Search Cool of the Wild Start typing...
People hiking in the best snowshoes

10 Best Snowshoes for Adults and Kids in 2019

There’s nothing quite like hiking in winter. When your favourite trails are covered in a heavy white blanket. When the air is crisp and clean and undisturbed by the summertime haze. Hiking in winter has its challenges though. Every exhausting step you take puts you knee-deep in snow, you’re toes turn to ice, and slippery descents have you clinging to each available branch.

Don’t despair though, even in the midst of winter you can still go hiking in the great outdoors. All you need to do is attach a pair of snowshoes to your winter hiking boots, grab a set of hiking poles, and into the forest we go!

Snowshoes provide our feet with a greater surface area, thereby distributing our weight evenly and allowing us to walk on top of the snow instead of sinking into it. They provide the underfoot traction we need for those tricky ups and downs and help us conserve energy while hiking long distances.

To help you choose the best snowshoes for hiking, we’ve put together a list of our favourites, along with a handy guide of things to look for in the best pair of snowshoes.

Summary of the best snowshoes in 2019

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

ProductBest forLengthWeightCost
MSR Lightning Explore SnowshoesAll-terrain conditions22-30"3.75 lbs+$$$$
Tubbs Snowshoes Flex EscBeginners22" + 24"3.2 lbs+$$
Crescent Moon EVA SnowshoesFlat and rolling terrain24"3.5 lbs$$$
Atlas Elektra Montane SnowshoesMountain terrain23" + 27"4.36 lbs+$$$
Chinook Trekker SnowshoesFlat and rolling terrain19-36"3.9-5.43 lbs$
MSR Evo Trail SnowshoesAll-conditions, beginners/intermediate level22"3.9 lbs$$
Louis Garneau Blizzard II SnowshoesDeep snow25”, 30” + 36”4.7 - 5.9 lbs$$$
Winterial Mammoth SnowshoesBackcountry snowshoeing25"5.3 lbs$$
Redfeather Elf SnowshoesKids aged 5-917"Not available$
MSR Tyker Kids SnowshoesKids with shoe sizes 7.5 - 13.517"2.1 lbs$

The 8 best snowshoes for adults in 2019

MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes

MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes

Best for: All-terrain conditions
Frame length: 22”, 25”, 30”
Weight: 3.75 lbs, 3.87 lbs, 4.5 lbs

If you’re looking for a snowshoe which performs well across all terrains then the MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes are our top choice. The lightweight aluminium frames are fitted with short teeth on the sides and two horizontal crossbars. This provides the 360-degree traction you need for traversing slopes in diverse conditions.

Despite this, the Lightning Explore Snowshoes are still slim enough to be used on narrow trails. For tackling steep slopes, these snowshoes are fitted with heel lift bars which fold down flat when not in use. You also have the option of attaching 5” tails (not included) for extra floatation on fresh powder.

The Lightning Explore Snowshoes deliver on ease of use and comfort too. The ratchet system bindings make these MSR snowshoes quick to put on and simple to adjust without removing your winter gloves. Meanwhile, the EVA foam footbed ensures that the shoes are comfortable enough for a full day hiking in the snow.

Pros

  • Suitable for a range of snow conditions and trail types
  • Easy to use
  • Ergonomic footbed design
  • Excellent traction

Cons

  • High price tag

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


Tubbs Snowshoes Flex Esc

Tubbs Snowshoes Flex Esc

Best for: Beginners
Frame length: 22”, 24”
Weight: 3.2 lbs, 3.6 lbs

You may not want to spend a fortune on your first pair of snowshoes, which is why Tubbs have designed the Flex ESC Snowshoes. Coming in at just under $130 these Tubbs snowshoes combine comfort with practical features and a reasonable price. The snowshoes are fitted with a rotating toe cord, carbon steel toe crampons, snow breaks, and 3D curved traction rails. Together these features provide secure footing on side-hills as well as icy terrain.

The moulded plastic decking is designed to improve traction and comfort on uneven terrain while the flex tail helps to absorb impact. The binding system is easy to adjust and there’s a heel lift bar for steeper climbs. Overall, the Tubbs Flex Esc Snowshoes are some of the best snowshoes on the market right now.

Pros

  • Excellent traction
  • Shock-absorbent design
  • Quick-release bindings
  • Excellent value for money

Cons

  • The plastic decking can be noisy whilst hiking

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry


Crescent Moon EVA Snowshoes

Crescent Moon EVA Snowshoes

Best for: Flat and rolling terrain
Frame length: 24”
Weight: 3.5 lbs

Designed with comfort in mind, the Crescent Moon Eva Snowshoes are one of the best snowshoes for beginners. They are made from two lightweight layers of EVA foam. Unlike most plastic/metal framed snowshoes, these snowshoes provide a flexible fit which has a similar feel to a running shoe. The upper layer is cushioned and responds to impact, while the bottom layer is made of denser EVA foam and fitted with multiple ice spikes and cleats.

