Getting the right snowshoe size will make all the difference in your experience. Just like with other outdoor equipment, snowshoes can be designed with a different purposes and the number of different options may seem overwhelming at first. Snowshoes can all look the same from a distance but there are some differences.
You first need to figure out how much you weigh and what size foot you have. It helps to know if you are going to snowshoe on a packed trail or in deep snow. Some companies also make models specifically for women so you may appreciate the difference in size. Not all snowshoes are going to be priced alike. There is usually a good reason for one brand being priced cheaper than others. It’s not all about price and there may features missing from the cheaper ones.
The snowshoe size is a key factor in getting the right amount of flotation. The heavier a person is, or the dryer and lighter the snow, the more surface area is required. Aluminum frame shoes come in multiple sizes. Composite snowshoes come in one size but offer the option of adding tails, in order to help you stay afloat on some soft snow.
Snowshoe Sizing by Age or Gender
Men’s snowshoes are designed for heavier loads and larger boots. Women’s snowshoes will be narrower and have a more contoured frame design. The Crescent Moon Eva foam snowshoes come in two different sizes for this reason. The Eva is recommended for snowshoers up to 200 pounds, while the Luna is recommended for women and kids. The bindings are then designed to fit women's footwear. Snowshoes for kids vary by the intended age of the child. Smaller sizes are designed for casual snow play. Larger models can offer the same features that are found on some adult snowshoes.
Snowshoe Sizing by Load
Your weight and your equipment are going to be important factors when determining snowshoes sizing. You can find the recommended load for different lengths if you look at the product information. In many circumstances, a heavier person or one who is going to be carrying a heavily loaded pack will need larger snowshoes than someone just carrying some gear for the day who is smaller.
Snowshoe Sizing by Snow Conditions and Terrain
A recommended load you find on product information is going to be for dry and light snow conditions. If you are going to be on powder snow then you will need bigger snowshoes than you would need on wet compact snow, in order to stay afloat. For packed trails, you need more compact shoes. These are easier to maneuver in a tight space. Icy or steep terrain is also best explored with a smaller snowshoe. Open areas will require larger snowshoes. It’s best to get the smallest size that supports the snow conditions and your weight. If you have adequate flotation then a smaller shoe can be easier to handle.
Different Sizes for Snowshoes
The most popular size for a snowshoe is between 25 and 27 inches long. The shoe is between nine and 10 inches wide. These are recommended for most snowshoers who weigh up to 195 pounds. Snowshoes that are made for women are generally between 22 and 25 inches long and seven to eight inches wide. Snowshoes for deep snow are going to be at least six inches wide. Specialty snowshoes, such as those made for running, are about 22 to 25 inches long. Kids snowshoes are only about 20 inches long and six inches wide.
You secure your boots to the snowshoe with bindings. These bindings consist of a platform and nylon strap that goes around the heel and over the foot. There are two common types. A floating binding pivots at the point where they attach. These bindings make it easier to climb hills and walk naturally. Eva snowshoe bindings are simple and secure. However, these bindings can be awkward if you are trying to climb over logs. Fixed bindings are connected with a band or heavy-duty rubber and won’t pivot as much. These bindings bring the tails up with each step you take, which allows for a comfortable stride. This can make climbing over obstacles easier. However, the downside of these bindings is that they usually kick snow up on the back of the legs.