If you are fond of walking through snowy mountains or ice areas, snowshoes are the ideal complement to your boots. With them, you can enjoy this physical activity comfortably and safely. They are currently products of excellent quality, with the best materials and designs that result from meticulous research.
In this article, we will learn more about this tool that allows us to move through the snow and the best models that we can find on the market. All offer good performance, but they will be of little use if their characteristics are not suitable for the specific function we need.
Important points about Snowshoes
- Snowshoes are essential to walk on the snow quickly and with the necessary stability to avoid sinking.
- Women often need models with narrower shapes and smaller bindings due to the smaller size of their feet.
- As we will see in the purchase criteria, it is essential to assess which traction and fastening systems are the most suitable for the activity that we are going to develop.
The best snowshoes
Snowshoes have been around for thousands of years, most of the time as much-needed tools, but at the same time tremendously rudimentary when compared to current ones. Undoubtedly, in recent years technology has advanced a lot and we can find models of extraordinary quality. We are going to know five exciting options:
TSL Symbioz Elite Snow Shoes
This flexible high-end racket allows perfect foot movement while adapting to the terrain. It has carbon reinforcements that provide stability and nerve. The wasp-sized shape facilitates a comfortable and natural gait. The closure system is fast and memorizes the volume of the footwear. The lateral adjustment integrates the entire width of the boot.
On the back, it has a strap with pads and a zip closure. It also offers a metal heel counter, which can be raised with a touch of a cane. This element facilitates walking on long ascents and reduces fatigue in the calves. It has eight crampons (metal traction devices), a front claw, and side grab bars.
This is a unisex model that provides maximum support on ice and snow. Continuous longitudinal adjustments and double pull binding provide stability. In the lower front part, it has teeth that facilitate movement on steep slopes. It also has a climbing assistant for those terrains with steep slopes.
These rackets are easy to put on thanks to the just lock closure on the heel. The frame, made of plastic, is resistant and robust. They are accompanied by three-section telescopic poles, aluminum, and a rubber grip, with straps to fix them to the wrists. The carry bag has an adjustable length handle and short handles.
Inook Vxm Snowshoes
The right racket at an attractive price. It is built-in stainless steel and coated polypropylene, which makes it very durable, and the frame does not stick to the snow.
The ratchet binding is two-component, with soft padding and mandatory size adjustment. In 3D form, the frame is narrower than usual, so it doesn’t sink as much into the snow.
One of this model’s advantages is that it incorporates a rise to facilitate movement in steep areas. It can be activated with the cane without the need to bend over. The tests carried out to indicate it supports the weight of up to 200 kilograms and a temperature of up to -40 degrees. Includes a carrying bag.
MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
According to many users, we are facing the best high-end racket on the market. Something that shows in the price. The serrated aluminum frame allows good traction. The polyurethane support area gives it superb buoyancy. Besides, the steel front crampons ensure a safe bite on icy slopes.
Includes risers that increase traction on steep terrain, in addition to minimizing calf fatigue. They can be operated with a cane. The boot is secured with two freeze-resistant plastic straps. We can also lengthen the racket with modular flotation tails and increase the load up to 30 kilograms.
TSL 325 Expedition Snowshoes
This racket model is very stable and has a good grip. Thanks to the size of the wasp, we can carry out a natural and comfortable gait. The telescopic attachment allows excellent flexibility at the foot level. It is easy to adjust and has a system that can memorize the boot. The closure is quick and also allows the memorization of the front volume of the footwear.
The lateral adjustment agrees to integrate the boot’s entire width for an optimal wrapping of the foot. The rise to face large slopes is activated by a slight pressure of the pole. The zip fastening favors a quick and precise positioning of the racket. Includes a carrying bag.
Snowshoes Shopping Guide
What You Should Know About Snowshoes
In this section, we will learn more about snowshoes to obtain the necessary information to choose the best models for you to carry out your activity. The right choice will prevent you from taking risks on your outings, from suffering discomfort, or, as is popularly said, from wasting money.
