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Best Snowshoes for Beginners: Start Enjoying Those Long Winter Outdoor Walks!

Best Snowshoes for Beginners
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Do you love the walks on the snow, but tend to get really tired after a mile or two? Especially when the snow is deep? Did you think about ways of being able to walk on the snow, but not sink, for example, like rabbits?

What do you think is their secret? Wide paws, of course! So, how do you make your feet wider? Easy, you find the best snowshoes for beginners, not spend a fortune on them, and enjoy the winter walks.

Snowshoeing is actually a winter sport that involves walking, trekking, or running across the snow. Snowshoes, which are designed to fit comfortably over your winter boots, help you walk across the snow without sinking by spreading your weight and therefore allowing you to “float.”

Compared to many other sports, snowshoeing is safe, easy, and inexpensive. All you need to get started is a pair of the snowshoes, and you’ll be on your way!

A man wearing snowshoes

However, with so many different models and brands on the market, finding the perfect snowshoes can actually become a complicated task.

There are different types of snowshoes with different design elements according to whether you plan on taking them on moderate terrain and trails, out in the back country, or even for racing. If you’re a beginner, snowshoes designed for leisurely hiking on flat terrain snowshoes will be your best bet.

In this article, we have reviewed some of the best options when it comes to snowshoes, and included the most important features to keep an eye on if you want to find a pair that suits you completely. After going through these features, you will be able to compare the reviewed products and find the right model for you.

Product NameWeightFrameSpecific FeaturesPrice
Chinook Trekker3.9 poundsLightweight aluminumUV resistant polyethylene decking, ratchet bindings, heavy duty aluminum cramponsCheck price on Amazon
Alps Light Weight4 poundsAluminum alloyPlastic deck, rigid bindingsCheck price on Amazon
Tubbs Xplore3.9 poundsLightweight aluminumToe cord, quick-pull binding and foot strapCheck price on Amazon
MTN Extreme Lightweight4.8 poundsLightweight aluminumNytex deck, quick release buckles, and steel cramponsCheck price on Amazon
Lucky Bums Youth3.5 poundsLightweight aluminumMetal toe crampon, easy-to-use adjustable bindingsCheck price on Amazon
Alps Performance4 poundsLightweight aluminumUnisex sizing, lightweight aluminum frame, Nytex deck, Fast-Loc bucklesCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Before purchasing a pair of snowshoes there are some factors that you need to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important features to consider before buying a pair of snowshoes:

Sizing

The first consideration when buying snowshoes is fit. It’s critical that you buy the right size, which is measured in terms of weight, in order to maximize snow flotation and minimize sinking. The “recommended load” for a pair of snowshoes refers to your total weight, including equipment, gear, and outerwear.

Although many basic snowshoe models are unisex, men’s snowshoes can generally fit wider boots, which may be a consideration.

Close up image of snowshoes

Kid’s models are unisex, and also sized primarily according to weight. If you have the option to choose between two models that are slightly different sizes, but can both support your weight, choose the smaller one, which will be less cumbersome for basic Snowshoeing.

Bindings

Bindings are used to securely hold your snow boots inside the snowshoes, and they can be either rotating or fixed. Rotating bindings feature a pivot, which allows more flexibility and a greater range of activities, such as running or climbing hills. Fixed bindings, on the other hand, are not designed to pivot.

They ensure comfort and stability when walking on trails and terrain that is reasonably flat. Because they are designed for walking, it’s easier to walk backwards, and also to step over things, with fixed bindings.

Image showing biding on snowshoes

Some considerations when it comes to bindings include ease of use (how easy they are to adjust, fix, or release), fit relative to the size of your winter boots, and temperature resistance.

The straps are usually made of nylon, and clips are generally some sort of plastic or polymer. On beginner or child models, which are simpler and more intuitive, the bindings are very often fixed.

