Snowshoes are just like shoes in that there are some big differences between men’s snowshoes and women’s snowshoes. Unlike with shoes, however, most of the differences between men’s and women’s snowshoes come down to weight. Snowshoes are designed to redistribute weight over a larger area, so that you don’t sink in to the snow. But since the average woman weighs less than the average man, women’s snowshoes can be smaller, as they have to distribute less weight. This is actually a very good thing, because the smaller and lighter your snowshoes are, the less weight there is on your feet, and the less energy you will expend from walking in the snow.
Women’s SnowshoesA few features to look out for when shopping for new snowshoes.
- Purpose – There are actually several different kinds of snowshoes intended for several different things, and depending on what you plan to do in your snowshoes, you will be looking for a certain kind of snowshoe. Some people like to run in snowshoes, for instance, while others like to go hiking on trails. Others like to head in to powder with a backpack on, which requires a different kind of snowshoe.
- Weight – Whatever kind of snowshoe you need, you should try to find a lightweight snowshoe. Every pound on your foot is equivalent to about 5 pounds on your back, in terms of energy expenditure, and some snowshoes can weigh several pounds. Remember too that that is in addition to your shoes or boots.
Best Women’s SnowshoesA select few of the best women’s snowshoes on the market.
- Atlas 923 Elektra Snowshoes Starter Kit - First up, a combination of snowshoes, snowshoe bag and trekking poles. These would make ideal hiking snowshoes for both on the trail and off the trail. The storage bag ensures that the cleats on your snowshoes wont rip any of your other hiking gear, and the trekking poles come in handy on uneven terrain. The snowshoes themselves are a standard combination of aluminum frame and nylon deck, and the recommended load is anywhere between 80 and 160 pounds. They weigh 3.25 pounds, or 1.47 kilograms, which is fairly average weight.
- MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe - Another pair of women's snowshoes, these better suited to back country with or without a backpack on. What makes these snowshoes ideal for back country travel is MSR's 360 degree traction system, which is cleats along the outer frame of the snowshoes, so that you have grip even when only a portion of your snowshoe is in contact with the ground. The Ascent snowshoes will also take a full 225 pounds, and with the attachable tails you can add a few pounds to that, making them ideal for use with a heavy backpack. They weigh 3.4 pounds, or 1.55 kilograms.
- Atlas Run Snowshoes - For those that like to run in snowshoes, or even just those that stick to groomed trails, the Run snowshoes are a great choice. They're lightweight, at just 2.7 pounds or 1.23 kilograms, which is ideal for running in. They're also relatively small, but still manage to take loads of anywhere from 75 to 190 pounds. What makes these snowshoes not well suited to anything off the trail is a minimal amount of cleats, which translates in to a minimal amount of grip on the snow and ice below you.