The Best Snowshoes for 2023

Dominate the snow and enjoy the beauty of a white winter.

Snowshoes

Autumn was pleasant enough, but the winter season seems to be freezing more than just the trees. You have been stalling your activities, waiting for the perfect time to wander off and explore the luxury of the snow. Whether as adults, teenagers, or children, we all have memories kindled by falling snowflakes. We remember the joy of throwing snowballs and the beauty of making a snowman.

But there is more to this jubilant season than memories. Winter inspires the longing for adventure and play. It is the one time when everyone, both old and young, wants to do the same thing: explore.

For those who simply want to play safely; those who want to hike into the rocky terrain; take a walk in the snow; into the woods; or go on an adventure. Our expertly written, beginner-friendly review of the best snowshoes will assist you in making sure you enjoy the snow with two firmly planted feet.

How We Picked

  • Material

    The materials used to make the snowshoes were considered because they were what ensured the quality and lifespan of the shoes.

  • Length

    We also considered the length of the shoes because, just like casual shoes, buying the perfect fit ensures comfort and improves stamina.

  • Type of terrain it can withstand

    Each terrain comes with its own variation of snow. From fluffy to deep fluffy, packed snow, and even hard ice, we considered which shoe fits best in each terrain.

  • Price

    While picking these snowshoes, we considered the fact that everyone does not share the same budget. Therefore, we also provided a category that covers the best shoes at a cost-effective price.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

MSR Lightning Ascent

MSR Lightning Ascent

Designed to strike the best possible balance between mobility, stability, and comfort.

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes are the perfect solution for a weekend tripper or backpacker looking to get out and explore the backcountry with a light, compact, and easy to use snowshoe. And, they are designed for people of all skill levels.

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The MSR Lightning Ascent delivers exactly as promised. This snowshoe can manage everything from packed roads to deep powder and the most severe mountain terrain thanks to its lightweight build and nimble underfoot.

Runner Up

Tubbs Xplore

Tubbs Xplore

A top-of-the-line, lightweight snowshoe that will take you as far as you want to go.

Tubbs snowshoes are offered in a variety of lengths to accommodate a wider range of weights and to ease walking on fluffier snow. They also offer plenty of comfort, control, and grip ideal for some serious backcountry exploration.

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The Xplore's recreational design means that people of all ability levels can enjoy their conventional look and feel. Hip, knee, and ankle joint stress are reduced by 10% thanks to the Fit-tubular Step's frame's unique upturned tail.

Most Cost-Effective

MSR Evo Trail

MSR Evo Trail

The MSR Evo Trail pair is a tough, affordable option that can withstand a lot of wear.

The aluminum bow frame is strong, light and simple to adjust. This snowshoe spreads your weight over a large surface area to help prevent post-holing. It’s made of durable material for maximum performance in winter conditions.

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Thanks to the robust hard plastic decking, firm toe crampons, and steel side rails, the rubber bindings of the MSR Evo Trail are simple to put on and remain pliable even when tested in frigid temperatures.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

MSR Lightning Ascent

MSR Lightning Ascent

Designed to strike the best possible balance between mobility, stability, and comfort.

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Runner Up

Tubbs Xplore

Tubbs Xplore

A top-of-the-line, lightweight snowshoe that will take you as far as you want to go.

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Most Cost-Effective

MSR Evo Trail

MSR Evo Trail

The MSR Evo Trail pair is a tough, affordable option that can withstand a lot of wear.

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Who This Is For

The winter is a beautiful season that spreads a blanket of serenity across everything, but walking in the snow could be a bit of a problem, and for parents who are worried about their kids or teenagers’ safety, the slippery ice or the fluffy snow doesn’t ease your worries. However, with the availability of the right snowshoes, your confidence is restored. We recommend snowshoes for anyone who lives in a region that snows.

For those in places where the snow is heavy, mobility might be a problem, and depending on the depth of snow, movement can be anything from slow to frustrating. Therefore, we also recommend snowshoes as necessary footwear for those who seek to make snow navigation easier.

Snowshoes vs Crampons vs Microspikes
We have received several questions from people torn between what kind of footwear would go well with the snow. Most of them conflicted on which footgear to choose and why. So, we decided to clear that up too. While snowshoes, crampons, and microspikes are all designed for snow walking, these shoes are made with different intents.

Microspikes (ice cleats) have an elastic rubber frame and may be worn with any type of shoe. They are ideal for snow, ice, and moderately graded paths that are packed or have patches of ice and are a good alternative for winter traction unless you’re tackling mountains, glacial terrain, or severe slippery situations.