Frames and Decking

The other major components common to all snowshoes are frames, decking, and devices for traction. In general, the frames on snowshoes are made of aluminum, which can be more or less lightweight. Lighter frames tend to be easier to use.

The decking is usually some sort of plastic or synthetic material, which increases flexibility without adding extra weight. Plastic components can be rated to different temperatures, so this is worth checking, particularly if you live somewhere where it gets brutally cold.

Image showing different types of Snowshoes For Trails and Deep Snow

Different snowshoe models offer varying degrees of traction in the snow, but even the most basic models will typically have crampons that are located on the bottom of the snowshoes. Crampons increase traction and grip on the snow.

Crampons

Instep or toe crampons, which are underneath the bindings, are the most basic. Crampons can be made of several different materials, such as aluminum, plastic, or steel.

Image showing a person wearing snowshoes with crampons

While all snowshoes have some type of toe crampons, some models also feature additional features for traction such as heel crampons, side rails for side-to-side stability, braking bars, or heel lifts, which decrease strain.

Advanced snowshoes that are built for more intense conditions, or for steep terrain, will have stronger and more prominent traction devices.

Poles

To improve your stability while walking through the snow, walking or skiing poles are recommended. Beside helping you stay on your feet and not fall down after each step in the deep snow, poles can also be used to check if there are some deep holes covered with snow.

And, you can also use them to check if the ice is thick enough and safe to walk on, in case you need to cross a frozen river or a lake.

Image showing a group of people using Frames-Decking-and-Crampons

Now, some manufacturers offer their snowshoes together with poles as a package, and if you find such deals, make sure the poles are durable enough and build to support your weight. Be careful because many manufacturers include the poles for the price of snowshoes, but offer models that are low quality and tend to get broken quite quickly.

Top Products on Today’s Market

Below, we review six of the best snowshoe models for beginners. With a range of different sizes and features available, you will be sure to find a pair that will be perfect for getting started with Snowshoeing.

Chinook Trekker Snowshoes Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Price: $48 – $100

Weight: 3.9 pounds

Dimensions: 18.9 x 7.5 inches

Specific features: Lightweight aluminum frame, UV resistant polyethylene decking, ratchet bindings, heavy duty aluminum crampons; Includes mesh carry bag that features backpack straps, handles, and Velcro pole carriers

Best use: Winter hiking

Description: The Chinook Trekker Snowshoes come in five different sizes, all featuring freeze-resistant ratchet bindings that stay flexible up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as UV resistant polyethylene decking.

These light, comfortable snowshoes are great for snowshoeing on packed snow, and flat to moderate terrains that are ideally rock-free. The convenient heel straps and quick release buckles stay in place securely, but also make it easy to quickly remove or fasten these snowshoes.

The smallest available size has a recommended load of 59-90 pounds, which is ideal for a child; the largest size, 36, has a recommended load of 250-300 pounds.

The frame is made of lightweight aluminum, and these snowshoes have heavy duty aluminum crampons, as well as heel crampons for traction.

The Trekker snowshoes are amazing because you can walk easily thanks to their ergonomic design which provides comfort. You also get a carry bag with them, with ventilation and side handles.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
  • UV resistant

CONS:

  • It might be difficult to choose size

Related: The Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles will make walking in these snowshoes easier, as they will give you more stability. And, the fact that they are lightweight and collapsible, makes it easy to carry them in a backpack when you are not using them.

Check the price on Amazon

Alps Light Weight Snowshoes Alps Light Weight Snowshoes

Price: Approx. $45

Weight: 4 pounds

Dimensions: 7 x 17 inches

Specific features: Aluminum alloy frames, plastic deck, rigid bindings

Best use: Moderate Snowshoeing

Description: The Alps Light Weight Snowshoes are unisex, easy to use, and affordable, making them ideal for kids (though they will also work for light teens and adults), who are just getting started with Snowshoeing.

