2020 Top Rated Snowshoes

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Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the year’s top rated snowshoes helpful. Looking to hit the snowy trails this winter? Use this detailed list to find the best, top-rated snowshoes for you.

Snowshoeing is an amazing sport. Beautiful, snow covered peaks, dense evergreen stands and sun-dappled snow fields all lend itself to a memorable day in the mountains. Snowshoeing, like most things, can either be very relaxing, super-technical or very competitive and your equipment works best when it is a reflection of the type of snowshoeing you prefer.

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See Also: Where to Snowshoe in the Vail Valley


Choosing the Right Type of Snowshoes


Where Will You Snowshoe

  • Will you be snowshoeing on an already established pack trail? This is the easiest and usually occurs at Nordic Centers, on ski slopes, popular hiking trails, snowmobile trails, etc. This type of snowshoe can be much smaller and shorter and does not need big crampons to bite into the snow.
  • Will you be going off trail into places that are untracked with lots of unpacked snow? This type of snowshoe should be bigger and longer to keep you  floating on the powder. Crampons need to be more aggressive so they can traction you in the snow.
  • Going deep into the back-country and climbing steep grades? You will need the largest and longest snowshoes available to keep you and a  pack from post-holing in the snow. Aggressive crampons should be on each edge to give you lots of traction and a climb bar is also recommended for steep ascents.

Weight

The size of your snowshoes will be dependent on your weight and the weight of any pack or additional items you will be trekking with. The more the combined weight, the longer and larger the snowshoe needs to be. Most snowshoe sizes range between 19-36 inches. 36″ snowshoes on average can hold 250-300 lbs.


For a Man or Woman

Snowshoes come in unisex, men and women-specific styles. A woman’s snowshoe is designed for a shorter stride and a narrower gait and bindings that accommodate smaller shoes.

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Top-Rated Snowshoes


Chinook Trekker Snowshoes

Introductory snowshoes that rock! Perfect for hard-packed trails and short excursions off into the deeper snow.

  • Lightweight and strong aluminum frame means years of use.
  • One of the best-priced snowshoes on this list but keep in mind that a cheaper price can mean means components are not as durable.
  • Aluminum crampons offer traction but are not as durable as steel
  • An easy-to-use ratchet binding system that is simple to adjust even with gloves on.
  • Includes carry bag with backpack straps, side handles, mesh ventilation and Velcro pole carriers
  • Perfect for budget-minded snowshoers who are new to the sport
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • This is a unisex snowshoe so your weight will determine the size needed. See Chinooks size chart when ordering.

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Redfeather Hike Snowshoes

Redfeather is a great brand that has been around for years, since 1988, to be exact. Their snowshoes are handcrafted in the USA and they are very durable and last a long time.

  • The Hike series is perfect for flat or gently rolling packed trails with small side excursions into deeper snow.
  • Other styles are available for more aggressive snowshoeing.
  • Features the SV2 binding which promises a secure comfortable fit, and an easy-on, easy-off binding with a one-pull handle for fast adjustment.
  • The stainless steel front and rear crampons offers long-lasting stability and prevents ice build-up.
  • A tough rip stop vinyl decking is strong even in frigid temperatures.
  • The live-action Boithane Hinge lifts the tail of the shoe from the snow with every step for added mobility and speed.
  • Complete kit includes 1 pair of Snowshoes, set of 3-piece ski poles and a nylon storage tote
  • Redfeather Snowshoes are handcrafted in the USA in La Crosse, Wisconsin

See Also: Women’s Redfeather Hike Snowshoes

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MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Perfect for back-country or trails. This one does it all and that is why people LOVE it.

  • This snowshoe is lightweight, incredibly grippy, and tough.
  • Full coverage crampons offer traction that runs the full length and width of the shoe and bites into hard pack and ice.
  • The Televator heel lifts makes climbing uphill a breeze. They help conserve energy on the steeps and reduce calf fatigue.
  • PosiLock AT Bindings utilizes a two-piece urethane body that locks down tight to a wide range of footwear, making it a very secure binding for aggressive ascents and all-around stability.
  • The Modular Flotation tail is an optional 5-inch tail that offers improved flotation when the powder gets deep. This is sold separately.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • All these bells and whistles add to the price but if you spend a lot of time snowshoeing this is the snowshoe you are going to want, very versatile, very durable and super comfortable.