If microspikes aren’t appropriate for the terrain, crampons are an alternative. Crampons are more suitable for steeper, icier terrain, such as glacier hiking and even vertical ice climbing, due to their stronger burst and grip.

Unlike the others, snowshoes are built for deep snow, where other footwear would sink. They allow you to float by distributing your weight evenly across the surface of the snow. Many snowshoes also include crampons to keep you upright in icy weather. When going for long hikes or looking for multipurpose footwear for the snow, you should definitely consider snowshoes.

Do I Really Need Snowshoes?
Most individuals prefer to stay at home during the winter, while others prefer to explore, but venturing out may be necessary for some. Snowshoes are required for walking at higher elevations when the snow is deeper.

Although some people generally prefer them, snowshoes aren’t required until there are at least six inches of snow on the ground. In areas with deep snow, crampons and microspikes will not save you from sinking into the fluff. Snowshoes, on the other hand, aid in the prevention of post-holing by compacting the snow and distributing your weight over a larger area.

Why You Should Trust Us

To ensure that we could provide the best reviews, we conducted research into snowshoes that covered not only the shoes but also what people thought about them. Though there was no research or a general survey with a definite answer, we were able to gather data from sites like snowshoe magazine which, combined with customer reviews, economic, and market data were enough to help us analyze trends and arrive at the conclusions we applied to this review.

How We Picked

Type of Terrain They Can Handle
There’s a shoe for every type of snow, whether it’s packed, fluffy, deep, or ice. When you consider the slope of the trail you’re on, things become much more complicated. Since fluffy snow doesn’t last long and deep fluffy snow is tough to walk through, we chose pairs that could be worn on a range of terrain.

Length
Extra shoe length is unnecessary because bearing weight on your feet is taxing. Longer, wider snowshoes are preferred for hiking through fresh powder, while shorter, narrower types are better suited for trudging on packed snow. Length is also related to the wearer’s weight. Longer shoes help heavy hikers float more easily.

Material
The most significant factor is the material of the spikes. Aluminum and plastic are the least durable snowshoe materials, whereas nylon and steel are the best. The best snowshoes have steel spikes and the rails are composed of metal (though not always), since shoes with steel rails and spikes underfoot are typically more durable. Steel, as is customary, comes at a cost in terms of weight.

Price
We made the price a factor in this review because not everyone operates on the same budget, and we wanted to ensure that we covered everyone, however tight the budget might be. This means that we have gone through the pains of searching out the best snowshoe at the least expensive price, and so you can get perfect quality at an affordable cost.

Durability
Why buy a snowshoe that will be damaged before the next winter? Our expert guide explored several snowshoes to make sure that the materials from which these shoes were built were those that allowed the footwear to endure years of strenuous activity without losing its edge. We made sure that the teeth, the frames, and the straps of these shoes were made of durable material that would last several winters and accompany you on many long hikes.

Type of Boot Attachment System
Straps that can endure the repeated pulling on the shoe from your boot is what you need. Plastic straps, ratchets, or buckles are the most common methods of attaching a snowshoe to your footwear. The straps, however, their material, and how long they last are all important things that ensure the snowshoe’s durability and comfort.

Traction & Climbing Features
Snowshoes pack several features, and these range from toe crampons to the tail, binding systems, toe fillings, braking bars, side rails, heel lifts, and teeth. The specificity of these features was another important factor that we considered before picking out the best snowshoes.

Our Picks For You

Our Top Pick - MSR Lightning Ascent

Our Top Pick

MSR Lightning Ascent

MSR Lightning Ascent

Designed to strike the best possible balance between mobility, stability, and comfort.

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes are the perfect solution for a weekend tripper or backpacker looking to get out and explore the backcountry with a light, compact, and easy to use snowshoe. And, they are designed for people of all skill levels.

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Who It Is For:

Snowshoers of all skill levels will appreciate the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes' versatility. These snowshoes are built with high-quality components like heel lifts and powerful toe crampons. They also have secure and comfortable binding systems. You should definitely get this if you are a first-time snowshoer or are venturing into new snowy terrain.

Why It Is Great:

The crampons and rails run length and width for the best in-class traction system, and they can confidently bite into anything from ice to soft snow. The most recent model also addresses earlier issues with the binding system. Thanks to a single large piece of rigid mesh shielding the foot, the new design is more current without sacrificing foot grip or comfort.

Potential Flaws:

The price is the major disadvantage when purchasing the MSR Lightning Ascent. While the snowshoes offer great quality and features for their price, they are a serious dent in the budget for those for whom snowshoeing is a casual activity.

