The 10 Best Snowshoes of 2023

The affordable and easy-to-use Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes earned our top pick.

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 Best Snowshoes of 2022

Amazon

Snowshoeing is a timeless winter activity to get outside and explore stunning frozen landscapes. It’s also incredibly accessible and inexpensive — no lift pass or lessons required. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all outdoor pursuit. There are modern snowshoes catering to different experience levels, terrains, and types of activities.

We spoke with snowshoeing expert Bill Voss of Everest.com for tips on choosing the right pair of snowshoes and how to best care for gear. For its versatile uses and high-end features at a reasonable price point, the Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoe earned our pick for the best overall snowshoe. This lightweight option also boasts an incredibly user-friendly binding system for easy on and off.

These are the best snowshoes.

Best Overall

Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes

Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes

REI

Why We Love It: It’s a versatile, all-around performer on any type of terrain.

What to Consider: The tempered steel teeth don’t extend all the way to the back of the deck.

The Atlas Helium MTN has a lot to boast about: a lightweight design, aggressive traction, and a precise and secure binding system. And these top-notch features come at a value, too, compared to the competitors we researched. Its proprietary Helium deck has a slatted louver design to shed snow and reduce weight. The deck’s flexibility is a major benefit, bending easily to promote a more natural stride, even in the most frigid conditions. For traction, a circle of sharp steel crampons is fitted under the toe while serrated aluminum traction rails run the majority of the deck for enhanced grip. Snowshoers can engage the 19-degree heel lift to alleviate leg muscles on steep climbs and easily click it back in place on flat and downhill terrain. The proprietary Wrapp-MTN bindings incorporate a heel strap and Boa closures to dial in a secure fit that’s evenly distributed across the foot for comfort.

Price at time of publish: $230

Binding type: Wrapp MTN, Boa Fit system | Weight capacity: Up to 270 pounds | Lengths available: 23, 26, and 30 inches | Materials: Aluminum frame and composite deck

Best Budget

Retrospec Drifter Snowshoes

Retrospec Drifter Snowshoes

Amazon

Why We Love It: It boasts a user-friendly binding system and performance-oriented features at an affordable price point.

What to Consider: They’re not the best suited for fresh powder conditions.

The Retrospec Drift Snowshoes are our top pick for wintertime exploration on a budget. The double-ratchet bindings can be tightened with one hand for easy on and off or adjustments on the trail. The Drifter Snowshoes feature an aluminum alloy frame and polyethylene deck, resulting in a durable and lightweight design. The full-floating pivot system is fitted with rugged toe crampons for traction and stability. Meanwhile, the built-in heel lifters help tackle steeper terrain and reduce strain on the leg muscles. An added bonus: these snowshoes come with a mesh carry bag for easy transport.

Price at time of publish: $80

Binding type: Double-ratchet | Weight capacity: 210 pounds (size 30) | Lengths available: 21, 25, and 30 inches | Materials: Aluminum alloy (frame) and polyethylene (deck)

Best for Kids

L.L.Bean Kids' Winter Walker Snowshoes

L.L.Bean Kids' Winter Walker Snowshoes

L.L.Bean

Why We Love It: The sleek, lightweight design and user-friendly bindings will help kids quickly get the hang of snowshoeing.

What to Consider: The quality construction and durability comes with a higher price tag than some other kids’ models.

Get the little ones out to enjoy snowy winter days with the L.L.Bean Kids’ Winter Walker Snowshoes. Also available in men’s and women’s sizes, the Winter Walker is L.L.Bean’s signature snowshoe and delivers quality materials and performance that’s not always prioritized in kid-oriented gear. The aluminum frame enhances durability while the toe and heel crampons afford traction on sloped terrain. The ratchet binding system provides a secure fit and is easy for kids to adjust themselves by pulling if needed. The Winter Walkers come in two sizes—16 and 19 inches—designed to accommodate 25 to 60 pounds and 50 to 110 pounds, respectively. Plus, there are six fun and vibrant color options to choose from, like polar camo and rainbow dots.

Price at time of publish: $99

Binding type: Ratchet | Weight capacity: Up to 110 pounds | Lengths available: 16 and 19 inches | Materials: Aluminum frame

Best for Beginners

Tubbs Xplore Snowshoe

Tubbs Xplore Snowshoe

REI

Why We Love It: It offers entry-level features in a durable, high-quality design.

What to Consider: This beginner snowshoe is not designed for backcountry or technical terrain.

Also available in women’s, the Tubbs Xplore Snowshoes are our top pick for easing into the sport. Putting on and adjusting the snowshoes is a breeze, which is a major plus when getting situated at the trailhead in the cold. The QuickPull binding cinches for a snug fit and releases with the push of the buckle. Integrated Control Wings on the bindings keep the feet aligned and in place for beginners still honing their technique. The lightweight Fit-step frame is designed with an upturned tail and rotating cord system to cut through snow to maintain a fluid stride and limit impact on the joints. The Xplore is fitted with carbon steel crampons in the heel and toe, delivering ample grip for uphill climbs and descents on milder terrain.