See Also: MSR Women’s Lighting Ascent Snowshoe

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Crescent Moon Gold Snowshoe

This is one of the best overall snowshoes on the market. With five more inches of length than the popular Gold 9 this snowshoe can go anywhere.

  • Perfect for trails or the backcountry.
  • Features 3 stainless steel crampons and extra traversing claws
  • Single-pull binding makes putting these snowshoes on and adjusting them a breeze.
  • It can handle a wide variety of terrain from trails to powdery rolling hills and moderate climbs and an optional 2″ heel lifter can be added for those that like steeps. The Heel Lift rotates in and out of position with a simple twist.
  • Unique teardrop design means less chance of stepping on the tail of your snowshoe.
  • Includes a set of all-season poles, heel lift, and snowshoes
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA in Boulder, CO
  • An all-inclusive package that is an outstanding value.

See Also: Crescent Moon Gold Snowshoe for Women

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Tubbs Flex RDG Snowshoes 

The perfect snowshoe when simplicity is high on the list. The BOA binding system, a one-dial cable system that tightens the entire binding with just a few simple turns is the easiest snowshoe to get on and off. The binding is very comfortable and cinches evenly around your boot.

  • The 3D-Curved Traction Rails ensure superior grip in hard-packed and icy conditions. It offers ice biting crampon-like nubbies on the side rails and toe crampons.
  • The ActiveLift heel lift reduces calf fatigue and Achilles tendon strain when you are going up the steeps.
  • FLEX Tail technology allows the snowshoe to roll more naturally from heel to toe
  • The narrow tail also makes it easier to walk without stepping on the back of your snowshoe.
  • This is a back-country snowshoe but probably geared to lighter weights as it does have a narrower footprint and won’t float quite as well as a larger snowshoe.

See Also: Tubbs Flex RDG Snowshoes for Women

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Lucky Bums Youth Snowshoes  

Lucky Bums are a great introductory level snowshoe for kids and smaller adults.

  • Can hold up to 175 lbs at the largest size of 26 inches
  • With small front and heel crampons and its smaller frame size, this snow shoe is perfect for packed trails only.
  • Perfect for family outings and when budget is a concern.
  • A lightweight and virtually indestructible aluminum frame with adjustable kid-friendly bindings.
  • Includes handy carry bag
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • A great value to get your kids out snowshoeing
  • Unisex snowshoes are perfect for boys or girls
  • Come in Pink, Blue and Green

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Atlas Endeavor Snowshoes

A versatile crossover snowshoe. This is a great trail snowshoe and it will perform in the back-country but because of it’s smaller size and footprint it will not be as good at floating in the snow as other larger models,  but it is pretty decent.

  • Serrated teeth on the frame edge and toe crampons insure awesome traction.
  • Spring-Loaded Suspension design suspends the snowshoe so it can move freely.
  • The bindings pack flat and compactly and work reliably in all sorts of conditions
  • The curved heel lift eases calf fatigue on steep ascents and makes climbing much easier
  • The bindings offer a very high level of security, meaning they remain clasped while in stride, no strap slippage.
  • Binding is strapped to the deck instead of hinged.
  • Unisex design

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Louis Garneau Versant Snowshoes

The perfect back-country snowshoes for technical hikers and those seeking adventure.  Perfect for steep ascents and descents and overcoming challenging terrain and varying snow conditions

  • Offering the super easy-to-use BOA binding system. Simply slide your boot into the bindings, turn the nob, and the binding tightens down evenly over your foot; easy-peasy.
  • Unique Slipknot quick cinch heel strap was named “Best Closure System on the Market
  • High carbon steel crampon offers multi directional traction in a lightweight package.
  • Freeflex X pivot offers robust and flexible suspension
  • It has a clean, narrow design with a snowfree deck that is excellent at shedding snow.
  • Offers a heel riser to prevent calf fatigue and make climbing easier
  • Comfortable, padded holds your boot securely
  • Lightweight snowshoe is perfect for the long haul
  • Lifetime limited warranty

See Also: Louis Garneau Boreal Snowshoe for Women

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Crescent Moon All-Foam Snowshoes

Talk about a completely unique design and materials. Unlike the hard plastic or aluminum-framed designs of normal snowshoes, the unique Eva is built with two layers of EVA foam. That’s right foam, just foam.

