Best Snow Shoes in 2022
Nothing truly says winter like a snowy hike on a pair of snowshoes. How else do we earn cocoa and cookies next to the fire, right? However, there are hundreds of snowshoes options on the market in a variety of widths, lengths, materials, and designs. How do you know which one is best for you?
We took our two decades of winter adventures and days of research to bring you the good, the great, and the noteworthy in the world of popular snowshoes. In this list are budget, beginner, and expert snowshoe options, as well as several kits for the whole setup. Check out our list of features to look for, how to size snowshoes, and, most importantly, which snowshoes are worth your hard-earned dollars.
The Best Snow Shoes
MSR is known in the outdoor adventure world as the industry standard of high-quality equipment. It’s no wonder that their snowshoes hit the highest mark, too. At just over four pounds, the MSR Lightning Ascent Snow Shoes are one of the lightest mountaineering-designed snowshoes on the market. Decking made from lightweight yet durable polyurethane provides ample support over snowy terrain, while the strong steel crampons directly under the foot provide superb grip on slick surfaces. Ridged edges around the front and sides of the snowshoes provide extra traction for any type of hillside. However, there are two features that really allow these snowshoes to stand out.
First, the minimalist Paragon bindings. These one-piece thick mesh straps contour around boots for secure use and zero pressure points. In an almost glove-like fashion, the TPU mesh conforms to nearly any boot for comfort, control, and easy use. These bindings are durable enough to be used in extreme cold and can be changed and maintained out on the trail easily. The second of our favorite features is the easy-to-engage heel lift bar. An Ergonomic Televator, as MSR calls it, allows your foot to fall at a level angle by raising your heel point as you hike uphill. This saves you energy, which will keep you hiking for longer.
Supports up to 220 lbs
8” wide x 25” long
Available in 22”, 25”, and 30” lengths
360-degree Traction Frames provide superb grip
Webbed strap binding
Ergonomic heel lift bar
Fits men’s shoe sizes 4.5-15
- Weight4.33 Pounds
Welcome to the modern-styled snowshoes you’ve been waiting to find. These snowshoes — available in both silver with bright blue accents or metallic purple — include adjustable ski bindings to let you share with friends, or fit any of your snow boots. Toe, mid-foot, and heel ratchet bindings with heavy-duty spring-loaded clips allow you to size up or down with ease. Grippy, slip-resistant textured pads help to keep your boots secure as you step into these snowshoes, while resilient metal crampons and sawtooth ridges keep you sturdy on icy and snowy paths. Having trouble uphill? Flip up the heel lift riser with the flick of a finger and instantly save your energy.
The lightweight aluminum frame eliminates the need to grad heavy snowshoes along. Instead, the aluminum allows you to hike with ease without impeding your footsteps. These WildHorn Outfitters Sawtooth Snow Shoes are great for snowy hikes, but be careful in super deep, fluffy snow. WildHorn advises that their 21-inch option is optimized for snowshoers between 80-160 pounds, while their 27-inch option is optimized for snowshoers who weight between 165-235 pounds.
Available in 21” and 27” lengths and 2 colors
Lightweight aluminum frame
3 ratchet bindings with auto-locking heel
- BrandWildHorn Outfitters
- Weight4 Pounds
A classic snowshoe made for the snow hikers among us, the MSR Evo Trail Hiking Snow Shoes are made for a variety of snow conditions and hiking abilities. Steel traction rails with heavy-duty gripping teeth and carbon steel crampons help you hike up any hill and cross any icy slope, while the steel brake bars ensure you won’t ski back down! Both the traction rails and the brake bars are molded into the snowshoe decking for durability. Freeze-resistant straps across the toes, bridges, and heels can be easily adjusted, even while wearing gloves. This binding also allows you to adjust to a wide variety of shoe sizes and stay secure. While these snowshoes can be used from icy trails to deep snow slopes, you can purchase 6-inch tails to attach on the back for additional flotation or to carry more weight. If you plan to hike longer distances or even backpack in the snow, the Evo Trail Hiking Snowshoes are a great piece of extreme cold weather gear for you.
