people jumping while wearing snowshoes

How to choose your snowshoes

If you're looking for an alternative to skiing or snowboarding this winter, why not give snowshoeing a try? It's a terrific workout that lets you enjoy the great outdoors.


When choosing your first pair of snowshoes, you may not know where to start. We'll give you tips on a few of the main factors to consider. As with any sports equipment, you want to make sure you have the right fit and the right model for the type of activity you will be doing. The intensity of this sport can vary quite a bit depending on the terrain you will be crossing, so keep in mind the location you'll choose for your snowshoeing adventures. Now, let's get started!

How to choose your snowshoes


One of the first factors to consider when choosing your snowshoes is your body weight. As a general rule, the heavier you are, the larger your snowshoes should be. The weight will be more evenly distributed over the larger surface, making it easier for you to move through the snow.

You may also want to consider what you will be carrying while you snowshoe. A heavy backpack will have an impact on your overall weight, so think about whether you plan on doing longer outings (with lots of gear to carry), or shorter walks with no backpack at all.

How to choose your snowshoes
a person snowshoeing


When choosing your snowshoes, give some thought to the type of terrain you will be practicing on. When snowshoeing across deep, powdery snow, larger snowshoes will provide greater facility of movement. But, when you are walking on packed snow or icy terrain, smaller snowshoes may be preferable as they offer more control.

Incline and intensity

Next, think about whether you plan to snowshoe on flat or mountainous terrain. Also, consider whether you will be taking a leisurely stroll, or picking up the pace and running with your snowshoes? The incline and intensity of your activity will also have an impact on the type of snowshoes you choose.

  • two women snowshoeing

    Steep climbs

    When going uphill, you'll want snowshoes with good crampons at the toes and teeth along the deck for extra grip. Snowshoes with removeable heel lifts can be helpful for particularly steep climbs, as they will reduce the effect of the slope.

  • two men snowshoeing

    Flat terrain

    When snowshoeing on flat ground, you will be okay with basic beginner level snowshoes. Moderate traction is sufficient on flat ground, and keeping your balance should be relatively easy when walking at a leisurely pace.

  • a person snowshoeing


    If you plan to really pick up the pace, you'll want snowshoes that are more comfortable for running. Pick a lightweight snowshoe model with an asymmetric shape for ease of movement as you run.

CHOOSING SNOWSHOES FOR KIDS: What size do you need and how to measure?

When selecting snowshoes for kids, it's important to consider their age and skill level. For younger children, choose lightweight and user-friendly snowshoes. Ensure that the snowshoes fit properly and comfortably to prevent blisters and discomfort. It's also important to check the snowshoe's durability and consider the weather conditions your child will be snowshoeing in. Lastly, don't hesitate to seek advice from one of our teammates to make the right choice.

How to choose your snowshoes


Snowshoes are typically made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, plastic, or carbon. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks in terms of weight, durability, and cost.

When it comes to attaching snowshoes to your shoes, there are several binding options available. Snowshoes can be secured to your shoes using plastic buckles, elastic straps, or adjustable straps. Some models also feature crampons for better traction on snow. It's essential to select a binding that is both sturdy and comfortable to ensure efficient use of the snowshoes.

How to choose your snowshoes


When planning a snowshoeing trip, it's essential to bring along certain accessories to ensure your comfort and safety. Here are some things to consider:

1 - Gloves and mittens

Gloves and mittens are essential accessories to keep your hands warm and dry while snowshoeing. Gloves help prevent frostbite and other cold-related health problems. Additionally, they can be worn for all types of outdoor activities, such as skiing or skating, to protect your hands from potential injuries.

2 - Beanie hats or toques

In winter, wearing a hat is important to protect your head and ears from the cold. Body heat is often lost through the head, which can lead to significant heat loss if not protected. Additionally, the cold can irritate the skin and cause redness or chapping, especially on the ears. Our hats are designed for all your activities and will keep you warm and comfortable in any weather.

3 - Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes during winter is important as the sun's intensity can be just as harmful as in summer. The reflection of UV rays from the snow and ice can cause significant damage to the skin and eyes. Wearing sunglasses or ski goggles can help mitigate these effects. Furthermore, the low sun during winter can be more challenging to look at without adequate protection, which can cause eye strain, discomfort, and potential vision problems in the long run. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize eye protection during winter activities, especially in snowy and icy conditions, to ensure optimal eye health and safety.

4 - Hiking poles

Hiking poles are essential equipment for snowshoeing in winter as they provide valuable support while walking on snow and ice. The distribution of body weight on the sticks rather than on the legs can be beneficial, especially for people with back or knee problems. In addition to offering extra support, hiking poles can also be used to test the depth of the snow and help navigate safely in rugged terrain. By providing stability, balance, and reducing the impact on joints, walking sticks are a valuable accessory for anyone who loves to explore winter landscapes while minimizing the risk of injury or strain.

5 - Waterproof hiking shoes and boots

When snowshoeing in winter, wearing waterproof hiking shoes and boots is critical to protect your feet from snow and water infiltration. The melting snow and puddles encountered on the trail can make your feet wet and cold, causing discomfort and increasing the risk of frostbite, which is a serious and potentially dangerous condition. Investing in waterproof hiking shoes is a smart choice, as they provide both comfort and safety. With the right pair of shoes, you can enjoy your winter hikes without worrying about wet and cold feet, allowing you to fully embrace the beauty of the winter landscape.

6 - Backpacks

Hiking backpacks are a must-have for snowshoeing in winter, as they enable you to carry all the necessary equipment and supplies for your excursion. These backpacks are ideal for storing water, food, spare clothing, a first-aid kit, and other essential gear. Some backpacks may even come equipped with waterproof compartments that protect your personal belongings from snow and moisture, keeping your items dry and secure.

7 - GPS and compass

When snowshoeing in winter, GPS and compass are essential tools for navigation and orientation in the environment. In winter, snow and fog can obscure familiar landmarks, making it easy to get lost. GPS enables tracking of the planned itinerary and identifying the exact position on the map, while the compass can be used to determine the direction to follow. By using these tools, you can stay on track and minimize the risk of losing your way.

Another tip, don't forget to check the weather conditions and plan for the right clothing.

Try on a few different pairs of snowshoes to see what feels best, and take the time to speak with an in-store Decathlon sports advisor about your level of ability and your expectations for this sport. The sports advisor will be able to help you pick a snowshoe model that best suits your needs. Next, all you have to do is wait for the right conditions and then head out into the snow. Remember that snowshoeing is a cardio-intensive activity, so always be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks whenever you need to.

Happy snowshoeing!

More like this

Woman snowshoeing in the forest

Snowshoeing: How to get started

For some of us, the thought of snowshoeing evokes childhood memories of wearing heavy, clunky wooden snowshoes during school outings. Luckily, the times have changed...

Contemplating nature on a winter hike

Why snowshoeing is a better workout than you think

Snowshoeing is seriously good for you. See how it measures up to other winter sports in terms of health benefits, accessibility, and sheer fun.

man and woman snowshoeing in the forest

A yoga routine for snowshoe enthusiasts

Did you know that snowshoeing and yoga are complementary sports? Adopt this routine for better performance on the trail and in the studio.