The Best Snowshoes

Snowshoeing is an incredibly fun, safe, and affordable way to continue getting in some serious outdoor time when the cold weather strikes and the snow on backcountry trails are just too deep for regular hiking. Unlike cross-country skiing or ski-mountaineering, just about anyone can learn the essentials required to become a proficient snowshoer in next to no time. As with all outdoor gear items, however, not all snowshoes are created equal, and for every pair of reliable, high-performing snowshoes on the market, there are a handful of less worthy models that are unlikely to stand the test of time or provide optimal comfort, stability, and performance. To help you avoid the latter, we’ve separated the wheat from the chaff by bringing you our selection of the top 25 snowshoes available today.

We reviewed dozens of snowshoes to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of factors, including material, shape, size, value for money, ideal usage, binding system, weight capacity, and average customer reviews.

Top Pick
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Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Meet the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, the ideal choice for all snowshoeing adventures for beginners and more advanced users alike.

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$95.00 USD

After carefully considering a large number of snowshoes, we chose the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes as our Top Pick. They offer outstanding all-round performance for novices and old-hands alike and provide the optimal blend of robustness, comfort, durability, and value for money.  Whether you’re plodding round your favorite local forest track or intend on taking on a testier trail further afield, these snowshoes will allow you to do so in comfort and safety.

The 5 Top-Rated Snowshoes

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallChinook Trekker Snowshoes4.2
Runner UpMSR Evo Trail4.6
Best Budget BuyALPS Adult All Terrain Snowshoes3.7
Best Running SnowshoesAtlas Snow Race Snowshoes4.6
Best Backcountry SnowshoesMSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes
4.5

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

After weighing in all the options and going through all their specs and features with a fine-toothed comb, we found the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes to be our favorite snowshoes currently on the market. An excellent choice both for beginners and those who already have a few seasons of snowshoeing under their belts, these snowshoes offer lightweight performance and impressive durability at a very reasonable price.

Using an aluminum frame in combination with UV-resistant polyethylene decking, the Chinook Trekker offers durability and confidence-inspiring robustness in a pleasingly lightweight package—not something that can be said of all snowshoes in their performance category. Moreover, their 30-inch length and 8.6-inch width can support up to 250 lbs, making them a great choice for anyone who fears a day of “post-holing” (i.e. sinking up to your knees) in powdery or soft snow.

Beyond their impressively tough and ergonomic construction, what we love most about the Chinook Trekker are their practicality and frill-free convenience, most notably featured in the easily adjustable, freeze-proof ratchet bindings, quick-release buckles, and the heavy-duty aluminum crampons that rotate freely to bite into snow. This special feature prevents balling (the accumulation of snow beneath the crampon) and offers sufficient traction to negotiate moderately steep slopes.

As an added bonus, the Chinook Trekker comes with a burly carry bag with pack straps that allow it to attach to your backpack. Other features include side handles for easy portation, mesh ventilation for drainage, and Velcro pole carriers.

Chinook Trekker Snowshoes Key Features:

  • 180-250 lbs recommended load
  • Durable aluminum frame
  • Quick-release bindings
  • Anti-balling, rotating crampons

Our Runner Up Pick: MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes

Runner Up
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MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes

A serious snowshoe for more serious excursions, the Evo Trail is a winner for those looking to take their snowshoeing adventures to the next level.

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$139.95 USD

They might not be the cheapest snowshoes out there, but for those looking to up their game a little in terms of performance and take their snowshoeing trips into more challenging terrain with confidence, the MSR Evo Trail Shoes merit their place somewhere very near the top of your shortlist.

These snowshoes are made with a superbly sturdy, molded plastic frame with steel traction bars flanking either side and tough, carbon steel crampons for added stability and grip on steeper slopes. The Evo Trail’s DuoFit bindings are also freeze-resistant, glove-friendly, and offer a wide enough range of motion to optimize control and balance when your trails take a turn towards the vertical. While the recommended maximum load for these snowshoes is only 180 lbs, heavier users or those hiking in particularly deep snow can pick up a pair of 6-inch modular tails for added flotation and versatility.

MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes Key Features:

  • 180 lbs recommended load
  • Steel traction rails
  • Freeze-resistant bindings

Best Budget Pick: ALPS Adult All Terrian Snowshoes Set

Best for Budget
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ALPS Adult All Terrian Snowshoes Set

Reasonably lightweight, robust, durable, and sold with a functional tote bag and pair of anti-shock trekking poles, these snowshoes are the ideal choice for those new to snowshoeing and looking to learn the ropes without breaking the bank.

