So many shoes

  • Updated: February 16, 2011 - 12:25 AM



With as many as 20 manufacturers, there are myriad snowshoes from which to pick. In general, prices range from $100 to $400. Shoe lengths range from 20 inches to as long as 5 feet and weights from 2 to 5 pounds. Jim McDonell's overarching advice: Consider a shoe's big three: bindings, crampons and frames. Also, pay attention to a shoe's "float," or its surface area. The more float, the more you're able to stay up in deep snow, depending on your body weight.


The shoe: Atlas 9/10/11 series

Jim says: Durable; easy-to-use bindings; separate crampons made for racing or hiking

More info:


The shoe: Northern Lites Elite

Jim says: Made regionally (Wausau, Wis.); extremely durable; billed as the lightest you can buy; good for racing or hiking; for user packing under 175 pounds; lifetime warranty

More info:


The shoe: Redfeather Vapors Jim says: Narrow profile, which helps keep shoes from hitting; ultralight; easy, reliable bindings

More info:


The shoe: Atlas Elektra

Jim says: Reliable bindings tighten easily ("Three or four seconds, and you're in," McDonell said); foot comfort; durable, flexible surface area; narrow profile suited to smaller shoe sizes.

CUSTOM-BUILT The shoe: Dions

Jim says: Shoes are custom-made, from frames to bindings to crampons. ("Tell them what you want, and they put it together."); interchangeable bindings and crampons

More info:

On the Web McDonell recommends these websites to get informed:

Home site for the U.S. Snowshoe Association

What you'll find: What the site lacks in appearance, it makes up for with details about events, leaders in the sport, and links to many snowshoe and trail group sites.

Local snowshoeing scene

What you'll find: Information about the Braveheart Racing Series, which McDonell started last winter to help promote regional races under one banner; training tips, and links to snowshoe makers' online sites.

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