8” wide x 22” long
Easy to use, anti-freezing binding straps
Traction rails and brake bar molded into decking
Carbon steel crampons
- Weight5 Pounds
This may very well be the best deal we’ve seen for outdoor gear. For half the price of most of the other snowshoes on our list, this kit from Outbound includes lightweight aluminum snowshoes, adjustable trekking poles, and a storage bag. The snowshoes, while nearly 12 inches longer than the standard snowshoe length, are perfect for deep snow with its high-density polyurethane decking that evenly distributes your weight as you walk. By distributing weight, the OUTBOUND Snow Shoe allows you to float on top of snow more easily, eliminating the tendency to fall to one side or the other in deep or layered snow. The rounded aluminum frame edges also help with keeping you upright, while the metal crampons beneath the balls and heels of your feet will keep you from sliding downhill on packed, icy trails. A triangular heel riser assists you on the uphill so you have energy left over for that snowball fight. Be aware, however, that these snowshoes are not designed for steep slopes or mountaineering adventures; only the crampons serve as traction, rather than teeth around the outside edges.
The adjustable trekking/ski poles include rubber hand grips, wrist straps, an anti-shock absorber, and snow baskets to accommodate any snowshoer who may need an extra boost along the trail. Careful, though, as the rubber ends of these poles may slip when planted in the ice. When you’re back home and ready for hot cocoa around the fire, dry your snowshoes and trekking poles to eliminate rust before placing them in the included storage bag.
9” wide x 36” long
Includes snowshoes, adjustable poles, and storage bag
Lightweight aluminum frame
Light but durable decking
Double rachet bindings and heel strap
Collapsible poles include snow baskets
- Weight4.4 Pounds
Looking for rugged snowshoes for a wintry summit attempt? Good thing you found the MSR Revo Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snow Shoes. This premium choice is certainly not on the cheap end, but neither is it really meant for beginner snowshoers. These snowshoes are an investment for those looking to hike further, climb higher, and stay safer on the snowy slopes of the beautiful backcountry hiking world. While a standard height and length of a snowshoe, what sets the Revo Ascents apart is the nose, traction, and bindings designs.
The injection-molded ExoTract deck includes edge-to-edge traction teeth and underfoot bars to give you the utmost traction, regardless of where you step. Steel crampons at the balls of your feet give you the utmost foot control and security as you cross slick terrain. The TPU-molded webbed binding design easily envelops any size snow boot for comfort, eliminated pressure points, and weather-resistant ease of use. Just like the previous MSR models we spoke about, the Ergo Televator heel riser bars allow you to easily engage slope-side assistance, keeping you from fatiguing more easily on the uphill journey. But for the extreme snowshoe adventurer, MSR included a reinforced nose on this super-duty snowshoe for kick-stepping (kicking steps into the snow to climb up a steep hill) that won’t break off, chip away, or bend as you climb. The Revo Ascents support up to 220 pounds but weigh under five pounds per pair. If you’re looking to step up your snowshoe game, look no further.
8” wide x 25” long (Available in 22” length)
Supports up to 220 lbs
Fits mens shoe sizes 6-14
Paragon web bindings
Perimeter traction teeth
Steel crampon bar
Heavy-duty heel lift bar
Reinforced nose for kick-stepping
- Weight4.67 Pounds
A great beginner snowshoe setup is just a few clicks away. The Goplus Snow Shoes For Men & Women are lightweight, thoughtfully-designed unisex snowshoes. At a reasonable price, they will not only provide the flotation you need with an aluminum frame and plastic decking, but they will also support traction over icy patches with serrated crampon teeth along the balls, bridges, and heels of your feet.
The ratchet bindings are easy to step into, adjust, and lock down on your boots. Slide the heel strap on snug for foot control, while the heel lift bar helps you step uphill with strength, not fatigue. When your hike finishes, simply pop the release buckles on your bindings, wipe off the snow, and store your snowshoes in the included storage bag until your next snowy adventure. While these may not be the most durable snowshoes on our list, they will be great for first-timers, casual snowshoers, or those looking for a new pair on a budget. On rainy days, equip yourself with a reliable pair of waterproof boots from our list.
Lightweight aluminum frame
Ratchet bindings and buckled heel strap
Serrated crampon teeth on balls, bridges, and heels of your feet
Storage bag included
Another great snowshoeing kit comes to us from the snow enthusiasts at Winterial. This lightweight aluminum frame float over snow, while the aluminum teeth under the balls and heels of your feet grip onto packed down snow and icy cover. The ratcheting binding design keeps your heels free for easy walking, but without compromising the security of the snowshoes onto your feet. The freeze-resistant plastic decking, along with the aluminum frame, aid in keeping you above the snow’s surface without dragging you down with unnecessary weight.
Need a little help up and down slopes? No problem. The anti-shock trekking poles include removable snow baskets to help push you up that last hill or aid you on the descent. They are fully extendable up to 53 inches, so snowshoers of all heights can easily and effectively snowshoe to their heart’s delight. Rated to 200 pounds, these Winterial Lightweight Shasta Snow Shoes may not be the most extreme mountaineering snowshoes, but they are a great choice for anyone looking to try snowshoeing or keep an extra pair on hand. For more must-have items for winter sports enthusiasts, check out these top snowboards, too.