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$169.99 USD

Newcomers to snowshoeing may be put off by the costs entailed in assembling their kit for something that might not be their bag in the longer term. While we can be fairly sure this won’t be the case, the ALPS Adult All Terrian Snowshoes provide a solution to the problem, offering solid, entry to intermediate-level performance at a price palatable even to those who only envision using their snowshoes a few times per season.

These snowshoes use tough aluminum tubing and durable, lightweight Nytex deck material to bring excellent stability and flotation in even the most powdery snow. The 250-pound recommended max load (for the 30″ snowshoes) represents an upgrade on that offered by many of their pricier competitors. The ALPS Adult All Terrain Snowshoes also feature user-friendly, functional bindings, Fast-Loc buckles, and crampons that are aggressive enough to allow you to take on steeper ascents and descents with plenty of control.

All in all, a great choice for anyone seeking great value for money without compromising on performance.

ALPS Adult All Terrain Snowshoes Set Key Features:

  • 250 lbs recommended for the maximum load (30″ size)
  • Robust aluminum frame
  • Fast-Loc buckles
  • Durable materials

Best Running Snowshoes: Atlas Snow Race Snowshoes

Best Running Snowshoes
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Atlas Snow Race Snowshoes

For those looking to travel light and fast without compromising on support and stability, these snowshoes have you covered.

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$339.95 USD

Hikers looking to put in some serious mileage on their snowshoeing excursions need a snowshoe that’s light, dexterous, and fine-tuned to the demands of a more dynamic style of travel. The Atlas Snow Race Snowshoe is just that. Tipping the scales at a tiny 2.16 pounds, these snowshoes weigh less than half of many of their beefier backcountry competitors and allow you to enjoy long days on the snow without succumbing to leg fatigue or running out of steam.

But there’s a lot more to these snowshoes than their light weight. They use a patented spring-loaded suspension system that keeps the snowshoe close to your feet to facilitate maneuvering, absorb impact, and improve traction and grip on trickier, steeper sections of trail and traverses.

Other nice touches included in the Atlas Snow Race are the lightweight, quick-release bindings, sturdy and aggressive titanium crampons, and a V-style frame that allows you to use a more natural walking style than is possible with bulkier, rectangular-shaped models of snowshoe.

Atlas Snow Race Snowshoe Key Features:

  • Spring-loaded suspension
  • 6061 aluminum, V-shaped frame
  • Aggressive titanium crampons

Best Backcountry Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes

Best Backcountry Snowshoes
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MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes

A serious snowshoe for the serious backcountry adventurer, the MSR Lighting Ascent is the ideal choice for those seeking to tackle testier terrain.

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$299.95 USD

If plodding around the trails in your local forest or more manicured tracks all just feels a little too tame and you find yourself casting a covetous eye in the direction of more adventurous routes on steeper inclines, then the MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes could be the snowshoes for you.

While perfectly at home on more moderate trails, these snowshoes are made with the more intrepid backcountry adventurer in mind and pull out all the stops to provide the utmost support, stability, and traction in more extreme backcountry terrain.

But just what do those “stops” consist of?

Well, for starters, the serrated, 360-degree traction frame on the Lightning Ascent features “teeth” that bite into slopes of any angle no matter which part of the snowshoe you place on the snow. The frame is also crisscrossed by aggressively shaped, one-piece crampons that provide further stability and purchase. But perhaps the most endearing features in these snowshoes are the Ergo Televator heel lift bar, which can be flipped up to provide improved balance, traction, and minimize fatigue when tackling steep inclines, and the PosiLock bindings, which are very lightweight, ultra-secure, and easy to use even with thick gloves.

To top it all off, the Lightning Ascent have a 280-pound max recommended load, making them the ideal choice for those who plan on hauling heavy camping gear.

MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes Key Features:

  • 280 lbs recommended max load
  • Ergo Televator heel lift bar
  • Serrated, 360-degree traction frame

Who Should Buy a Pair of Snowshoes

Snowshoes provide an excellent means of getting out and enjoying the outdoors and wintry, snow-covered landscapes without delving into the more technical world of alpine or cross-country skiing. With just a few outings and a little bit of practice, anyone can learn the basics and be ready to tackle the same terrain as they would in warmer months in their hiking boots.

Snowshoeing is also far more affordable than cross-country skiing or ski mountaineering, less hazardous, and allows you to get in a great workout while enjoying a variety of landscapes in all their snow-covered glory.

Top Pick
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Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Meet the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, the ideal choice for all snowshoeing adventures for beginners and more advanced users alike.