The simple design features snowboard-style bindings are easy to put on and take off. A tradeoff of the light, simple design is that these snowshoes have somewhat less flotation than other models. The bindings are fixed, making them less flexible.

These snowshoes are great, however, on packed snow and trails, and their intuitive design is perfect for children. What makes these snow shoes amazing and durable is the TPU-85 plastic material that makes them withstand extreme conditions.

When you walk with them through snow, you will feel like floating instead of just trekking. They are great for kids because they won’t slip in them, but also because the shoes are lightweight and would not slow them down.

PROS:

  • Great for kids
  • Unisex
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Not flexible

Related: Check out the MST Snowshoe Bag that you can use for storing your snowshoes. It is designed to handle deep snow and cold, and is quite durable and completely capable of keeping your snowshoes in place, and safe.

Check the price on Amazon

Tubbs Xplore Snowshoe Tubbs Xplore Snowshoe

Price: Approx. $110

Weight: 3.9 pounds

Dimensions: 8 x 25 inches

Specific features: Fit-Step™ aluminum frame, toe cord, quick-pull binding and foot strap

Best use: Backtracking in snow

Description: The Tubbs Xplore Snowshoes  are a men’s beginner model that has ergonomic design features, a steel toe, crampons that offer great traction, and easy-to-use QuickPull bindings.

The carefully designed aluminum Fit-Step™ frame reduces strain on the joints including the hip, ankle, and knee. Unlike some of the more basic beginner’s models, these snowshoes, which have both front and rear braking teeth, can handle hills with ease.

They perform best on packed snow, and have features such as a pivoting toe stop, rotating toe cord, and Control Wings™ to keep your foot aligned while out on the trails.

If you are into winter sports and need great shoes to get you Snowshoeing then try out this model. It is very lightweight and provides you with great friction. They are also easy to remove and put on due to their buckle push.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to remove

CONS:

  • Not affordable

Related: These snowshoes are frequently purchased with Tubbs Snowshoe Poles because they are very easy to wear and use in harsh, icy conditions.

Check the price on Amazon

MTN Extreme Snowshoes MTN Extreme Snowshoes

Price: Approx. $70

Weight: 4.8 pounds

Dimensions: 7 x 30 inches

Specific features: Lightweight aluminum frame, Nytex deck, quick release buckles, and steel crampons

Best use: Trekking through the snow

Description: These stylish blue MTN Extreme Snowshoes come in five different sizes, and are great for women, men, or children who are new to Snowshoeing. The lightweight frames are made of 6000 series Easton aluminum.

Featuring angled, stainless steel crampons for traction and Nytex plastic decks, these snowshoes also have molded bindings, laces, and Fast-Loc buckles. Their versatility and great introductory price make them ideal for anyone who would like to get started with Snowshoeing.

What makes this model suitable for trekking through snow is definitely their light weight. They are also very durable and able to withstand the pressure of the snow

Your feet will be secured because of the lacing system that holds your feet firmly in the snowshoes, and they will enable you to go to those places covered in snow that would be really hard to reach without a pair of snowshoes.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to maneuver

CONS:

  • Proper size is not easily found

Related: Make sure to check out the MSR Lightning Snowshoe Tails because you will feel much more stable if you are carrying a heavy backpack and walking on deep snow.

Check the price on Amazon

Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes

Price: $45 – $104

Weight: 3.5 pounds

Dimensions: 7 x 14, 19, to 22 inches

Specific features: Lightweight aluminum frame, metal toe crampon, easy-to-use adjustable bindings

Best use: For kids that like Snowshoeing

Description: If you’re looking for a great pair of children’s snowshoes, look no further than the robust, lightweight Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes that were designed especially for kids. They have secure bindings are easy to adjust, remove, and put back on. These snowshoes are perfect for treks on packed snow.

Furthermore, the Lucky Bums Youth snowshoes also feature metal toe crampons for traction, as well as a special hinge that increases support and speed. They are considered almost indestructible because of their great design and aluminum frame. They are also very light for trekking through snow and harsh conditions.

