man-on-snowshoesSource: Alec Moore

Best Snowshoes TechnoBuffalo 2021

Snowshoeing is a fun way to burn calories and get around safely when the weather goes south. The snowshoes I swear by are from FLASHTEK. These lightweight snowshoes get you places where other models fail. They work well on trails and off, and handle hilly inclines and descents without trouble. There are a few snowshoes aside from the FLASHTEKs that stand out from the pack. Whether you're looking for a pair for your kids or yourself, these are the best snowshoes your money can buy.

Best Overall: FLASHTEK 21/25/30

Flashtek Snowshoes LifestyleSource: Amazon

I tend to take my snowshoes over all types of terrain, especially when I'm traveling. If you're anything like me, you want a pair of shoes that do well in powdery snow and the deep, heavy stuff. The FLASHTEK Terrain shoes are streamlined in design and have an upturned rounded tail, so they work on light snow on flat ground with light snow and while climbing up steep hills over heavy snow.

The fast pull binding system helps you jump in these shoes quickly with your regular cold weather boots, and they're just as easy to take off. These are lightweight snowshoes, crafted of aircraft aluminum, and they're available in three sizes.

The one drawback with FLASHTEK is that there are no heel risers on the shoes, so climbing up the side of a mountain is likely to yield blisters. For the average outdoor lover, this is a moot point. This kit comes with the snowshoes, a carry bag, and poles. This is a great setup and one of the best snowshoes your money can buy.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of sizes available
  • Good flotation in most conditions
  • Easy to adjust bindings
  • Excellent traction
  • Carry bag included

Cons:

  • Not for mountaineering

Best Overall

Flashtek Snowshoes Render Cropped

FLASHTEK 21/25/30

The full package

They're not for mountaineering, but the FLASHTEK shoes are best for most. This kit is durable, affordable, and fun.

Best Value: *ALPS *

Alps Snowshoes LifestyleSource: Amazon

Snowshoeing is an expensive affair. You need the shoes, poles, and some sort of bag to house all your gear. This kit from ALPs gives you all the necessities at a fair price.

With aluminum frames and fast pull binding buckles, these beginner-friendly shoes come in a variety of sizes. The heel bindings help you climb moderate hills with ease, and the aluminum alloy teeth increase traction and grip on powdery snow paths that are untraveled. A word of warning: on groomed trails, these shoes don't bite into crusted snow and can be slippery. If you're blazing your own path, though, you shouldn't have an issue.

If you're just starting out and want the best bang for your buck, these are the best snowshoes out there today. You get a lightweight set of shoes, poles, and a carryall bag.

Pros:

  • Full kit includes shoes, poles, and bag
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use buckle bindings
  • Variety of sizes available

Cons:

  • Lacks traction on packed snow

Best Value

Alps Snowshoes Render Cropped

ALPS

Everything you need

If you like blazing your own trail, you'll love this kit. It comes with snowshoes, poles, and a storage bag.

Best for Steep Terrain: Wildhorn Outfitters Sawtooth

couple-with-snowshoesSource: Wildhorn Outfitters

Wildhorn Outfitters specializes in designing affordable outdoor gear to make nature more accessible to those of any skillset. The Sawtooth snowshoes are an excellent example of their mission statement. Available in 21" or 27" sizes, Sawtooth shoes are built for adults up to 235 pounds. With two size choices and three colors, you're guaranteed to find a snowshoe that's just right for you.

The frames on these shoes are durable and lightweight, courtesy of an aluminum build. Even in deep powder, you'll get superior flotation from the HDPE decking, a type of lightweight, sustainable plastic that holds up to frigid temperatures. Hardpack grip teeth provide excellent traction, and with a steel incline heel lift riser, these shoes are a winner for the toughest of uphill climbs.

I love that the Sawtooths not only come with spring-loaded ratchet bindings but also have a heel strap and boot grip that secures your boot in place. There's no slipping or sliding around while shoeing! My only gripe is the lack of a carrying case. It would be nice to have a bag with backpack straps to tote these about more efficiently — a minor complaint about an otherwise excellent set of snowshoes. You can certainly rig up your snowshoes to your pack with a set of the best bungee cords.

