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Bearpath9
distinguished member (361)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/20/2020 08:50AM  
Since I have spent summer walking every day 2-3 miles on the trails in my local park, I don't want to lose that over the winter. And even though I detest winter, I need to keep in shape, and this seemed the best option. My questions are:
1. Not looking for top of the line shoes, something about 100 bucks or so would be fine.
2. Are used shoes a good option ?
3. Having read some previous threads on the subject on this site, I think a shoe that will work on both packed, groomed trails, and ungroomed, untouched snow would be best. Do they make such a shoe ?
4. I would be going on both flat and hilly terrain.
5. For what it's worth, I'm 5'10", go about 160-170 lbs., and would be wearing Sorels on my size 10-10 1/2 feet. Should I look into a different boot ? (My left foot is about 1" longer than my right).
Since I have never done this before (and I can't believe I'm even considering it), I'm pretty much a babe in the woods (pun not intended) so any input will be welcomed. Thanks.

 
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10/20/2020 02:43PM  
I like my Atlas snowshoes a lot- have had them about 4 years now. Easy on and off, really grippy when it's icy. Good all around snowshoe.

atlas snowshoes
 
10/20/2020 05:26PM  
Kind of like canoes, there are several snowshoes that can be used in many of the conditions you mentioned, but just about every type of multi-use will have shortcomings as well. Most of the modern, metal/plastic, run of the mill snowshooz are made for walking on packed trails. They are easy to put on and easy to walk on, and they may have crampons on the bottom to make them OK for walking up and down a hill. But they will make it very difficult to walk in deep, powdery snow. My personal preference is traditional, wooden ones. I am also biased in favor of them because I make them too. With a proper binding, they are very easy to get on and off, give you a much larger footprint to keep you from sinking in deep, fresh powder, especially if you are carrying gear, and they are much quieter while walking in the woods. They also look a whole lot better hanging on the wall over your fireplace than those aluminum/tupperware type. There are also different styles: Bear Paw, Ojibway, Huron, Alaskan, and others that are designed for different types of use and terrain. I have also began making them in sizes that young toddlers have walked 1+ miles in without stopping. Just my take on things. But my whole take on this can be summarized in this quote who I wish I could credit the nameless author: "Those who choose to NOT find joy in the snow, will go through life with less joy, but the same amount of snow."
 
10/20/2020 05:48PM  
dogwoodgirl: "I like my Atlas snowshoes a lot- have had them about 4 years now. Easy on and off, really grippy when it's icy. Good all around snowshoe.


atlas snowshoes "


Which model do you like?
 
10/20/2020 05:56PM  
Our county Health Department has snowshoes that are loaned out. It was a great way for my wife and I to try out shoes at no expense. It seems snowshoes are quite forgiving... a novice starting out just needs to strap on something and give it a try. I'd start with something used.
 
10/20/2020 06:52PM  
fadersup: "
dogwoodgirl: "I like my Atlas snowshoes a lot- have had them about 4 years now. Easy on and off, really grippy when it's icy. Good all around snowshoe.

atlas snowshoes "


Which model do you like?"


I have the Atlas Elektra, which might no longer be in production- but I'm sure there are still similar models.


atlas elektra
 
Grizzlyman
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/20/2020 07:26PM  
Knoozer: "Kind of like canoes, there are several snowshoes that can be used in many of the conditions you mentioned, but just about every type of multi-use will have shortcomings as well. Most of the modern, metal/plastic, run of the mill snowshooz are made for walking on packed trails. They are easy to put on and easy to walk on, and they may have crampons on the bottom to make them OK for walking up and down a hill. But they will make it very difficult to walk in deep, powdery snow. My personal preference is traditional, wooden ones. "


Agree. Modern snowshoes arent really made for being “snowshoes.” They’re made for being shoes which you wear in the snow on a packed trail. I’ve tried several and yet to find good flotation in powdery snow.

If you desire flotation, traditional styles IMO are the best. I used Hurons-“tennis rackets” for years. But I got some Alaskans a few years back and I like those a lot more. If it were me I like the Alaskans best. But they’re also the most expensive.

If you want low cost traditional style there are some really good GI surplus models made out of magnesium and woven w/ steel cable - I bought some about 10 years ago for like 50 online. Price is probably similar still. They’re a really good bombproof set. I’m sure you can find them with a little googling. They’re Huron style.

As far binding I’ve used the bob maki’s and the step through black rubber ones that look like ovals. I like those better. My toes were always slipping one direction or the other in the bob makis.

My .02
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (244)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/21/2020 07:23AM  
I agree with Knoozer and Grizzlyman on the floatation issue. I still have 3 pair of snow shoes. Vermont Tubbs made of wood and rawhide in Michigan style (wider with very little rise) and one pair in "Alaskan" or cross country style with about 6" of rise and a modern pair of Atlas made from aluminum and a rubber fabric. I sold a modern pair of Tubbs (aluminum and plastic) because I didn't really like them.
The wood/rawhide ones give the most support and are best in new snow and breaking trail while the Atlas do better on trails, windswept lakes, above treeline, or in the spring with the snow is well consolidated and/or a little slushy. I've had my rawhide ones get a little saggy from using them in the springtime when the snow is pretty wet, but they always recover when they dry out.
The reason I sold the modern aluminum/plastic Tubbs is because they were so noisy if the snow was consolidated or crusted at all. They had the hard plastic decking unlike the Atlas that has like a rubber cloth material like you would use in a raft.
Lastly, make sure you get a pair with good bindings that pivot well. I don't know what they are like now, but at one time Red Feather brand snowshoes were notorious for having a poor binding. The snowshoe would get snow on the tail of the shoe and throw a handful of snow up on the users back every time you took a step. Your back would be covered in snow in a short time.
 
