What’s the best pair of snowshoes for a beginner?

I would like to get my husband a pair of snowshoes for the holidays. I know nothing about them. Can you suggest a few pairs worth looking into? Thank you!
Milford, NH

Dec 2, 2010
Outside Magazine
The Evo

The Evo


There are lots of things well worth considering, Katie. One easy choice would be to buy a pair of MSR Evo 22 snowshoes ($140). These have a molded-plastic deck (the thing that makes the shoes "float") that is both light and tough. Built-in crampons grip when it's icy, and two-strap bindings adapt to most any kind of boot.

For a little more traditional snowshoe, take a look at the Atlas 1025s ($200). These have an aluminum frame with nylon decking, a design that's a little more complex to make than the MSR plastic design, but that also creates a shock-absorbing quality that makes them a bit more comfortable on a longer hike. Steel crampons help on ice, and I like Atlas's single-pull binding system.

At the slightly higher end you have the Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes ($250). Similar in style to the Atlas, but with slightly higher-quality materials in the deck and binding. Nice snowshoes.

Snowshoes aren't complicated things, so really, any of these will work fine. Maybe add to the package some snow-friendly trekking poles, such as REI's Traverse poles ($70) and Snowflake Baskets ($8).

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