Pros:

  • Bindings are easy to adjust
  • Grippy crampons
  • Excellent up and down hills
  • Three colors and two sizes available
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • No carry bag

Best for Steep Terrain

wildhorn-outfitters-sawtooth-snowshoes-render-cropped

Wildhorn Outfitters Sawtooth

Tackle any hill

You'll have no trouble going up or down big hills with these shoes. They adjust easily and tackle any terrain with ease.

Best All-Terrain: MSR Lightning Ascent

Msr Lightning Explore LifestyleSource: MSR

If hiking is your thing and you spend your snowshoeing days breaking trails and climbing hills, the MSR Lightning Ascent shoes are the gear you need. These shoes give a trustworthy grip on ice, crust, snow-packed fresh powder, and in backcountry ungroomed areas.

The 360-degree Traction frames give edge-to-edge grip to these all-terrain shoes, while lightweight decking gives you the flotation you need in any conditions. MSR's Paragon bindings give your feet a cushioned cradle and keep you centered on your shoes for all-day comfort. They also work with a wide range of boots and shoes.

The Lightning Ascents are terrific for uphill climbs. Traction increases as you climb so fatigue never sets in. And patented Ergo Televators give your heels the lift they need. If you cover lots of different terrain, we think the MSR Lightning Ascents are the best snowshoes your money can buy.

Pros:

  • Superior traction
  • Excellent flotation
  • Impressive heel lifts
  • Great anywhere

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best All-Terrain

Msr Lighning Ascent Render Cropped

MSR Lightning Ascent

A hiking snowshoe like no other

With excellent decking and Paragon bindings, these are the best snowshoes for trails, climbs, and the backwoods.

Best for Kids: Airhead Monsta Trax

Airhead Monsta Trax LifestyleSource: Amazon

The fun and functional snowshoes from Airhead, known as the Monsta Trax, teach kids the basics while giving them a stable platform to learn and grow. The easy-on/easy-off adjustable bindings work with all shoes and boots and make cool monster tracks in the show as kids move along.

The raised toes on these shoes don't catch in the snow, which helps your child stay upright. High traction bottoms stick well to fluffy snow but are a little slippery in the snow that's packed down.

These are a reliable learning tool for kids with an all-in-one design that prevents snow buildup so kids can concentrate on learning the sport than being frustrated by the technicalities.

Pros:

  • Makes fun tracks in the snow
  • Sturdy construction
  • Inexpensive
  • Snow does not collect on the deck
  • Easy on/off bindings

Cons:

  • A little slippery on packed snow

Best for Kids

Monsta Trax Render Cropped

Airhead Monsta Trax

Kids up to 80 pounds will love Monsta Trax

Supporting up to 80 pounds, Monsta Trax are a fun way for kids to learn the ins and out of the sport.

Bottom line

Grabbing your snowshoes, ski goggles, and hitting the trails or backcountry is one of the best exercises. You burn calories, get some exercise, and spend quality time in nature rather than hibernating all season.

The snowshoes I swear by for most conditions are from FLASHTEK. The body is a lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum that doesn't weigh you down, and the HDPE decking gives you good flotation on most types of snow. If you tend to use your shoes up in the mountains, be aware that lots of light and powdery snow can be a challenge for these shoes. You'll sink a bit more than you expect and have difficulty with the lack of heel lifts.

These shoes have traction to spare thanks to the superbly designed forged aluminum alloy crampons. Going up and down icy stretches is no challenge whatsoever. The fast-ratchet buckle bindings are genius, allowing you to slip in and out of your shoes in seconds. This package includes a carry bag and poles, and the entire setup is a steal at this price point.

Bonus tip: If you want to stay upright walking on snowy, icy paths on your way to work, take a look at crampons. They fit over your shoes, don't look dorky, and prevent nasty winter falls.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author: jodi-owan-climbing

Jodi Owan spends the majority of her working days outdoors testing equipment and adventuring off the beaten path. Find her on Instagram and her website.

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