When the snow comes around, it starts to get a bit harder to get yourself out on the trail to enjoy the great outdoors. Snowshoes are exactly what you need to equip yourself best in order to still enjoy the trail, even with feet of snow under you. The right snowshoe will float you along without post-holing every other step, or get you up steep and icy terrain without fail.
Knowing the right snowshoe to buy comes down to knowing exactly what you are going to be using it for. If you’re a beginner, or a professional headed out on a long-term expedition, you’ll be looking for a completely different pair of snowshoes. To start off, we’ll briefly discuss the different features of snowshoes to give you the know-how to best pick out the pair for you.
Best Snowshoes for Men
Snowshoes come in a variety of different builds for men, for women, for kids, runners, adventurers, and so much more. They’re no longer just a simple woven shoe that carries you across some snow. Nowadays, we have implemented some of the best technology for all other outdoor gear and designed shoes that outperform the rest. Here are our picks for the best snowshoes for men.
Best Softshell Backcountry Skis
1. MSR Lightning Ascent
Lengths: 22 in, 25 in, 30 in
Binding system: Adjustable rubber mesh
Weight: 22 in: 4 lbs., 25 in: 4 lbs. 3 oz., 30 in: 4 lbs. 12 oz.
MSR stands out as one of the top outdoor brands to beat when it comes to snowshoe design. They make the list multiple times and have been doing so for years. The MSR Lightning Ascent is their most popular snowshoe amongst experienced snowshoers and rookies alike. This pair of snowshoes is a great pick for a wide range of use because they’re a simple design that gives decent traction and feel good underfoot.
The new Paragon binding system is one of the most secure binding systems that you can get today. This system on top of an aluminum frame with reliable traction ensures that you can get just about anywhere when you strap these on.
2. MSR EVO Ascent
Lengths: 22 in
Binding system: Adjustable rubber straps
Weight: 4 lbs. 1 oz.
MSR’s second most popular option is their Evo. The Evo comes onto our list as the best snowshoe for a beginner. These plastic shoes come with a good level of traction and secure rubber bindings that fit a wide range of boot sizes. These have been around a long time, so they’ve been tested thoroughly by users around the globe.
One of the biggest drawbacks with the Evo is the clunky build and sound of the plastic frame. It’s not what you want strapped on if you are attempting to go out and successfully hunt anything, the world will know you’re on your way.
3. Tubbs Flex VRT
Lengths: 24 in, 28 in.
Binding system: Dynamic Fit
Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.
Tubbs is another highly reputable brand that has been competing in the market since 1906. You can feel the 100+ years of experience when you throw a pair of the Tubbs Flex VRT snowshoes on. These are designed for those who want to get places that no one else thinks of.
This shoe incorporates aggressive steel crampons that provide impressive traction that will perform well even when you get down to the rocks below. They’re built for climbing mountains, which means they include heel lifts to make the uphills easier and don’t weigh a crazy amount. For wild adventures that will take you to mountaintops, this is the shoe for you.
4. Atlas Montane
Lengths: 25 in, 30 in, 35 in.
Frame: Aluminum Tube
Binding system: Wrap Swift
Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz. (30 in)
The Atlas Montane is another favorite of ours and multitudes of snowshoe users alike. These have proven to be an incredible choice that can perform well for just about anyone. Atlas has put a ton of different technologies together to make this shoe optimum for all sports. This shoe has great flotation thanks to its Reactiv construction and Spring Loaded suspension.
If you want to climb mountains, you don’t need to be afraid of this set of shoes. There’s a 19-degree heel lift and Atlas’ time-tested All-Trac toe crampon that distributes weight in all directions in order to gain maximum traction. Aside from those who are out in the backcountry professionally, this shoe should be a top pick for most.
5. Atlas Run
Lengths: 22 in
Frame: Aluminum tube
Binding system: Ratcheting cable lace and heel strap
Weight: 2 lbs. 5 oz.
For the dedicated runners that don’t let feet of snow keep them off backcountry trails, Atlas has developed the Atlas Run. This snowshoe is built to be ultralight while providing great flotation and a natural gait. The tapered tail follows your foot up as you run, decreasing drag and improving efficiency. To make sure that you can get out with a high level of maneuverability, grab a pair of these if you’re headed for a run or just a quick trek around the woods.
6. Tubbs Panoramic
Lengths: 25 in, 30 in, 36 in.
Frame: Aluminum Tube
Binding system: Dynamicfit
Weight: 4 lbs. 8 oz. (30 in)
If Tubbs has made the technology, it’s been put into the Panoramics. You name it, and they’ve got it. There’s the Fit-Step frame for biomechanical benefits, Softec Decking for improved flotation, the R2 Articulation System for shock absorption, Dynamicfit Bindings for comfort and security, the Cobra toe crampon, and an Activelift heel riser. Like I said, everything.
These are extremely versatile snowshoes that can give a massive amount of flotation with an option of a 36-inch shoe. The only issue here is that the bindings can be tricky with bigger boot sizes. Try them out and see how the bindings respond to your foot before buying because they’re also a bit on the high end of price.
Mens Snowshoes Buyer’s Guide
A world that’s blanketed in white can hold a variety of different terrains ranging from ice fields to deep powder. Most snowshoes are designed for what many would call a light and easy walk along rolling hills. If you’re a casual user, it’s likely that you can get away with only having snowshoes made for flat terrain.
Flat terrain shoes tend to save on weight, design, and price by excluding a lot of features that add to the general traction. These shoes focus more on flotation, which is great if you aren’t trying to climb a mountain. Mountain snowshoes are a different ballgame. They bring out all the stops and add traction and high-tech materials to lower weight as much as possible.
You’ll notice that snowshoes come in several different sizes. This size isn’t directly related to the size of your foot, but the size of the rest of the shoe. The larger the size, the more float you’ll get from a shoe. That means that larger shoes are better for deep powder to avoid just sinking to the bottom.
Different-sized snowshoes are also made to accommodate different weights. Larger snowshoes will have a higher weight capacity than their smaller companions. In general, snowshoes made for men are a bit larger just due to their bigger build.
As you up the size of your snowshoes, you’ll notice how they become quite cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Otherwise, we would just make all snowshoes huge to bring on the best flotation. This can be a huge drawback when you’re trying to move quickly or nimbly alongside a mountain pass.
Binding Comfort and Security
Bindings are similar to the shoelaces on your hiking boots. They exist to hold your feet in place and essentially turn the snowshoe into an extension of your leg. The comfort comes from how the bindings can equally distribute the force across your foot. Comfort and security sometimes are a bit of the opposite, unfortunately. The trick is to find the right balance.
Soft straps, or innovative systems like the Boa system, can increase security without sacrificing a lot of comfort. Certain cheaper models use plastic straps that don’t allow for much adjustment and can easily start to cut off circulation. It’s often worth paying a bit more to avoid the discomfort and potential frostbite that can come from a loss of circulation.
Ease of Use
When you’re out in the middle of a snowstorm, you don’t want to be stuck fiddling with bindings that won’t open up or lock shut. Ideally, you can adjust your snowshoes with your eyes closed and be on your way in seconds. For anyone that is hoping to do any racing or serious adventuring, ease of use can play a huge role in picking out the right shoe.