Also, you get a handy carry bag with these snowshoes and you can rest assured that your child’s each step in snow will be maneuvered properly. That is because of the shoes’ extremely secure fit.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfy
  • Kid friendly

CONS:

  • A bit pricey

Related: Take a look at BAFX Products – 2 Pack Poles because it is not easy to walk without support in deep snow. They are not expensive and they are designed to withstand hard pressure and won’t break that easily.

Check the price on Amazon

Alps Performance Snowshoes ALPS Performance Snowshoes

Price: Approx. $120

Weight: 4 pounds

Dimensions: 11 x 28 inches

Specific features: Unisex sizing, lightweight aluminum frame, Nytex deck, Fast-Loc buckles

Best use: Snow trekking

Description: The ALPS Performance Snowshoes  is a package that includes a pair of lightweight snowshoes and a pair of hiking poles. The intuitive unisex design features a strong, lightweight aluminum frame and decks made of Nytex.

The snowshoes also have molded bindings and quick release buckles, as well as a lacing system.

Because these snowshoes so lightweight, they are best for packed snow and trails. (It’s worth noting also that, although unisex sizing is great for beginners, if you are a man and wear unusually heavy boots, then perhaps you may want to look for a gender-specific model.)

Affordable and simple, these are a terrific buy for first-time outdoor enthusiasts who are Snowshoeing for the first time. Rest assured that your feet will be secured properly because of the shoes’ great buckles that hold everything in place. Every fan of winter sports should give this model a try because it is really worth it.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Comfy
  • Great fit

CONS:

  • The buckles might pop off.

Related: The Innolife Waterproof Gaiters might be a good addition to this snowshoe-trekking poles combo as you will make sure that your feet and pants remain dry all the way through your winter hikes.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With the waterproof gaiters, we have reached the end of the article. To sum up, unlike some other high-impact winter sports – which can be risky and expensive – Snowshoeing is very safe, easy, and low impact.

Not only is it great aerobic exercise, it’s also one of the best ways to experience a beautiful winter day outdoors. Therefore, with a pair of snowshoes that are completely suitable for you, there is no reason why you should stop hiking when the winter comes.

Hiker in the winter forest using snowshoes for hiking

In this post, we’ve gone over the most important features that need to be taken in consideration when shopping for snowshoes, and we have included some of the best models of snowshoes for beginners, including models specifically designed for kids, such as the Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes.

Armed with the knowledge we provided in the “Features to consider” section, you should be able to find at least one model that would suit you or your child’s needs.

Now it is your turn to share. Do you already own a model from our list? If so, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below. Also, if you think we missed one of the great snowshoes for beginners that’s out there, feel free to let us know. Thanks for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • John C. Porter

    You’re right, Mark – those Chinook Trekker Snowshoes are the best! They are so light and makes walking more comfortable. I also like that they are not expensive but very affordable. For that price alone, it’s quite a steal!

  • Daniel Scott

    When it comes to my snowshoes, the Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes is my choice. They are wide enough to give me the balance I need and they fit perfectly. They are very easy to put on and remove. Even my daughter loves her pink Lucky Bums!

  • John C. Porter

    These snowshoes are the best! They provide the best option if you want to run or walk on the snow comfortably. I’m happy that your daughter loves her shoes!

  • Mark David

    The CHINOOK TREKKER SNOWSHOES work every bit as good, and I like the bindings better than
    another pair I bought locally. Absolutely no complaints and no negative feedback for this item!These are very easy to put on and work great in the snow. Quick release straps make it easy to clip in. Material used in manufacturing is somewhat light for those times you have to carry on your backpack. Wish I would’ve ordered these last year!

  • John C. Porter

    You’re right, Mark – those Chinook Trekker Snowshoes are the best! They are so light and makes walking more comfortable. I also like that they are not expensive but very affordable. For that price alone, it’s quite a steal!

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