  • The top of the snowshoe is relatively soft foam to provide cushioning, while the bottom is a denser and tougher for traction and durability.
  • Very lightweight and comfortable
  • Velcro binding closure makes putting them on and taking them off super easy.
  • Does not have a traditional crampon so this snowshoe is best for flat, hard packed trails.
  • Since this is a relatively new design the only question is how durable these snowshoes are.
  • User weight (including pack) up to 200lbs
  • Unisex design

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TSL Elite Snowshoe

The TSL Elite is billed as the most technologically advanced snowshoe on the market. This is a high performance shoe with all the bells & whistles.

  • Featuring a carbon fiber insert with Hyper Flex technology that allows the entire frame to flex, conform and grip to any terrain.
  • This flexible model offers superior stability reliable traction, and high level of comfort.
  • The binding is awesome and a lot like an alpine touring frame binding, with a plate under your entire foot that moves with you as you moves. It features a 4-point binding adjustment system and a ratcheting instep strap. The result is solid support and great technical abilities for steep terrain in a range of snow conditions.
  • Give yourself time to adjust it to your foot to the plate correctly as it is a little more complicated than other snowshoes
  • The narrow footprint does not do as well in deep powder but is perfect for hiking the trails, walking the dog or short excursions into the powder.
  • This is a flexible, lightweight pair of snowshoes with a great binding system- you won’t be disappointed.
  • Unisex design

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See also: Best Snowshoe Trails in the Vail Valley


Comments

We hope you found this article about the year’s top rated snowshoes helpful. Which snowshoe checks all your boxes and gets you outside in the winter?  Please leave a comment or tell us your thoughts and stories regarding snowshoeing, we would love to hear it. Thanks for reading!




Related Articles: Best Over-the-Boot Ice Cleats


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  • Thanks so much for this list. I am an avid snowshoer and I love the back country although I also do a lot of trails as it is a great way to stay in shape and get exercise. I have been waffling between a couple of different pairs of snowshoes but I have decided to go with the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe. Thanks for the info to help me decide.

    • Hi Adrian,
      I am so happy this this list helped you choose the perfect snowshoes, the MSR Lightning Ascent is a GREAT choice. This is a name-brand, performance snowshoe that is awesome on the packed trails but can still excel in the deep powder. These snowshoes are durable and should last forever. Have fun out there!

  • I've always wanted to try snowshoeing. Thinking of heading to Colorado next year and this would be perfect.
    There are many different kinds of snowshoes I see. I'm not familiar with how to buy them so your article is perfect for me to understand what to look for.
    I don't want to spend a ton of money especially since it will be the wife and I meaning two sets to buy.
    Which would you suggest for first timers like us?

    • Hi Rob,
      I would suggest that when you and your wife come to Colorado, rent some snowshoes and hit the trails in the local Nordic Centers or on the ski mountain. This is a very inexpensive way to find out if you and your wife would like snowshoeing. You will also learn a thing or two about what you like and want in a snowshoe. If you like it and think you might snowshoe a few times a winter get the Chinook Trekkers, if you LOVE it and think you want to do it more I would invest in a better quality snowshoe one that will last you years and years like the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe.

  • Hi Great list of snowshoes. I have been searching for a pair of snowshoes. I am a beginner and just moved to Colorado. I am planning on snowshoeing up the ski trails and hitting trails at the local Nordic Center. Are the Chinook Trekkersa good starter snowshoe?

    • Hi Karyl, Yes if you are looking for an introductory snowshoe to take on packed trails the Chinook Trekkers are a great shoe at a great price. Just keep in mind that these shoes are not the same quality and durability as most of the other snowshoes on the list. If you are out in the back country you need your equipment to be bomber, you do not need to be fixing a broken binding or tightening your straps every two minutes in the deep snow, so you want to spend the extra money for quality equipment. But for a beginner just starting out, not going to far and staying on trails, save your money and see if you like the sport - even though I know you are going to LOVE it!

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