Our Guide to Snowshoes

Adult snowshoes

Our mission is to get people outdoors. Since most people aren't enthusiasts who venture outside regularly, you can buy or rent snowshoes. Specifically, about our snowshoes rentals:

  • We rent snowshoes that are higher end than those rented elsewhere, but still offer competitive pricing
  • We offer a rent-to-buy program so you don't have to worry about losing money from renting
  • Our self-service allows you to hire snowshoes whenever is convenient for you

Core function: Snowshoes are the essential gear item for the activity of snowshoeing (think of it like hiking in the snow), just like skis are the essential gear item for the activity of skiing. Snowshoes are NOT just shoes for snow; i.e., they're generally not needed for walking around a city or resort area where it happens to be snowing. Cities or resorts are well-plowed & maintained--usually a good pair of boots will be sufficient.

What we carry

Size 23in
Atlas Montane & Elektra series Atlas Access series
Atlas Montane & Elektra series Atlas Access series


MSRP with tax

Rent $15+
General Notes
  • We choose what we carry based on extensive research on what's the best value to our customers (e.g., price given performance & durability features) across all the top brands. We specifically do not carry every brand & model; for details on why we do/don't carry certain items in the following What To Use & How To Choose section
  • Buy prices a grayed out box indicates we don't sell it (we may only rent snowshoes of this model)
  • Rent prices are the starting prices; enter trip dates on our Catalog to get exact prices (based on total trip length, not per day!). We also don't charge sales tax, an automatic savings of almost 10%!

When you hire snowshoes online, you can select from available options or we'll pick out something for you. You can also write-in any preferences on the last page of checkout. This section describes the majority of our models & options, but sometimes we carry others.


It is still a general convention in the industry that if not specified, an item is either unisex or designed for a male fit. But in our experience, personal preference & body type can often be much more important than generalized differences across sexes. Whenever considering sex-specific gear, compare carefully, including trying to rent snowshoes of different types for various trips to find the best value for you (be mindful that women-specific items may be more expensive).

For this item, we do carry women-specific inventory. When renting snowshoes online, please write-in on the last page of our online order form if you prefer a women-specific model, available in the 23in (58cm) length.

What to use & how to choose

Sometimes it's easy to get lost in all the hype of something new (over-spending often happens on features). Our guide focuses on the fundamental factors you should always keep in mind (thus, this short list is similar across all items). Then only at the end do we have some questions to get you thinking about other minor features. Also take advantage of renting snowshoes to try out what works for you!

We highly recommend reviewing Type or Style first, where we review what you can use to address the Core function--a regular item you have at home may work! The other factors are secondary & depend strongly on the Type or Style you've picked; in fact, for other factors data charts are generally only for a specific Type or Style that we carry (e.g., as a gear shop, would be outdoor-specific products).

We've organized the most commonly used items people use to address the Core function below, with example images, characteristics, features, etc.

Like how there are different types of skis for different types of skiing in different environments (e.g., downhill, touring, skate skis, etc.), there are different types of snowshoes, we've implemented our own categorization below, with a few characteristics to help you understand the differences.

Snowshoes for... Recreational hiking Recreational running Technical hiking
Hiking on flat or gradually inclining terrain; generally established trails Running on flat or gradually inclining terrain; generally established trails
Think of this like trail running, but over snow!
Hiking on icy, steep terrain; often off-trail, e.g., summiting peaks or for backcountry skiing or snowboarding
Key feature differences
  • Accommodates broad range of hiking or snow boots
  • Smaller & lighter for more natural foot motion & speed
  • Accommodates smaller running shoes
  • Aggressive traction systems
  • Accommodates larger snowboard or ski boots
Price $150-250 $200-300
Less technical More technical

Why we do/don't carry it

= we rent
= we sell

Most people engage in this type of activity

Fewer people engage in this type of activity

If you don't go very often, of course you're going to want to spend less money, but this often means real trade-offs in terms of the experience that you will have with the gear. Even if you do go often & are ready to invest in quality gear, having the upfront funds can be hard!