Product Features/Effectiveness:

The performance and build quality of the MSR Lightening Ascent are unrivalled. The Lightning Ascent comes in three lengths: 22 inches, 25 inches, and 30 inches. The Paragon binding, which reduces pressure spots thanks to the freeze-resistant strap, is one of its best features. The sturdy toe stop also aids in keeping your foot firm and aligned. The 360-degree traction aluminum frames provide a lot of grip on climbs. You'll have even more traction on snowy and steep slopes with steel DTX crampons and Ergo Televator heel lifts for support.

Product Specifications:

Snowshoe closure material: Rubber
Frame material: Aluminum
Deck material: TPU-coated nylon
Crampon (Toe & Heel): Steel
Side traction & heel lift: Available
Weight per pair: 4 pounds

Our Runner Up - Tubbs Xplore

Our Runner Up

Tubbs Xplore

Tubbs Xplore

A top-of-the-line, lightweight snowshoe that will take you as far as you want to go.

Tubbs snowshoes are offered in a variety of lengths to accommodate a wider range of weights and to ease walking on fluffier snow. They also offer plenty of comfort, control, and grip ideal for some serious backcountry exploration.

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Who It Is For:

This is a recreational snowshoe that is best suited for beginners who do not want to push themselves too hard on challenging or steep terrain. If you're on a low budget but still want something that can tackle basic terrain and float in heavy snow, you might want to start with this model.

Why It Is Great:

The Tubbs Xplore is a budget-friendly and easy-to-use snowshoe that comes in men's and women's sizes. This can be a nice option if you're new to snowshoeing and are searching for something simple. The Tubbs Xplore will surely cover all of your bases as long as you plan to stick to beginning routes or in really deep snow without a significant elevation change.

Potential Flaws:

The Tubbs Xplore is better used on deep fluffy snow and doesn’t work well on packed trails. There have also been general complaints about the boot attachment system. However, this is noticeable when the shoes are being used for long hikes for which they are not suitable. These snowshoes are not the best with traction. We discovered that the shoes were fine in light, fluffy snow, but when faced with steep or treacherous terrain, they ran into problems. High-angle hills also presented issues and needed a lot of energy to climb with poor footing when trying to descend.

Product Features & Effectiveness:

For better heel support and alignment, a forefoot strap that can be tightened and unlocked is included in the QuickPull binding, along with the shoe's Control Wings and Recreational carbon steel toe and heel crampons.

Product Specifications:

Snowshoe closure material: Pull webbing
Frame material: Aluminum
Deck material: Nytex nylon
Crampon material (toe/heel): Carbon steel
Weight per pair: 3 pounds

Our Most Cost-Effective - MSR Evo Trail

Our Most Cost-Effective

MSR Evo Trail

MSR Evo Trail

The MSR Evo Trail pair is a tough, affordable option that can withstand a lot of wear.

The aluminum bow frame is strong, light and simple to adjust. This snowshoe spreads your weight over a large surface area to help prevent post-holing. It’s made of durable material for maximum performance in winter conditions.

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Who It Is For:

The MSR Evo trail has remained a favorite for all kinds of snowshoers because of its durability and affordability. The decking is nothing special, but it is still an excellent value for its price range, with good all-around performance on all but the most difficult terrains.

Why It Is Great:

All of the extra features, such as heel lifts and complicated bindings, have been ditched in favor of simple design and good buoyancy at a reasonable price. In normal conditions, the wide, continuous form keeps you above the snow; however, if you're going to be trekking in deep powder, you can add tails for added flotation. Easy-to-moderate hikes on rolling terrain are best suited for the MSR Evo's capabilities.

Potential Flaws:

The MSR Evo Trails aren't the best choice for navigating steep hills because they lack heel lifts. Aside from that, the width and plastic decking of the Evo Trail make it challenging to take a calm winter stroll because of the noise they make.

Product Features & Effectiveness:

Even though it is only 22 inches long for powder skiing, a 6-inch tail can be attached to the back of this snowshoe if you desire better performance in softer and deeper snow. The Evo, which can withstand up to 250 pounds and has a maximum weight of 180 pounds, can be equipped with tails to increase flotation.

Product Specifications:

Snowshoe closure material: Rubber strap
Frame material: Plastic
Deck material: Plastic
Crampon material (toe/heel): Powder-coated steel
Side traction: Available
Recommended load: 180 pounds
Dimensions: 22 x 8 x 3 inches
Weight (per pair): 3 pounds

Our Almost Made The Cut - Atlas Helium-MTN

Our Almost Made The Cut

Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes

Atlas Helium-MTN

Flexible and light, these snowshoes make hiking on rough terrain a walk in the park.

