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A Natural Fit - Gear to Get

posted: 03/03/2004
by Kellee Katagi

If you still have wooden snowshoes, hang them on the den wall. Modern snowshoes are lightweight, streamlined, and easy to slip on and off.

The goal when choosing a snowshoe is to get the smallest one that will still keep you afloat. For people weighing up to 170 pounds, an 8 x 25 inch snowshoe (170 square inches) should do the trick. (A general rule: You want about one square inch of snowshoe per pound of body weight, including clothes and gear.) You need more flotation (i.e., a bigger shoe) for light, dry powder than you do for packed trails or Sierra cement. If you plan to run, opt for a smaller, lighter shoe with a tapered tail, but don't expect it to keep you up in deep powder.

You'll also want to consider the following factors before you buy:

Articulation:How does the binding allow the foot to move? It should keep the snowshoe straight when you step, allow your ankle to rotate freely and prevent your heel from twisting.

Comfort:Watch out for pressure points, and be sure you can walk naturally.

Traction: The cleats should grip whether you're going up, down or across a hill.

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