If you’ve ever heard somebody says that snowshoeing is no fun, the chance is either he is not a fan of winter sport, or he fails to pick out the right gear. Choosing the best snowshoes can really make a difference in the overall experience of your snowshoeing.
Ideal snowshoes will not only keep you from slipping down the snowy slopes but also help you “float” on various snow conditions. That’ll enable you to move more efficiently and keep your legs from catching fatigue too early. Are you excited already? Well, hold your horses! There are quite a few snowshoes sold today. We recommend you to check our snowshoe buying guide to help your research. If you haven’t got the time, we’ve sorted three of the best men’s snowshoes in this post.
Comparing Top Men’s Snowshoes
|MSR Lightning Ascent||Backcountry||Aggressive||22", 25", 30"||$$$|
|Tubbs Mountaineer||Backcountry & Recreational||Aggressive||25", 30", 36"||$$$|
|Crescent Moon Gold 10||Backcountry & Recreational||Aggressive||32"||$$$|
MSR Lightning Ascent is the pinnacle of backcountry snowshoes, well, at least for now. They have everything you need to make it through even the most challenging terrain. Lightweight and sturdy construction, checked. Aggressive traction systems, checked. Large footprint for optimum flotation, checked. Secure on-feet bindings, checked. With such specifications, no wonder many experienced winter explorers favor these snowshoes. Other manufacturers have come up with some fresh designs with new features and innovation, but all they can do is come closest to the Lightning Ascent performance; never do they exceed it.
The large footprint of MSR Lightning Ascent is good enough to provide the necessary flotation on powdery situations. However, for deeper snow, you may need to pair them up with the optional 5-inch add-on flotation tails. The aggressive traction systems of these snowshoes have been proven effective in tackling various technical terrains on the backcountry access. Three bars of aluminum teeth and huge under toe steel crampons function as the vertical traction, while the infamous 360-degree crampons that circle the outer frames work on horizontal traverses. With such highly technical features, MSR Lightning Ascent is too much for recreational snowshoeing on machine-groomed trails. For backcountry trips, however, they’re the perfect company.
Tubbs Mountaineer is one of those backcountry snowshoes with performance nearly as excellent as MSR Lightning Ascent. They stay very grippy despite the varying terrain, and the overall flotation rates pretty high on deep snow. The only drawback that makes them less preferable is that they’re slightly heavier than the Lightning Ascent. They weigh in at 5-pound each while the latter is 4-pound, more or less. That’s easily forgivable, I suppose, especially when you know that Tubbs Mountaineer offers better stability and more rugged frames and decking. Not only that, they can perform similarly satisfying as recreational snowshoes.
Many backcountry snowshoes turn out uncomfortable when used for recreation-specific applications, but Tubbs Mountaineer is an exception. The arrangement of the crampons underneath the decking is unique in a way that the under toes crampons and the heel crampons are not lined symmetrically. The result is they provide better traction on packed snow and groomed trails, hence, better stability too. Moreover, the bindings on Tubbs Mountaineer are also one of the easiest to set, which is exactly the feature you want on snowshoes that you only wear for short trekking along the on-trails. All of this convenience comes at a lower price than the MSR Lightning Ascent? Well, that’s why we list Tubbs Mountaineer here.
Crescent Moon Gold 10 is the longest snowshoes in this list with a length of 32-inch. Well, Tubbs Mountaineer is available at 36-inch, but most people are fine with the 30-inch version. They’re a solid pair of backcountry snowshoes. Flotation and traction do not fare as highly as MSR Lightning Ascent, but they’re still good enough to help you through even some quite steep inclines. That is as long as you don’t bring with you too much dead weight. The maximum recommended weight load for these snowshoes is 225-pound; that includes you and your backpack. As a comparison, MSR Lightning Ascent and Tubbs Mountaineer have a maximum recommended weight load of 250-pound, and their frames are only 30-inch long.
The good news is the longer frames on Crescent Moon Gold 10 are slimmer. They adopt a good-looking teardrop design that allows for more efficient movement on snow, which is great if you’re much of a fast walker. The bindings feature two straps that go over your front foot and a regular back heel strap. You’re going to love them because once you set them good, they’ll never go loose along the way. Still, the most interesting thing about all Crescent Moon Gold Series snowshoes is they come with a full lifetime warranty. Did I say they’re made entirely in the USA too?
Choosing the Best Snowshoes for Men
The first and foremost consideration when looking for snowshoes is the type of the snowshoe itself. Ask yourself whether you will go snowshoeing only occasionally or you want to dedicate this winter to enjoy peace and tranquility for days in many different backcountry terrains. If you just want to stay fit in winter or simply want to take your dog for a walk along the groomed trails nearby, recreational snowshoes are likely the best choice for you. They’re much more affordable, yet still, offer both good traction and flotation through the on-trails.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in spending the days hiking and covering various winter terrains, backcountry snowshoes are the way to go. They’re more expensive since they come with more advanced and technical features, which are commonly absent on recreational snowshoes. In terms of construction, backcountry snowshoes are also more rugged as they’re designed to withstand more harsh conditions in the off-trails. The crampons beneath the decking are more aggressive too. They’ll bite deep into hardpacked snow, even on ice, and provide you with the traction you need as you make your way uphills or downhills.
Once you make up your mind about the type of snowshoes you want, you need to think of the size. Standard men’s snowshoes are 23-inch to 25-inch long. You may need longer snowshoes if you’re going to haul more weight on your back. Manufacturers usually disclose a size chart that lets you know what size is right for you, depending on your weight load. Read more about snowshoe sizing here.
The last thing to consider is fitting. You can wear any type of boots for snowshoeing, from regular hiking boots, winter boots, to more rugged and stiff mountaineering boots, and even snowboarding boots. In fact, you can just put on your old tennis shoes if you want. However, you must keep in mind that not all bindings in snowshoes accommodate bigger footwear. The majority of them can be paired with boots with a maximum size of 15. For a more comprehensive guide on how to choose the best snowshoes for men, please refer to our Snowshoes Buying Advice.