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$95.00 USD

Important Features to Consider

A pair of snowshoes should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a pair of snowshoes for your outdoor adventures:

  • Type of snowshoes. While there can be a degree of crossover between the style of snowshoes and their intended use, generally speaking, snowshoes fall into three categories: recreational, backcountry, and running snowshoes. Recreational models are best used on flatter or moderately inclined terrain and, generally speaking, are a better choice for beginner snowshoers. Running snowshoes are usually much lighter and use a handful of features (spring-loaded bindings, live-action hinges, and a tear-drop shape) that make them better adapted to a more dynamic style. Backcountry models are typically heavier but provide the aggressive traction and improved flotation required for hiking in tougher terrain.
  • Frame. Until fairly recently, most models of snowshoe used a tubular aluminum frame with decking material stretched across to provide additional flotation. In the last decade or so, however, more and more models have appeared on the market that use an entirely plastic or metallic frame in order to enhance the level of traction on steeper and icier terrain. In short, tubular frames are usually found on hiking or recreational snowshoes and are a good bet when hiking in deeper, powdery snow, but often don’t provide as much traction on steeper slopes or harder, compact snow. Plastic and metallic frames, on the other hand, are usually designed with more adventurous users in mind, using serrated edges around the frames in addition to crampon bars to provide optimal traction. On the downside, many of these models offer a little less in the way of flotation than tubular-frame snowshoes and often cost significantly more.
  • Decking. The term “decking” refers to the material used between the frame of any snowshoe to provide flotation. Various types of decking are used in different models, but, as a general rule, those that use synthetic decking inside the frame offer superior flotation but less in the way of traction, while those with composite, solid decking provide better grip but often don’t perform quite so well in deep powder.
  • Traction and crampons. The traction provided by the frame and crampons on your snowshoes, in short, is the only thing that prevents you from slipping while ascending, traversing, or descending snow-covered terrain with any degree of incline. While this is less of a concern if you only plan on using your snowshoes on moderate and relatively flat terrain, those who are more adventurous in their choice of trail should look for toe or instep crampons on the base of the bindings, serrated side rails for added traction on traverses, and v-shaped heel crampons or “braking bars”  to provide added braking power on descents and prevent backsliding when heading uphill.
  • Weight. The weight of your snowshoes is an important consideration for two reasons. Firstly, snow cover might not be sufficient for snowshoe use at the start of your chosen trail, so you will, in many cases, have to carry your snowshoes on your backpack until the snow is deep enough. Secondly, weight on your feet can sap energy and result in leg fatigue far quicker than weight on your back, so if you plan on putting in some serious mileage in your snowshoes it’s well considering opting for a more lightweight model.
  • Recommended max load. Different sizes of snowshoes are capable of supporting different loads, with smaller models often having a max recommended user weight of as little as 120 lbs and larger, backcountry models as much as 300 lbs. If you plan on carrying a lot of gear on your snowshoeing trips, be sure to factor in the additional weight of this gear when choosing your snowshoes.
  • Heel lift bar. This feature, most commonly found in backcountry models, eases calf strain and provides added support by raising the heel when traveling on steeper slopes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are snowshoes and how do they work?

Snowshoes are a device that allow you to walk over the snow without sinking or “post-holing” by distributing the user’s weight over a larger surface area. They also provide traction and stability through the use of crampons and—in some models—serrated frames which dig into the snow to prevent slips or slides.

What kind of shoes do you wear with snowshoes?

While it may seem reasonable to assume that because your snowshoes suspend your weight above the snowpack it might be feasible to wear shoes that are less weather-resistant or warm than when hiking in snow, we’d highly recommend using regular hiking boots with adequate weather-resistance and insulation. Even though snowshoes ensure our feet are not quite so exposed to snow as when plodding through the white stuff in hiking boots alone, some degree of contact with snow is inevitable and hiking boots will also provide added stability, ankle support, and insulation against the chillier air sure to be encountered when hiking in the year’s cooler months.

Is snowshoeing good exercise?

In a word, yes!

According to two independent studies from Ball State University and the University of Vermont, snowshoeing provides an even more thorough workout than regular hiking. Furthermore, snowshoers—depending on their speed of travel, pack load, body weight, and fitness levels—can expect to burn 420-1000 calories per hour. In addition to its calorie-burning capacities, snowshoeing also helps to build strength (particularly in the legs and glutes) and improve balance, agility, and endurance.

Is snowshoeing dangerous?