This easy-to-use and extremely flexible brand provides comfort for those who wish to take long hikes without being burdened. They’re lightweight at just three pounds and feature traction spikes to keep you from slipping and sliding on even the most technical terrain. The Heliums can support up to 220 pounds and are adjustable making them suitable for both men and women.

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Who It Is For:

The Atlas Helium-MTN is meant for all types of snowshoers and is designed for both easy and challenging terrain. You'll be able to navigate heavy snow and frozen hills with ease when wearing Helium MTN Snowshoes. These all-terrain decks are great for navigating ice and snow due to their lightweight and robust design.

Why It Is Great:

Lightweight and flexible, this snowshoe is a great choice for everyone. Using polymer, this Helium-deck Atlas's MTN is able to bend (nearly 90 degrees) in colder temperatures without breaking. Natural strides are encouraged by its flexibility and light weight, which aids in maintaining balance.

Potential Flaws:

It's worth noting, though, that the deck's back 7 inches are missing teeth. As a result, hikers will have difficulty maintaining their balance on hills due to the lack of traction. On the Helium, however, plastic louvres on the rear provide better traction on flat terrain.

Product Features & Effectiveness:

The Helium-MTN is an all-mountain snowshoe with cutting-edge technology but none of the weight. The BOA Fit System is integrated into the Wrapp MTN binding, ensuring a precise fit every time. Using an anodized aluminum traction rail with serrated teeth and an aggressive MTN crampon with an aft tang, the traction rails give great grip in various terrain and snow conditions. The Helium deck features a louvred design that allows snow to be shed, while an aft fin keeps the snowshoes on the straight and narrow. In order to take on any winter hiking challenge, the Helium-MTN has been designed to provide maximum traction and comfort.

Product Specifications:

Snowshoe closure material: Dial lace
Frame material: Aluminum
Deck material: Nytex nylon
Crampon material (toe/heel): Tempered steel
Side traction & heel lift: Available
Recommended load: 160 pounds
Dimensions: 23 IN: 23 x 8 x 8 inches
Weight (per pair): 3 pounds

Care and Maintenance

The winter is finally coming to an end and you are considering hanging up your shoes for the off-season until next winter. Just like every other piece of gear, your snowshoes will last with good care and maintenance, and the best time to think about hanging up your shoes, even if you won’t use them anymore for the season, is on the last day of winter.

How To Clean
Cleaning your snowshoes is quite easy. To begin, wipe down all surfaces with a clean, dry rag. This will clean the shoes’ surfaces of large particles of debris and sand. Be gentle to avoid scratching your shoes with larger pebbles that may become lodged in the shoe. After that, scrub the shoes using a rag dampened with warm water and a little detergent. Make sure to clean the deck with a moist towel. After that, dab any remaining water with a dry towel and hang your shoes to dry.

When And How To Store
As we mentioned previously, the best time to store your snowshoes is on the last day of winter. The best place to store your snowshoes will be in a cool part of the house without moisture. Most of the time, aluminum and plastic snowshoes are safe if they are not exposed to water. When storing your shoes, make sure to protect them from wet storage conditions that can cause corrosion to metal pieces such as cleats, hinges, and rivets that attach the decking to the frame.

How To Apply Varnish
For those with older and more traditional wooden snowshoes, maintenance demands more than cleaning and hanging. After the season, when you’re ready to store your shoes. Sand the snowshoe frames using 120 grit paper, and then sand the rawhide on both sides. After sanding the snowshoes, use a natural bristle brush to apply spar varnish. Two layers of varnish, one on each side, with a 24-hour drying time in between. Don’t forget to use a high-quality varnish that protects against water and ultraviolet radiation.

How To Check For Damage
The end of winter is an excellent opportunity to thoroughly inspect your snowshoes to ensure that they have not been damaged. To begin, inspect the frame and decking to ensure that there are no major structural concerns, such as huge dents or rips. If the damage is more severe than regular wear and tear, repairs or replacement may be required. Examine the straps and bindings as well. Check that your binding mechanism is still operational. This is an ideal time to loosen your snowshoe bindings before storing them. Inspecting the crampons will also help ensure that they are still in good shape. Tightness should be verified on all screws and bolts, and if you see visible structural damage, you should contact the manufacturer or a sports retailer before you use them again.