What is a snowshoe?
Snowshoes are tools attached to boots to move more quickly and comfortably on snowy or icy terrain. They distribute the body weight over a larger surface, and the foot does not sink completely into the snow. Traditional rackets had a hardwood frame and were tied with leather laces. Now they are manufactured with light metals or plastics, reducing their weight and giving good flexibility. They also have elements that significantly increase their performance, such as the pivoting axis to connect the foot with the racket in the toe box, the crampons or blades in the sole, and the heels’ risers.
What are the main elements of snowshoes?
The exact moment when the first snowshoe appeared is unknown, but we must inevitably go back many thousands of years in time. They were very rudimentary tools, although they did the job. In the last decades, they have been provided with several elements that significantly improve their original design. They are as follows:
- Frame: It is the main structure of the racket. It is built with light, flexible and resistant materials, usually metal or plastic. It has different designs, but its function is to distribute the person’s weight so that the feet do not sink into the snow.
- Pivoting axis: Through this element, we join the foot to the racket at the toe. In this way, we can lift the heel and bend the knee without lifting the racket’s total weight.
- Elevation: It is a system that can be easily activated so that the heel is higher. Thus, our twins will suffer less when we face sloping terrain.
- Crampons: They are metallic traction devices that are placed on the sole. With them, we can walk on hard snow or ice.
- Front claw: Another element that allows us to improve grip, especially in highly demanding situations such as descents.
Which snowshoe is the best for each activity?
We must always clarify that each person has their particular needs, and a model cannot be recommended without knowing them. We can cite the main characteristics that a snowshoe must have according to the activity to be carried out. We will be based on form, buoyancy, mobility, and grip:
|Trekking||Mountain’s race||Alpine hiking|
|Teardrop shape.||Extended form.||Wasp shape.|
|Greater buoyancy.||Low buoyancy.||Medium buoyancy.|
|Medium mobility.||Greater mobility.||Good mobility|
|Little grip.||Minimal grip.||Great grip.|
Are snowshoes for women different?
In the market, we find models for men, women, children, and unisex. The main differences are due to the size and shape of the snowshoe. In women’s case, having the smaller foot, they need narrow frames and tapered tails at the back. Therefore, they will also have the smallest bindings. However, some women can correctly use men’s rackets. Besides, some unisex models are adapted for both genders. Still, it can be said that in soft snow, it is easy to sink with small sizes. A detail that women should take into account without reaching an excess that could be uncomfortable.
What are the benefits of using snowshoes?
In addition to allowing us to walk through the snow without difficulties and have the ability to face icy surfaces, snowshoes offer other types of advantages to their users. For example, its use favors our health. We are in contact with nature, and we do an enjoyable physical activity. We see its benefits:
- Aerobic exercise: Thanks to rackets, you can maintain your physical condition even in places where winter is harsher. Hiking in the snow is a great exercise.
- Social activity: It is true that one can choose solitude to visit snowy places, but also has the option of sharing the activity with other people. These types of outings, provided they do not face obstacles of great difficulty, can be carried out by children, adults, and even the most veteran of the house.
- Preparation: Before using snowshoes, you have to know how to do it. For example, how to get up if you fall or how to cross slopes. This and much other knowledge are advantageous when it comes to moving through nature, especially in conditions that offer inevitable adversities.
- Price: Compared to other winter equipment, snowshoes do not require a large financial outlay. There are cheap models within reach of any pocket.
How are the snowshoes fitted?
The first time you wear snowshoes, you may feel a bit lost. The truth is that it is not a difficult task, although you need to know how the elements involved in this process work. Here are the steps to follow to put on the rackets:
- It is advisable to put the snowshoes in the snow, so we will avoid damaging the crampons and the surface we are treading.
- Open the buckles, loosen the straps and clean the area where the boot goes.
