How to Choose Snow Boots
Snowshoeing is an increasingly popular sport because it enables you to get out into the snow, enjoy long trails through forests and across frozen lakes, all without having to master skiing, snowboarding or driving a snowmobile. In fact, the amount of time that you are a beginner is the first walk; after that, you're a pro! Choosing snow boots can be a confusing experience for a beginner but it gets a little easier when you know what to look for.
1. Be ready to spend the money. It is not a good idea to buy cheap; not only will you be replacing the snow boots quickly but it could well be a source of putting you off future snowshoeing. Instead, be prepared to spend a decent amount to get a decent and comfortable pair of cheap snow boots.
2. Wear the boots that you intend wearing snowshoeing when purchasing the shoes. If you don't already have the right shoes, it is a good idea to purchase these at the same time as the snow boots too - proper snowshoe boots come with special features that allow the snowshoe to sit properly on the boot, although some hiking boots, snowmobile boots and similar boots will also work. Snowshoe boots should be: Comfortable, Well insulated but not too heavily, Waterproof, Supportive.
3. Try various designs of snow boots with your boots (and socks) on. Some will feel better than others and you won't know this until you test a range of them in store. Walk around in the snow boots to see how they feel for you.
4. Choose snow boots according to your weight. Take your weight and gear weight into account when selecting ladies snow boots. snow boots based on the teardrop and bear-paw shapes are designed to distribute weight evenly across the snow to prevent sinking in. When you are heavy, especially with a backpack of gear on board, you need a snowshoe with a broader surface to aid the float of the shoe across the snow.
5. Select snow boots according to gender and age. There are snow boots made for women, men, and children. Children are lighter and don't have such an impact on the snow, and are less likely to be carrying any additional weight either. Therefore, you can get away with budgeting less for their snow boots†as they won't need all the bells and whistles of the adult range. Women's snow boots are designed to fit the smaller stride and gait of most women; there is no harm trying on men's snow boots but it is worth trying the women's ones if you would like to get the best fit.
6. Check the bindings for ease of use. Most modern bindings glide easily and can be manipulated with gloved hands. Manufacturers will often provide explanations of the nature of the bindings; read these to see what interests you. Most importantly, try the bindings with a gloved hand and move the bindings around a lot to see if you can manipulate them easily. Bindings can be padded, shaped, insulated, in a variety of colors etc. and they range in type: Single pull adjustable bindings - one pull should be all that's needed, Gel bindings - these are snug and bind to the feet, Clam-shell bindings - these make it easy to put on and pull off.
7. Check the binding attachment system. This provides the flexibility of the snowshoe, or not as the case may be. The binding attachment system will be one of two:
Fixed-rotation system - your foot will stay with the shoe and moves with you as you walk. The disadvantage can be snow pile-ups going up your leg as the snow is flung up by the shoe.
Free rotation - your feet move more freely and accounts for your own stride. There is no snow pile-up and there is good grab of the crampons. It can be problematic if you have to walk backwards or negotiate obstacles, however, as it will dig in or dangle and could trip the unwary.
8. Ask for advice. snow boots do come in a range of different styles for different activities. For example, there are snow boots suited for racing, trekking backcountry, simple recreational, and aerobic. Know your needs and explain these to the assistant when making a choice.
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