Which kid’s snowshoe is best?
Boots may work when playing in the snow for short periods, but if your kid will be hiking for any distance in snowy or icy conditions, it is best to get them a pair of snowshoes. Snowshoes provide traction and keep you from sinking into the snow. They can help your child remain upright and reduce the level of exertion required to walk through soft snow. Atlas Snowshoes Spark Snowshoe, for instance, are easy to put on and feature cleats for superior traction on slippery terrain.
What to know before you buy kid’s snowshoes
How do snowshoes work?
The entire weight of your body is supported by your feet. When you stand on something soft, like snow, that focused weight will make you sink. Snowshoes increase the surface area of the bottom of your feet, which disperses your body weight over a larger area, making you less prone to sink. This is the same physics that explains why a large, flat, heavy raft can float on water. The more you weigh, the larger your snowshoes must be to support you.
Different conditions require different snowshoes
Not all terrain is the same. You will have different considerations depending on where you will be wearing your snowshoes.
- Icy trails: To have the maneuverability and traction you need for traveling across ice, you want smaller snowshoes with aggressive crampons.
- Packed trail or wet snow: When walking on packed or wet snow, you will expend more energy than necessary if you have large snowshoes. Sizing down a little in these conditions can help keep you from tiring as quickly.
- Soft snow: If you are primarily walking on soft, powdery snow, you may want to size up a few inches to ensure you do not sink, especially if you are loaded down with gear.
What to look for in a quality kid’s snowshoe
Easy to put on
Putting snowshoes on can be tricky. If you help your child put their snowshoes on, you want a model with a mechanism that makes that task as simple as possible to avoid frustration. If your child will be responsible for putting their own snowshoes on, this feature becomes essential. Some models are so considerately designed that a child can put them on without even taking off their mittens.
Once the snowshoe is on your child’s foot, you don’t want it to come loose or fall off until your child removes it.
Curved up front and back
The first part of your foot to touch the ground when walking is your heel. The last part of your foot to leave the ground is your toes. A snowshoe with a front and back that are curved up will make it easier for your child to walk.
Some companies use inferior materials just to make the product more affordable. If the snowshoes are just for playing, this may be acceptable. However, if your child will be hiking any distance with you, you must purchase snowshoes manufactured to be lightweight and durable, just like an adult model.
As long as the snowshoes you are considering are well-built, easy to put on and take off and feature secure bindings and durable materials, you can consider brightly colored models with an appealing design.
How much you can expect to spend on kid’s snowshoes
On the low end, you may be able to find a budget pair of snowshoes for less than $20. If you want the best models made of the most durable materials, it can cost as much as $85.
Kid’s snowshoes FAQ
How do you know which size snowshoe to get for your kid?
A. Snowshoes are unique because they don’t fit kids based on the size of their feet. They fit kids based on weight. For instance, if your kid will be hiking with a backpack, that may mean they need a larger pair of snowshoes. In general, children that weigh less than 50 pounds will be good with a 16-inch snowshoe. Older children, who weigh more than 50 pounds but less than 90, will require a 17 to 19-inch snowshoe in average conditions. Soft, deep snow may require a couple more inches for the best results. Kids weighing up to 125 pounds will want to consider snowshoes that are 22 inches long.
How do you care for your kid’s snowshoes?
A. The first and best place to look for care instructions is the documentation with the snowshoes. In general, after using snowshoes, they should be rinsed off to remove any corrosive material your kid might have picked up while trekking through the snow. Do not use abrasive detergents. Water is usually fine. Dry the snowshoes thoroughly (without the use of heat) and hang them in a cool dry location that ideally has adequate ventilation.
What’s the best kid’s snowshoe to buy?
Top kid’s snowshoe
What you need to know: This pair of stylish snowshoes is 20 inches long and, depending on conditions, can accommodate children up to 120 pounds.
What you’ll love: The bindings on these snowshoes are simple to operate, allowing your child to don the shoes and get on the trail easily. They feature both heel and toe cleats to help with traction in icy conditions, while the rockered elliptical toe allows for trekking through snow that is soft and deep.
What you should consider: This snowshoe resides at the high end of the price scale.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Top kid’s snowshoe for the money
What you need to know: If you are looking for an affordable pair of kid’s snowshoes that feature a fun design, this is the option for you.
What you’ll love: The bright blue snowshoes feature a monster foot design that kids will love. They are only 14.5 inches long to facilitate walking but can still support up to 80 pounds. The easy-on/easy-off design makes getting ready a frustration-free experience.
What you should consider: Some users noted the bindings could work their way loose during vigorous activity.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This 16-inch pair of snowshoes features a bright orange color and can support up to 100 pounds.
What you’ll love: These snowshoes have a specially designed mitten-friendly ripcord so kids can put the shoes on and off by themselves. The coated steel crampons ensure traction in even the most treacherous conditions, and the Energy Flex axle system allows kids to walk with a more natural stride.
What you should consider: These snowshoes are designed to be used on snow and ice. If you are walking on mixed terrain, you may damage the crampons.
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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