- Once the foot is flat, you have to close the straps, including the instep and the heel.
- Make sure there are no gaps between the straps and the boots. Also that there are no pressures.
- Move your feet, lift them and walk. This way, you will check if everything is in order.
What boots are suitable for our snowshoes?
If we are going to make a short trip, we can use a hiking shoe with packed snow of a couple of hours. They are breathable and comfortable, although the support may not be ideal. On longer rides and in more demanding conditions, the ideal is a mountain boot, even with a high shaft to support the ankle. The quality of footwear must increase according to the demands of the activity and the conditions in which we will develop it. It has to be resistant, comfortable, waterproof, and with good breathability. And the fundamental thing must fit perfectly in the snowshoe, without slack or pressure, like a glove.
Snowshoes Purchase Criteria
To ensure that we will acquire the correct snowshoe, we must follow some criteria that will show us the product’s suitability with the performance we are looking for. We must assess the materials’ quality, the dimensions that fit the terrain, conditions, and weight, and the traction or fixing systems.
Rackets have evolved considerably from the original wooden ones, which have been kept for centuries, even in recent times, to the current models made with materials that enhance their function. In general, they are compounds that can be used in almost all activities, but not all have the same quality.
Low-priced rackets are usually made of polymers (plastic compounds). Their drawback is that they do not resist low temperatures or excess weight. Those made of synthetic compounds (resins and fibers) are lighter and more resistant. But the ideal ones are those of aluminum or steel, with the best traction and robustness.
To know the dimensions that the most appropriate snowshoe should have for our activity, we first have to make a series of evaluations. These aspects to be analyzed are the terrain, conditions, weight, and gender. Let’s give an example to guide you and look for the answers to your particular case:
- Terrain: You have to know what surfaces you are going to move on. Good buoyancy is recommended for hiking.
- Conditions: Check the snow. If it is not very dense, it is advisable to have wide frames with long tails to avoid sinking.
- Weight: Each model indicates the weight it can support without losing stability and buoyancy. It would be best if you calculated your weight and that of the material you transport to meet the racket’s capacity. The most comprehensive and most extended are those that tend to support the most significant weights.
These raises for the heel are very useful and are used by almost all models. These metal bars are placed horizontally under each foot. When necessary, we can activate them with the cane. Thanks to the lift, we put the foot in a natural position when climbing a slope, reducing fatigue and avoiding strain on the calves.
At the bottom of the racket is the traction system, which helps you stay stable and secure. They are pieces that can be made of steel, aluminum, or plastic, mainly. We will need less grip on flat snow routes without obstacles, unlike steep slopes and slippery terrain. The gripping elements are:
- Crampons: They are located under the foot. Almost all rackets have them in the metatarsal area, known as the ball of the foot, although some also have them under the heel.
- Teeth: We find them along with the outer frame. Together with the crampons, they manage the terrain underfoot.
- Front claw: This blade is located in the front area of the racket. It won’t be of much use on ice and slippery slopes.
The different fixing systems have the function of securing the feet to the snowshoes. You should check that they are easy to handle with gloves on, during marches, and in uncomfortable situations. Also, there are no pressure points or tightness when adjusting the boots, as they would increase during the activity with the relevant discomfort.
The bindings must adapt to the boots, something that does not always happen. Footwear for snowboarding, a snow sport is done on a board, is quite large, so a small fastening system would not be adequate. Most are made of plastic, but there are rubber or nylon straps with buckles.
Winter’s arrival is no longer an obstacle or excuse for not doing typical activities of milder seasons. People who enjoy field trips, hiking, or mountain walks will not give it up because it has snowed. Snowshoes are the tool that allows these habits to be maintained.
There are many models, most of them with a quality that would surely meet our demands. It is only necessary to find the product that feels like a glove, something possible if we follow the recommendations in this article. Once you have purchased the rackets, you only have to go out into nature to have fun, alone or in a group.