Before investing in a pair of snowshoes, you first have to consider what exactly you’ll be using them for. It’s helpful to know whether you’ll be out in deep, packed snow and whether the terrain is steep or rocky. Snowshoes for hiking are flexible with less aggressive traction systems, while backcountry models feature durable bindings and larger crampons suited to take on icy, steep terrain and deep snow. For running, you’ll find options that are shorter and narrower to promote a more natural gait. To help you narrow down your options, we rounded up our favorite snowshoes on the market suited for each activity.
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1. MSR Evo Trail 22 Hiking Snowshoes
These feature steel traction rails and brake bars molded directly into the decking and carbon steel crampons for a secure grip in varied conditions.
Pros: DuoFit bindings deliver weather-resistant, glove-friendly and adjustable attachment to a myriad of footwear. Optional 5-inch modular flotation tails that are sold separately can be connected to them. They come in four colors to choose from.
Cons: They may be a bit noisy.
2. Yukon Charlies Run Ultra-Lite Snowshoe
This pair is equipped with a superstrong 75-T6 aluminum frame and an Energy Flex axle system that encourages your natural stride.
Pros: A featherweight Rocker Frame with V-Tail and Tech Weave decking makes them perfect for racing. A Fast Fit II easy-pull binding system with a Swift Strap heel strap provides a secure fit with easy access. Sprint forged front crampons enhance grip on hills and ice.
Cons: They only come in bright green.
3. Crescent Moon Gold 10 Backcountry Snowshoes
This style has a three-claw, stainless-steel traction system and additional traversing claws that supply an aggressive grip.
Pros: Toe claws dig when you’re climbing hills. A sliding ratchet buckle and a single-pull loop that envelops the entire foot offers a secure, stable and comfortable fit. The straps won’t freeze and expand like webbing, so your fit stays the same in inclement weather. A stiff, responsive teardrop frame optimizes maneuverability and flotation. They come with a lifetime warranty.
Cons: They’re on the large side