We like that the curved shape of these Crescent Moon shoes allows for a natural stride without losing floatation or manoeuvrability. The Velcro hook and loop foot cradle also make it possible to attach and adjust these shoes with ease.

Pros

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Reasonable price
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Not suitable for steep terrain or deep powder

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Atlas Elektra Montane Snowshoes

Atlas Elektra Montane Snowshoes

Best for: Mountain terrain
Frame length: 23”, 27”
Weight: 4.26 lbs, 4.36 lbs

Specifically designed for women, the Atlas Elektra Montane Snowshoes are constructed with a slimmer nose, outer rolling bends, and tapered trails which tailor to a woman’s natural walking gait. The bindings are quick to fit and made for the average woman’s boot. The additional arch support and EVA padding help to keep the circulation flowing and to relieve pressure on specific parts of the foot. They’re certainly one of the best snowshoes for women on the market.

In terms of terrain, the Atlas Elektra Montane Snowshoes are ideal for harsh mountain conditions. The combination of multi-directional toe crampons and sharp ridges on the side rails deliver excellent traction on both side-hill and downhill stretches. There’s also a heel lift bar for uphill climbs. Another key feature is the Spring-Loaded suspension which allows the foot to flex and absorbs impact on uneven and steep terrain.

Pros

  • Women’s specific fit
  • Excellent traction
  • Comfortable suspension system
  • Easy to fit straps
  • Also available in Men’s version

Cons

  • Heel bar can be difficult to adjust whilst hiking
  • Heavier than other snowshoes

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Best for: Flat or rolling terrain
Frame length: 19”, 22”, 25”, 30”, 36”
Weight: 3.9 lbs, 4.01 lbs, 4.3 lbs, 4.95 lbs, 5.43 lbs

If you’re looking for a pair of budget snowshoes for beginners then the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes are an excellent low-priced option. Despite the low price, these snowshoes are made with a strong but reasonably lightweight aluminium frame and UV resistant polythene decking. The rollerblade-style ratchet strap system and ergonomic design make them easy to adjust and comfortable to wear for a full day hiking on flat or rolling trails.

The main drawback of these snowshoes is the lack of side rails and heel lift bar. This means that the shoes lack stability on steep ups and downs and that you’ll have to work harder on the accents. That said, the aluminium heel and toe crampons provide more than enough grip for gentle trails.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Comfortable and stable fit
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Comes with a carry bag

Cons

  • Not suitable for technical snowshoeing

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes

MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes

Best for: All-conditions, beginners/intermediate level
Frame length: 22”
Weight: 3.9lbs

Another snowshoe which offers value for money is the MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes. Designed to be used in all conditions, these MSR snowshoes are made with a hard-wearing plastic decking. The combination of steel traction bars, bar breaks, and toe crampons provide sturdy footing. These components are moulded to the body of the snowshoe which increases strength and reduces the risk of breakage. You also have to option of attaching 6” tails (not included) for better floatation on soft snow. Meanwhile, the foot bindings can fit a wide range of footwear. Plus, the straps are freeze-proof and easy to adjust whilst wearing gloves.

Pros

  • Suitable for most terrains
  • Weather-proof
  • Durable materials
  • Reasonable price tag

Cons

  • Strap system could be more secure
  • Plastic decking can be noisy whilst walking

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


Louis Garneau Blizzard II Snowshoes

Louis Garneau Blizzard II Snowshoes

Best for: Deep snow
Frame length: 25”, 30”, 36”
Weight: 4.7 lbs, 5.4 lbs, 5.9 lbs

With their lightweight aluminium anodized frame and a large surface area, the Blizzard II Snowshoes from Lois Garneau are the best snowshoes for deep snow on this list. The frame size and contoured shape allow for excellent floatation in deep snow and a natural walking gait. The Blizzard II Snowshoes also feature a padded BOA binding system which secures the foot and removes uncomfortable pressure points.

These snowshoes are fitted with a heel lift bar and carbon steel crampons which deliver the multi-directional traction necessary for traversing snow-covered mountains. It’s worth noting, however, that the traction is concentrated in the centre of the foot without any side rails or bar breaks.

Pros

  • Ergonomic frame
  • Comfortable binding system
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Available in three sizes and in a woman’s version

Cons

  • Less traction than competitors

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry


Winterial Mammoth Snowshoes

Winterial Mammoth Snowshoes

Best for: Backcountry snowshoeing
Frame length: 25”
Weight: 5.3 lbs

The 25” Mammoth Snowshoes from Winterial are made from a hardwearing polymer frame with quick release ratchet bindings. Although the traction is not as comprehensive as Winterial’s higher priced competitors, the aluminium teeth do provide secure footing on icy terrain. Meanwhile, the raised box nose and folding heel lift bar makes these suitable snowshoes for mountaineering. Another bonus is that these reasonably priced snowshoes come with a carry bag and hiking poles included.

