When it comes to deep snow, the bigger platform you have, the better, with one caveat: It's also nice to have a snowshoe that tapers off under foot and in the back so there's less surface area to trip over. I spend a lot of time tooling around in the snowy woods of northern Minnesota. For that flat, deep-snow terrain I love the aesthetics and quiet simplicity of a wooden snowshoe like the 13"x 35" Iverson Bear Paw ($258; iversonssnowshoes.com). According to Iverson, a wooden shoe has nearly two times the flotation of a metal snowshoe, but what I like most is that the simple neoprene harness ($41) doesn't accumulate frozen snow and the wood frame is still flexible, even in below-freezing temperatures. Plus, their handmade beauty makes me feel like I'm walking around in a Normal Rockwell painting.
If you prefer aluminum, a good option is the Atlas Electra 12 Series ($280; atlassnowshoe.com). The women's-specific shoe with silicon-strap bindings designed to fit a smaller foot, is made from the strongest grade aluminum possible and has some really nice design features like a narrower waist underfoot and a tapered tail in the back. There's also spring-loaded suspension that allows for better grip with the impressively sharp crampon. If you plan to be walking uphill a lot on unsteady terrain, this is the shoe for you. It comes in both 23" and 27" lengths.
If you plan to log long hours outside, you might also want to consider buying a goggle. Julbo's Eclipse ($160; julbousa.com) with a Zebra lens can go from sunny to dark conditions in 28 seconds flat. That makes it an ideal goggle for long days outside in variable conditions. Plus, the Eclipse is stylish and streamlined, which always adds a little intrigue to eyewear.