Snowshoes are categorized into three main groups: Recreational hiking, aerobic/fitness, and hiking/backpacking. Men’s snowshoes have a wider frame, wider and longer bindings, and a longer overall frame than the corresponding women’s snowshoe. These snowshoe differences are due to the anatomical differences between men and women; men are generally taller, heavier, have longer strides, and have wider feet.
This review provides some snowshoe top picks for men’s recreational hiking, aerobic/fitness, and hiking/backpacking.
Recreational Hiking snowshoes are generally the least expensive shoes. They are designed with easy to operate bindings and minimal traction systems that won’t easily drag. These snowshoes work well on flat terrain. Tubbs offers its Men’s Xplore Snowshoe for $120. The rounded, slightly upturned frame tail reduces the impact placed on hip, knee, and ankle joints. The easy to use binding system is designed to fit with a wide range of snow boots.
Aerobic/Fitness snowshoes are generally shorter than recreational hiking and hiking/backpacking snowshoes. They also taper down toward the back of the shoe to minimize the chance of tripping on your shoes while running on them. The bindings are typically fixed (they don’t pivot) and are made of tougher materials than those found on recreational hiking snowshoes. The fixed bindings allow the tail of the snowshoe to go up with each stride, which makes moving faster in them easier. The Atlas Run Snowshoe for $180 provides the shorter, tapered down shape and the fixed bindings typical of aerobic/fitness snowshoes. They feature a spring-loaded suspension system that absorbs impact and allows the foot to flex from side-to-side naturally.
Hiking/Backpacking snowshoes have the strongest and longest frames, feature the toughest decking materials, have climbing style crampons incorporated into their traction system, have bindings that can withstand harsh weather conditions, and can accommodate multiple boot styles. They are designed for the more experienced snowshoe and back country enthusiast. These are the snowshoes that should be used when summiting a mountain in the winter, doing back country snowboarding, blazing fresh tracks in powder snow, or traversing an icy slope. The Atlas 1230 snowshoe for $270 provides a strong yet light frame, a tough decking material, stainless steel instep crampons, heal cleats, and side traction rails that bite into the ice. The bindings are also compatible with snowboard boots.