Which running snowshoes are best?
Winter is back again, and while some people prefer to hibernate, runners can find unique opportunities on the snowy trails. Running in snowshoes is becoming more and more popular, and it’s a great alternative to traditional winter sports like snowboarding and skiing. Snowshoeing has been around forever, but companies have been designing shoes specifically for running in the snow in recent years.
For those getting into snowshoeing, the TSL Snowshoes Symbioz Racing Snowshoe is among the best of the best. It is extremely lightweight with an improved binding system that is adjustable and more secure than previous models.
What to know before you buy running snowshoes
Anybody can run can run in snowshoes
Some people think that running in snowshoes seems difficult, but anybody who can run on the road or trail can also run in the snow. Snowshoes are surprisingly easy to use, and most of the techniques required to become a good snowshoer can be picked up quickly.
The one thing to note is that running in the snow is much slower. Don’t expect to maintain the same pace in the snow, even if the terrain is flat. Start off slow and build up your endurance over time.
The type of show matters less for runners than mountaineers
When mountaineering or bushwhacking in snowshoes, it’s important to consider the type of shoe you’re wearing and how well they handle patches of ice, steep inclines and off-trail terrain. However, running in snowshoes likely means you will be on a well-marked trail that is already broken in. Therefore, when choosing snowshoes, try to choose a comfortable shoe with a good binding system. The binding system is doubly important because it might be easier for the snowshoe to slip out of the binding when running.
Don’t forget other winter gear
When you are running in snowshoes, you will be kicking up a lot of snow, especially if it is powdery. You will get wet — there is no way around that. So, you need to make sure you are well-layered and prepared for the cold and wetness of the trail.
- Wear gaiters. This will help keep your feet and socks dry while running.
- Layer up. Make sure you have all the typical winter gear, like a hat, gloves, jacket and a nice pair of pants.
- Bring extra clothes with you. At the very least, bring an extra pair of socks. It might also be a good idea to bring an extra pair of undergarments like shirts and pants.
- Consider base layers. If the weather is really cold, wearing base layers might be a great way to stay warm. Some people don’t like to exercise in base layers since you get sweatier more quickly, so this depends on the temperature and your preferences.
What to look for in quality running snowshoes
This is an essential step to choosing a good pair of snowshoes. Unfortunately, some snowshoes come with poor binding that makes it easy for your shoes to slip out of the snowshoes, which will hamper your enjoyment and comfort. Try to find a good snowshoe with binding that keeps your feet secure without putting extra pressure on any part of your foot.
Shoes come with many different binding systems. If you are lost on what to get, you can also opt for a direct mount. This allows you to stick your snow straight into the snowshoe without needing a binding system.
Since you will be running, having lighter snowshoes will make that task easier and more comfortable. You cannot run in regular snowshoes due to their larger size, intense traction systems (crampons) and how much heavier they are. You need to buy a snowshoe specifically designed for running, which is narrower and shorter than traditional snowshoes.
Like any outdoor product, materials matter. Avoid getting plastic shoes. Other lightweight materials like aluminum and composite keep the shoes light without compromising their integrity. The binding should also be made of durable material that does not move too much or feel flimsy.
How much you can expect to spend on running snowshoes
Running snowshoes aren’t cheap. Budget options will range between $50-$100, while higher quality shoes generally cost from $150-$300.
Running snowshoes FAQ
Should I take my trekking poles when snowshoeing?
A. Despite trekking poles being essential to standard snowshoeing, runners do not use them. This is because they add weight and an extra motion to your stride that feels awkward and slows you down. Therefore, you do not need to take trekking poles.
Should I run in boots or running shoes?
A. Running in boots is heavy and clunky. It is best to run in your regular trail running shoes. They can be Gore-Tex or non-Gore-Tex, but it is essential to have a decent pair of snowshoes and merino wool socks to wick away moisture.
What are the best running snowshoes to buy?
Top running snowshoes
What you need to know: These composite running snowshoes are some of the lightest on the market and come with improved binding and a flashy appearance.
What you’ll love: Each snowshoe weighs just over 1.3 pounds, making it one of the lightest snowshoes on the market. The adjustable binding works for all shoes, and an extra strap has been added that wasn’t on previous models, adding extra security. In addition, these shoes look very stylish.
What you should consider: These shoes are so light that if they slip off, you may not immediately notice.
Top running snowshoes for the money
What you need to know: For those running in moderate snow conditions, these budget shoes have a durable frame and slip-on bindings that allow you to run in winter.
What you’ll love: These snowshoes have a strong aluminum frame and a light decking that doesn’t hold snow. The binding system is easy to use, and you can easily run in them.
What you should consider: Those dealing with more snow will want a shoe that is a bit more durable with a stronger binding system.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Atlas mixes speed and durability with the aluminum build and V-frame design.
What you’ll love: These shoes weigh under 3 pounds and come with a durable aluminum build. They are easy to run with, and you barely feel the shoes. Also, the lightspeed bindings are easy to use once you understand how it works.
What you should consider: Test the binding system at home before taking them out since it can initially be tricky to figure out.
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Stephen Morin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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