REI put’s together a great article on how to choose Snowshoes. Of course one of the important things to consider is; what am I going to use the snowshoes for.
With a little knowledge, buying the right snowshoes is a walk in the park.
While most snowshoes fall into these 3 categories, a few models are designed specifically for trail-running, fitness or climbing.
Aluminum-frame snowshoes come in multiple sizes, usually 8″ x 25″, 9″ x 30″ and 10″ x 36″ or something similar. Composite snowshoes come in one size (typically 8″ x 22″) and offer the option of adding 4″ to 8″ tails to help you stay afloat on snow. Why does size matter? It’s a key factor in getting the right amount of flotation.
Snowshoe sizes and shapes vary as follows:
Recommended loads are based on light, dry snow conditions. But consider that on powder snow you need bigger snowshoes to stay afloat than you would on compact, wet snow. In other words, a powder-happy Utah snowshoer may want a larger size than a same-sized snowshoer in the wet snow of the Pacific Northwest.
Packed trails, brush and forest call for more compact shoes, which are easier to maneuver in tight spaces. Steep or icy terrain is also best explored with smaller snowshoes. Open areas with deep drifts require larger snowshoes.
Tip: Get the smallest size that will support your weight for the snow conditions and terrain in your area. As long as you have adequate flotation, smaller snowshoes will be much easier to handle.
Your weight, including equipment, is referred to as the recommended load or carrying capacity on snowshoe specs. This is a major factor in determining the right size. In most circumstances, a heavier person or one with a heavily loaded pack will require larger snowshoes than a smaller person or one carrying gear just for the day.
Read the rest of the article at REI.com