8” wide x 24.5” long
Poles folded: 26″, Fully extended: 53”
Aluminum traction teeth
Anti-shock trekking poles with snow baskets
Included storage bag
Supports up to 200 lbs
- Weight6.75 Pounds
“Yukon” is in the name, you know these snowshoes are meant for serious snow. Yukon Charlies Advanced Snow Shoe used ultra-strong aluminum to produce a sturdy, dependable frame that still allows you to move your feet easily. A snow motion axle system shifts with up to 30 degrees of torsional rigidity to as you move to aid in stepping through deep snow, or trekking across ridgelines. The long design aids with floatation through deep and fluffy snow. Since it’s rated up to 250 pounds, this snowshoe set can carry loaded down backpackers and casual weekend hikers alike. A Fast Fit binding system allows you to slip your foot into the snowshoe, quickly cinch down the two bindings and heel straps, and get hiking fast. Taking them off at the end of your trek is just as easy; pop the buckles up (even with ski gloves!) and step out. Forged steel crampons underfoot aid in your ascents and descents as they grab at packed trails and keep you from slipping on icy surfaces.
9” wide x 30” long
Supports up to 250 lbs
Forged steel crampons
Fast Fit binding system
Great for beginners to experts
- Weight4.8 Pounds
The Ito Rocky Sawtooth Snow Shoes are another great snowshoe kit option with great traction. This kit includes sturdy aluminum-framed snowshoes, adjustable trekking poles, snowbaskets, and a carry case to complete your snowy adventure gear needs. While these snowshoes err on the heavy side at 7.7 pounds, their traction makes up for the extra weight. There are reinforced aluminum crampons under the ball of your feet, providing a sturdy sawtooth for the icy area, multi-directional teeth under the bridges of your feet, and more brakes underneath your heels. All of these traction aids will keep you on your feet, even on slippery sidehills. A durable aluminum frame holds a weather-proof polyethelene deck that will help you stay above the snow as you trek along. The easy-ratchet bindings are secured to a floating pivot system so you can move more easily and more securely. These snowshoes are a great option for those on a budget or those who live in icier areas. Make sure to also choose a reliable ski jacket to keep you warm.
8” wide x 25” long
Supports up to 220 lbs
Durable aluminum frame
2 sets of reinforced aluminum crampons on the heels
Floating pivot system
Includes adjustable trekking poles & carrying case
- BrandIto Rocky
- Weight7.7 Pounds
This snowshoe may have one of the most unique bindings on our list, but it’s the ease of use that makes it one of our top picks. The QuickPull Binding cinches triangularly over the toe of your winter boots and can be easily released by pushing down on the side buckle. You can even adjust on the go — just lift up your foot, thanks to the pivoting toe, and tighten as needed. Carbon steel toe and heel crampons give you front and back braking teeth for security on sidehills, ascents, and descents. Our one major gripe about these snowshoes is that they do not feature heel risers for hill assistance. For the price, we believe uphill assistance should be included. However, for those who don’t plan to traverse up intense hills and want a reliable snowshoe for snowy strolls, the Tubbs Xplore Snow Shoe will do quite nicely.
Available in 25” and 30” lengths
Easy-cinch QuickPull Bindings
Carbon steel crampons
Rotating toe cord
- Weight1 Pound
ALPS is a well-known outdoor gear company that has produced high-quality snowshoes for decades. Their ALPS Adult All-Terrain Snow Shoes are available in four lengths for a wide variety of snowshoeing enthusiasts, but each offers the same top-notch features. ALPS utilizes a lightweight aluminum frame with UV-resistant, durable, and lightweight polyethylene decking for maximum flotation ability without excess and unnecessary weight. Ratchet bindings and heel straps with easy-release buckles make sliding in and out of these snowshoes extremely simple. The heavy-duty aluminum crampons keep you secure on packed snow and icy layers, just in case. Boot traction pads help to keep your feet even more secure, even if snow builds up. Wrap up your snowshoes in the included carrying case to keep them rust-free and ready for your next adventure! For more amazing footwear, check out our list of the best Gore-Tex boots on the market right now.