Now, it may seem like this price & quality trade-off is disappearing, because you can find a cheap version of almost anything for tens of dollars that still has good reviews (assuming the reviews are real). So you might be thinking: I'll just buy something cheap, and because the price is so low it doesn't matter if it's less featured or heavier or whatever compared to something higher end. When that breaks, I'll buy something cheap again, and so on. Just remember:

  • Many reviews are written after only a trial use or first use: We've seen entire review videos of gear done at home, which is very different than actually being outdoors! And reviews after the first use don't tell you about durability at all
  • You're headed outdoors to relax and enjoy life! Saving money only to have a trip ruined due to quality issues will feel terrible. Our program to rent snowshoes is designed to help you avoid this trade-off: you get to rent high end, quality snowshoes for around the same price as buying cheap ones (sometimes even for less!)

For this item specifically, the price vs. quality trade-off issues center around performance & durability.

  • The snowshoes didn't provide enough traction or fit very well: Binding or traction systems not as advanced, so may only work in more basic situations
  • The snowshoes weren't very durable: Rivets, bindings, or straps fell apart or tore easily
Methodology notes on prices shown on this page

Bindings are generally adjustable for most foot & boot sizes (you may need the Technical Hiking Type to accommodate larger ski/snowboard boots if you're snowshoeing as part of a backcountry ski or snowboard trip). A snowshoe's purpose is to distribute your weight over a large surface area, to help you float above the snow. That's why the most critical size is how long snowshoes are relative to total weight (including all the gear that you will be carrying).

In the table below, the darker color indicates a more ideal fit, while the lighter color could also work, depending on snow conditions. If you're in-between sizes, renting snowshoes of the two different sizes can be helpful to determine what works best. Generally though, we'd say go for the larger size, especially for fresh powder or deep snow, where greater surface area will better prevent sinking.

Total: self + gear
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Why we do/don't carry it

= we rent
= we sell
We only rent snowshoes in the first 3 adult sizes (23-30in, 58-76cm) as these will fit most people

Here, we give you a list of questions to start thinking about other features. We hope our approach of savings these features for last gets you to more critically think about what you need & not get caught up in the hype of what's cool and over-spend your budget. Remember, we allow you to hire a snowshoes so feel free to try out various models with different features.

    • Do the snowshoes have removable tails? (tails can add or reduce surface area, think of it like a snowshoe where the back part of the oval shape comes off)
    • Do the snowshoes have televators (aka heel lifts or climbing bars)? (these bars normally lie flat, but can flip up to help lift your heel up, making it easier to hike uphill because it feels like walking up steps)
    • What material does the frame or decking use?
    • How does the binding system work? (high end models, like with high end helmets, may use third party BOA fit technology)
    • Where are the "teeth"? Models with teeth along the outside edge provide much better grip to prevent slipping or sliding, which some may prefer whereas others may prefer some slide, depending on terrain & use case

Usage tips


We'll leave the detailed info in the trekking poles gear guide. A few quick highlights:

  • Poles provide increased stability (and can also help measure how deep snow is), so whether or not you need 1 or 2 depends on your comfort with the terrain & trail difficulty (ice or steepness may present more difficulty, for example)
  • You can use poles for non-snow hiking; for deep snow, you may need snow baskets (to prevent the poles from sinking)
  • You can also use ski poles

Questioning how essential poles are? Rent a pair of poles first!

Maintenance tips


Some parts, including bindings, straps, tails, etc. may be replaceable. Check with your manufacturer for more info.

We have a general protip on how to store & maintain gear that we highly recommend reviewing as well. If you send us video or a good photo series, we may be able to help you evaluate your repair needs.

The exact numbers (e.g., weights, dimensions, prices, etc.) used were updated as of September 2019 .