Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big snowshoe test 2021. Here we present all the snowshoes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best snowshoes for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying snowshoes.




The most important facts

  • Nowadays, snowshoes are no longer just seen as a tool for hiking in the snow, but as a piece of winter sports equipment. For those who are less interested in speeding down the slopes and prefer to enjoy beautiful winter landscapes, snowshoeing is just the thing.
  • With snowshoes, even some Alpine peaks can be hiked without much mountaineering experience. Offers for guided hikes with snowshoes are often the order of the day in some alpine ski resorts.
  • Snowshoeing can be practised as a recreational sport all the way up to a high-performance sport. It requires virtually no previous experience to learn how to snowshoe. Depending on the design, snowshoeing is an endurance sport and is also suitable for steeper terrain.

The Best Snowshoe: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying snowshoes

Who are snowshoes suitable for?

First and foremost, snowshoeing is suitable for people who don't want to or can't ski and who are not interested in fast descents. Snowshoes are suitable for people who love to enjoy beautiful winter landscapes and enjoy being outdoors.

Most Alpine peaks can be reached in winter with snowshoes just as easily as with skis, sledges or snowboards. In the French Alps, for example, snowshoeing has been a popular sport for years.

Which snowshoes are right for me?

If you get smaller snowshoes, you will be more agile when touring in alpine terrain, but smaller snowshoes offer less buoyancy for heavier people in deep powder snow.

Narrow snowshoes are recommended to make walking more comfortable and less tiring. In addition, it is advantageous on long tours if the binding of the snowshoes allows a sideways tilting movement so that the ankles are less strained.

On snowshoes you can go on wonderful hikes off the beaten track. (Image source: pixabay.com / Simon)

Experience has shown that easy-to-use quick-release fasteners on the binding are easier to handle than eyelets, buckles or straps.

To ease the strain on your calf muscles, you should consider buying a snowshoe with a stable climbing aid. The size of the front teeth should be adapted to the planned tour.

What size snowshoes should I buy?

When choosing a snowshoe size, you should consider your weight including equipment. Larger snowshoes sink less into deep snow, which is important for easy hikes in loose snow.

On the other hand, it is important to have increased mobility when touring in steep terrain, which is the case with smaller snowshoes.

When choosing a snowshoe size, you should consider your weight including equipment.

How much do snowshoes cost?

Different manufacturers produce a wide variety of snowshoe models with different qualities and materials. However, if you want to be safe in the mountains, you should opt for quality snowshoes. Cheap snowshoes usually only meet these quality requirements to a limited extent, as a strap can easily break, which is a big problem when you are standing in the middle of the mountain.

In addition to the poorer workmanship of cheap snowshoes, another disadvantage is the limited freedom of movement. Cheap snowshoes usually don't have an axle around which the foot can turn when climbing, which can make the ascent in deep snow an ordeal.

A good snowshoe should also have iron spikes on the edge, which prevents you from slipping on icy ground. You can buy snowshoes for as little as 50 euros on the internet, but it's better to go for better-known suppliers like Tubbs, who already have a certain amount of experience.

For around 180 euros you can get very good snowshoes that will last for several winter seasons. There is almost no upper price limit, top models can cost up to 550 euros.

When buying snowshoes, it's better to go for well-known suppliers who already have a certain amount of experience than to buy the cheapest snowshoes possible.

What alternatives are there to snowshoes?

If you know Nordic Walking, you might also know Nordic Snowshoeing in the snow. This way, Nordic walkers can do their training in all seasons. All Inook snowshoe models allow a natural rolling movement of the foot, which is guaranteed due to the free-swinging binding axis and the special 3D frame profile characteristics.

Special Nordic Snowshoeing routes are offered in many winter sports regions. However, routes with low gradients and a low degree of difficulty must be available for this. This is because a smooth course of movement is essential for Nordic snowshoeing. Normally, there are prepared winter hiking trails for this.

The "Futura" model for Nordic Snowshoeing and snowshoe racing was developed specifically for this winter sport. With telescopic or special Gipron snowshoe walking poles, it is therefore the ideal sport for Nordic walkers in winter.

How do I put on snowshoes correctly ?

For a better grip and to be able to use greater force to hold the straps, it is best to put on your snowshoes while kneeling. Depending on the binding, the boot should be centred in the middle of the snowshoe and pulled on tightly.