Price at time of publish: $150

Binding type: QuickPull | Weight capacity: 250 pounds (size 30) | Lengths available: 21, 25, and 30 inches | Materials: Aluminum

Best Backcountry

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Amazon

Why We Love It: They deliver excellent floatation and performance in deep snow and tough terrain alike.

What to Consider: The women’s model is a better fit for snowshoers with narrower gaits.

Get prepared for backcountry adventure with the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes. The Paragon bindings employ freeze-resistant mesh straps to get a snug fit while reducing pressure points. They’re equipped with Ergo Televators, a heel lift system that improves endurance and traction on longer, more technical treks. The Televators can be activated as needed with an easy pull, then popped back down during flat stretches. The Lightning Ascent affords greater customization with a modular flotation tail attachment, which adds surface area for enhanced performance in deeper snow. Other notable features include grippy 360-degree traction frames and tough steel crampons on the toe and heel. They’re also available in men’s.

Price at time of publish: $350

Binding type: Rubber strap | Weight capacity: Women’s: 210 pounds; men’s: 280 pounds | Lengths available: 22, 25, and 30 inches | Materials: Aluminum frame and TPU-coated nylon deck

Best for Higher Weights

Faber Mountain Quest

Faber Mountain Quest

Faber

Why We Love It: Available in four sizes, this strong and sturdy snowshoe is inclusive of different weights without sacrificing maneuverability.

What to Consider: The crampons don’t provide the most rugged grip on this list.

The Faber Mountain Quest can accommodate up to 350 pounds in its biggest size, making this a great pick for larger snowshoers or carrying heavy gear. All four sizes run between 30 and 40 inches, which, combined with wider frames, help to stay afloat on top of snow. The upcurved tail reduces drag, while the HD pivot system provides a free rotation and greater maneuverability. The heel and toe are equipped with aluminum crampons, providing moderate traction on hills and slopes. The Mountain Quest’s plastic and elastomer alloy deck is resistant to extreme cold and harsh conditions. It also features thicker aluminum tubing for added strength and durability.

Price at time of publish: $394

Binding type: Trio HDR and toe box | Weight capacity: 350 pounds| Lengths available: 9 x 30 inches, 10 x 36 inches, 13 x 30 inches, 11 x 40 inches | Materials: Aluminum frame and plastic TPR deck

Best for Deep Snow

Tubbs Mountaineer Backcountry Snowshoes

Backcountry Snowshoes

Amazon

Why We Love It: It delivers excellent performance and flotation in any amount of snow.

What to Consider: The tubular frame design reduces the overall traction.

The Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes blend an ideal mix of comfort and performance features to tackle deep snow. The deck and tubular aluminum frame create a large surface area with moderate weight for superb flotation. The brand’s Sharp Anaconda toe crampons with eight carbon steel teeth provide grip and leverage on ascents, while proprietary Python heel crampons give stopping power on descents. The bindings are easy to use, with a buckled heel strap and two forefoot straps providing a comfy and secure fit. By combining a strap and hinge attachment, the hybrid binding system offers both shock absorption and precision. Women’s sizes are also available.

Price at time of publish: $270

Binding type: Ratchet strap | Weight capacity: Men’s: 300 pounds (36-inch); women’s 200 pounds (25-inch) | Lengths available: Men’s: 25, 30, and 36 inches; Women’s: 21 and 25 inches | Materials: Aluminum frame and nytex nylon deck

Best for Steep Terrain

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe

REI

Why We Love It: It delivers top-notch traction with an extensive system of steel crampons.

What to Consider: The smaller surface area reduces flotation.

Traction is critical when traversing mountainsides and steep terrain. Step in the MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe, which is also available in men’s and features two steel crampon rails running the length of the deck and a steel traction bar underfoot for maximum stopping power. It’s also fitted with a heel lift to lessen fatigue and improve traction on ascents. It’s easy to activate the heel lift on the go with the click of a climbing pole. The ratchet binding system is incredibly adaptable thanks to macro adjustment straps intended to fit a variety of shoe sizes.

Price at time of publish: $250

Binding type: Ratchet | Weight capacity: Women’s: 210 pounds; men’s 220 pounds | Lengths available: 22 and 25 inches | Materials: Martensitic steel frame and plastic deck

Best for Running

TSL Outdoors Symbioz Hyperflex Racing Snowshoe

TSL Outdoors Symbioz Hyperflex Racing Snowshoe

Backcountry

Why We Love It: Flexible and lightweight, this snowshoe is meant for moving fast.

