Snowshoeing is a fun winter recreation activity whose popularity has stayed strong since its inception and right up through today. It’s also a popular and easy way to get around in snowbound areas during the winter. Nowadays, there are many types of snowshoes for many types of activities. Here’s a rundown of each type to help you choose the right snowshoes for your lifestyle and activity.
The three main types of snowshoes are:
Running & Aerobic Style
These snowshoes were built with lighter weight materials than normal snowshoes to allow for faster movement. They also feature an extra cleat or cleats for additional traction while you are running or walking fast. Also, the bindings will allow for you to insert running or athletic shoes, so they lace up and cradle as well. There are actually snowshoe races, and this is the type of snowshoe that is used in that type of race. This type of snowshoe is right for anyone who will need to move fast or just wants to walk around their town. These are not appropriate for snowshoeing in rugged terrain.
Mountaineer style snowshoes are built much tougher and heavier than, say, running style snowshoes. This is for added traction and stability on steep and icy hills. They typically include larger crampons to achieve this added traction. The binding will also be able to accommodate larger shoes including climbing shoes and boots. Extra heavy duty material is used to create mountaineer style snowshoes, for better performance during different types of weather situations and various types of terrain. This also makes mountaineer style snowshoes the best choice for walking in deeper snow. Mountaineering snowshoes are the right choice for any serious snowshoeing enthusiast.
This type of snowshoe tends to be the most popular as it is appropriate for hiking, backpacking and light to moderate terrains. Recreation style snowshoes are made to be comfortable, with ease of use and value as a big selling point. This type of shoe is excellent for all around use, light use and the occasional hiker.
This is an easier choice as there are only a few sizes of snowshoes available. They are 6×15 inches, 7×18 inches, 8×25 inches, 9×30 inches and 10×36 inches. The smallest snowshoes are usually for children and the middle sizes are usually best for women. Your weight will also be a consideration, as the heavier you are, the larger size of snowshoe you will likely need. You should also consider the weight you will be with your other equipment, skis, snowboard, backpack or other supplies you will be carrying.
There are two types of bindings available, the free rotation and the limited rotation. In the limited rotation style, the toes do not go below the decking. In the free rotation the toes are more free. Free rotation bindings are preferred for running, racing and sometimes hiking. It’s best to try both styles and decide which is more comfortable for you.
Whatever size or style of snowshoe you choose, have fun on the trails!