When everything is mounted, it is best to walk a few steps at the starting point and then stop again briefly after 10 minutes to check that everything is tight.

Did you know that our ancestors also used snowshoes? They used large leather or wooden surfaces for them. Even the Indians used snowshoes that were about 2 metres long.

How do I plan my snowshoe tour?

Snowshoeing is a lot easier than ski mountaineering. Basically, however, you can start from the same rules. Plan your tour realistically, bearing in mind that the days are shorter in winter and that the climbs always have to be descended. In general, you don't progress as quickly as in summer. Checking the weather and avalanche situation in advance can avoid unpleasant pitfalls.

What makes the ideal equipment ?

To make your snowshoe tour much more comfortable, you can get poles with large plates. Windproof winter clothing, hat, gloves, warm drinks and emergency equipment (avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, first aid kit, headlamp) are also essential. Waterproof shoes with light insulation are a good choice.

For snowshoeing, snowshoes alone are not enough! Sturdy hiking boots to get into the bindings of the snowshoes are required. The shoes should therefore fit firmly on the feet and be ankle-high. They do not necessarily have to be special winter shoes, but for snowshoe hikes in difficult terrain and heavy weather, winter shoes are strongly recommended.

Equipment Usefulness
Poles with plates Hiking poles with plate attachments make hiking in high snow easier, relieve the knees and ensure a healthy posture of the entire musculoskeletal system. Important here: the length of the hiking poles must be adjusted to the height of the user.
Windproof winter clothing Windproof and insulating winter clothing helps the body to maintain its own temperature as best as possible and not to cool down during snow hikes.
Hat Hats or headbands protect the head from the cold common on snow hikes, but also from moisture or wind.
Gloves Gloves protect fingers and palms from cold, wet and wind. Gloves that allow you to move your fingers easily are ideal for snowshoeing. This makes it easy to put on the snowshoes and to guide the hiking poles well.
Warm drinks If you are planning a hike, be sure to take drinks with you! It is easy to break a sweat on a snowshoe hike and it is important to replenish your body's lost fluids with drinks. If you are setting out on a half-day or day hike on a cold day, it is advisable to take hot tea in a warming thermos flask.
Emergency equipment in the unlikely event of minor injuries, you should have a plaster and wound disinfection with you. It is also important to have a heating foil to prevent the casualty from getting cold in the event of major complications, as well as a headlamp for illumination in case you cannot finish the hike before nightfall.
Waterproof shoes mountain boots or hiking boots not only protect the feet from the cold and wet but also the ankles from uneven ground.

Decision: What types of snowshoes are there and which is right for you?

In general, there are three types of snowshoe models:

  • Wooden frame models
  • Aluminium frame models
  • Plastic models

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the snowshoes that are best suited to you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of wooden frame snowshoes?

Wooden frame snowshoes have a leather or rope mesh covering and won't let you sink too deeply in flat, easy terrain. However, wooden frame models quickly reach their limits in hilly terrain of medium difficulty.

Advantages
  • Do not sink too deeply into flat, easy terrain
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for hilly terrain of medium difficulty

What distinguishes aluminium frame models and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

This snowshoe is ideal for easy terrain with slight inclines and declines. However, due to the round aluminium frame and the plastic planking, aluminium frame models already reach their limits in medium terrain.

Advantages
  • Ideal for easy terrain with slight inclines and declines
Disadvantages
  • When crossing slopes or in medium terrain, the necessary support is lacking

Particularly when crossing slopes, which often occurs, the necessary grip is lacking. The use of this type of snowshoe is therefore not recommended in alpine areas.

What distinguishes plastic models and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Plastic snowshoes are suitable for all conditions. Any use is guaranteed in easy, medium to very difficult terrain. Plastic snowshoes are manufactured using 3D CAD design and computer-controlled production, which means that there are hardly any limits to the innovations of snowshoe manufacturers.

According to the runner's weight, area of use and body size, snowshoes are adapted to all conditions. This makes plastic models the right choice, from easy terrain to alpine snowshoe tours.

Advantages
  • Suitable for any terrain

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and rate snowshoes

In the following we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate snowshoes. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective device. In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Range of use
  • Material
  • Binding
  • Climbing aid
  • Weight/Mass

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a device based on the criteria or not.

Field of application

There is a suitable snowshoe for you for practically every area of use. Which snowshoe is ideal for which area of use has already been discussed above. If you have no experience with snowshoes, you can sign up for a guided snowshoe tour. If you already have some experience, make sure you follow the signs in the terrain.

