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Buying guide: Snowshoes


1. Flat Terrain Snowshoes

2. Rolling Terrain Snowshoes

3. Mountain Terrain Snowshoes

4. Running Snowshoes


Like most other winter outdoor gear, snowshoes aren't cheap. For a good quality pair of snowshoes, you should expect to spend between $150 to $250, on average.


They are rated for the weight of the person. 20 inch youth models go up to maximum of 80 pounds, 21 inch snowshoes go up to 125 pounds, 22 inch go up to 150 pounds, 25 inch are rated up to 175 pounds, 30 inch shoes go up to 220 pounds, and 35 or 36 inch snowshoes are rated for over 220 pounds.


While some snowshoes are still made by hand, this is generally a rarity; most snowshoes are now mass-manufactured and feature aluminum frames and steel cleats. Today, traditional wooden and hide snowshoes are considered works of art, featured in many cultural centres and museums across North America.


While some people might prefer to use snowshoes when there are only a few inches on the ground, they don't become necessary until there are at least six inches of snow on the ground. Snowshoes have been designed to increase the area of the ground across which someone's weight is distributed.


Snowshoeing can indeed be more challenging than hiking and, therefore, walking. Due to the extra effort to keep on top of the snow and the extra weight you might carry, your pace will be on average 1.7 times slower. Wearing snowshoeing gear makes you heavier and more effort is required to walk.


A heel lift is precisely what it sounds like. A heel lift is designed to increase the final resting place of your heel slightly. When you take a step while wearing snowshoes and have a heel lift attached, you will feel that your heel will strike the ground slightly sooner. Think about this as you would in high heels.


In snowshoeing, some of the potential safety issues to consider include injury from a fall, falling through frozen water, getting lost, hypothermia, and frostbite. You can also add in the dangers of changing weather, avalanches, altitude sickness, and tree wells if in the mountains.


Avoid walking on asphalt and concrete with your snowshoes. These abrasive surfaces grind down crampons and wear away nylon. If you need to travel over bare roads, sidewalks or car parks, take the shoes off and carry them.