Snowshoeing presents no more objective dangers than hiking or skiing in snow-covered terrain. That’s the good news. The bad news is that anyone planning on snowshoeing in the backcountry should be prepared to take all the precautions necessary for travel in snow-covered and mountainous environments. These precautions include checking avalanche forecasts, carrying avalanche safety equipment (an avalanche beacon, snow shovel, and snow probe), and digging a snow pit to assess the stability of the snowpack.

Other Snowshoes We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Meet the Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, the ideal choice for all snowshoeing adventures for beginners and more advanced users alike.

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$95.00 USD

We looked at 20 other pairs of snowshoes. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best snowshoes list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your snowshoeing adventures. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Budget Snowshoes

Gpeng Snowshoes

Gpeng Snowshoes

Using lightweight aluminum tubing, tough Nytex decking, and with a max recommended load of 250 pounds, these snowshoes are an excellent choice for any users looking to get their first few outings under their belt without breaking the bank.

Key Features:

  • 250 lbs max recommended load
  • Fast-Loc buckles
  • Trekking poles and carry bag included

Cost: $49.99

Pansel Lightweight Snowshoes

Pansel Lightweight Snowshoes

With a robust aluminum frame, durable PE decking, fully adjustable, double-ratcheting bindings, and weighing just 4 pounds, these snowshoes are a great option for lighter users who plan on hiking in more moderate terrain.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Quick-release heel buckles
  • Forged aluminum alloy crampons

Cost: $49.99

FLASHTEK Lightweight Snowshoes

FLASHTEK Lightweight Snowshoes

A wonderfully functional, easy-to-use pair of snowshoes that provide excellent flotation in powder and plenty of traction on more compact snow. Ideal for flat to moderately sloped terrain.

Key Features:

  • Anti-shock poles and carry bag included
  • Forged aluminum alloy crampons
  • Lightweight but robust aluminum frame
  • Durable decking material

Cost: $56.99

WildHorn Outfitters Sawtooth Snowshoes

WildHorn Outfitters Sawtooth Snowshoes

While a little pricier than our other budget picks, these very stylish snowshoes are worth every extra penny, offering added support and flotation thanks to heavy-duty, spring-loaded binding clips, an auto-locking heel strap, and a heel lift bar that provides maximum purchase, stability, and control on steep inclines.

Key Features:

  • 235 lbs max recommended load
  • Spring-loaded binding clips
  • Heel lift bar
  • Reinforced ratchet binding

Cost: $69.99

ALPS Lightweight Snowshoes

ALPS Lightweight Snowshoes

Lightweight, durable, and with excellent flotation capacities, these highly functional, frill-free snowshoes are the ideal choice for newcomers who plan on hiking in gentler terrain.

Key Features:

  • 250 lbs max recommended load
  • Carry bag and trekking poles included
  • Lightweight aluminum tubing

Cost: $48.99

Lucky Bums Snowshoes

Lucky Bums Snowshoes

Incredibly tough, durable, and easy to use, these curiously named snowshoes win our vote for the most rugged budget snowshoes currently on the market. Ideal for those for whom longevity is as much of a priority as performance.

Key Features:

  • 175 lbs max recommended load
  • Very tough decking material
  • Lightweight aluminum frame

Cost: $64.99

Thunder Bay All Terrain Aluminum Snowshoes

Thunder Bay All-Terrain Aluminum Snowshoes

For those looking to make the step up from gentler to more challenging terrain, these snowshoes provide the perfect combination of flotation, traction, and stability to allow you to do so safely and in comfort.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight aircraft aluminum-alloy frame
  • High-density polyethylene decking
  • Easy-adjust ratchet system
  • Trekking poles and carry bag included

Cost: $60

Carryown All-Terrain Snowshoes

Carryown All-Terrain Snowshoes

These oversize, burly snowshoes come with a max recommended load of 255 pounds and use extremely robust, confidence-inspiring materials. A great option for heavier users or those who plan on hiking in softer snow and/or carrying a heavy backpack.

Key Features:

  • 255 lbs max recommended load
  • Tough aluminum frame
  • Trekking poles and carry bag included

Cost: $59.99

Running Snowshoes

Crescent Moon Gold 12 Running Snowshoes

Crescent Moon Gold 12 Running Snowshoes

For those looking to travel fast and light without compromising on support, stability, and flotation, they don’t come a great deal better than the Crescent Moon Gold 12.

Key Features:

  • Incredibly light (3.1 lbs per pair)
  • Tear-drop shape offers excellent maneuverability
  • Aggressive crampon configuration

Cost: $220

Redfeather Pace 500 Snowshoes

Redfeather Pace 500 Snowshoes

Weighing in at a tiny 2.7 lbs, these fantastically functional, easy-to-use, and hard-wearing snowshoes are among the lightest models on the market and ideal for those keen to put in some serious mileage on the trails.