Material

Snowshoes are available in a wide variety of designs and materials. Nowadays, however, snowshoes are mostly made of plastic, which is also highly recommended. Unlike wooden snowshoes, these are suitable for all types of terrain.

Binding

Choosing the right binding is very important for you. You should think about your priorities. If you are going on a long tour through less demanding terrain, you should opt for maximum comfort. However, if you are going on a strenuous tour in difficult terrain, your safety is more important than comfort.

You should be well informed about which snowshoe model is best for you before you buy snowshoes. (Photo source: pixabay.com / Wokandapix)

Most of the time, good snowshoe bindings are simple in design. If the binding consists of only a few parts, only a few parts can break. In addition, the weight is reduced with simple bindings. Before you buy a binding, you should definitely go to a shop and try some on to get an idea.

You should have the same footwear with you that you will wear later on the tour. All MSR bindings come with extra-long straps to accommodate extra-large feet. MSR bindings are also available in men's and women's models. Women's models are usually slightly smaller to ensure optimal support for smaller feet.

Climbing aid

A climbing aid is not absolutely necessary as long as you are snowshoeing on gentle slopes. In the Alps or low mountain ranges, however, a climbing aid is extremely useful and absolutely recommended.

With a climbing aid you can save a lot of power and energy when walking uphill, because the heel is positioned higher due to the climbing aid and thus the rolling point is reached more quickly.

An automatic climbing aid is integrated into the Inook snowshoe models. You can activate or deactivate it in seconds without bending down with your poles. Make sure to activate the climbing aid only for ascents and to deactivate it again for flats and descents.

Weight/Mass

The size of snowshoes you should choose is basically determined by your own body weight and the expected weight of the equipment.

Essentially, the larger the contact surface of the snowshoe, the more buoyancy it gives in the snow. This is particularly helpful in very deep and powdery snow and with luggage. However, large snowshoes can be a hindrance on steeper and alpine terrain.

Facts worth knowing about snowshoes

What to do in case of an accident while snowshoeing ?

  • European emergency number: 112
  • Mountain rescue Switzerland: 1414
  • Mountain rescue Austria: 140
  • Mountain Rescue Bavaria: 19222
  • Mountain rescue South Tyrol: 118

If an Alpine emergency call is made to one of the emergency numbers shown, the Operations Centre will dispatch appropriate rescue personnel from the local mountain rescue service. If there is no reception on your own network, the Euronotruf 112 usually works anyway. In the higher and more remote areas, however, uninterrupted mobile phone coverage is hardly possible.

Did you know that snowshoe hiking can also be quite dangerous? That's why it's recommended that you also buy an avalanche transceiver kit. This includes an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe. A tour is best led by a mountain guide.

A so-called "SOS function" is already standard for many smartphones. However, if such a function is missing, you should switch off the mobile phone and enter the number 112 instead of the PIN code when you switch it back on. This will automatically search for the strongest available radio network within range.

The European Emergency Call can be used in all European countries free of charge, without credit and without a SIM card.

In addition, in an emergency situation, preference is given to an "SOS" call over a telephone call. The Euronotruf thus always has priority.

Alpine distress signal

The Alpine distress signal is used for signalling and communication between the victim and the rescuers and is valid in the entire Alpine region. Winter sports enthusiasts in distress should give a visible or acoustic signal six times at regular intervals within one minute.

After six repetitions, there should be a pause of one minute and then the process should be repeated until rescue arrives. When the signal has arrived, the rescuers shall respond three times at regular intervals in the same manner within one minute.

Signal examples
visible/visual forehead/torch, wave jacket, mirror
acoustic call, whistle

If there is a helicopter operation, loose objects should be fixed. In addition, the helicopter must be properly briefed by a person. Do not stop signalling until the rescue appears, because the signals also serve to locate the casualties !

Wildlife protection

  • You should not leave the prescribed route in protected areas and game rest zones.
  • In the forest you should make sure that you hike on the marked routes and paths. It is also important to follow the signposts in the area.
  • If you encounter game, avoid it and avoid the feeding area to give nature the space it needs.
  • If you have a dog, leave it at home or keep it on a lead.

Leave nature as it is and, if possible, only leave tracks in the snow. Take the beautiful impressions home with you and protect nature and the environment!

Image source: 123rf.com / 41546777

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