Available in 22”, 25”, 27” & 30”
Options for users up to 250 lbs
Ratchet bindings and heel straps with easy-release buckles
Lightweight aluminum frame
Decks are made with UV-resistant durable, lightweight polyethylene material
Heavy-duty aluminum crampons
- Weight4.35 pounds
Snow Shoe Buying Guide & FAQ
Features to Look for in Snow Shoes
Materials - You want to make sure that the materials used in your snowshoes can hold weight well, handle extremely cold temperatures and ice, are waterproof, and durable enough to last more than one outing! Plastics can work, but make sure that they are reinforced or thick enough to handle breaking through snow. Metals like aluminum can be handy and lightweight but may ice up or not float as well. Carbon steel is the premium material for crampons, but reinforced aluminum can also do well.
Flotation - This refers to the snowshoes’ ability to “float” on top of the snow, rather than sinking down as your regular shoes would. Flotation can be provided by the shape, design, or width of the snowshoe. If you’re looking for snowshoes to hike along snowy but well-used trails, you may not need much flotation since the snow will be packed down. However, if you plan to break trail through a snowy field or use them for backcountry hikes with fewer people, you may need lots of flotation ability.
Traction - Your snowshoes should be able to grip on icy, packed snow with ease. Look for snowshoes with teeth, ridges, or other grips on the bottom. Metal teeth will be the most effective traction if you plan to walk anywhere on ice or slick, packed snow. Maybe you just need enough traction to get up a slight incline? Look for plastic ridges that will grip on thinner snow. However, for deep snow, traction may not even be an issue.
Binding security - No one wants a binding strap to come loose mid-trek! Make sure that your bindings have a durable, secure buckle, ties, or latch. Metal buckles are preferable since they are the most weather-resistant and durable. There are also ratcheting cable systems to easily adjust with the twist of a knob. However, what you truly need to look at is whether you want a floating binding (which pivot on the balls of your feet) or fixed bindings (which keep your foot on the length of the snowshoe). Floating bindings are easier to maneuver, while fixed bindings are more secure but less maneuverable.
Binding comfort - Snowshoes are a moot point if they’re not comfortable enough to wear. If you have foot pain with tight shoelaces, be careful with choosing appropriate bindings. There are simple options with two binding straps, thick straps, thin straps, and more. On the flip side, there can be complicated bindings meant to pair with extreme adventure boots. Make sure you find a binding that will pair comfortably with your hiking snow boots.
Heel lift - Heel lift will be important as you hike uphill. Heel risers, which pop up under your heel to assist you with going uphill, could make or break your snowy trek. They replicate a flat surface and redistribute your weight to make gripping onto the snow so much easier.
Ease of use - Make sure you find a pair of snowshoes that won’t be too big, too wide, or too heavy for you! The goal is to find a pair of snowshoes that allows you to move easily over snow, rather than dragging you down. If you are shorter and have smaller feet, then narrower snowshoes may be better for you. If you are taller or have larger feet, then wider or longer snowshoes may be best to keep you upright on the snow. Most companies will include a sizing chart to check what length of shoe is appropriate for you.
Snow Shoe FAQ
Q: What are snowshoes?
A: Snowshoes are walking accessories that strap onto your boots to help you walk across snow. Snowshoes have been used for over-snow travel for more than 6,000 years from Asia to Europe to the Americas. Early snowshoes were made with branches and stretched skins, while others were woven with twigs to help pack down snow as the travelers tramped along. Nowadays, our snowshoes are sleeker, more modern, and made with materials like plastic, metal, and webbing.
Q: How do I choose the proper size of my snowshoes?
A: The proper size will depend on your height, weight, and intended use. Most men's snowshoes are 25 to 27 inches long and 9 to 10 inches wide; they are recommended for snowshoers up to 195 pounds. Snowshowers up to 225 pounds should look for snowshoes about 30 to 33 inches long and 10 inches wide. Most women's snowshoes are 22 to 25 inches long and 7 to 8 inches wide; they are recommended for snowshoers up to 165 pounds. Running snowshoes and kid's snowshoes are obviously shorter but depend on your size and weight, as well.
Q: What kind of footwear should I wear with my snowshoes?
A: Waterproof snow hiking boots are the best footwear for snowshoeing. You want your feet to be comfortable and warm without giving you blisters as you hike along. Snow boots will work well if you don’t have hiking-specific boots, but make sure they are waterproof!
Q: Do snowshoes work in deep snow?
A: The short answer is, yes! Snowshoes were designed to transport you over snow that’s too deep to tromp through in just your boots. However, with extremely deep snow or specific snow conditions (like very weak snow layers that like to collapse) snowshoes may not make your traveling much easier. Nor is it true that longer, wider snowshoes will always make it easier to walk in deep snow — what if you aren’t tall enough or the snowshoes are too heavy to drag along with you? However, smaller snowshoes like running snowshoes won’t do much good on deep snow. Find the balance between comfortable to use and big enough to stay afloat in a deep snowpack.