snowshoes have floatation so that you don’t sink as much. They also have traction in the form of crampons on the bottom to keep you from slipping on icy trails.
The Best Snowshoes for Women/Unisex Comparison Chart:
Top Snowshoe Picks for Women
I recommend snowshoes for women over unisex snowshoes because they have a more tapered shape that caters to a women’s gait.
You might not notice this on shorter hikes, but you’ll definitely notice it on steeper ascents or if you’re looking for a pair of mountaineering snowshoes and plan to do longer hikes.
The Yukon Charlie's Advanced Spin Float Snowshoe is one of the best high-quality snowshoes for women that I have tried, even though I'm still at Atlas girl. They deliver outstanding performance in all types of terrain including deep powder.
Their lightweight design make them especially ideal for deep powder as they make each step lighter.
They also come up with trekking poles and a bag to make it easy to carry them. Plus points for convenience if you ask me.
- Weight Per Pair: 0.1 kg
- Secure binding provides precision tension to fit any hiking boot
- Designed specifically for women to make snowshoeing easier in extreme conditions
- The rocker V-tail allows for a natural stride from a walk to an aerobic sprint
Tubbs is a well-known and respected brand whose traditional snowshoes are beginner friendly and are a very lightweight. Tubbs Xplore Kit snowshoes are designed specifically for beginners plan to do recreational snowshoeing. The light weight makes it ideal for softer snow on the mountain as each step is lighter. The Tubbs Xplore Kit's quick pull binding slides are easy to tighten and unlock with just one push.
- Weight Per Pair: 0.45 kg
- Beginner friendly
- Lightweight - they only weighs 1 lb
- Quick pull binding slides easily to tighten and unlock with just one push
The TSL Symbioz Hyperflex Snowshoes feature adjustable ankle straps and toe holds so you can find the right fit for your feet. They're comfortable thanks to their composite construction. The composite materials are strong enough to handle all kinds of winter weather conditions, plus they're flexible. The stainless steel crampons also provide excellent traction on ice.
- Weight Per Pair: 2.04 kg
- Feature hyperflex technology allows the frame to perform in a variety of snow conditions
- The simple toe adjustment allows the user to customize size in one quick pull
- Ratchet ankle strap to ensure a secure and comfortable fit
I'm a HUGE fan of Atlas snowshoes as I love the balance they provide between high quality and being lightweight wit innovative design functions. For example, the Helium-TRAILS snowshoes feature a snow removal grid preventing unwanted weight by carrying snow making each step easier. They also have a heel lift option that makes climbing steep ascents much easier by reducing the strain on your calve muscles.
These snowshoes also feature a wraparound toe box which makes walking easier. The secure bindings come with two sets of laces which make tying up a snap.
- Has a wraparound toe box which makes walking easier
- Tempered steel crempons provide stability
- Ribbing allows the crampon to shed snow more effectively.
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The Best Snowshoes for Men
Men’s snowshoes are usually larger and can hold more weight. They’re also designed for men’s gait, which is wider than a women’s.
Men’s Snowshoes Comparison Chart
TSL snowshoes are expensive snowshoes but they're also the most technologically advanced snowshoe on the market; They're an excellent choice if you're looking for backcountry snowshoes or mountaineering snowshoes. They're designed for people with a body weight of up to 180 lbs. The frame is extremely stable thanks to its large diameter and the use of high-strength aluminum alloy.
TSL Symbioz Elite features Hyper Flex technology allows the frame to be easily adjusted to technical terrain conditions, from steep ascentst to deeper snow.
Plus, as the symbioz flexes the carbon fiber inserts store the energy and return it at the end of the stride.This reduces muscle fatigue, perfect for steep ascents or when backcountry snowshoeing.
- Weight Per Pair: 2 kg
- Toe strap system to keep your feet firmly in place
- Equipped with two sets of crampon points for excellent traction on ice
- Memory Lock with lateral and locking adjustments
At 4.8 pounds, Yukon Charlie's Snowshoes for men are a super light frame. The Advanced Series is designed for those who enjoy exploring their favorite trails. Their SPIN by Northwave Dial binding system provides precision tension over any winter or hiking boot.
Whether you're heading off the beaten path or just want to explore some local trails, the Yukon Charlie will provide you with all the power and performance you need on rough terrain.
- Weight Per Pair: 0.1 kg
- The ergonomic toe box and lacing system provide additional support when walking uphill
- Fast-fit binding that provides maximum comfort and extra layer of security during use
- A lightweight aluminum frame weighing 3.4 pounds and is built for users from 100 to 150 pounds.
Yukon Charlie's Sherpa Snowshoes offer the ultimate combination of performance and affordability. The Quik Clik II binding features a ratchet mechanism for instant adjustment. The durable polyurethane footbed and the Rapid-Lite flex heel strap provide a comfortable fit and keep snow out of your boot.