What to Consider: The sparse, narrow frame performs best on packed snow.

Come wintertime, runners can keep up their workout regimen by hitting the trails with the TSL Outdoors Symbioz Hyperflex Racing Snowshoe. The limber Hyperflex Concept frames provide a more natural foot strike and support power transfer to achieve a running stride. Rather than traditional bindings, the Symbioz Hyperflex employs an ergonomic strap system with pre-set adjustments for the length, toe, and heel. In place of conventional crampons, four studs and an adjustable traction bar under the heel offer solid grip. These design choices and composite materials keep each snowshoe to just 0.7 pounds so runners can stay light on their feet. 

Price at time of publish: $200

Binding type: Adjustable strap | Weight capacity: 220 pounds | Lengths available: 21 inches | Materials: Composite deck and frame

Most Unique Design

EVVO Snowshoe 1

EVVO Snowshoe 1

EVVO

Why We Love It: The sleek rubber design stands out from the crowd while providing a comfortable fit, thermal regulation, and waterproofing.

What to Consider: The compact dimensions limit the flotation in deeper snow.

The clog-style, rubber Evvo Snowshoe 1 represent a major shift from conventional snowshoe design. The snowshoe is secured with two rubber straps — one on the heel and another across the top of the foot. Having the foot fixed to the deck directly, plus a flexible sole, helps achieve a natural stride, especially on packed snow. Evvo crafted the rubber sole in partnership with Michelin, which is evident given the outsoles tire-like treads. The choice of rubber also helps reduce noise while walking, a big plus when snowshoeing in groups. Adding ice spikes — seven to be exact — to the Evvo improves the traction of the grippy rubber sole. The upper portion of the snowshoe repels water and provides ankle support. Evvo also sources 90 percent of the rubber sole material from bio-sourced components, making winter excursions more sustainable.

Price at time of publish: $190

Binding type: Rubber strap | Lengths available: 16.5 and 19 inches | Weight capacity: Not listed | Materials: Rubber

Tips for Buying Snowshoes

Get the right style for your intended use

“Knowing what terrain you plan to travel through will help dictate the best style of snowshoes for your specific needs,” Voss says. Conveniently, many snowshoes are organized by terrain type: flat, rolling, and mountain, making it easy to narrow your search. Still, it’s helpful to have a familiarity with different features. For example, mountain snowshoes should have excellent traction and a heel lift for conquering inclines.

Know the pros and cons of different materials and frames

Modern snowshoes use a wider range of materials than the original wooden variety. According to Voss, snowshoes with aluminum frames tend to be more expensive but remain popular due to being lightweight and durable. “Composite snowshoes are renowned for their toughness, affordability, and weather-resistance,” Voss says. And on the newer side, Voss notes that EVA foam snowshoes give a lightweight feel but provide less structure and rigidity compared to the other options.

Factor in the weight of your load

Besides your own weight, take stock of what else will impact your total load. For instance, are you transporting camping gear or planning to carry a child in tow? If so, it’s crucial to choose a snowshoe with a max weight capacity that accommodates your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What size snowshoes do I need?

    It’s important to factor in your weight (including gear), intended use, and snow conditions to determine what size snowshoes you need. The greater the weight, the greater snowshoe size you’ll need for flotation. Tackling fresh powder also calls for a bigger size, whereas smaller sizes are suitable for packed snow and groomed trails.

  • How do snowshoes work?

    Snowshoes work by creating a larger surface area than a typical boot or shoe to stay on top of the snow, which is referred to as flotation. Snowshoes use a binding system to attach to your footwear.

  • How do I clean snowshoes?

    As a first step, Voss suggests “rubbing down your snowshoes with a clean rag will help keep dust, rust, or road salt from collecting and damaging your equipment.” Follow this up with a second round using mild soap and warm water. Finally, letting them hang dry will ensure they’re ready for your next excursion or seasonal storage.

  • What do I wear with snowshoes?

    Layering up under water-repellent pants and a coat is a wise choice to later add or shed clothing as you warm up and conditions change. In extreme cold, having a hat, gloves, and warm base layers are important considerations. Voss recommends donning snowshoes with water-resistant, rugged, and warm hiking boots. “Slide on a warm pair of wool socks to build a base layer capable of wicking away moisture,” he adds. Runners using less weatherproof footwear could benefit from wearing gaiters to keep feet and socks dry.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Kevin Brouillard is a contributing writer at T+L, specializing in outdoor gear and apparel. He splits his time between two New York State locales: downtown Troy and the historic village of Gilbertsville. Prior to writing for T+L, Kevin served with the Peace Corps in Battambang, Cambodia. Since then, he has worked in environmental education, community planning, and climate policy for nonprofits and the State of New York. To curate this list of the best snowshoes, he spoke with Bill Voss, founder and CEO of Everest.com.

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