jillpine
distinguished member(914)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/21/2020 07:28AM  
Have you considered these? Three times one hundred clams, worth it.
altai hoks
 
gonorth1
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/21/2020 09:05AM  
As stated by Knoozer, like canoes, there are many options for snowshoes, and much of this depends on how they will be used. In general, snowshoes are sized for the load, or weight they will carry. The heavier the load, the longer the snowshoe. If you are just out for day hikes, then just calculate your body weight. If you are backpacking or hiking with a pack then calculate your body weight and the weight of your pack.
Also, in general, the longer the snowshoe, the more flotation, or ability to stay on top of the snow. It is important to know that no snowshoe is going to keep you completely on top of several inches of powder snow. In powder you are going to sink some. For instance I've been in situations with lots of fresh powder on long snowshoes and still sunk down mid thigh into the snow. Talk about a workout! I'd just suggest buying a length beyond the recommended length. It just provides a bit more floatation when you are off the beaten path.
For groomed or packed snowshoe trails, just about any snowshoe will work for you. In these situations you do not have to be concerned much with sinking down into the snow. Of course if you do not have any snowshoe on you will likely sink, post hole, through the snow.
Today, most snowshoes sold are made of some sort of metal with a crampon type claw on the bottom of the binding, a nice feature.
Wooden shoes are beautiful but harder to come by and require more maintenance. I may be wrong but I've not seen wooden snowshoes with the more modern crampon style binding.
If you are buying used, check the quality and condition of the binding straps. Obviously, tears would be a point of concern. If you buy older ones with leather straps, remember, just like Duluth packs, the leather can be reconditioned.
Some new snowshoes come with a storage bag and poles. Both are nice to have. Off the beaten path a pole or two can help provide stability.
Please!!! Please!!! Please!!! Do not walk on cross country ski trails. These trails are groomed for skiers only. While the nice wide trail groomed for skate skiing looks inviting they are intended for cross country skiers only. If you read the signs carefully, you are likely to find separate snowshoe only trails in the same area.
Enjoy the wonders of winter!
 
SevenofNine
distinguished member(2471)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/21/2020 11:09AM  
I can't add a lot but what people have said is true to form. My buddy and I went on an early March trip into the BWCA. It was so warm we were down to our first layers. We were sinking 6-12 inches per step with metal snow shoes. Lucky for us we could alternate as to who was breaking trail. Traditional snow shoes offer so much more float over metal ones so he made his own from a kit later on.

My advice is to think about where you will travel as more narrow shoes be it metal or wood will allow easier maneuvering in bush or trees so Ojibway or Cross Country style shoes might be a better option versus a big Bear Paw style shoe. Just be sure to get them longer so you can add more floatation that way.
 
Grizzlyman
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/22/2020 07:41AM  
Surplus snowshoes

Here are the surplus shoes I referenced earlier. These are really great snowshoes. They’ve got small crampons welded on the frame too. You can find them on a number of different websites. I put different binding on.



 
Bearpath9
distinguished member (361)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/24/2020 09:05AM  
Thanks for all the tips and advice. I went to the park website, and they do indeed rent shoes, but not until December. I called and asked if they were considering an earlier time, and I guess it depends on the snow depth. The park (Lebanon Hills in Dakota County, MN) is divided into two sections, and snowshoes rental is in the eastern section, which I avoid because of the crowds. So my plan is to do a lot of research on all the options you folks have provided, wait for the park to start their rentals, and, thanks to Grizzlyman, order the shoes that he provided the link for. If I don't like those, well, I've wasted more money on other things that I have nothing to show for. Gonorth, don't worry, I know enough, and have respect enough, to stay on the proper trails. Again, thanks to all.
 
mschi772
distinguished member(801)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/25/2020 06:51PM  
Grizzlyman: " Surplus snowshoes


Here are the surplus shoes I referenced earlier. These are really great snowshoes. They’ve got small crampons welded on the frame too. You can find them on a number of different websites. I put different binding on.



"


Have some bindings you recommend for these or other traditionals? Honestly, it's the fiddle factor and the relative lack of comfort that makes me weary of traditional snowshoes. I have enough stuff to fiddle with and put a bunch of maintenance effort into as it is.
 
Grizzlyman
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
10/26/2020 08:45AM  
mschi772: "
Grizzlyman: " I put different bindings on.
"



Have some bindings you recommend for these or other traditionals? Honestly, it's the fiddle factor and the relative lack of comfort that makes me weary of traditional snowshoes. I have enough stuff to fiddle with and put a bunch of maintenance effort into as it is."



Good question . I think a lot of people like the bob maki’s. I still have a pair on one of my sets of shoes- but I find my toes slide into the corners and make the snowshoes cockeyed- that could just be me though.

Personally-I like the step through oval rubber ones- if you search “rubber snowshoe bindings” there’s a number of different manufacturers that make similar bindings. They’re simple and they work! Puts your foot right on the webbing and holds your foot tight.

They do also make hard pivotable snowboard like bindings that attach to traditional shoes- I haven’t tried those.

Hope this helps.
 
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