In addition, the ultra-durable HDPEE decking and coated hardened steel toe crampons give you extra traction in icy conditons. These features make it an ideal choice for beginners who want to learn how to snowshoe. Plus, they're an excellent value option.
- Weight Per Pair: 2.1 kg
- Rapid-Lite flex heel strap provides a comfortable fit
- The ratchet mechanism allows for instant adjustment
- Durable polyurethane footbed
The Best Kid’s Snowshoes
Snowshoeing is a fun winter activity to do with the whole family. Look for groomed trails where kids can go a bit off the trail into powdery snow, which they’ll love, and then back onto a groomed trail when they get tired. Be sure to stop and build a snowman.
Here are my top picks for the best snowshoes for kids.
Yukon SNO-Bash Snowshoes for kids have a wide range of youth sizes and weigh just over two pounds. These are perfect if you are looking for high-quality snowshoes for your kids. They are great on fluffy fresh snow.
They feature a unique ripcord easy pull binding that attaches easily with any boot and come equipped with a removable strap which makes them easy to carry. The ultra-strong 6,000 aluminum rocker frame ensures maximum stability and support.
- Weight Per Pair: 0.1 kg
- Easy pull binding that attaches easily with any boot
- Have a removable strap
G2 are youth aluminum snowshoes that are lightweight and have a unique design for kids. They feature ripcord bindings which make it easy for children to put them on and off. The ultra-strong frame provides stability and support when traversing varied terrain.
- Buckle closure
- Sharp crampons made of high-quality aluminum prevent slipping in icy conditions
- Nonslip soles
Sportsstuff Monsta Trax Snowshoes are designed to attract kids as they look like monster feed which kids will love. The design offers maximum traction and stability while still remaining comfortable. High-impact polymers make Monsta Trax snow shoes durable and reliable. Raised toe caps keep your child's feet safe and secure while allowing for a full range of motion during the winter season.
- Weight Per Pair: 0.6 kg
- For kids up to 80 pounds
- High-traction bottom to prevent slipping (and to make fun tracks in the snow 😉
- Easy-on/Easy-off adjustable binding
High Quality vs Budget Snowshoes
Whether you should buy a pair of high-quality snowshoes, like ones from Atlas, Tubbs, TSL or Yukon Charlie, or budget ones, depends on the type of snowshoeing you plan to do. Our comparison chart will help you decide:
- Do you want to snowshoe in deep powder
- in soft snow (i.e. making your own tracks vs snowshoeing on a groomed trail)
- rolling or steep terrain
- backcountry where it’s vital to have good quality gear
- you’re new to snowshoeing
- plan to snowshoe on groomed trails or do recreational snowshoeing
- plan to do
I personally love making tracks when snowshoeing as opposed to snowshoeing on a groomed trail, but it’s MUCH harder.
You’ll want to look for snowshoes that offer better floatation and have more secure snowshoe bindings so that they won’t come off as you lift your foot through deep snow.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on snowshoes. You’ll find a variety of price ranges, and the ones below are perfect if you’re on a budget. Check out our recommendations below:
FAQs About Snowshoeing and How to Choose the Right Ones
What’s the point of snowshoeing?
The most important benefit is flotation – the snowshoes’ ability to keep you on top of the snow instead of sinking. This means you’ll be able to explore deep snow with less effort. Without snowshoes, you keep sinking, making each step a lot of effort as you pull your foot covered in snow. Cheaper snowshoes will have less flotation, while more expensive ones will have better flotation.
Is snowshoeing harder than hiking?
Once you get used to walking with your feet a bit wider than you usually would, it’s not harder than hiking from a technical point of view. However, the extra weight from the snowshoes and snow takes more effort than regular hiking, making it a great workout and harder than hiking from a physical point of view.
Is snowshoeing good exercise?
YES! Snowshoeing burns ~ 472 calories per hour, similar to cross-country skiing. It’s an excellent low-impact cardiovascular workout that builds muscles at the same time.
Are snowshoes worth it?
It depends on the type of snow you’ll be walking on. If the trail is packed and you don’t sink, you won’t need the floatation that snowshoes provide. However, if you’re planning on going in the backcountry or want to explore deep powdery snow, then they’re totally worth it.
If you’re only planning on going once or twice, then I recommend renting snowshoes instead of buying them. If you only plan on doing easy trails, then you can buy snowshoes for beginners, which are cheaper than ones meant for deep snow.
However, if you use them regularly, they’re a great investment. I bought a high-quality pair of Atlas snowshoes which I use each season and have had for over 14 years. It’s one of the reasons that I’m such a fan of Atlas snowshoes.
What are the different types of snowshoes?
Most snowshoes fall into one of three categories: flat terrain, rolling terrain, and mountain terrain. The cheapest will be the ones for flat terrain, while the most expensive (and the ones I have and love) are designed for mountain terrain.