Key Features:

  • Very lightweight (2.7 lbs)
  • Streamlined design
  • “Live-action” hinge lifts the tail to reduce drag and increase mobility and speed

Cost: $169.95

Atlas Boa Run Snowshoe

Atlas Boa Run Snowshoe

Weighing just 2.8 pounds and with a max recommended load of 190 pounds, these snowshoes are an excellent choice for those looking to up their miles per hour without compromising on flotation.

Key Features:

  • Very lightweight (2.8 lbs)
  • Spring-loaded suspension
  • Low-profile design

Cost: $184

Atlas Fitness Snowshoe

Atlas Fitness Snowshoe

Lightweight, robust, easy to use, and just a little bit stylish to boot, there’s a lot to love about the Atlas Fitness Snowshoes. Their dialed-in running features make them a great option for snowshoers making the transition from slow-paced hiking to a more dynamic style.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight (3.15 lbs)
  • 190 lbs max recommended load
  • LSR, spring-loaded suspension
  • Great traction on compact snow

Cost: $ 132.97

Redfeather 30 Snowshoes

Redfeather 30 Snowshoes

Marketed as a trekking shoe, the Redfeather 30’s lightweight, streamlined design, and live-action hinge makes them equally effective for fast-movers and a great choice for buyers who want more versatility than that provided by out-and-out running snowshoes.  A great all-rounder.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight (3.4 lbs)
  • Live-action hinge reduces heel drag in the snow
  • Aggressive toe and heel crampons
  • Ripstop decking fabric

Cost: $229.95

Redfeather Vapor Snowshoes

Redfeather Vapor Snowshoes

With bindings specially configured for use with running shoes, a live-action BioThane hinge, and weighing in at a tiny 2.5 pounds, these snowshoes tick every box that needs ticking for the ultra-light, fast-moving snowshoer.

Key Features:

  • Cross-country bindings made to fit running shoes
  • Very lightweight (2.5 lbs)
  • Live-action hinge

Cost: $242.64

Backcountry Snowshoes

Winterial Mountain Snowshoes

Winterial Mountain Snowshoes

These very well-made, reasonably priced, high-traction snowshoes are ideal for those looking to make the step up from recreational to backcountry snowshoeing without splurging on a pair of pricier and highly technical snowshoes.

Key Features:

  • 190 lbs max recommended load
  • Trekking poles and carry case included
  • Quick-fit bindings
  • Aggressive crampon design

Cost: $90

Yukon Charlies Advanced Spin Snowshoes

Yukon Charlies Advanced Spin Snowshoes

Measuring a whopping 10″x 36″ and using the perfect blend of user-friendly and technical features, these snowshoes are ideal for carrying heavy loads in the harshest of terrain.

Key Features:

  • Excellent flotation
  • Heel lift bar
  • Forged steel crampons
  • Trekking poles and carry bag included

Cost: $184

Crescent Moon Gold 17 Expedition Snowshoes

Crescent Moon Gold 17 Expedition Snowshoes

Excursions into serious and demanding terrain call for a serious snowshoe. The Crescent Moon Expedition snowshoe is just that, with a max recommended load of 300 pounds, very aggressive crampons, and outstanding maneuverability without compromising on flotation.

Key Features:

  • Measure 37 by 10 inches
  • 300 lbs max recommended load
  • Toe claw crampon for improved grip on steep slopes

Cost: $237

TSL Symbioz Elite Snowshoes

TSL Symbioz Elite Snowshoes

A lightweight, high-performing backcountry snowshoe that provides possibly the best traction of any shoe we’ve ever come across. A top performer in varied terrain and particularly effective in icier conditions and compact snow.

Key Features:

  • HyperFlex frame conforms to slope to maximize grip
  • Heel lift bar
  • 300 lbs max recommended load

Cost: $247

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe

A beast of a snowshoe that offers the optimal balance between weight, traction, support, and load capacity required by those heading into testier terrain.

Key Features:

  • Aggressive perimeter teeth
  • Very tough, injection-molded plastic deck
  • Ergo Televator heel lift

Cost: $199.95

Atlas Spindrift Snowshoes

Atlas Spindrift Snowshoes

A rugged backcountry snowshoe that offers excellent traction and flotation at a lighter weight than most of its backcountry competitors.

Key Features:

  • Spring-loaded suspension
  • Heel lift bar
  • Highly durable molded foredeck
  • Aggressive traction

Cost: $158.64

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