Pros

  • Made from durable materials
  • Easy to fit
  • Reasonable price
  • Carry bag and hiking poles included

Cons

  • Limited traction

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


Best snowshoes for kids

Redfeather Elf Snowshoes

Redfeather Elf Snowshoes

Best for: Children aged 5-9
Frame length: 17”

Designed to fit young adventurers, the Redfeather Elf Snowshoes are made for kids aged between 5 and 9, or up to 80 lbs. They are fitted with a flexible binding system which allows the child to continue wearing the snowshoes as they grow. The straps secure the foot at the heel, toe, and midsection. Meanwhile, the rounded frame shape, coupled with front and rear crampons, provide excellent stability and traction.

The combination of abrasion and puncture-resistant ripstop vinyl decking and a durable aircraft-grade aluminium frame make these one of the best snowshoes for kids.

Pros

  • Made from durable materials
  • Adjustable bindings
  • Good stability

Cons

  • None that we can see!

Find the latest price on:
REI


MSR Tyker Kids Snowshoes

MSR Tyker Kids Snowshoes

Best for: Beginners
Frame length: 17″
Weight: 2.1 lbs

The MSR Tyker Kids Snowshoes have a simpler design compared with the Redfeather Elf. They’re best suited to children, up to 90 lbs, who are taking their first snow-clad steps. The snowshoes are fitted with steel crampons, but for added safety, they feature metal-free moulded traction bars. The binding system is easy to adjust and secures the foot in three places. Best of all, these shoes are designed to fit shoe sizes 7.5 to 13.5 so your kids can use these snowshoes for years.

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Child-friendly features
  • Adjustable bindings

Cons

  • Limited traction

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI


How to choose the best snowshoes for you

Type of snowshoe

Not all snowshoes are made equal. While you can find multi-purpose or all-terrain snowshoes, most snowshoes fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Flat terrain snowshoes

    These are the best snowshoes for beginners or non-technical routes. These are often the best value for money and feature comfortable bindings, but lack aggressive traction.

  • Rolling terrain snowshoes

    These are made with greater traction and more secure bindings. They’re designed to be used by hikers and backpackers on steep and uneven terrain.

  • Mountain terrain snowshoes

    Best suited for mountaineering or technical hiking in the backcountry, this type of snowshoe can handle steep and icy terrain. They are usually built with aggressive crampons and a strong binding system which can withstand tough weather conditions.

Sizing

Once you’ve picked the right type of snowshoe for you the next step is to select the size. Most adult snowshoes come in lengths between 22” and 36”. The perfect fit will depend on your weight (with backpack), shoe size, and the type of terrain you’ll be hiking on.

The larger the surface area of the snowshoe, the better the floatation. Therefore, larger snowshoes are generally best for hiking in open backcountry or on deep and soft snow. Meanwhile, those with a smaller surface area are more manoeuvrable on compact trails and better suited to icy terrain.

Some snowshoes are also available in men’s, women’s, or kid’s sizes. These tailor the size and shape to the user’s footwear.

Traction devices

Traction devices help you to keep secure footing and conserve energy on tricky trail sections. Most snowshoes are built with toe crampons which are positioned under the bindings. These crampons pivot, allowing the teeth to dig into the snow whilst you walk.

Toe crampons provide the greatest traction but for more challenging terrain you’ll need more than just toe crampons. Other useful traction devices include:

  • Heel crampons

    These are usually in a V-formation at the rear of the snowshoe. Heel crampons are particularly useful for managing your speed on steep descents.

  • Side rails

    Also called traction bars, these are rows of teeth/spikes which run from the front edge to the back edge of the shoe, providing better grip on side-hills.

  • Break bars

    These are moulded horizontally into the underside of the snowshoe and help prevent the snowshoe from sliding backwards on uphill sections.

Additional features

We’ve covered all the basics, but if you’re looking for something a little extra then these are some of the most useful additional features:

  • Heel lift bar

    This is a simple flip-up bar which lifts your heel about an inch. On long or steep ascents it helps you to save energy and prevent strain on the Achilles tendon. These are sometimes called climbing bars or televators.

  • Detachable tails

    Adding a tail to the rear of your snowshoe increases the floatation. If you tend to hike in deep powder then look out for models which allow you to attach a tail.


About the author

author-beth

Originally from the UK and currently based in Turkey, Beth Carter is a full-time adventurer, former scout, and vegan traveller. When she’s not hiking long-distance trails with an oversized pack on her shoulders, you’ll probably find her peddling up and down scenic roads, or pitching a tent in a far-off mountain range. On the odd occasion, you might even see her sitting at a keyboard, coffee at the ready, typing about her latest outdoor pursuit.

You may also like

Open Menu