Snowshoeing on Flat or Groomed Trails Snowshoes for flat or groomed terrain are usually affordable with a simple binding and traction system and may have a plastic decking. These are great if you like to snowshoe on easy, packed trails. A snowshoe intended for “Recreational” use is a good fit for this type of terrain.
Snowshoeing on Rolling Hills The best snowshoes for rolling terrain are moderately priced and have slightly sturdier crampons and secure bindings. They may also have heel lifts allowing you to get up steep slopes more easily with less strain on your calve muscles.
Snowshoeing on Mountainous Terrain This requires sturdier snowshoes which are more expensive but worth the money. They are made with agressive crampons and sophisticated secure bindings that work well with alpine hiking boots, although you can also wear them over regular hiking boots. Look for snowshoes that are intended for “Backcountry.”
What size snowshoes for weight?
If you want snowshoes that are suitable for most conditions, then choose ones where your body weight falls in the middle vs the top end. For example, according to Tubbs’ sizing, the 21W is suitable for women weighing up to 150 lbs (68 kg), while the 25W size is suitable for weights from 120 – 200 lbs (54 – 91 kg). If you weigh 145 lbs I’d recommend the 25W size. That allows for your pack weight and will provide you with extra flotation in deeper snow.
What kind of boots do you wear for snowshoeing?
Ideally, you want insulated, waterproof winter boots with thick soles. However, if it’s not too cold, then you can wear regular hiking boots. Either you, you’ll want to wear warm wool or synthetic socks that wick moisture away. Bring an extra pair in case yours get wet.
Do I need poles to snowshoe?
Technically trekking poles aren’t necessary however, I recommend them because they help you balance on steeper terrain – both going up and down. You can use ski or hiking poles – just make sure they have snow baskets on the ends to stop them from sinking. I personally like retractable hiking poles so that you can put them away and carry them easily in your backpack when you don’t need them.
Do I need to be concerned about avalanches when snowshoeing?
It depends on the terrain. You should avoid steep avalanche-prone slopes and know how to assess the risk of an avalanche since you can be in danger even when snowshoeing on flat areas if you’re surrounded by mountains or avalanche slopes. WEMountains online classes on mountain safety are a great place to start.
Best Boots for Snowshoeing
Although hiking boots are good for snowshoeing IF they’re waterproof and IF it’s not too cold, you may want a warmer and sturdier boot, and you’ll definitely want a snowshoeing boot if you’re hiking in the backcountry or in extreme temperatures.
These boots are designed to withstand cold and wet conditions. There’s nothing worse than having freezing feet.
Best Women’s Boots for Snowshoeing
When it comes to snowshoeing, there are many different types of boots available specially made for women. Some are designed to be worn over regular shoes while others are meant to be used as their own footwear for different types of outdoor adventures like hiking or skiing.
I personally use my regular hiking boots, just be sure to spray them first with waterproof spray to keep moisture out. Check out our top pick for the best hiking boots for women to see which ones make the most sense for you.
Best Men’s Boots for Snowshoeing
Take a look at our take on the best hiking boots for men.
Best Dog Snow Boots
If you love taking your fur buddy out on your snowshoeing adventures, then they may need a good pair of dog snow boots, depending on the breed and how cold it is. These are also great for hiking with dogs, even if you’re not snowshoeing but hiking in cold weather. Here are our top recommendations
Best Light-up Snowshoes for Dogs
If you are looking for tough dog booties for every season that will hold up on the snow, salt and ice, the Kurgo Dog Shoes will do all that and more.
They are lightweight and can be adjusted for a custom fit. These are also water-resistant and feature LED light-up soles with reflective trim that will help you find your dog at a distance.
- Made of breathable tight-weave mesh, synthetic leather uppers, and anti-slip bottom for grip
- Designed with comfortable paw protectors
- ED light-up soles with reflective trim
Expawler waterproof snow boots for dogs are made with reflective material and are skid-resistant so you can count on your dog to be safe, even in low light.
These dog boots are waterproof and perfect for snowy and rainy conditions. Your dog will have excellent traction in most conditions with the special grooved sole.
- The skid-resistant design provides visibility and safety at night
- Made with waterproof material to paws dry
- Flexible lug design and grooved sole
These dog boots provide warmth, additional comfort, and safety for your pet against icy conditions. They feature a durable non-slip sole and sturdy stitching that keeps your pup safe during outdoor activities. Your pooch will be protected against inclement weather, rain, snow, and mud while making sure they are comfortable.
They provide extra padding in the heel area that protects your dog's feet. They come in various sizes so you can find one that fits snugly around your dog's paw.
- Made with soft material also reduces chafing or rubbing
- Anti-slip rubber sole
- Has two adjustable reflective Velcro straps